“These changes are aimed at optimizing the learning experience” – Chicago Tribune

The new school year kicked off this week for the more than 3,300 students at Oak Park-River Forest High School with a “Pride Pack” theme and new cell phone rules – among other changes, adjustments and more.

Freshmen started on Monday, and the first day for all other classes was Tuesday.

“Faculty, staff and administration are thrilled to usher in the new school year,” said Lynda Parker, Deputy/Principal Superintendent.

Along with a new school year, the school will see a number of new rules, starting with mobile phones

“All students will silence and store their cell phones in the teaching spaces of the telephone house that has been provided in each classroom,” Parker wrote in her welcome letter to families in July.

Parker said the change aligns with current research on educational best practices as well as current research on the effects of cellphones on academic achievement, social and emotional well-being, and mental health in adolescents.

His back-to-school letter also stressed that students will be required to wear their ID card at chest level on their person.

“These changes are intended to optimize the learning experience for all students and to help staff across the building easily identify our students,” Parker said.

School spokeswoman Karin Sullivan told Pioneer Press in an email that there were 18 new long-term teachers/substitute teachers this school year.

“We have four new courses this year: Entertainment Arts, Voice Communication, English for Career and College Readiness, and Physics-Chemistry A,” Sullivan said.

Entertainment Arts is described as providing hands-on experience with stop-motion, motion graphics and experimental media, while Voice Communication is described as helping students understand and apply the principles of communication in their own interpersonal discourse , intrapersonal, group and public.

English for Career and College Readiness is described as preparing students for college-level reading and writing across the curriculum, while Physics-Chemistry A is described as helping students build their own understanding of major scientific ideas by consistently practicing the scientific process.

“The board is discussing but has not approved two major capital projects,” Sullivan said of what may happen to the high school.

One project is a potential sports field redesign, as the school’s agreement with neighboring Concordia University to use its track expires in the spring of 2024. The other project stems from the five-phase Imagine Oak Park master plan and River Forest High School, the district guide. for capital projects.

“The second phase of Imagine OPRF is focused on the construction of a new four-story/five-level physical education and athletics wing including a full basement at the southeast corner (Scoville and Lake) of the building,” according to the facilities master plan on the school’s website.

According to the plan, the wing would include physical education classrooms, physical education and athletics offices, physical education equipment storage, and a conference room; improvements to the Performing Arts Green Room; changing rooms for all genders and an elevator that meets accessibility requirements.

Other equipment is also listed.

The school is the only one in Oak Park and River Forest School District 200, serving the towns of Oak Park and River Forest. Officials say district leaders are continuing to explore the possibility of using a block schedule or starting the school day later.

“We will take the first part of the 2022-23 school year to gather feedback on a few bell schedule options and make a final decision in January 2023,” said Laurie Fiorenza, assistant superintendent for student learning, in a May 3 letter to SD200. families and students.

She explained that waiting to make the decision ensures that families and students have time to plan if there is a change to the current bell schedule. The current school day begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 3:11 p.m. Monday to Friday – except Wednesdays for late arrivals, where the school day begins at 9:12 a.m.

Fall 2022 will also mark a return to school campus tours for prospective families.

“A guided tour of the OPRFHS campus is intended to provide a general overview and history of the school facilities for prospective families. Visits do not include student shadowing, classroom visits, or visits with professors or coaches,” Communications Department staff wrote on the department’s webpage.

Jessi Virtusio is a freelancer.

Comments are closed.