An array of educational options

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

As I read about the truly difficult process Oak Park is going through as it tries (hopefully) to provide a quality and inclusive education for all, it reminds me of how important it is for a community to have an array of educational options. 

This is not a letter about why one option is superior to another. As parents always remark, no two children are alike, and finding the right school and fit for your child is challenging. A community needs good public schools and lots of other options as well.

When our children were young, my husband and I elected to send them to Ascension School, and people often ask us why, given our high property taxes. It wasn't the plan when we moved here but we sent them there for preschool and found a safe, nurturing, and intellectually stimulating place for our children to grow and learn. It was a good fit for them.

As our children advanced through the years, we have realized that our financial sacrifice was worth it. The school offers incredible resources, including a brand-new flexible space for project-based learning, an exciting STEM program, a robotics team, as well as a strong curriculum enriched with daily exposure to Spanish language and the fine arts. 

Like other Oak Park schools, the community represents the diversity that we value, and they strive to offer financial assistance to those who need it. In some ways, what I value most is Ascension's commitment to their motto of "love, kindness, and respect," which serves as the centerpiece of the school's entire culture. From the incorporation of a formative bullying prevention program to the inclusive athletics policy, we have found that the commitment to environment as well as education is something that has benefited our children. Lastly, the school is known for a strong community that supports the teachers in caring for our kids and picking up ones that might need some extra support and love.

The point is that we need this diversity in our Oak Park educational ecosystem. I'm a huge supporter of public education (and have one child at OPRF High School now), but I also value having options to find the right fit for each child and am grateful that Oak Park is home to other choices like Ascension School. We need all the opportunities we can get in this task of parenting, growing kids to their potential, and building strong communities.

Maureen Heffern Ponicki

Oak Park

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

1 Comment - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Alan Reed  

Posted: May 22nd, 2019 5:10 PM

Thanks Maureen. Perfectly stated, and we couldn't agree more.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad

Latest Comments