Frequently Asked Questions
District 97 provides a number of resources that support the needs of the whole child, including our school psychologists and social workers. We have also collaborated with community organizations to offer services outside of school hours.
This year, we have partnered with the Community Mental Health Board of Oak Park Township and DePaul University’s Community Counseling Center to deliver a vast array of educational and therapeutic services to staff, families and youth. The "Mindful Middle-Schoolers Program" offers staff training, parent workshops, groups and counseling for middle school students during the 2019-20 school year.
As part of this new program, there will be a free workshop on Monday, Dec. 2, called, "Understanding Anxiety in Youth and Strategies for Treatment and Support." The event will be held at Brooks Middle School from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. To register, please visit https://www.eventbrite.
District 97 also offers "Support4U," a mental health-related prevention and support resource for students, by which they can text licensed mental health clinicians any time of the day for assistance or guidance. Check out the Support4U video we created last year to learn more, or click here to view the program flyer.
Our goal for the "MyD97" campaign is to showcase students, parents and educators who are helping to create a district that’s welcoming and supportive of all. Everyone can be involved "MyD97," whether it's by sharing their unique story, attending a community meeting at their school, or connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter.
We want to see District 97 from your point of view! Share your photos, videos and posts on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #MyD97 for a chance to be featured by the district.
Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) is a framework that organizes building-level resources to address each individual student’s academic and/or behavioral needs within intervention tiers that vary in intensity (National Center on Response to Intervention, 2018). Support is provided from all angles, including but not limited to parents, teachers, staff members and community partners. The framework of MTSS allows for the early identification of learning and behavioral needs and timely intervention for our students.
As the needs of our students are changing, our practices need to also change to ensure that we are offering an equitable and inclusive educational environment for all students. District 97 has begun the work around MTSS, and is looking to make significant changes around accountability while streamlining the process for this work. Our belief is that, “It will take all of us to reach all of them.”
A detailed letter from Faith Cole, the district's director of MTSS, is available at https://bit.ly/2lWIYHU. We have also set up a direct link to the MTSS pages on our website (http://www.op97.org/mtss), which we hope will help families learn more about the MTSS team, their problem-solving process, and our guidelines and expectations.
District 97 believes that all students should be challenged and supported to develop to their maximum potential. For children who demonstrate high ability or may benefit from accelerated placement, we provide opportunities to participate in an instructional setting that is usually reserved for students who are older or in higher grades than the child. This includes, but is not limited to (1) early entrance to kindergarten or first grade, (2) single subject acceleration and (3) whole grade acceleration.
In accordance with the Illinois Accelerated
For families who are seeking early admission to kindergarten or first grade, the district will be hosting a Parent Information Session on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the District 97 Administration Building. The session will include a presentation that outlines the process and requirements, as well as on-site support for parents. Click here to view the event flyer.
Information about the District 97 Accelerated Placement Program, including definitions and timelines, can be found at http://www.op97.org/
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us by visiting our Let’s Talk page (bit.ly/D97LetsTalk) and clicking the button labeled “Acceleration.”
The vision for District 97 is to create a positive learning environment for all students that is equitable, inclusive and focused on the whole child. Our community has and will continue to play a critical role in advancing this vision, shaping the future of our schools and helping our students realize their full potential.
With this in mind, we invite you to use our Let's Talk communication resource to share your comments, questions and feedback about the topics and departments listed. Let's Talk provides a quick and easy way to share information with the district and be immediately connected with a staff member who can help.
The Let's Talk form can be found on our district website at https://www.op97.org/about/
Launched in 2017, the Internet for All program offers free home Internet service to District 97 students in grades three through eight who do not currently have access to this critical resource. Through a partnership with the Digital Wish program and Mobile Beacon, the district will be providing students with free wireless hotspot devices they can use at home, and covering the cost of the monthly fees for the service.
The goals of the program are to help increase student access to valuable online learning resources, while also bridging the digital divide and ensuring greater educational equity.
Below are the eligibility requirements for families that are interested in participating in the program:
- Must have at least one third- through eighth-grade student who is enrolled in a school in District 97 and participating in the district’s iLearn initiative.
- Must be enrolled in the National Free/Reduced Lunch Program.
- Must not have home Internet access at the time of sign up.
You can access a video about the program by clicking here, a flyer about the program in English and Spanish by clicking here, and a web page featuring the flyer, the video and additional information about the program by clicking here.
Several years ago, District 97 implemented the use of the digital backpack in an effort to reduce the amount of paper we use. The web-based backpack features links and downloadable PDFs containing information from the schools, PTOs, district and community organizations.
District 97 has a specific procedure for the submission of digital flyers:
- All flyers must be submitted online and must be in a Microsoft Office/pdf version.
- The following disclaimer SHOULD APPEAR at the bottom of all materials for distribution: "Distribution of information by a community group in accordance with District 97 policy does not imply, directly or indirectly, that the group's program(s), event(s) and/or service(s) is sanctioned, sponsored or endorsed by the district, the Board of Education or the superintendent."
- All flyers will be approved by the D97 Communications Department before they are uploaded to the district/school websites.
All schools have a designated webpage for their digital backpack. To find your school, please click here.
In 2019, District 97 developed a new online Bullying Report Form to help us improve and strengthen the culture, climate and sense of belonging in our schools. The concept and several aspects of this form were based on a reporting tool that one of our middle school students created with the help of a few administrators and his peers.
Students, staff members and families can use the form at any time to report a conflict or behavior that they feel is disruptive, hostile or makes a student feel unsafe. They can also communicate how they want the reported concern to be addressed. This may include speaking with the social worker, administrative intervention, mediation, etc. Any information shared via the form will be automatically and immediately sent to a designated school staff member for review and response.
While having the names of the people who complete the form and/or were involved in an incident will enable us to more effectively address a reported conflict or behavior, providing that information is not required.
The Bullying Report Form is accessible in several locations on the district's family of websites, including the drop-down menu under the section titled "Students" that is located in the main navigation on every page, as well as in the quick links that are featured in the colored text boxes on the left side of each school site.
Please contact the building principal if you have questions or need more information about the form.
The District 97 MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support) Team has created a new D97 Parent Resource Site to further support instruction happening in the classroom. The site has been created to provide an overview of MTSS and support all students in the areas of reading, math and writing.
MTSS is a framework that organizes building-level resources to address each individual student’s academic and/or behavioral needs within intervention tiers that vary in intensity. The new MTSS website provides further information about each tier and links to free resources for reading, math and writing. The MTSS team hopes families use these websites to provide support for their students at home.
Families can find further information about MTSS, the team, their problem-solving process, and our guidelines and expectations by visiting http://www.op97.org/mtss.
District 97 requires anyone who wants to serve as a chaperone on a field trip to obtain a one-time background check. This easy process helps ensure the safety of our students as well as our staff members. The background check process takes place in-person at the D97 administrative building (260 Madison Street). D97 asks that those who need to complete a background check make an appointment online.
Those completing a background check must bring a current Driver's License or State ID to their appointment. Their fingerprints will be scanned and submitted to the Illinois State Police (ISP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Results from the fingerprint scan take 7-10 days. Please note, District 97 keeps all information obtained during a background check confidential. It will not be shared with any outside organization (besides the ISP and FBI).
If you have any further questions about the background check process, please visit, https://www.op97.org/parents/background-checks.