Students in Proviso Township High Schools District 209 have been getting extra help in achieving excellence in high school, thanks to a series of summer programs.
Five hundred ninety-four students at Proviso East High School and Proviso West High School have been participating in credit recovery classes that help them catch up on the classes needed for graduation. Also, in addition to the third year of the freshman reading program at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy, 77 incoming freshmen at Proviso East and Proviso West have been participating in a new freshman summer support program designed to help them learn the necessary skills needed to succeed in high school.
"We are always looking for new ways to help our students achieve academic success, especially for those transitioning to high school," said Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209. "With these programs, we are taking the steps in the right direction in helping our students to achieve and be better prepared to learn what they need to know for success in high school and in life."
The freshman summer support program, which started with 28 students at Proviso East and 49 students at Proviso West, aims to help students who need extra support in English and math classes, said Mr. Dan Johnson, director of truancy/alternative programs for the District. They were invited into the program based on their scores on the Explore placement test that they took in eighth grade. All incoming freshmen are invited to participate in the freshman transition program at Proviso East, Proviso West, and Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy on August 11 and 12.
Part of the goal for the participating students is to help them catch up in their English and math skills so they do not have to take a double period of the classes once the school year begins on August 18. Ms. Heather Wickey, math department chair at Proviso West, said that the math classes overlap with the intensified algebra program.
"The goal is that after success in this program in the summer, they can start in a single-period algebra class instead of having to do the double period," she said. "That opens them up to do an elective instead of using two periods on math. This also gives them the kind of support that they need to be successful in the single-period algebra class."
Mr. Andre Zabrodsky, math department chair at Proviso East, expressed similar sentiments. He said that the classes in the summer support program are designed to challenge the students into thinking critically, especially as the schools transition into the new Agile Mind math curriculum. He said that the aim is also to make the classes fun. He used an example of having his students take on the roles of interns in a medical examiner’s office as they investigate a crime scene.
"It’s a higher cognitive level that we’re working at, with the goal of them understanding that they’re learning the complexity of the brain working on challenging problems," Mr. Zabrodsky said. "With challenging problems, you’re going to run into difficulty and confusion, which is normal. But you’ve got to work through that and they’re learning to do that."
Students who successfully complete the summer portion of the program, which ends today, can earn half an elective credit. They can earn another half credit if they complete another part of the program during the school year.
"We’re hoping to continue the program into the school year with Saturday school dates," Mr. Johnson said.