Welcome to the 2021-22 School Year in D97!

Welcome to the 2021-22 School Year in D97!

Dear District 97 Families,

With the first day of school upon us, we want to share some information and updates that we hope will help you and your children get off to a great start to the year. Please email [email protected] if you have questions or need more information about any of these items.


Amanda Siegfried
Senior Director of Communications

Rebecca Bald
Communications Coordinator

Welcome Letter from Interim Superintendents

Please click here for a back-to-school message from the district’s interim superintendents, Dr. Griff Powell and Dr. Patricia Wernet.

NEW D97 Back-to-School Information and FAQ

As a reminder, we have created a central location for important back-to-school updates and documents: https://www.op97.org/back-to-school. D97’s Back-to-School Plan is linked below and can also be found, along with other COVID-19 resources and information, by going to https://www.op97.org/back-to-school.

We have also created a 2021-22 FAQ page based on the top questions we have received over the past few weeks. Topics include ventilation, remote learning, vaccination and travel.

NEW Share Your Back-to-School Photos!

District 97 families—we want to see your back-to-school photos! You can share your photos by tweeting us (@OakPark97, using the hashtags #MyD97 and #OakPark97) or emailing them to [email protected].

If you email us photos or videos, we will make sure they comply with the board policies and laws that govern issues such as privacy, appropriate use, etc. before they get posted.

First Day of School and 2021-22 Calendar

The first day of school for the 2021-22 school year will be Wednesday, Aug. 25. We will follow the district’s regular Wednesday schedule, which means our elementary schools will be in session from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., while our middle schools will be in session from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

You can access the 2020-21 calendars for all 10 of our schools and the district by visiting our website. You also have the ability to export these calendars to your personal calendars. To export any of our online calendars, please visit http://www.op97.org/school-calendars and click on the export button next to the calendar you want to share with your own.

Meal Information for the 2021-22 School Year 

Food Service: Free Meals and 2021-22 Menus

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved key waivers that allow school districts to continue serving free meals to all children. This means that all District 97 students are eligible to receive breakfast and lunch free of charge for the entire 2021-22 school year.

The breakfast and lunch menus for our elementary and middle schools are available at http://www.op97.org/business-office/food-service. There will be two lunch options for students:

  • Bring a nut-free lunch from home.
  • Order school lunch, which will be provided free of charge for all students. Students can choose a sandwich, pizza kit or nacho kit, in addition to regular or chocolate milk. They will also receive servings of fruit and vegetables.

Breakfast kits are also available for all students, free of charge, but students may not be dropped off early to receive breakfast.

Free/Reduced Meal Application

Although all students will receive free meals, parents/guardians will need to submit the 2021-22 Free and Reduced Meal Application and be approved in order to be considered for a school fee waiver and other state programs. We encourage all families who currently qualify to take a few minutes to complete the application as soon as possible. Please visit https://www.op97.org/business-office/food-service for more information.

Food Allergies/Nut-Safe Schools

Please visit https://bit.ly/3j0KGTB to access information about the district’s food allergy management program, as well as tips and options for identifying food that is safe for snacks and field trips.

Nuts and nut products are not allowed in any District 97 schools during the 2021-22 school year. This includes products that are labeled “processed in a facility that shares equipment with nut products.” The shift to include lunch was necessary as many students may be eating their lunch in spaces other than the lunchroom due to COVID-19 protocols.

Effective Student Behavior Handbook

District 97 is committed to creating a positive learning environment that is equitable, inclusive and focused on the whole child. Behavior education involves proactively teaching positive behaviors to create the conditions that make every classroom and school a positive place to learn.

The revised District 97 Effective Student Behavior Handbook is designed to provide information about policies, procedures and practices related to student behavior, and to help students and families prepare for a successful school experience. It also provides notifications required by state and federal law.


Please click here for an informational letter concerning the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Technology Update

Please visit https://bit.ly/3mb9072 for information from the district’s technology department about the deployment of student devices, online filtering at home, the district’s acceptable use policy, and the procedures and protocols that are used to set up accounts for students.

School Fees

The district is currently accepting fee payments for the 2021-22 school year. Full payment is due by Oct. 1, 2021. You can access the fee information by visiting https://www.op97.org/business-office/fees.

D97 Newsletter and Social Media

We will begin sending our MyD97 Weekly Wrap-Up emails on Friday, Aug. 27.

The district uses Facebook and Twitter to help keep the community updated on what is happening in our schools and the district as a whole. In addition, many of our faculty and staff members share information about the learning that is taking place in our classrooms by using the hashtags #oakpark97 and #MyD97. You can access the pages that are linked to these hashtags by visiting: http://bit.ly/2JyOXZD (#oakpark97) and https://bit.ly/32zweZc (#MyD97).

Email Notification System

The district uses the email notification system BrightArrow to communicate with families via email and phone calls. We encourage you to add 855-994-4242 to the contacts on your phone. This is the number that will appear on your caller ID when either the schools or district make calls using BrightArrow.