Teacher Patricia Allocco greets students on the first day of classes at Forest Park Middle School on Monday August 21, 2023 | Todd Bannor

Across Forest Park and surrounding neighborhoods, children and parents alike, are trying to soak up the last few days of summer before heading back to school for the 2023-24 school year. 

Some, such as the high schoolers in most communities, have already begun. 

But here’s who is left to relish the last few, free days in the sun and what’s in store for them when school doors open.

River Forest School District 90 will have its first day of school for both elementary and middle school Thursday. After approving all-day kindergarten in the district, the first-time kindergarteners at Willard Elementary School, 1250 Ashland Avenue, River Forest, and Lincoln Elementary School, 511 Park Avenue, River Forest, will be attending for a full day of learning and fun. The district’s PTO will also be providing coffee for parents to celebrate the first day. D90 is starting the new year with 18 additional new hires, with most serving as teachers. The new hires also include a social worker, a psychologist, and an IEP facilitator.

Oak Park Elementary School District 97 opens today for its eight elementary schools and two middle schools. The district is gearing up for a big year as they continue their work on launching the Portrait of a Graduate, which has been discussed at various board meetings the previous school year. D97 is also welcoming four new associate principals at the middle school level, two at Brooks Middle, 325 S. Kenilworth Avenue, Oak Park, and two at Julian Middle, 416 S. Ridgeland Avenue, Oak Park. Dr. Denise Gildon will serve as associate principal of teaching, learning and arts and Roshaun Bowens will serve as associate principal of climate, culture and athletics/clubs at Brooks with Tequila Butler serving as associate principal of teaching, learning and arts and Dr. Mekita Whitfield as the associate principal of climate, culture, and athletics/clubs at Julian. 

Proviso Township High School District 209 starts its school year Tues., Sept. 5, for all three high schools in the district. A celebration will be held after school at the Proviso West Football Stadium, 4701 Harrison St. Hillside, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The Back 2 School Bash will have a resource fair, live music, food, bookbag giveaway, games and more. The district also is starting their new year with Dr. Bessie Karvelas as the acting superintendent following the resignation of James L. Henderson.

In other news:

Oak Park and River Forest High School kicks off its 150th anniversary this year. Next week, OPRF will host its first Civics Service Learning Fair for juniors and seniors enrolled in Civics class, a graduation requirement since 2018, for which students need to perform at least three hours of community service. As part of the sesquicentennial celebration, OPRF is partaking in The Sesquicentennial Challenge: 150,000 Hours of Volunteer Service, hoping to log 150,000 hours of volunteer work for the school year. Students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni are all encouraged to participate and log their hours. 

Forest Park School District 91 began classes Monday. The district will also be starting the 23-24 school year with a new addition as it announced Terriyaka Watson as the new principal of Forest Park Middle School, 925 Beloit Avenue, Forest Park.