Officials of elementary and secondary schools in the Canton of Proviso are seriously considering creating a sports program for colleges that would allow students in grades 5 to 8 of all primary schools in D209 to compete against each other.
The organizers of the proposed program say the initiative will help retain some of the many students who attend secondary schools other than Proviso Township School District 209 after leaving elementary school level. They also argue that the program will help D209 compete with other high school districts that already have similar athletic programs in college.
Bellwood School District 88 Superintendent Mark Holder called a meeting on February 21 at Roosevelt Middle School, 2500 Oak St. in Bellwood, to discuss the proposal. About two dozen local school officials and elected leaders, including the mayors of Bellwood and Broadview, attended the meeting, with most in attendance expressing support for the idea.
âWhen our kids drop out of primary school, they go to schools outside of Proviso Township and that’s something we’re really trying to exploit,â Holder said.
Holder added that he and District 88 board chair Sondra McClendon have started talks with Calvin Davis, athletic director at Proviso West High School, about establishing the program. Holder said it had been over a decade since D88 schools attended a sports conference.
Many D209 food districts – such as Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview District 89, Lindop School District 92, and Forest Park School District 91 – already participate in sports leagues.
For example, schools in Forest Park and Lindop (a single school district) compete in the Salt Creek Valley conference while District 89 participates in the Illinois Elementary School Association. Currently, however, not all D209 Nurturing Schools compete against each other in a unified nurturing program, which Davis offers.
At the February 21 meeting, Roger Nickles, teacher and coach of Lindop PE, said that while his school competes in the SCVC in a variety of sports, including basketball, football and cross country, there are the place to accommodate the college proposed by D209. sports program.
âLet’s build a bridge with the SCVC,â Nickles said, explaining that the current conference could eventually âmeshâ with the agenda proposed by D209 by consolidating itself in various ways.
Edward Brophy, the deputy superintendent of operations with Forest Park D91, said the February 21 conversation “was a great first start” and “we are with you”.
Davis said the proposed college league could include a range of indoor and outdoor sports, including basketball, flag football, boys and girls swimming, softball, track and field, football and even golf.
The league, he added, would be divided into two levels – a junior college level comprising fifth and sixth graders and a college level comprising seventh and eighth graders.
The playoff format and regulatory rules for the program would mirror those of the Illinois High School Association. Coaches in the proposed program would be required to complete training and certification. Each school would appoint an athletic director to handle compliance and other ongoing issues.
“The only expense a school would incur is the cost of buses to and from games and the officials’ fees that it would pay if it was the home team,” said Davis. A limited liability company, with an outside consultant, would oversee official assignments, coach certification and training, awards and other administrative matters.
Davis said he wrote the college athletic program for the Chicago public school system. This program served about 400 schools and existed for about 12 years before CPS officials cut it from the budget, Davis said.
âThis is my sixth year as athletic director at Proviso West and in the last few years we really miss a feeding program, where kids come to us at high school level with experience in inter-school sports and kids. foundational skills and training, âsaid Davis.
A unified feeding program would give D209 high schools a talent pool that already exists in competing districts, he explained.
âWe’re competing with the Hinsdale Centrals, the Lyons Townships, the Willowbrooks – all of these schools have food programs and you can really see the difference,â Davis said. “[A program of our own] would give us something to help develop our young people: not just in sport but in life.
Davis explained that he and his team plan to conduct a survey of all elementary schools to determine which schools could compete in which sports, where those sports could be hosted and other logistical issues.
Once officials have gathered this information, they will have a material basis for creating the league. Davis said that if all went according to plan, the new power sports program could begin next school year. Davis said officials from Proviso East and Proviso West are already on board and all playoff and championship games in the proposed program will be played on a D209 high school campus.
District 209 superintendent officials. Jesse Rodriguez’s office said, however, that the idea has yet to be presented to the administration or board. So far, they added, discussions on the proposed program have been informal.
McClendon said the program would help provide “not only top athletes, but every child” with exposure to the fundamentals of the sport before entering D209.
For Johnny Nolan-Jenkins, who won the state title in 1988 in the long jump and is currently a track coach at Proviso West, the diet program is a long overdue idea.
âIt’s so important that we do this,â said Nolan-Jenkins, who worked with McClendon, Holder and Davis to help start discussions on the proposed program. Nolan-Jenkins also coached track and field for nine years at Proviso East.
He said he was tired of answering the same question from his colleagues in other parts of the state: Given the size of the region’s talent pool, why doesn’t Proviso win? consistently state titles in a range of sports – not just basketball and soccer.
âThe idea is that we have developed and trained children to be successful when they get to high school,â McClendon said. “And the best price is that they might end up with college scholarships.”
Davis said student-athletes would also benefit from learning essential life skills. He said research shows students involved in sports score better, have fewer disciplinary issues, and attend school more frequently, among other benefits.
âThis same discipline and repetition that increases test scores is practiced in sport every day,â Davis said.