River Forest District 90 schools recently launched their One Book, One District initiative, in an effort to get residents to read together and drive greater equity within the village. 

District 90 is encouraging parents, staff, residents — anyone with a tie to River Forest or a connection to its schools — to join students and educators in reading author Carol Dweck’s “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” a book that analyzes how an individual’s mindset can impact their future. 

“Mindset” divides people into two groups: Those with a fixed mindset, who believe they are born with a certain skill set they cannot change, and those with a growth mindset, who believe their skills can and must be refined on an ongoing basis. 

“This book has real appeal for students who are trying to elevate their learning, parents trying, faculty trying to elevate their learning,” Superintendent Ed Condon said. “They can see that not succeeding in something, even failing at something, for those with a growth mindset [they] see it as an opportunity to learn something greater and, at a deeper level, propel them to try to accomplish that task, feat or learn that concept.”  

This is the first time District 91 has embarked on a community reading initiative. 

District 91 received book suggestions for One Book, One District from its inclusiveness advisory board, board of education, staff and more. But administrators chose “Mindset” because they believe its theme can appeal to those in and out of the classroom. 

It offers “really great advice on how individuals discern theirs and others own areas of strength and weakness, and work on that to find opportunities to be more growth-oriented,” Condon said.  

He also believes “Mindset” aligns well with District 90’s equity initiatives.

“If it’s true, as a school district, that we value the idea that we should be supporting all students’ ability to learn and excel to their greatest ability, can’t the way in which we view ourselves or others accelerate our equity goals?” Condon said. 

School and local librarians can suggest books with similar themes for young readers. The district has so far distributed about 300 copies of Dweck’s book to community members. 

The West Cook YMCA, River Forest Public Library, District 90 school library, parent-teacher and educational organizations, village administrators and trustees are also working to provide copies of the book and let residents know about the community reading initiative. 

“It’s a chance for our village to learn together,” Condon said. 

The district has organized a number of reading meet-ups for “Mindset.”

On Jan. 11, Dr. Ann Batenburg of Mindset Works will lead a session for faculty and staff about incorporating growth mindset principles in the classroom. Later that same evening, Batenburg will lead a session for families on supporting the growth mindset philosophy with their children. The session will start at 7 p.m. at Lincoln Elementary School, 511 Park Ave. 

On Feb. 3, the district is sponsoring a village-wide event with Batenburg about how the “Mindset” approach can advance audience members’ work and community efforts, relationships, as well as their students’ classroom efforts. Breakout sessions will follow Batenburg’s keynote presentation. The session will start at 11:30 a.m. at Roosevelt Middle School, 7560 Oak Ave.

Later in February, date to be determined, the district will play host an interactive webinar on the “Mindset” approach that will later be posted to the district website.

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