"We Are D97" is a monthly profile series that will highlight the tremendous work being done across the district to advance our vision, achieve our goals, and create a strong sense of community and belonging.
Adrienne Court, Design Teacher
Julian Middle School
Adrienne Court started her career teaching business and computer classes to high school students. During that time, she realized that many of her students were struggling because they hadn't developed foundational skills in career technology.
"I felt like I wanted to find a place where I could work with students at a middle school or elementary level to increase both their access to technology and their critical thinking at a younger age," she said.
That decision led Adrienne to District 97, where she was hired as a design teacher at Julian Middle School in 2010. Since then, she has played a critical role in implementing the district's Gateway to Technology curriculum, which was designed by Project Lead the Way. The program offers courses in design and modeling, automation and robotics, and electronics.
Outside the classroom, Adrienne serves as a teacher liaison to Julian's Student Council and Service Learning Club. She has held several leadership positions within the Oak Park Teachers' Association (OPTA), and is currently serving as the group's vice president of middle schools. She is also working on her National Board Certification.
Favorite Memories from Her Time in District 97:
"Last year, our students were feeling overwhelmed after a testing day and we had a free period, so Mr. Walsh and I decided to have a dance party with our two advisories. It was a good opportunity for the students to see us in a different light and enjoy themselves in the moment.
The other memory was teaching the Global Virtual Classroom after I arrived at Julian and having our seventh-graders win the contest. It was amazing to see their excitement and how proud they were–just that moment of working so hard for an entire school year on this project and it really paying off."
On Her Role Within OPTA:
"When I look at the ways I can help my students, OPTA gives me the chance to be a voice for them within a larger body of teachers. I wanted to be able to advocate for my students in a professional atmosphere where we can talk about things that are happening in the classroom and also discuss why students might need certain supports so we can ultimately make sure they are getting what they need."
On Julian's Service Learning Club:
"Service Learning Club has been a staple at Julian. The whole point is to find ways to pay back the community as well as the school. The Pay It Forward project that the students work on every year is super important. Being part of this club has given me the chance to work with students outside the classroom setting."
On National Board Certification:
"I am one of 13 teachers at the middle school level who is working toward certification. Right now, we are all working on writing up and collecting data about differentiation...how we differentiate work for students and identify their needs, as well as what we as teachers can do to help students in our classroom. It's been a really rewarding experience, and I feel like I’m getting a lot out of it in terms of building more relationships. We're also getting a lot more data that I’m able to analyze and use to provide meaningful feedback to students."
Timothy Walsh, Design Teacher at Julian:
"There are two things that stand out in my mind about Adrienne: she consistently 'goes the extra mile' and she also never turns down an opportunity to help. This combination has had a profound impact not only on the students in her classroom, but the District 97 community as a whole. We are lucky that she is on our team."
"My husband and I are really big foodies. We love going to different restaurants and exposing ourselves to different foods. Our daughter is only 3 and her favorite food is shrimp, which isn't something you see very often. Food has been a passion of ours, so sharing that with our family has been really important to us."