Cheryl Frawley, a kindergarten teacher at Betsy Ross School, is one of 30 finalists for a 2018 Golden Apple Award. These are the honors awarded annually to top teachers across Chicagoland. This District 91 teacher was selected as a finalist from a pool of more than 650 nominated teachers. It will be later this year that we’ll all find out if Frawley is among the 10 top teachers chosen.

Enthusiastic and optimistic about our town’s students, Frawley represents a new generation of Forest Park teachers. Just five years into her educational career, Frawley teaches kindergarten at Betsy Ross. But she also embraced the many opportunities the district has created to draw teachers into leadership and planning roles within the district.

Our schools are not without their failings. But we continue to be impressed by the way this small district has adopted an array of progressive programs that offer and expect teachers to be empowered outside of their classrooms. 

Education is changing rapidly, whether the issue is updating teaching methods or incorporating technology into classrooms in ways less about being cutting edge and more about crafting individualized learning programs for each student. D91 has seen more opportunity than obstacles in these challenges and its administrative and board leaders have understood that the way forward is in the active participation of teachers in creating this change.

A lot of good plans have died on the vine in a lot of school districts because they never achieved buy-in from the largest constituent group: teachers. Forest Park’s public schools have worked hard to empower teachers and principals in their schools.

Frawley, for instance, has been involved in district-wide initiatives on technology and balanced assessment tools measuring student progress. She has taken part in the district’s strategic planning. These are the sort of activist teachers any district can build on.

It is a great honor to be nominated for a Golden Apple. An honor for Frawley, for Betsy Ross and that school community, and for Forest Park. We wish her the best as the selection process continues.

Another police lawsuit

Marco Gomez was anything but a model citizen. Convicted of six thefts and one robbery between 2008 and 2016, Gomez was on parole one year ago when he was spotted by a Forest Park police officer driving a stolen car, stopped at a red light at the intersection of Harlem and Jackson. 

What transpired next is now the subject of a federal lawsuit brought by the sister of Gomez on behalf of his family. Police say that, as a Forest Park officer approached the car on foot, Gomez attempted to make a U-turn and to drive at the officer. That unnamed officer fired one shot and killed the unarmed Gomez. The suit alleges that Gomez drove away from the officer as the light turned to green and before he was shot.

The courts will grind through this case, there will be a result and, hopefully, justice. 

As we have before, we simply note that for a small police department Forest Park finds itself in court defending its police department more often than other towns of similar size.