Dr. Patrick Hardy, the first certified Marzano Academy High School principal, has decided to make a move to the Oak Park and River Forest School District to become their Executive director for Equity and Student Success. Dr. Hardy’s legacy at Proviso East High School cannot be overstated. He entered a school with an identity issue and turned it into something the community can proudly call their school. Through meetings with parents, students, community leaders, and business owners, Dr. Hardy and his team created a vision that would ensure graduates from Proviso East were ready for the next challenge. This vision turned into being the first high school in the country to earn the designation of being a Marzano Academy. The team of teachers worked tirelessly to ensure all students knew and could demonstrate proficient understanding and skills for each content area to help ensure the learner’s success as they took to the next level, whether post-secondary, the workforce, or the military. In addition, if students were struggling, the school identified time in the school day and during non-traditional school days to give students what they need to close those gaps.
As you can see from the article, this attention to creating learners with a strong sense of agency led to an increase in the overall graduation rate and a change in the school culture that encouraged students to look beyond the immediate and begin planning for a meaningful future. The students started to see they had options and began to believe in themselves. The pathway chosen by the school’s team of educators to meet the 16-School Level Indicators of a Marzano Academy allowed for the school to respect the long traditions, history, and desired outcomes of the community.
I was pleased to get the chance to work with such a strong and inspiring leader. Dr. Hardy was willing to learn with Marzano Academies and find a pathway for each learner to succeed. When you are a student-centered leader, it is not hard to see why the students respond to and with you. I know Dr. Hardy’s presence will be missed, but a new group of students will now benefit from his vast knowledge and interest in seeing that every learner will reach their full potential.