Schools look to make up lost days after closings

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Freezing temps forced schools in River Forest and Oak Park to close for two days last week and those school districts are now looking to make up those lost days.

Schools closed Jan. 6 and 7 as temperatures fell well below zero. District 90 in River Forest will add two days to its school calendar to make up those lost days.

"This year, because of the extreme weather and school cancelations … the 2013-2014 school year will be extended by two days in order to make up the days and meet our legal obligations for student attendance," D90 Superintendent Ed Condon said in a letter to parents last week. 

Eighth-grade graduation is still scheduled for June 4, according to Condon, but June 9 and 10, are now full instruction days. 

Oak Park School District 97 will also add two days to the end of the school year in June, says D97 spokesman Chris Jasculca. June 6 is now the last day of school for D97, he says. 

At Oak Park and River Forest High School, spokeswoman Karin Sullivan says the high school is not planning to add additional days to its calendar. 

River Forest and Oak Park schools were coming off winter break last week as temps dropped. Monday was an institute day for OPRF faculty with students set to return from break on Jan. 7. 

 "We have sufficient instructional days built into our calendar, so we are not planning to add an additional day to the current school year calendar. Any time students miss school there is an impact on instruction, which is why we close school only in extreme circumstances," Sullivan said.  

Four OPRF students win MLK contest

For the first time in school history, Oak Park and River Forest High School has four first-place winners in its annual Martin Luther King Jr. oratorical contest. OPRF twice before has had two first-place winners in a single year, as well as its first two-time winner last year. 

According to school officials, the students' contest entries this year were so strong that four winners were chosen. 

The winning students are: Matt Lee, Cassandra Bey, Tabrielle Matthews and Helen Susman. They'll recite their winning essays at the school's annual MLK Memorial Assembly on Friday, Jan. 17, at OPRF, 201 N. Scoville. 

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the school's oratorical contest. A record 59 students submitted contest entries for this year's theme: "What Would You March For?" Students submit their written essays, which they deliver at the annual assembly if chosen as winners. 

The Oak Park Regional Housing Center is co-sponsoring the contest for a third straight year.  

Friday's assembly takes place twice at 8:45 a.m. and 9:40 a.m. in the main auditorium. 


Reader Comments

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taysmom from oak park  

Posted: January 17th, 2014 7:54 PM

Congratulations to all of the MLK essay winners... #tabriellematthews


Posted: January 16th, 2014 10:06 PM

It's not homework that is sent home; yet busywork that can not be completed during the school day since our kids spend so much time queuing up. My kids can line up better than any other country minus communist U.S.S.R. for bread or toilet paper. Can they divide without using tens disks? Yes! Stop the busy sidework!


Posted: January 16th, 2014 5:26 PM

Ok I'll remember that when I see my tax bill as a reminder that 50% of it goes to the schools.

D97 parent  

Posted: January 16th, 2014 10:22 AM

Lynn, actually there are more important things in life than being in a classroom. Especially when you're in elementary school.


Posted: January 16th, 2014 8:00 AM

D97 parent: yeah a "key time" for your kid to be outdoors-because that is way more important that an education. 2 DAYS will NOT kill them. All they do most of the summer is sit inside on the computer anyway. Parents should be as concerned bout the kids getting the right education as they are about making sure they get days off! This country is so far behind in education because all the parents care about are their "poor kids with SO much homework" and the fact that they don't get enough time off

OPRFFB Letterman 1964 from River Forest  

Posted: January 15th, 2014 8:46 PM

Back in the day we never let weather stop us form attending school. Mommy and Daddy did not drive you. There were no yellow buses, you hoofed it! Most important our parents were fully involved in our dedications. Homework was mandatory and so were good grades. OPRFHS gave me the foundation to attend an Ivy League school and earn two postgraduate degrees. The students had a sense of responsibility and felt obligated to achieve success, today not so much.

Joe from Man  

Posted: January 15th, 2014 7:23 PM

They had to close school because the temp dropped below zero? And somehow kids in Alaska can make it to school in far colder weather.

D97 parent  

Posted: January 15th, 2014 7:47 AM

Other school districts around the country build-in several buffer days so that 3-4 emergency days off school does not require makeup days at the end of the year. D97 should have been doing the same. And, if necessary, the days should have have come from upcoming time already scheduled off rather than the end of the year. June is a key time for children to be outdoors.

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