D97 Updates

D97 Summer Math Enrichment Classes

District 97 will be offering tuition-based math enrichment classes to our current fifth, sixth and seventh grade students this summer. These classes, which will be taught by math teachers from the district, will run from June 12 to July 3.

Fifth graders will have the opportunity to review the concepts taught at the fifth grade level and prepare for the upcoming school year. Sixth and seventh graders will have the opportunity to either take a review class or a class that may enable them to advance to the next level. Please note that the students who enroll in an advancement class must pass the final exam that will be administered at the end of their summer school course.

Registration for these classes will run through April 25. Registrants will be notified of their class assignment via e-mail by May 6. Please click here for more information on registration and specific course descriptions.


Incident involving District 90 student

Good morning, everyone. District 90 in River Forest has released an alert that one of its middle school students reported being followed after school on three separate occasions this week.  You can access the alert by clicking here. We wanted to make you aware of this situation, and will provide you with updates as they become available.


Chris Jasculca
Director of Policy, Planning and Communication
District 97

End of the 2013-14 School Year

Dear District 97 Community,

The severe weather that descended upon the area during the past few weeks tested the resolve of our entire community. Please permit me to express my appreciation for the patience and understanding you exhibited during this challenging time, as well as for the thoughtful feedback several of you provided regarding the school closings throughout the area. While opinions about the decision to cancel classes varied, every email and phone call we received reflected a genuine concern for the health and safety of our students and staff.

As you know, we have experienced several extraordinary weather events during the past three years, including a blizzard in 2011, flooding in 2013 and the near record cold in January. In any situation involving inclement weather, there is a process I follow as the superintendent of schools when deciding whether we will be in session. This process includes:

  • Closely monitoring the forecast and assessing the conditions of our buildings and grounds.
  • Engaging in an ongoing dialogue with community partners such as the Village of Oak Park and Districts 90 and 200.
  • Evaluating our capacity to provide vital services under the conditions that exist (transportation, food service, etc.)

I also carefully consider a variety of factors that correspond with a weather emergency. These factors include, but are not limited to, the total amount of precipitation, the temperature, the timing of a storm, the condition of the streets and sidewalks, and the potential impact taking days off will have on our working families. In the end, regardless of how complex a situation may be, our primary goal when making any school-related decision has been and always will be to do what is best for the nearly 6,000 pupils we serve.

As we look ahead to the end of the school year, we are required by law to be in session a minimum of 176 days. We are also required by law to make up any of the five emergency days we are mandated by the state to factor into our school calendar. With this in mind, we have spent the past few days researching and discussing the options that are available for making up the two emergency days we used last week. These options included reducing the length of spring break, rescheduling our February 14 Institute Day, holding school during one or more of the remaining holidays or extending the end of the school year as we have done in the past.

After reviewing all of these options and consulting with various entities on this issue, including the Illinois State Board of Education, we have decided to move the end of the school year to Tuesday, June 10. We realize that this decision may impact people’s summer plans, and apologize for any inconvenience it might cause. However, when we evaluated the available solutions, we determined that this one presented the fewest number of programmatic, financial and/or scheduling challenges for everyone involved.

As for eighth grade graduation, we have decided not to move the date or alter any of the planned activities. The ceremonies for Brooks and Julian will be held as scheduled on Tuesday, June 3 at Oak Park and River Forest High School. While we realize this decision may ultimately impact our General State Aid as it relates to student attendance, we believe any attempt to switch both the date and location at this juncture would be unfair to the hundreds of families who made their plans for this special occasion months ago.

We have also decided to change the dates for the completion of the last two trimesters and the corresponding distribution of report cards. By doing so, we can ensure that each trimester has a similar number of instructional days. The last day of the second trimester will now be Friday [ed. note: this is a Wednesday], March 5, with report cards being sent home on March 21. The last day of the third trimester will be Tuesday, June 10, with report cards being sent home the same day.

Lastly, there is a chance we may encounter additional weather-related disruptions as the school year progresses.  If we do need to take additional days off due to an unforeseen circumstance, the latest we anticipate our school year will end is Wednesday, June 11. This is because we only have one emergency day remaining. After that, we are allowed by the state to categorize other closures due to “conditions beyond the control of the district that poses a hazardous threat to the health and safety of the students” as “Act of God Days.”

Thank you again for your time and attention on this matter, as well as your commitment to education and support of our schools.


Al Roberts

Update 2/5/14

Good morning, everyone. Hope you are all doing well. I am writing to clarify and correct a couple of the items from yesterday’s message regarding the end of the 2013-2014 school year. First, the March 5 date for the end of the second trimester is actually a Wednesday, not a Friday. Second, eighth grade students will not be required to attend school following the graduation ceremony on Tuesday, June 3.

Sorry for any confusion that the information we provided yesterday might have caused.


Chris Jasculca
Director of Policy, Planning and Communication

Presentation about the 5Essentials Survey

On Wednesday, January 29, Sara Ray Stoelinga, Rachel Levenstein and Molly Quish from the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute will be giving a presentation about the 5Essentials Survey at Mann Elementary School from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. You can access additional information about the presentation, or RSVP for the event, by visitinghttp://www.op97.org/news/Presentation-on-Exploring-the-5Essentials-Survey-January-29-25.cfm?grp_id=6827.

D97 Weather Alerts

The National Weather Service is forecasting high temperatures and humidity for the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs today. While we intend to proceed with the school day as scheduled, we will be taking the necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of our students and staff. These precautions will include, but not be limited to:

  • Taking frequent water breaks.
  • Suspending outdoor activities if necessary.
  • Maximizing the use of the air conditioned portions of our facilities.

In addition, we will closely monitor the conditions in our buildings throughout the day and adjust our plans as needed to preserve the physical well-being of our children. Any significant changes will be shared with the community via automated phone message, e-mail, the district’s family of Web sites and the local media. We encourage you to monitor one or more of these communication resources for updates about the weather and its impact on the school schedule and district operations.

We also want to thank those of you who have shared your thoughts/feedback with us about the installation of air conditioning in our school buildings. We certainly understand and appreciate your concerns about the potential impact hot temperatures can have on a student’s health and ability to learn.

We want to let you know that we are continuing to look into the possibility of installing air conditioning in our classrooms. In fact, the Board of Education charged its citizen-led Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) with the task of working with the district administration on this important issue. This work has included looking at the options that are available for adding air conditioning to our buildings, as well as determining cost implications and studying the possible effect this decision will have on our efforts to improve/enhance accessibility in our schools. If you are interested, you can access a summary of one of the more recent discussions FAC had regarding air conditioning by reviewing the information on pages one and two of the minutes from its meeting on April 10, 2013. You can access those minutes by visiting http://www.op97.org/board-of-education/documents/FACminutes041013.pdf.

As has traditionally been the case, FAC did not meet during the summer. It will resume its work in September, and plans on presenting information about air conditioning (options, cost implications, effect on accessibility, etc.) to the board in October. We will provide the community with additional information regarding this presentation (date, time and location) as soon as it is available.

Thank you again for sharing your comments and concerns, and for your continued support of our schools and the students we serve.