With District 97 breathing a sigh of a relief after its rate hike referendum passed in last Tuesday's election, the school board and administration will soon be making decisions on how they're going to use the additional $6 million in funds.
It didn't take long for zipped up sweaters and jackets to cover their faces, and it wasn't because of Monday night's slightly chilly weather outside Percy Julian Middle School. Instead, these fifth-graders were mulling around with one hand over their noses and the other waving about. They were reacting to the thick smell of cigarette smoke that was wafting in the air. No, none of the kids were smoking. They were taking part in an experiment that shows just what smoking can do to the lungs.
District 200 board member Jacques Conway is disappointed by his colleague John Allen's defeat in last week's election. Allen, first elected in 2007, came in fourth in the six-person field seeking to join the governing board of Oak Park and River Forest High School.
Oak Park's elementary school district is reviewing its policy concerning who can visit classrooms and under what circumstances. But those changes have caused angst among some parents who fear that the new guidelines are too restrictive.
Oak Park property owners have spoken concerning their schools, and decisively. District 97's rate hike referendum was approved by a 54.4 percent to 45.6 percent margin. The Yes votes totaled 6,067. No votes totaled 5,084.
Sadie Coffman seems to have a laser-like focus as she holds a green marker in one hand and a tiny piece of wood in the other. The 12-year-old is carefully scribbling on the tip of wood—she's done four or five tiny pieces already. And as she's doing this, she doesn't seem to be at all distracted by her teacher who's talking to other students—fellow after school arts club members—or the sounds of The Doors playing on a CD in the background.
It's the day before a major quiz in biology class and teacher Christina Smith is preparing her students on a significant topic that'll be covered: DNA. It's a Thursday morning, spring break is the following week, and the kids are both anxious and a little restless. Smith, a third-year teacher at Oak Park and River Forest High School, has a class of mostly minority students.
Before Annie Riles walked onstage, she was already being cheered by a throng of fans and friends. The 17-year-old sang a medley of love songs during her act at the second annual student talent show at Oak Park and River Forest High School last Saturday. She was also among the finalists in last year's competition.
Oak Park and River High School will likely make a decision by early summer on whether to close the campus to all students during lunch time. Regardless of the board's decision, school officials have said any policy change would not take effect until after the 2011-12 school year.