Proviso Township School District got good news and bad news at their September board meeting when last years’ ACT and Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) results were presented to the school board.

While ACT scores rose district-wide in both reading and math, the district’s PSAE reading scores fell by a point or more across the district. Most notable to the district was a drop of 1 percent in PSAE reading scores at Proviso East High School. Only 11 percent of those taking the test met or exceeded state reading goals for 11th grade.

The English Department chairs of Proviso East and West worked over the summer, the school board heard, to develop a program to bring resources to teachers called “literacy across the curriculum.”

“This is alarming,” admitted D209 Curriculum Director Ed Moyer in a later meeting. “I think that all teachers want to help. There is a lot of power in the six or seven teachers a student encounters over the day.” Moyer said Career and Technical Department teachers have already held a special institute day and received new teacher resources to help students read technical manuals and other non-fiction reading.

New Assistant Superintendent Leslie Wilson said the teachers were being trained in best practices to help students read their subject matter. “We will be asking teachers to teach vocabulary for their subject level and in appropriate amounts. We know that reading more improves reading.” She said teachers and students were working at their “frustration level.”

Supt. Nettie Collins-Hart said the district already deployed reading specialists in double-English classes for reluctant readers. She is petitioning the Illinois State Board of Education to allow a Federal Title 1 grant for private tutoring companies to tutor on school days during lunch, free periods, before school and on teacher institute days. “We have some momentum with the ACT scores and math, which are encouraging,” she said. “But we want to capture that and step it up.”

Proviso Math and Science Academy students dropped to by .8 percent to a meet-or-exceed level of 72 percent in reading, and Proviso West students fell to 22.7 percent from 26.1 percent.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...