It has long been curious that River Forest’s elementary school district was reluctant to bring all-day kindergarten to the village. The topic has been raised, surveyed and debated multiple times over many years and, until now, the result was the same. Not necessary. Not enough space. Too costly.
But something changed and, through a thoughtful and inclusive process, the District 90 school board in February approved full-day K starting this fall. The district had created a 22-member committee to study the issue and that committee, in turn, reached out to other organizations, including Oak Park-based Collaboration for Early Childhood and the National Equity Project, to reassess the situation.
Ed Condon, now a dozen years into his role as D90 superintendent, told our Amaris Rodriguez the three things that moved the district to all-day K. A need for more time to help young children address social and emotional learning. Growing understanding of the opportunity for academic growth in the early years. And the district’s broadening realization that limited kindergarten was an equity issue that needed to be addressed to give all students and families full access to opportunities.
This is good work and the right outcome for a district that has the resources to accomplish this goal and which has, over time, come to see that equity is a genuine issue even in a school district as affluent as these River Forest schools.