At District 90, we pride ourselves on the tradition of excellence, equity, and provision of high-quality instruction to all our students. Yet this tradition is only possible through the support and efforts of our faculty and staff, families, Board of Education members, school administrators, River Forest neighbors, and our community partners. In our pursuit of excellence for all, the relationship between District 90 and our various stakeholders is best summed up by the well-known African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The journey for equity and excellence is ongoing. We intend to travel farther along this path with any who shares our mission for students, “To inspire and empower all learners to achieve their personal best.”
The true measure of a high-performing school district must be more than merely producing students with strong achievement test scores. Rather, the measure of success in any school system must encompass broader goals and wider engagement by the entire school community. Below are three measures that ground and sustain our reputation of equity, excellence, and providing high-quality instruction.
Curriculum and Instruction
A key measure of District 90’s reputation for excellence stems from our continual efforts to update the various curriculum materials used in classroom instruction. With the leadership of our teachers and instructional staff, we select curricula that represent evidence-based, pedagogically sound approaches for classroom instruction. These materials are then implemented with fidelity by our dedicated teaching and instructional staff to ensure that all our students are able to engage with the content fully.
Recent curriculum updates have occurred in English/Language Arts, Math, and Science, with future revisions coming in Social Studies. The curriculum review process includes consultation with university-based consultants, D90 faculty-led reviews and pilots of the materials being considered, opportunities for families to review new materials, and professional development for faculty members. The entire process can take more than an academic year before new materials are incorporated into classroom instruction. The wait is well worth it because the process instills confidence that our students are exposed to outstanding learning experiences that will establish strong foundations.
Family Support and Community Partnerships
The support of the District 90 community and our River Forest neighbors adds tremendously to the success of our students and schools. Numerous examples abound of the support our schools receive, but this is particularly evident in the work of our Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs). These volunteers truly make school enjoyable and memorable for our students, contributing to the strong connection between student and school success.
We also rely on area businesses, partner organizations, and local agencies for their collaboration. The relationships with our community partners remain essential to the operations of the District. This community partner support can be seen in the West Cook YMCA’s many programs with District 90, the River Forest Community Center, the River Forest Park District, the River Forest Township, the Village of River Forest, the Lake Street Jewel-Osco, and many others. District 90 is deeply appreciative of the support provided by our families and community partners.
Equity and Excellence
About 8 years ago, we began the ongoing quest to address the issue of equity within our schools. We understood that our reputation for excellence would only be strengthened as we began the hard work of embedding equity into our instructional practices. The Board of Education has provided clear leadership and commitment to this priority, and it is the foundational element of our Strategic Plan. The District does not believe that the two elements – excellence and equity — represent the choice between either/or, but that excellence and equity reflect an inclusive philosophy of both/and. That philosophy touches every aspect of District 90.
With an overall mission to inspire and empower all learners to achieve their personal best, the District complements this overall mission with its vision for equity: To ensure that every student feels empowered to achieve their full potential, we commit to providing equitable opportunities for all learners, grow an inclusive school community, and demonstrate we value diversity. Clearly, these aspirations are very complementary.
Our goal in District 90 is that outcomes are no longer predictable by student identity – racial, cultural, economic, or other social factors. In District 90, this definition of equity is bolstered by a culture of high expectations; supportive families; outstanding faculty, staff, and administration; and an emphasis on continuous improvement. We have made some progress on the equity front, and we’re well aware that we have much farther to go. The African proverb about traveling alone or together indicates that District 90 and its many supporters and partners will travel farther with all our students, families, and staff. We intend to leave no one behind.
At its very core, District 90 is a teaching and learning organization staffed with individuals dedicated to ensuring that all students reach their personal best. We will continue to leverage our traditions, priorities, and practices to deliver equity and academic excellence to the entire D90 community.