The Buzz Café hosted several parent cafes this fall around the issue of drug use at Oak Park and River Forest High School. So it was more than fitting for the Buzz, 905 S. Lombard, to host a conversation Monday evening with this year's Wednesday Journal's Villagers of the Year for Oak Park and River Forest — members of the OPRF Citizens Council.
If there were ever a more candid, straight-talking Oak Park public official, Peter Traczyk, this year's runner-up for Villager of the Year, is probably the leader. A financial planner by trade, Traczyk was first elected to the District 97 school board in 2007, taking one of that year's uncontested seats.
District 97's new superintendent last month made a formal request to the faculty union to consider a pay freeze as the district tries to plug the deficit hole in its budget. He is still awaiting a formal response.
Becoming a school administrator wasn't in Peter Groom's plans when he became a teacher at Fenwick High School, fresh out of college in 1995. He began as a substitute that year at the Oak Park private school, located at Washington and Scoville. His brother was also teaching there at the time.
2010 wraps up one of the busiest years for school districts in memory for Oak Park and River Forest. Superintendents in Oak Park came and went, along with a slew of teachers and administrators often owing to retirements.
In order to keep students from getting trapped in the achievement gap, District 97's new superintendent and a member of the school board think the best place to start helping kids is at the primary level.
Oak Park and River Forest High School received an early Christmas present this past week — a piece of artwork that had been missing from the school since the late 1960s. Sometime in the 1940s or '50s, three ceramic crests of the school's emblem were designed and created by an art department chair.