209 starts over

Opinion: Editorials

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Momentum is important. That's especially true in Proviso Township High Schools, where District 209 spent a decade in full reverse gear before a grassroots revolution five years back began a comeback that has touched students, families, teachers, failing facilities and Proviso communities, which had been failed by these miserable schools.

The news of recent months that Supt. Jesse Rodriguez, the architect of much of the progress, would decamp for a leadership position in Zion has been painful. And that increases the urgency for this board to find the next great leader.

So word over the weekend that the school board walked away from three finalists for the superintendent's post and will start from scratch on its search takes a moment to absorb. An interim superintendent will be appointed in May and it resurrects flashbacks to the dismal days when the same interim superintendent was recycled multiple times during chaotic years.

We have much higher expectations for this school board and we believe all of Proviso is united in forward progress. It brings us to our most often repeated advice to the school boards across districts we cover: Hiring a superintendent is the single most important decision a school board ever gets to make. If none of the three finalists made this board's collective heart flutter, then walking away was most certainly the right decision.

Disappointed and worried? Sure, some. But also proud that this board made this hard choice to begin anew.

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Robert C. Cox from Forest Park  

Posted: May 22nd, 2020 7:04 AM

Congratulations to the Proviso East Class of 2020 ! see my full Keep on reading... keep on writing... it never stops Commencement message on FB ... Robert Cox Proviso East Class of 1972

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: May 21st, 2020 5:56 PM

So the problem was with the FPR, huh Bob? The fact is that anti-Welch/Serpico reform candidates won all 7 seats over two elections because voters were fed up with a corrupt, politically beholden regime that had run D209 into both fiscal and academic ditches.

Robert C. Cox  

Posted: May 21st, 2020 7:58 AM

(3 of 3) ,So excellent Proviso East Ladies and gentlemen, remember your Pirate roots and history. I can't wait to hear your stories because the beat goes on. Its the people that matter, Proviso Students and the people like you who have since 1908 passed through the Proviso East School halls and classrooms onward with their lives. Stay Healthy and Prosper. WE need YOU. Mr. Robert C Cox

Robert C. Cox  

Posted: May 21st, 2020 7:56 AM

con't and believe me many of us students were determined that we were never going back. We were finally liberated. What does your graduation mean to you today"? Are you feeling liberated? Are you feeling confident? Are you feeling like helping others, your family, your community, your church, are all the things you want to do and are are capable of doing feasible? Here's the short answer, It's going to be a long but interesting journey. You will have to work really, really hard. Doing the minimum will not cut it. Your success is based on learning from your failures as well as attaining new skills. You need to work smart and with perseverance and dedication. You now can decide what path in the real world you are willing to take because you are Proviso East tough. My generation of "Baby Boomers" once thought after graduation that, "we can change the world", yet here we are in the current situation. Your community and the rest of the country will need and rely on what you can do to fight for redemption of our democracy, environment, and a healthy society. We can learn from you about diversity, what its like in America to be Black, or Latino, Native American, or Asian. We can learn from you how to make gender discrimination, racial inequality, the double standard of white privilege, poverty, mental health problems and other complex problems, need be defined and then be acted upon to correct. Do not fall for allowing mediocrity or mendacity to creep into your lives, as my generation succumbed to. Your first challenge after life changing ways and means with COVID -19 is the upcoming Presidential election. Vote and have your voices be heard, please do not be complacent. Vote you conscience and what you believe to be right. I am wishing you heartfelt congratulations to your very special Class of 2020. I have been lucky to have known you in the classrooms over the last 4 years.

Robert C. Cox  

Posted: May 21st, 2020 7:53 AM

My usual comments to students had we been in school. May 17, 2020 Proviso East Class of 2020, the torch is being passed to you even if you did not have an in person graduation ceremony. Your milestone graduation day is May 24, 2020. We all live in a time that is exceptional and unprecedented. I am sharing some thoughts to you from my experience as a Proviso East Alum, Proviso East Guest Teacher, and a Proviso Historian. What can you share about your common High School experiences? Can you handle the adversity and future uncertain times as those who have gone before you? Think for a moment of the Proviso High School Classes of 1918,1919,1942,1943, and 1944. A world turned upside down in turmoil World War I, the 1919 Influenza Pandemic, and the duration and sacrifice of service and lives of Proviso Boys during both World wars. Terrible things happened to humanity on a global scale and society had to then heal and take the responsibility to future generations to solve huge problems and move forward. I cannot predict your futures, but I will forecast what I believe all of you will be going through after your stint at Proviso East High School and on to post COVID-19 life. You will face daunting challenges. You will take a wild ride as you enter the work force. Continuing education can no longer be an option. When you find a vocation, you will have to spend at least 10,000 hours learning your craft, skill, management style to become really good at it. You just finished a minimum of 4224 hours at Proviso East over 4 years, you know your attendance record, you do the math. High school is just a lower rung in our development (Page 24 Curious Proviso) Life's successes and failures are not mutually exclusive. Back in my day of anti-establishment remorse, not trusting anyone over 30, ( PE Class of 1972) and being cast as society's underdogs, we all agreed that when our Proviso East sentence was over?

Robert C. Cox from Forest Park  

Posted: May 21st, 2020 7:50 AM

The statement about a full decade in reverse is inaccurate but an old FPR narrative.

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