Banner Text: Portrait of an Oak Park 8th Grade Graduate

Communication Archive

October 27, 2023

Portrait of a Graduate: Affinity Group Listening Sessions

As part of the Portrait of an Oak Park 8th Grade Graduate design process, District 97 will be holding multiple listening sessions in the coming months to get feedback from staff, students, families and community members. These sessions will begin in November with affinity-based groups, and will expand to all stakeholders this winter.

What is an affinity group?

An affinity group is a group of people who are linked by a common identity, purpose or interest. For our Portrait engagement, we are focusing on groups who have been most impacted historically by systemic inequities, as specifically outlined in the district’s equity policy: Black families, multilingual families, families of students with disabilities and LGBTQ+ families.

We are also meeting with Oak Park senior residents to ensure that we are gathering perspectives from a variety of age groups.

Why should I participate?

Our design team has been intentional in centering and prioritizing groups who have historically been underserved in District 97 and other settings. Our affinity listening sessions will focus directly on the experiences and perspectives of these groups and will ensure that they are a key part of the Portrait design process.

Join Us!

To help us plan for these sessions, we are asking that interested community members fill out this brief form prior to the events. Dates and times are included below. Food and childcare will be provided.

  • Multilingual families (Tuesday, Nov. 7, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Families of students with disabilities (Thursday, Nov. 9, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Black families (Monday, Nov. 13, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Oak Park senior residents (Wednesday, Nov. 15, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • LGBTQ+ families (Tuesday, Nov. 28, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.)

Learn More about the Portrait

For more on Portrait of an Oak Park 8th Grade Graduate, visit If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the Portrait Design Team via Let’s Talk.

October 13, 2023

Portrait of an Oak Park 8th Grade Graduate: Planning Update

District 97 is preparing to bring the community together to dream, design and define our Portrait of an Oak Park 8th Grade Graduate.

The Portrait, which will serve as the district’s new strategic plan, will articulate a collective vision that our community has for all District 97 graduates. This vision will be rooted in core competencies tied to learning standards and experiences that are critical to student success in college, career and beyond. 

To get there, we envision a radically inclusive design process that will tap into the expertise of our staff, the experiences of our students, and the hopes of our families and community members. This means not only ensuring multiple pathways for feedback, but also prioritizing and centering groups who have been most impacted historically by systemic inequities.

The current goal is to begin engagement sessions with staff and affinity-based groups in November, followed by the students and families this winter. We will be keeping the community updated throughout the process, both through board business meetings and our district newsletter. Our updates from September and October are linked below.

We look forward to embarking on this journey together. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to reach out to us via Let’s Talk.

2023-24 Portrait Updates