Racial Equity at OPRF

On April 10, 2019, the Board of Education held a town hall on racial equity and school safety. To watch the video of the event, click here for part one and click here for part two.

One of the unique aspects of Oak Park and River Forest High School, or OPRF as it’s commonly known, is its racial diversity: 56 percent of our 3,400 students identify as white, while 20 percent identify as African-American, 12 percent as Hispanic, 9 percent as multiracial, and 3 percent as Asian. As a school, it is our mission to ensure that all students, regardless of race, have the resources and support they need to achieve their full potential. One of our challenges is differences in student outcomes that are predictable by race, with white students, as a group, outperforming African-American, Hispanic, and multi-racial students. This disparity isn’t unique to OPRF, of course; it’s experienced by schools throughout the United States. But we are intensely focused on eliminating these differences.

Racial equity is a term heard frequently at OPRF. It refers to the condition that would be achieved if students’ racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how they fare. While the current disparities often are referred to as the "achievement gap," we believe that this incorrectly puts the onus on students. Instead, we believe that the issue should be reframed as an opportunity gap, because it isn’t the students who need to be fixed. It’s the system.

We believe it is our responsibility as an institution to identify and remove unconscious biases and system-wide barriers that inhibit success for all students. To achieve racial equity we must work to address the root causes of inequities, not just their manifestation. This includes eliminating policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that reinforce or fail to eliminate different outcomes by race. The time for talking about systemic change is over. Oak Park and River Forest High School is committed to taking actions that will create equitable opportunities for all our students to achieve their full potential.

For information on specific initiatives, click the links below:

OUR WORK TO PROMOTE RACIAL EQUITY 

Click links below for further details on these efforts.

2019-2020

Ongoing Work

  • Racial equity in the strategic plan
  • Culture, Climate, and Behavior Committee (CCB)
  • CARE teams
  • Individual racial equity coaching
  • Culture, Climate, and Behavior Committee (CCB)
  • Tri-Equity Board Committee
  • Improved hiring practices
  • Student Advisory Committee
  • Courageous Conversations about Race
  • Outreach coordinator
  • STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) development for all
  • Increased access to higher level classes
  • Revised student dress code
  • Laptops for every student
  • Spoken Word and Black literature developer
  • Hip Hop Club
  • Motivational Mentors
  • Black Professionals Day
  • National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) dinner
  • Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN)
  • Additional Pupil Support Services (PSS) team
  • Imagine OPRF Facilities Project 1