With the long and disruptive rebuild of Roosevelt Road just about wrapped up for the winter, Forest Parkers are starting to see some of the streetscaping fun stuff. At the top of the list are the large, brick gateway structures at Harlem and at Desplaines that announce you've arrived at your Forest Park destination.
Didn't take long for a vocal group of villagers to take to Facebook to decry the typography and color scheme of the "Forest Park" lettering on the signs. And we agree, it was somewhere between disappointing and disastrous, if a sign can ever be disastrous.
Village officials — mayor and administrator — fairly quickly announced the signs were intended to be temporary. However, we went back to early versions of the streetscaping proposals and found versions more similar than not to what was for a short time on display. Now the temporary signs are non-existent signs, which doesn't seem like it could have been the plan.
New signs are coming, we're told. In the meanwhile, if you see big, brick standards with a large empty white space in the middle, you're in Forest Park. Welcome!
Carrots not sticks
A key tenet of the new administration and school board at the Proviso Township high schools is parental involvement. We agree it is essential that parents and guardians play an active role in the education of their kids. And we understand that when parents don't engage, as all the research informs us, trouble is likely ahead for that student.
So we understand and support the urgent effort to compel every parent to be active at Proviso. Looking back to last spring's school board election, Rodney Alexander campaigned and won on a platform of parental involvement. Now, working with the parent engagement committee, he is pushing the school board to OK a policy which would create mandatory attendance at an annual meeting of parents. Alexander wants the school board to adopt the policy quickly and says the details of such a requirement — what's the consequence of missing the meeting, how would tracking of attendance work — would follow board approval.
We'd urge some caution. These schools were close to non-functional a handful of years ago. Parents were actively not invited to cross the threshold of Proviso East and West. Spanish speaking parents literally had no way to communicate with the schools.
In just two-and-a-half years, new school board members and their hand-picked administrators have made enormous headway on this issue. The doors have been opened, services in support of parents have been consciously added, communication has been ramped up.
Disappointingly, if the measures are correct — and given the old ways, we're suspicious — parental engagement has actually fallen a few points.
A little patience. Let the enthusiasm of the engaged parents build and spread. Let the warmth of the welcome be the buzz at Proviso. Acknowledge there is no path to 100 percent active parental engagement.
The progress is real. If you build good will, they will come.