By Terry Dean
Students from River Forest School District 90 who are now in classes at Oak Park and River Forest High School are fairing well academically in their core subject areas, according to a report from the elementary school district.
The report, released last week by Dist. 90 and compiled from data provided by the high school, looked at freshman, sophomores and juniors who graduated from Roosevelt Middle School, a total of about 440 students. Letter grades for English, math, science, history and world languages were examined.
The former middle schoolers are mostly earning A's and B's, according to the data. Of the 664 grades given to roughly 155 students in the freshman class, only 39 were D's and/or F's. About 80 percent of the grades were A's or B's, a percentage replicated by sophomores and juniors.
The report breaks down students by race. Of the 135 former Roosevelt students in the sophomore class, black students earned A's or B's 65 percent of the time (a total of 43 grades). In the junior class of 158 ex-Roosevelt kids, black students pulled A's and B's 61 percent of the time (67 grades).
Supt. Thomas Hagerman said the district hopes to build off this information to create more support for students entering the high school. The report grew out of talks over the last year and half between the three school districts in River Forest and Oak Park. Former OPRF Supt. Attila Weninger spearheaded discussions about improving articulation between the high school and its feeder districts. That was among the desired goals stated when the three school boards met in 2009.
Hagerman attributed the Roosevelt students' success at OPRF to a good placement process. "Kids, and especially their parents, understand the importance of the Explore Test," he said, referring to the ACT-type test OPRF gives to eighth graders in districts 90 and 97. "We send out a letter to families explaining the transition process. They understand the performance recommendations of students prepared by the teachers and sent to the high school. And they have a right to review it before it's sent, or they can deny us from sharing that information."
Hagerman added that the district would also like to look at how their students are doing behaviorally and on performance tests at OPRF. For now, though, they'll continue to report on grades at least once every school year.