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District 209 Barber School Program is a Success

October 16, 2015 03:25 PM
The Proviso Township High Schools District 209 barber school program with Erskine Reeves Barber Academy is a success, Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent for District 209, told the Board of Education at its regular meeting on Tuesday, October 13, 2015, at Proviso West High School.
The Proviso Township High Schools District 209 received an update on the district’s barber school program through Erskine Reeves Barber Academy at the meeting. Board members heard an update on the program through a report by Mrs. Kim Echols, District 209 assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and a video (which can be seen here). Dr. Collins-Hart said that the program has been successful.
"They’ve been doing great work," Dr. Collins-Hart said. "I want to thank the Board for providing the opportunity. It has been money well spent."
District 209 and the Erskine Reeves Barber Academy have been partners since January 2015 in offering students at Proviso East High School and Proviso West High School an opportunity to be trained to eventually get certified and licensed as barbers. Led by Erskine Reeves, a 1997 Proviso West graduate, the barber program is part of a renewed move toward increasing educational opportunities for District 209 students in vocational fields.
In the 2015-2016 school year, 30 students from Proviso East and Proviso West are learning all aspects of the barber trade, from providing a shave with a straight-edge razor and shampooing and conditioning to cutting hair with scissors and clippers. They also have been learning about the various products used in the field as well as the business side.
"This program has been a blessing for the students," Mrs. Echols said. "Kids are having to step up to the plate and connect with the community."
Mr. Reeves said that students have been working hard in building their skills, including coming in over the summer. During that training, they learn from the instructors as they work on mannequins and actual clients, including our own Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart. He added that two students have been featured in area media such as The Chicago Defender, and have been earning community service credit hours by giving free haircuts at different events.
"The sky is the limit," he said of the program’s potential.
Board members were complimentary of the program.
Mr. Kevin McDermott, Board vice president, said that students can take the skills they learn in the program and apply them either through helping to pay for college or taking them into high-paying jobs. Mrs. Teresa McKelvy, Board member, said that she was happy to see the students have a role model in Mr. Reeves to follow.
"I’m very grateful for you and this program," Mrs. McKelvy said. "Students need to see people like you from this community."
Mrs. Theresa Kelly, Board president, echoed those thoughts, saying that in a similar program in 2001, a Proviso graduate was now making more than $100,000 a year cutting hair. She said that she would like to expand the program.
"We need more students in your program," she said.
To see a video of this report, please click here.


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