Forest Park District 91’s new preschool program is already filled for the upcoming school year, with a waiting list, the D91 school board was told at their July 11 meeting.

Ninety students have signed up for the half-day, no-tuition preschool classes, which will be held at Garfield School and the Park District of Forest Park. Six half-day sections are offered with 15 students in each.

The district hopes to counter the trend of shrinking enrollment over the past couple of years by offering the age 3-5 preschool, which was two years in the making. Garfield School Principal Jamie Stauder and a working committee of early education teachers researched programs and best practices regionally and made recommendations to the board. Previously, tuition-free junior kindergarten was offered only to children assessed with special needs.

“There is a waiting list,” confirmed Ed Brophy, assistant superintendent for operations. The district had a total student population of 810 in the 2012-2013 school year.

Suggestions were made at Thursday’s board meeting to update fencing at Grant-White School from chain-link to an aluminum fence painted black. The fence will be a closer match with the one surrounding the village-owned tot-lot across Circle Avenue, said Brophy, noting that chain-link fencing will be replaced at Garfield School as well.

The district is looking into electronic “marquee” signs for all five Forest Park schools since Stauder requested one at Garfield. The signs would require a variance from the existing Forest Park sign code, which is being updated to be more restrictive on the use of electronic signs. Board members Rafael Rosa and Frank Mott noted that the existing Garfield sign was paid for by a class gift to which they had contributed, but board members said an electronic sign would be an upgrade.

New flooring and tile will be installed in certain rooms at Forest Park Middle School before school starts, Brophy told the board, and two Field-Stevenson School classrooms were being remodeled. In addition, the district’s administration building needs a new roof, Brophy said.

Common Core crash course

All certified staff at D91 will take part this year in professional development training to understand the new Common Core learning standards, Brophy told the board. The training is being held by the Common Core Institute, located in Oakbrook Terrace. The institute is a project of CEO Richard Westrick’s Collaborative Learning Inc., a publisher of online teaching tools with annual sales of more than $3 million, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

Technology upgrades

A Promethean Interactive Whiteboard was installed this month at the district office to facilitate teacher training, Brophy said. Thirty-three more interactive whiteboards will be installed in classrooms in the two primary and two intermediate schools prior to the start of school.

Teachers who will receive the boards in their classrooms were trained in May to use the boards.

“More teacher training for Promethean Interactive Whiteboards will be scheduled during this next school year for teachers who do not yet have an interactive whiteboard in their classroom,” Brophy said in an email.

New district vision statement and mission

The D91 school board streamlined its mission statement at the June 8 summer board retreat, altering a run-on sentence that would make any English teacher cringe. They also completed a makeover of the district’s vision statement. Both statements are read aloud at the beginning of each board meeting.

 

“It took a long time to discuss, but it was worthwhile time spent,” said board member Sean Blaylock.

 

The board will continue to refine the six district core goals and peg every board initiative to one or more goal during the upcoming school year.

 

Old mission statement: Our mission, in partnership with home and community, is to educate each child in a safe and nurturing environment where we will foster respect and self-worth, teach skills relevant to contemporary life, promote academic success and creative expression, encourage an appreciation of the rich cultural diversity of our global community, and install a sense of wonder for the future, thus enabling our students to become responsible citizens and lifelong learners.

 

New mission statement: Our mission, in partnership with home and community, is to educate each individual child in a safe and nurturing environment.

 

We will foster respect and self-worth, teach skills relevant to contemporary life, and promote academic success and creative expression.

 

We will encourage an appreciation of the rich cultural diversity of our community, and instill a sense of wonder for the future to enable our students to become lifelong learners and responsible citizens of the world.

 

Old vision statement: Forest Park Public School District 91 will be recognized locally, regionally, nationally and globally as a safe, nurturing and diverse learning community that utilizes research-based and innovative continuous improvement models to achieve academic excellence and global citizenship in each individual student.

 

New vision statement: Forest Park Public School District 91 will be acknowledged by all as a safe, nurturing and diverse learning community that establishes the highest standards for innovation and continuous improvement to achieve academic excellence and global citizenship for each individual child.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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