Weekly update from the superintendent

Dear Students, Staff, and Families,

With the gloomy weather of the past several days, I thought that this week I’d do something different and share our good news at the beginning of my update!

Your Moments of Huskie Positivity 

  • Huskie health-care hero! Senior Destiny Taylor participated in the Certified Nursing Assistant program last year, then took her tests and earned her CNA certificate this year. She currently is on the front lines of the pandemic, working full time as a nursing assistant at Brookdale Senior Living in Oak Park. Thank you for your service, Destiny! We are so proud of you.
  • OPRF at top of the class. When it comes to the best public high schools in Illinois, Oak Park and River Forest High School ranks among the top 5%, according to U.S. News & World Report. The magazine’s annual Best High Schools ranking places OPRF at #41 out of 811 high schools in the state. Nationally, OPRF ranks #871 out of approximately 17,790 high schools, placing it in the top 5% of all high schools in the nation. Read more.
  • They’re at it again. OPRF music teachers and math teachers both made fun new music videos this week! Follow the official OPRF Facebook page to see videos and pix as soon as they’re posted.
  • Annual OPRF food drive beats previous records. As of yesterday, OPRF families and staff have contributed 85 donations, for a total of $5,970 to Beyond Hunger (formerly the Oak Park and River Forest High School Food Pantry). If you’d still like to donate, please click here. Thank you for your generosity!

Honors Convocation
Every spring we recognize several hundred students for their academic achievements during the annual Honors Convocation. We couldn’t hold it in person this year, so at the originally scheduled time on Tuesday evening, we released a virtual convocation. Kudos to Communications Specialist Jackie McGoey, who did a beautiful job putting it all together. Click here to watch the “event.”

Thursdays with OPRF Student Services
We’ve sent all students emails with the following information, but just so you know as well, our director of student services, our prevention and wellness coordinator, a counselor, and a social worker are holding Thursday afternoon Google Meetups with students to talk about any issues or questions of concern. Here’s the schedule:

  • Juniors and Seniors: 12:30 – 1:00 p.m. on April 23 and May 7 &21
  • Freshmen and Sophomores: 12:30 – 1 p.m. on April 30 and May 14 & 28  

The link to join the Google Meet is in the email sent to students.

No Remote Learning on Fridays
The remaining Fridays of the school year, including tomorrow, are planning days for teachers and staff, so there will be no remote learning on these days.

Locker Cleanout
Just a reminder that we are still working on plans for students to clean out their lockers and pick up/drop off any other belongings from school. Social distancing is of the utmost importance, of course, and will be maintained. Please stay tuned for further details on the date and the plan.

Graduation Scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 2
Last week, 553 seniors and 607 of their parents/guardians responded to our survey about their preferences for graduation. Based on being the top choice of both students and parents/guardians, we plan an in-person graduation in the stadium on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, pending state and local social distancing guidelines in place at that time. (Second choice for both groups was in person Dec. 20, while third choice was a virtual ceremony on May 31.) 

Please note, however, that yesterday the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) directed schools that in-person graduation ceremonies of any kind are not allowed at this time. This directive includes drive-through graduation ceremonies or events where students come in small groups to the school or another location for a photo or to walk across a stage.

We will be working on a back-up plan in case this directive should still be in force in August.

Also of note, ISBE sent a communication to school districts that it is adjusting some graduation requirements. Numerous districts--including ours--have requested clarification on a number of points.  We expect to have more information for senior families in the near future. 

Yard Signs for the Class of 2020
More than 100 faculty and staff have volunteered to drop off signs for our seniors! And you never know...Hemmy the Huskie might make an appearance too….Stay tuned for the date and time!

Take care and be well.

Sincerely, 

Dr. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams
Superintendent