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Proviso Probe

Thursday, September 28, 2006

ED, another head rolls at PMSA [D209]

Melvin Berry, the director of Proviso Math and Science Academy, was relieved of his duties today. He has been charged with committing sexual harassment two or three years ago while he worked at Proviso East.

The woman alleged to be Berry’s accuser is a member of former Democratic Committeeman Eugene Moore’s political organization. In the past Berry was an also active in Moore’s organization and invited members of District 209 staff to join and become active.

On September 1, Rick Bryant (who was then co-director of PMSA with Berry) was relieved of his duties. The previous day finance director Nikita Johnson filed a police report over missing money. In the police report Bryant was one of two suspects making he said/she said allegations against each other.

Why is District 209 purging PMSA leadership?

One theory holds that board president Chris Welch is punishing PMSA leadership for two Forest Park parents who criticized District 209’s management of PMSA at the August board meeting. See Forest Park Review (Carl Nyberg).

Or perhaps it’s a management technique. If Welch and Fields sow enough fear and chaos they believe it will give them control.

[UPDATE1: From Proviso Insider:
Sources tell the Insider that several district 209 employees have launched serious allegations of impropriety toward Berry that must be investigated.

[Any comments on Proviso Insider's coverage?]

[UPDATE2: Forest Park Review (Josh Adams):
Though the school is without either of its top administrators and is roughly six weeks into the school year, Welch said parents should not be concerned....

Carl Williams, president of the PMSA Parent-Teacher-Student Association said Friday he was not aware of Berry's suspension. However, Williams too, expressed confidence in Fields' decision to suspend Berry despite having no knowledge of the reasons for doing so.

"I love the leadership and the energy that (Fields) brings," Williams said. "Mr. Bryant and Mr. Berry were good for PMSA but their time has come. It's time to move on."

[What's wrong with Williams statement? Nominally District 209 canned Rich Bryant and Melvin Berry for misconduct. Presumably District 209 only recently discovered the misconduct, right? But Williams statement makes it seem like terminating Bryant and Williams is part of the evolution of the school. Bryant and Berry had accomplished what they could and now it's time to get new leaders to meet PMSA's existing challenges.

[Williams statement let's you know what the real deal is. Bryant and Berry were fired because the people calling the shots in District 209 want to go in a new direction with PMSA. So the question that needs to be answered is: how are the policies and goals of PMSA going to change? Or are the firings the first step in invoking the "Bob Libka defense"? The Libka defense is roughly, "There have been so many 'unexpected' personnel moves I can't be held accountable for the problems under my cognizance."]


  • I have a hearsay source who says canning Berry was discussed at Monday's board meeting.

    So, the day before District 209 escorted Berry from the premises the district restricted access to Proviso Probe.

    Conspiracy or coincidence?

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 9:44 PM, September 28, 2006  

  • All the right moves. At last comes the house cleaning that's been overdue for so long.

    Some chairs are feeling the heat too. You ain't seen nothun' yet.

    By Anonymous Chris Cross, at 9:51 PM, September 28, 2006  

  • Welch is worse than any woman's scorn. Listen to R.Kelly's song, "When a Woman's Fed Up". Welch's lyrics should be, "When A BTICH ASS MAN WANTS REVENGE".

    Good and decent employees are leaving or have been given the axe courtesy of Welch. Fields and Welch will gain even more enemies from the shannigans they have planned for Proviso.

    Employees have to do as Welch says in order to keep their jobs. Proviso is a sad district. Everything Welch's campaign professed in 2002 was a con! A BOLD FACE LIE! Welch really bamboozeled Proviso Township. This is a call to everyone in PROVISO TOWNSHIP: PLEASE HELP IN THE NEXT SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION TO MAKE SURE WELCH LOSES the MAJORITY BOARD VOTE!


    By Blogger welch_is_an_ass, at 10:03 PM, September 28, 2006  

  • You are really sick.

    By Anonymous Survey says, at 10:24 PM, September 28, 2006  

  • Well, thank you! What else is new? Is Welch still stealing from children? Will Welch raise your taxes to pay his mortage?

    I have been called worse. Kudos!

    By Blogger welch_is_an_ass, at 10:59 PM, September 28, 2006  

  • chris cross, who else should be fired?

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 11:44 PM, September 28, 2006  

  • Welch should be fired! He is an ambulance chaser and a dumb ass lawyer.

    Resign from the board of education!

    By Blogger welch_is_a_coon, at 1:24 PM, September 29, 2006  

  • PMSA is a mess! I heard there are teachers there who haven't been paid. I also heard they threw out all the kids' grades from the first 20 days when they changed the schedules.

    By Blogger pmsawatcher, at 9:07 PM, September 29, 2006  

  • If there are teachers at PMSA that have not been paid isn't it Nikita Johnson's fault or even Fields responsibility to make sure the teachers receive their pay. New teachers at East and West did not receive their first check. Nikita Johnson is not personable and had an extremely unprofessional attitude when teachers complained about their checks. I was shocked to find out that Nikita Johnson was the niece of Beverley Robertson a counselor at West and an executive board member with the union. Would this count as a conflict of interest during the teachers' next contract negotiation?

    According to a memo sent out by Nikita Johnson, she screwed up payroll for all of the 209 employees and blamed it on something else and gave the employees the manager of payrolls extension. How can she write a letter to 209's employees and put the burden of answering questions and concerns on someone else. Is this the future of Proviso Township? Everyone seems to want to play pass the potato.

    Let's just all be honest, PMSA problems stem from Welch. He needs to resign from the board. I have read that many people have requested him to resign and that is the best action he could possibly take to save a bit of his political career. I once did believe in Welch, but he has disappointed to many taxpayers and students. Welch did not plan or execute the magnet school with education in mind and now he puts the blame on Bryant and Berry. Welch is not being and fair and is not standing behind administrators he once praised. He has subsequently ruined the careers of every administrator since he has been President of the board. Proviso has a high teacher turn over rate and an equally high administrator turn over rate. This has become embarrassing for the district. Proviso will not get better with Welch as the President or a member. He causes much of the dissention with board members and administrators.

    So, the problems at PMSA can be attributed to Welch and Libka. Libka was the CEO for the first year of PMSA. Unfortunately, the problems and rumors that follow Libka will inevitably prevent him from obtaining a supt. position anywhere. His term as CEO was horrible and should not garnish a mention on his resume. I hope Libka has learned from this ordeal, because he is really a pleasant man.
    Welch's current actions, along with Fields and Johnson, will run qualified teachers away and parents and students out of Proviso Township.

    By Blogger dispiritedunionmember, at 10:44 PM, September 29, 2006  

  • dispirited, please explain what happened with teacher pay. thanks.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 11:24 AM, September 30, 2006  

  • New teachers were supposed to receive a check the first week of school. Many new teachers did not receive their pay, because Nikita Johnson stated that they had to first be approved by the board of education. There are many employees, teachers, security, and janitors, and summer workers, that work weeks before they are approved by the board.

    So, new teachers had to wait three weeks to receive a check. I couldn’t believe that had happened, because all teachers, new and old, receive a check the first week of school. When I was a new teacher I received a check the first week of school. At an in-service at West a union spokes- person unknowingly misled new teachers into thinking they would get a check. A lot of new teachers fear speaking out against Wallace because they now know she is aligned with Welch.

    Also, I don't know if this is true, but the rumor is, is that dept. chairs have not received their stipend . Many dept. chairs fear that Fields will eradicate their positions. Proviso is at its lowest point in its history.

    By Blogger dispiritedunionmember, at 3:11 PM, September 30, 2006  

  • I mentioned some time ago that Proviso was in the midst of a unique transition. Also I said that lines were being fashioned in an effort to determine who fits in and who is slated to be amongst the unwelcomed, if not dismissed.

    All this is necessary as the school remains as if stuck in a kind of performance rut. Blaming the kids (skills deficits and social disabilities) is no longer going to justify in accounting for such dismal history, especially since there is research out there that indicates such challenges can successfully be overcome.

    Teachers are now viewed as one of the central factors, if not the most important, in accomplishing turnarounds in achievement. The only ones who need be afraid are those who lack what are the essential competencies. Evidence suggests that we have an abundance of such types.

    The signs are there for anyone to see. It's a new day. There is an offense plan in place where heretofore such activity had been either deferred or not adopted out of concerns about reprisals. There is no such fear of this kind today.

    Where there are perceived gaps, plans are in place to close them in decisive fashion. The Insider is but one small strategy, and so far she is doing a great job. The larger and far more important objective is to have essentially reconstituted the district in as fast a time as possible. One must be and do what is expected of a professional. Anything less and you're subject to be shown the door.

    By Anonymous guess who, at 5:42 PM, September 30, 2006  

  • Pamela says: to guess who said. Teachers can't up the standards if the admin. won't let them. Every grading period teachers are called in to justify their F's. Shouldn't a kid who is absent 15 days unexcused get an F? Shouldn't a kid who does absolutely nothing in class get an F? The stupid grading policy is also still in effect. if a kid gets a C the first 9 weeks and does nothing or doesn't ciome the rest of the semester, HE STILL PASSES! Proviso needs to give teachers the tools needed to improve education. Fields has already said he's not spending any money on teacher education. Does he sound like a reformer to you?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:03 PM, September 30, 2006  

  • To Pamela if you compare memos of Nikita Johnson's and some of Welch's statements to Guess Who's, you will see similar phrases and use of vocabulary. Now, I will leave that one alone.

    Nikita Johnson, Welch, and Fields have poorly planned for their take over of 209. Welch is mud in the community and Nikita Johnson is hated way more than Sarah Million ever was. Nikita Johnson has made several enemies in the Business Office in her short tenure as business manager. What is depressing about Johnson is that she is very talented, but she has become the stereotypical Black Bitch. I don't know why Black women in high positions have to act in such a destructive manner. I have not met Fields, but his demeanor at the board meeting and at Take Your Parents to School Day was not welcoming. What Fields and Johnson should have learned in their type 75 programs is that teachers and staff will not give their 110% if the administrators are NOT LIKED! Both Johnson and Fields have displayed actions that are condescending, egotistical, and out right RUDE. Fields came into Proviso with the wrong attitude. Maybe, Proviso would have been better off with Libka, at least the faculty and staff liked him and would have worked their hardest for him.

    Guess who stated, "Also I said that lines were being fashioned in an effort to determine who fits in and who is slated to be amongst the unwelcomed, if not dismissed." How are they going to dismiss tenured teachers? New teachers don't want to come to Proviso. Most of the good and tenured teachers leave Proviso, leave because of the administrators. Their plan will eventually backfire. Again, Proviso will be spending more money in legal bills than on education. Fields, Johnson, and Welch are in for a very rude awakening in Welch loses control in April.

    Pamela, I whole heartily concur with your comment, but what plan do you think the teachers' union has in order to protect the teachers that Welch and Fields has on their list to "dismiss." In a “cash strapped” district shouldn’t Welch and Fields eliminate the administrators’ positions that are useless: Director of Communications, Bookroom Director, Director of Building and Grounds, Director of Auxiliary Programs, at least one of the assistant principals at both schools? If 209 is strapped for cash, why are they hiring a Director of Security?

    Pamela I think we can both agree that Proviso is a very poltical school district, and Welch has turned out to be just as grim and inhumane as past board members like Mike Manzo. Education is not number one on Welch's agendas, sad but true.

    By Blogger dispiritedunionmember, at 8:05 PM, September 30, 2006  

  • Pamela says to dispiritedunionmember: Wow! I agree with you on everything. Fields needs the teachers on his side to create positive changes in the schools. If he and Nikita come off like bad guys, they will get nothing accomplished. When you're trying to turn a school around, you need ALL parties on the same page.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:33 PM, September 30, 2006  

  • To guess who, what the hell were you doing then for the past 51/2 years?? Did'nt you always say the same? Create the Magnet School and everything will be better.Now you fire the man who got it started and state "he does'nt know what he was doing" and " that Fields now will be in charge of the PMSA"? What experience does Fields have with Magnet schools"? NONE!
    Fields used to be prinicpal at Morton in Cicero, is he also a poltical Hack of Eddie Vrdolak and Betty Loren Maltase? My sources say yes, he worked for the Cicero Republican Party and was considered for Superintendent there but did'nt want to wait!So Chris, why did you hire a Republican hack from the Cicero Organization????? Are you a Republican ? Did Morton improve under his corrupt administration? Was not Fields about to be fired from Mundelian, but yet you thought he was well qualified???Chirs I can't believe your such a piece of shit, especially after you came from poverty and from Proviso and now you instead of trying to improve the lot of education for others just like you, instead you fuck all the minorities!!! God forgive you for destroying everything around you and God forgive you for your sins! Fields is a big pile of shit.If fields was truely going to stop corruption I'm all for it, but if he is working to cover up your shit and your people's shit, which he is, will be seeing you and him in a court of law.It's to bad that Kim Lightford is such a piece of shit, just like you, because maybe in her positon, she could do something to stop your madness, but it appears that only Yarbrough,Peraica and the people are the only one who will be able to do something. Shame on you Welch, and Shame on Lightfors and Fields, but remeber your day will come!

    By Anonymous telling the truth, at 8:58 PM, September 30, 2006  

  • Mr. Williams started off as an excellent leader for the PMSA's PTA, but has fallen victim to Welch's double talk. It has been stated that Welch wants Williams to run on his slate of candidates for the school board. I don't know how true it is, but Williams needs to beware of Welch. Welch is very convincing but never follows through with the right decisions and policies for educating children. Mr. Williams wants the best for his daughter like any other parent in the district wants the best for their child. Suprinsingly, Mr. Williams has become a front man for Welch and Fields. I don't think Mr. Williams should have gotten into taking sides with Fields and the majority board before he knew the entire story. Bryant and Berry were possibly not the right people for the job, but Welch supported both Berry and Bryant up until the concerned parents spoke out about the magnet school's curriculum problems. Their removal was an embarrassment to the district and an injustice to the students. In just one month Fields has fired two administrators and that is not sending a positive message to the community. There is a time and place for everything and their removals seem suspiciously akin to retaliation.

    Mr. Williams has some legitimate gripes with PMSA, but he should not get into the middle of a poltical tug-of-war. Mr. Williams should do his research on Fields before he makes loose comments about him.
    I still believe that Mr. Williams is a person with principle and integrity, but he needs to stay clear from Welch and Fields and concentrate on fighting for the education of his daughter and all the children at PMSA.

    By Blogger PMSAPTA_PARENT, at 11:08 PM, September 30, 2006  

  • Guess Who states that, "Where there are perceived gaps, plans are in place to close them in decisive fashion. The Insider is but one small strategy, and so far she is doing a great job."
    How can a blogger close gaps within a low achieving school district and a strapped for cash district? What constructive remedies has the Insider or its 5 readers come up with to enhance the educational needs of Proviso students?

    The Insider seems to just perpuate Welch's agenda and demean his poltical foes; there are no constructive educational debates taking place on the Insider. The Insider allows Welch and his 20 supporters to freely bitch and moan about his FAILED state rep. campaign. The Insider blames everyone from the Pope to Bin Laden for Welch's defeat. The Insider believes in censorship; all comments must be approved before they are placed for the public's viewing. If people wanted to really find out the mastermind behind the Insider they really could; it is very simple...Nyberg knows how. But people could care less because the Insider is the same old run of the mill stuff the people expect from Welch. Welch is immature and suffers from POST-PARTUM SLAVE SYNDROME! He needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with something unique.

    Let's give Welch a few weeks before the masked bandit is uncovered! Welch should be able to have a little fun before his candidates are BEATEN AT THE POLLS in April.

    By Blogger Everybody-Hates-Chris, at 11:32 PM, September 30, 2006  


    Do you feel capable of influencing decisions that are made in the school?

    Do you feel capable of expressing views freely on important school matters?

    How skillful are you at bringing into the classroom the instructional materials and equipment you need, despite budget restrictions?

    How much do you do to get through to the most difficult students?

    How much can you do to promote learning when there is lack of support from the home?

    How much can you do to keep students on task on difficult assignments?

    How much can you do to increase students’ memory of what they have been taught in previous lessons?

    How much can you do to motivate students who show low interest in schoolwork?

    How much can you do to get students to work together?

    How much can you do to overcome the influence of adverse community conditions on students’ learning?

    How much can you do to get children to do their homework?

    How much can you do to get children to follow classroom rules?

    How much can you do to control disruptive behavior in the classroom?

    How much can you do to prevent problem behavior on the school grounds?

    How much can you do to get parents to become involved in school activities?

    How much can you assist parents in helping their children do well in school?

    How much can you do to make parents feel comfortable coming to school?

    How much can you do to get community groups involved in working with the schools?

    How much can you do to get churches involved in working with the school?

    How much can you do to get businesses involved in working with the school?

    How much can you do to get local colleges and universities involved in working with the school?

    How much can you do to make the school a safe place?

    How much can you do to make students enjoy coming to school?

    How much can you do to get students to trust teachers?

    How much can you help other teachers with their teaching skills?

    How much can you do to enhance collaboration between teachers and the administration to make the school run effectively?

    How much can you do to reduce school dropout?

    How much can you do to reduce school absenteeism?

    How much can you do to get students to believe they can do well in schoolwork?

    By Anonymous WIN YOUR CASE, at 7:29 AM, October 01, 2006  

  • Are these questions from Stan Fields or the MICRO MANAGING Board President, Chris "bitch ass" Welch?

    Welch is now burning bridges with the people that really matter. Watch it....Some of the teachers that work at Proviso do live in the community. You are waging war with the wrong group.

    By Blogger welch_is_an_ass, at 2:04 PM, October 01, 2006  

  • A little birdie told me that Ms. Robinson a dean at PE accused Berry of harrassment. Now, could this be the same Dean Robinson, who looks like a hooker from the corner of Madison and Pulaski?

    I predict PMSA will be closed by 2008, what a waste of taxpayers money, but at least Welch and his family profitted.

    By Anonymous 005, at 5:02 PM, October 04, 2006  

  • When it comes to forming my opinion I'm not one who listens to the rhetoric and venting. I watch for the actions because as we all know, they speak louder than words.

    Mr. Fields' actions in cleaning house suit me fine because our schools have performed miserably in academics and finances for at least the past 20 years that I've been here. Like Mr. Williams, I like Fields being a man of action. If this man identifies the underperforming areas and fires those how should be accountable, then a big thumbs-up from me. I also believe Mr. Williams is a man of deep integrity and I trust his judgement as much as anyone I know in this community. He has always given his money and time to our kids. It gives me confidence that he supports Mr. Fields' work so far.

    I think a litmus test for Mr. Fields integrity will be in how he handles Mr. Lipka, who is a nice enough guy but hasn't done much to improve things in 209.

    By Anonymous 1st Ave Walker, at 12:12 AM, October 05, 2006  

  • To 1st Ave Walker:

    You stated:
    "I think a litmus test for Mr. Fields integrity will be in how he handles Mr. Lipka, who is a nice enough guy but hasn't done much to improve things in 209".

    Well, Libka was promoted and given a job for $150,000 right after Stan Fields was hired. In other words, Stan Fields' "handled" Libka by approving his salary and position.

    Does this give you confidence in Fields'? These minor cosmetic changes are surface level at best and will do nothing to actually change the environment at District 209. You can't fire a scapegoat and expect real change. It's nothing more than a facade to appear about the business when in actuality it's a diversion to draw the public away from the real issues and corruption plaguing PMSA and the district. We have 2 schools on the academic watch list, nepotism by the board president Chris Welch and his constituents Shirley Madlock, Danny Adams and Sue Henry, excessive lawyer fees, low graduation rate, poor planning and a top heavy administration with over budget salaries.

    Personally, I have no confidence in Fields’ based on his actions thus far. Fields’ in his very first board meeting violated the Open Meetings Act. At this board meeting, Fields’ was extremely rude, mocking, condescending and accused board members with misinformation fed to him by the board president. Fields acting out on behalf of the board president is not only tacky but is an embarrassment to the community and undermines the process of the board meeting. Fields will not gain the trust from this community by adhering to unprofessional behavior and petty displays of misguided political grandstanding.

    Need more info on Fields’…then check this out:


    By Anonymous No confidence in Fields, at 9:43 AM, October 05, 2006  

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