Aug. 26, 2022

Dear District 97 Community,

What a joy to witness the authentic human connection happening in our 10 schools over the last three days: staff reuniting with students, students greeting students, staff collaborating with each other and

families connecting in shared community space. 

These images have kept me smiling and have also been reminders of the potential that resides within our public schools.

It is clear that the yet undiscovered solutions to the most difficult challenges we face at local and global levels will come from the

hearts, minds and visions of young people. 

And the more diverse the mix of identities and experiences amongst them, the more creative the solutions are likely to be.

It is our responsibility to generate the conditions for that innovation to happen. We have

everything we need

to do that in our country, and in Oak Park, right here, right now. We have the vision, the commitment, the history, the partnerships, the diversity, the resources, the hope and the courage too.

In District 97, we’re excited about our important role in this

beautiful purpose.

Below are three priorities around which we are organizing our efforts this year along with a picture of what this idea looked like as we have geared up to welcome our students back to school. You can find more information on this slide deck that I shared with all members of the District 97 staff at the Institute Day on Monday, August 22. 

I look forward to our ongoing thinking, learning and future-making together. 

See you around the Village, 

Be curious - Julian assembly on Aug. 24, 2022Community-building. District 97’s call for an inclusive culture means that we will need to create new ways to come together; school will look different when we begin to make space for all student identities and to walk our talk around our values. That was the driving intention as Principal Jeremy Christian enthusiastically greeted the community at the Jayhawk Welcome Assembly on the first day of school.


Be Safe - Holmes fifth-grade students lead PBIS meetings for younger gradesPeople make schools safe. Across the district, students participated in positive behavior learning rotations at different locations within their school so that all know how to contribute to the school’s success. At Holmes, fifth-grade student leaders came back to school a day early and received training on how to reinforce safety and behavioral expectations with their fellow Hawks.



Be a learning designer - tweet from Lincoln teacher RocĂ­o JacobyGreat instruction drives achievement. Lincoln Spanish teacher Rocío (Chio) Jacoby—like so many District 97 teachers—affirms the linguistic and cultural identities of our students as part of the standards-based learning that happens in the classroom. Educators attentive to the ways in which student identity informs classroom instruction know how to create the conditions for academic excellence!


Communication Archive

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Dr. Ushma Shah


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Lonya Boose

Executive Assistant to the Superintendent/Board Secretary