D209 board member Amanda Grant

The new board majority is making big changes to how the Board of Education for Proviso Township high schools operate, starting with being open to receiving community feedback as new surveys will be going out to the community. 

Amanda Grant, newly elected as school board president, discussed the three new surveys that will be sent out soon to Proviso Township High School District 209 students, faculty, and parents. 

The approval of the surveys, which passed with a unanimous vote, occurred during the second meeting of the board on May 30, which was dedicated to public comment as the new board majority works to address grievances and community concerns. 

“The second one will be dedicated, for the first few months at least, to hearing the backlog of arbitrations and grievances that we have,” Grant said during the May 30 meeting. “Once we have caught up on the concerns from the students, parents, and staff of this district, we will start a round of meetings that are more community focused.” 

Following up on the promise of improved communication between the board and the community, the new surveys will consist of “open ended” questions aimed to allow feedback on a broader scope, a notable difference from the “yes or no” surveys previously emailed out from D209 for other topics, including the controversial interest of purchasing the St. Joseph campus in Westchester from Supt. James Henderson. 

The goal of the surveys is to address issues and make improvements to help students have a successful school year and a successful experience throughout their high school career at Proviso, said Grant during the meeting. 

During the meeting, Grant also asked for support from D209 faculty members, including Henderson, and D209 families to share the survey so they can receive more input. 

“Once we have that feedback, that is something I would like our future Cooperation Committee to take a look at and really start identifying common themes and common solutions that we can work on things that work for everyone,” said Grant. 

The development of the Proviso Community Cooperation committee was also announced during the May 4 special meeting of the board when new board members, David Ocampo, Jennifer Barbahen, and Sandra Hixson, were sworn in. The committee, which has not been established yet, will be composed of citizens who will help serve as “watchdogs” on the district and the board, as well as advocates for Proviso students. Grant said during the May 4 meeting that the committee will be open to students, parents, and community members who would like to participate, regardless of experience. 

Grant said the surveys will be sent out in the upcoming days.