Forest Park’s four-school District 91, where at least half of the students are considered low-income, received a “commendable” rating on the 2023 state report card.
The rating is the second highest on the State Board of Education’s four-category scale. It indicates a school that has no underperforming student groups, a high schools graduation rate greater than 67 percent, and whose performance is not in the top 10 percent of schools statewide.
Each year, the state releases its Illinois Report Card to offer a look at students’ academic achievement at the state, district, and school levels. It also offers student and teacher information, as well financial data, at each level.
The Illinois State Board of Education reported that in 2023, schools’ statewide proficiency rates rose and hit the highest graduation rate in 13 years. Academic gains for Black students, who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, improved significantly in many areas.
Despite the strides, officials said proficiency rates across the board remained below pre-pandemic levels.
The average proficiency rates in both ELA and math in Illinois have not caught up to pre-pandemic marks. State officials, however, pointed out that Illinois has some of the most rigorous standards for proficiency in the nation, and its benchmark for proficiency is higher than 45 other states, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Chronic absenteeism remains “alarmingly” high, they said, while pointing out that more work was needed to ensure students are able to recover from the social, emotional and academic impacts of the pandemic.
The following overview shows the progress in D91.
Next week, we will offer a more in-depth look at Forest Park schools’ performance. In the meantime, you can learn more about local schools at https://www.illinoisreportcard.com/.
About District 91
The district enrolled 675 students in 2023. About 25% of students are white, 43% are Black and 23% Hispanic. At least half are considered low-income and another 20% have legal plans that offer them special-education services. D91 consists of Forest Park Middle School and Betsy Ross, Field Stevenson and Garfield elementary schools.
English language arts, math and science
The district largely fell in line with state averages, with about 33% of students rating proficient in ELA. The state’s average is 34.6%.
In math, nearly 19% of students met benchmarks, while statewide, math on-level rates hit 26.9% in 2023, up from 25.8% the year before.
A solid 49% of D91 students tested proficient in science, hovering just under the state average of 51%
Chronic absenteeism skyrocketed during the pandemic, but attendance has not bounced back in the state. The same holds true for the district where the rate was a little more than a quarter of the students chronically absent. Across the state, the average rate dropped to 28.3% from 29.8% the year before.