The new school year is underway in the western suburbs, but parents say there have been only problems for students attending secondary schools in the township of Proviso due to the shortage of teachers.
Parents told NBC 5 that students in District 209 at Proviso Township High School are facing class enrollment issues and even a shortage of teachers. Parents say that in some cases students are left unsupervised in classrooms.
“I’ve been in the district for over 20 years,” said mother Wendy Hines. “I had three kids who graduated from Proviso West, and that leadership is horrible.”
Deborah Scott, another mother, says her daughter was one of many students who had to sit in the auditorium or cafeteria because she had no teacher in her class.
A photo shared with NBC 5 captured the issue at Proviso East, as students waited in the school‘s auditorium to meet with counselors and be assigned to classes.
Another video shared with NBC 5 shows students left unsupervised in a classroom on Tuesday afternoon.
“I don’t have time to keep going to school when the counselors don’t return my calls,” Scott said. “I email regularly, call regularly and can never get to anyone and it’s shameful. I shouldn’t have to be on Channel 5 News just to get a message across.
Parents believe the nationwide shortage of teachers and even bus drivers has caused problems in the district, but say they are unhappy with the way administrators have handled the situation and don’t think they have a plan in place.
“I don’t understand how we got here,” mother April Falco said. “I don’t understand how there is no communication between the school district and the parents.”
While Superintendent James Henderson declined a request for an on-camera interview, he released a statement to NBC 5 saying:
“Proviso Township High Schools District 209 – like most districts across the country – is facing a teacher shortage. We have encountered at least five teacher resignations since the school’s September 1 start date. We believe these last minute resignations are the most unprofessional and detrimental to our academics.We are working determinedly with our teachers’ union to ensure a higher teacher retention rate and to reduce the attrition rate. of our academics is our primary concern. We ensure that all academics are in safe learning environments and under adult supervision.”
The superintendent told NBC 5 over the phone that there are 12 vacancies at Proviso West High School, but parents believe the number is much higher.
“They gave the feeling that everything is fine and everything is under control and nothing is going right,” Falco said. “It’s not under control.”
“We need leadership, the superintendent, the board, you have to step up, you have to step up,” Hines said. “Otherwise you will quit.”
The superintendent said the district is working with the teachers’ union to attract and retain teachers and that students are safe and supervised at school.
NBC 5 has contacted the teachers’ union for comment, but has yet to receive a response.