A visit to a meeting of the Proviso Math and Science Academy’s (PMSA) Parent Teacher Association will reveal an unusual group of participants: students.
The organization, officially called the Parent Student Teacher Association (PTSA), was intended to allow the topic of education to be addressed from all possible perspectives. And according to PMSA officials, this could not be achieved without the people everyone is talking about actually participating in the process.
“We believe that, as we seek to be the best we can be, we need to have all voices involved,” said academy co-principal Richard Bryant.
Like most PTAs, the organization devotes much of its time to fundraising, though its goals are more lofty than most. “This is a public school ” we know the district is not going to pay for students to travel overseas ” we have to raise funds,” said PTSA president Carl Williams, father of academy freshman Jeremiah Williams.
Williams is well qualified to handle the money the organization raises, as the longtime Bellwood resident operates a real estate agency, Millennium VI Realty, and serves as vice president of the Bellwood Chamber of Commerce.
Fundraising, however, is not the group’s only role. Their meeting time, on the second Thursday evening of each month at the school, First Avenue and Roosevelt Road, was chosen so that the group would have the opportunity discuss any issues they would like to bring before the District 209 board of education the following Monday.
“I see us being a part of the school board ” our role is making sure we understand the policies and new procedures of the school board and making sure we communicate our goals to them,” said Williams.
The academy also looks for ways to enhance the academic experience of the school’s students. Williams said that since hearing that many students are struggling with physics, which academy students take as freshmen, he has been working on finding reasonably priced physics tutors to assist students with their struggles.
“We all have to work together as a team,” he said. “There’s a solution to every problem that way… we throw out that saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ but do we really practice that? I think we need to do more.”
Though Williams said that the school’s administration has been “wonderfully supportive” of his organization, turnout has been disappointing at the first few meetings. Those wishing to attend meetings or join the PTSA should come to the school auditorium on the second Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m.
The school’s phone number is 338-4100.