Oak Park Elementary Schools District 97 students, parents, faculty, staff and administrators have had quite a bit to brag about lately.

Julian Middle School was recently named a Special Olympics National Banner Unified Champion School “for its efforts to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without disabilities,” according to a statement released by the district.

Julian — which boasts Unified Sports teams in golf, soccer, track, basketball and gymnastics — was one of only four schools in the state and 131 in the country that received the recognition. 

The district is also reveling in the fact that its prekindergarten program earned its first-ever Gold Circle of Quality rating from ExceleRate Illinois, the state’s quality recognition and improvement system for early childhood development programs. A Gold Circle distinction is the highest rating that preschools can receive. D97’s prekindergarten program serves 93 students. 

Michael Romain

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