The Proviso Herald reports that Superintendent Bob Libka of Proviso High School District 209 called Tuesday night's Education Summit "a good start" in what he hopes will be ongoing improved interaction and communication between the district and its residents.
About 50 people showed up at the Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy in Forest Park for the opportunity to have discussions, make suggestions, voice concerns and ask questions.
Participants from the community divided themselves into groups of five to eight people to discuss the following questions that were provided by the district:
• What are the challenges we face with educating young people today?
• How can our schools better meet the needs of our communities?
• What are the weaknesses or concerns you have about the district in educating our young people today?
• What should the district focus its efforts on in the future, and what suggestions do you have?
• How can the community collaborate with our district to better serve the needs of our young people?
• How can we make education important to our communities?
• What about Proviso Township High Schools makes you proud today, and what should we do that will increase that pride?
• Had you expected a necessary question that wasn't asked? If so, what?
Libka said feedback from theses questions will be reviewed by district officials, who will compile a report based on the feedback. In addition, these questions are to be posted on the district's Web site, www.pths209.org so that other interested community members may respond.
Some of the concerns and suggestions made by community residents after group discussions included a need for better communication between the district and the residents it serves, a lack of parental involvement, budget cuts, transportation for students, after-school activities for students and teaching parents how to make education important in their homes.
"I wish we would have had more people here, but I'm excited to see some new faces," Libka said. "This is a start, and we plan to do more things like this in the future."
One of the participants in the Education Summit was Al Molby, superintendent of Hillside School District 93, which feeds into Proviso West.
"I came to this (Education Summit) because it's an important step for (District 209) to develop as many avenues of communication as (it) can," he said. "What goes on (in District 209) affects us as a feeder school. What serves the high schools best serves my district best, too."
Veronica Morales, a Hillside resident whose daughter is a freshman at Proviso West, said the Education Summit was a good idea.
"It gives parents a chance to ask some questions and give some feedback," she said.