The Illinois National School Public Relations Association (INSPRA) awarded the Joliet Township High School (JTHS) Problem Solving Circle (PSC) Team with its Distinguished Service Award on Friday, May 21, 2021.
The Distinguished Service Award program recognizes individuals who make a difference in their school communities by promoting public education and enhancing its programs and services. Nominees are evaluated on their ability to support or improve understanding and communication in the school/district; foster cooperative partnerships between the school and community; and strengthen the overall support for education by stakeholders.
Winning the INSPRA award was possible due to the dedication of community volunteers led by Joliet West Dean and PSC Coordinator Greg Thompson. In 2013, the PSC program was implemented to decrease the district’s expulsion rate by providing a community-based restorative intervention. During the process, the student, his/her parent, a community member, and Mr. Thompson participate in 4 meetings dedicated to exploring the root cause of the student’s actions that led to the expulsion. The perspective of each person is valuable, especially the community volunteer who provides an objective insight and a connection to resources.
As of today, over 1,120 families have been referred to the PSC intervention. Past and present PSC volunteers include Demetrius Anderson, Pamela Barrowman, Erica Wood-Bedi Mark Boykin, Monica Broadway, Karen Campolattara, KC Crino, Diana Coffey, Andrea Denham, Juan Gloria, Isabel Gloria, Elaine Harris, Susan Harris, Cecil Hawkins, Valarie Hunt, Lou Ann Johnson, Yvette Justice, Christina Kosiek, Joe Landi, Geraldine Littlepage, Phanelophe Mathis, Jean McCormick, Kim McArthur, John Miskimen, James Newby, Michelle Pluhar, Toni Rainey, DeAndre Robinson, Katrice Sawyer, Carolyn Shinault, Crystal Silvestre, Jessie Stiff, Deb Summers, Andre Thompson, Stephanie Thomas, Debralee Townsend, Gwen Ulmer, Debra Upshaw, Regina White, Edward Winfrey, Edward Wood, Marissa Zambrano, and Matt Zambrano.
“The PSC process, where community comes together for the specific purpose of helping another, is without parallel,” said Thompson. “Everyone involved leaves a better version of themselves than before they started the process.”
The INSPRA award is a prestigious communication honor for the Joliet Township High School PSC team. “Each year the Distinguished Service Awards honors those who are dedicated to conveying the value and importance of public education to the communities they serve,” said INSPRA President-Elect Alex Mayster, APR, and director of communications at Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124. “These individuals are ambassadors of their district and schools, and strive to celebrate and promote the accomplishments of their students and employees.”