Equitable Excellence in Action
Oak Park and River Forest High School is widely considered an outstanding high school, known for high-level student achievement, excellent instruction, innovative academic programs, and exceptional performing arts, athletics, clubs, and activities. But to be truly an exemplary school, we must become excellent for ALL students, not just some.
This goal is captured in our strategic plan in Priority 1: Racial Equity, which states that the district will "eliminate race, socioeconomic status, and other social factors as predictors of academic achievement and social-emotional growth." In addition, Priority 2: Transformative Education commits the district to taking "a holistic, supportive, transformative approach to providing engaging, equitable learning experiences." As part of Priority 2, the district has set a goal of earning exemplary status on the state summative designation by 2024, by realizing racially proportionate outcomes that place OPRFHS in the top 10% of schools in the state.
Achieving the goal of equitable excellence requires that we remove barriers to opportunity and success, particularly for our students of color. Making sure that we are equitable in the way we use our resources--that is, directing them where they are most needed--is an essential part of this process. Our intent with our series Equitable Excellence in Action is to show the ways in which Oak Park and River Forest High School is working toward providing excellence for all of our students.
May 12, 2022
Bridge Program Offers Intensive Support to Students
April 28, 2022
Campus Safety Team Plays a Key Role in Student Life
April 21, 2022
Amplifying Student Voice with the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council
April 7, 2022
Understanding Activism through the Lens of Sports
March 24, 2022
Theatre Department Focuses on Inclusion for All
March 17, 2022
Japan Fest Welcomes All Students to Celebrate Its Culture
March 3, 2022
Celebrating the People Who Create a Culture of Belonging
February 10, 2022
Quality Assessment Improves Learning for All
February 3, 2022
History Course Develops Youth Leaders for Equity
January 27, 2022
Holocaust Course Teaches Importance of Upstanding
January 21, 2022
Launching Leaders, Transforming School Culture
Now in its seventh year, the OPRFHS Leadership and Launch course has become an essential—and popular—way for upperclassmen develop leadership skills while helping freshmen establish a sense of belonging in their new school.
Junior and senior students must apply and interview for a leadership spot in the program. This year we have 126 leaders, who work together in small squads to plan and facilitate activities. They spend three days a week mentoring more than 600 freshmen in their study halls as well as Extended and Pre-Algebra, World Studies, Adapted PE, Academic Enrichment, and other courses.
The leaders support the freshmen in a variety of ways, including identifying activities and athletics to help them get connected to school, promoting social-emotional health, tutoring, and developing executive functioning, organizational, and social skills. Importantly, the demographics of the mentors mirror the diversity of the larger freshman group. This allows students, particularly those from marginalized groups, to play a key role in creating an environment that prizes their cultural wealth and values.
The confidence the leaders gain from assisting the freshmen and the pride they have for those they mentor is remarkable. The freshmen in turn find a safe place in their day and learn to advocate for themselves—and many of them have gone on to become leaders in the program, helping to transform the culture of our school into one of shared responsibility, care, and respect for all.
Click here for more updates on how OPRFHS is working to become an exemplary school for ALL students.
January 6, 2022