In an ambitious move the school board at Proviso Township High Schools last week unanimously approved a ramped-up plan to create mini-PMSAs at both East and West and to do it a year sooner than the administration had recommended.
We’re all in favor of this plan. We love to see urgency in a school district that, until fairly recently, bumped contentedly along the bottom by every educational and financial measure. We have concerns, perhaps shared by administrators, that expansion of the International Baccalaureate program to East and West beginning in less than one year is ambitious, maybe a bit too ambitious.
Supt. Jesse Rodriguez told the board he would be back to them shortly if he finds it necessary to ask for that additional year. A mid-October deadline to present a five-year financial plan to the still-involved Financial Oversight Panel will, it seems, clarify some of the planning.
We’ll support this plan whether it is next school year or one year later because it creates the potential for equity in every school building under the district’s umbrella. We have long been troubled by the district’s concentration of students deemed most academically capable into a third building — the Proviso Math and Science Academy in Forest Park.
This move, which will start with 75 students each at East and West, even as enrollment at PMSA continues to grow, reflects recognition of the long-unrecognized potential of many more students to thrive if they are challenged and fully supported.
Providing access to greater opportunity is at the core of equity. Allowing more students to reach higher is at the core of equity. Providing the resources and support to create success is at the core of equity. Until this moment, it was not possible to fairly say that such access was available at Proviso East and Proviso West.
Now we are on that path.