The Oak Park Education Foundation (OPEF) supports many different programs throughout OPUSD. To find out more about the programs, please contact us!
The Oak Park Rocket Team is lead by Dr. Tony Knight, Superintendent of OPUSD. The team is comprised of students from Oak Park High School, and competes nationally.
Science Specialist Program
One of the Oak Park Education Foudantions’ featured programs is the District-wide Science Specialist Program. This program provides science support at all grade levels in the district. The Science program enhances in-class science learning with experiential projects where our students can touch, feel, and create science experiments in addition to book based learning.
The Science Specialist Program in Oak Park takes Science a step further and creates ties with Art programs as well making the OPEF sponsored program a “STEAM” program including Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. These core subjects are a critical role in education today.
Elementary Schools Art Program
One of the goals of the Oak Park Education Foundation is to support programs that are no longer offered by the district in our classrooms. One of the programs that was unfortunately cut for budgetary reasons was the Art Program at the Elementary Schools.
It has been proven that Art Education at an early age improves a child’s problem-solving and critical thinking abilities and should be a key component of an quality education program. Thus OPEF has provided a two year funding grant to each of our elementary schools to produce and maintain this critical component at each school.
In the tradition of the Oak Park Education Foundation, we simply provide the funding support and look to our PTA and PFA partners at each school to determine the program to be utilized at each school. The relationship between our PTO Partners and our Education Foundation is a model that is replicated in other districts. We work collaboratively to ensure that every child benefits from our programs.
OPEF took over the administration of the OPUSD Middle School and High School Summer School program in 2010, after the district determined that they were losing too much money by offering it. As a district offered program, by law, the district could not charge for the program, thus it was a donation based program. The amount the program cost for staff and facilities far outweighed the amount of donations brought in, this is when the Oak Park Education Foundation stepped in, took over and saved the program.
Summer School is offered to all current Middle School and High School OPUSD students. The Middle School program is open to anyone, however the classes are offered to the OPUSD students first for a period of two months allowing the OPUSD students to fill the classes. After the two month period, it is then open to outside district students. Middle School classes are enrichment classes, but also include a very popular class called “Keys to Middle School”, which allows incoming 6th grade students to get familiar with the Medea Creek Middle School campus, an emphasis on study habit changes and an introduction to many of the new classes they will be taking. This is a very popular class for outgoing 5th grade students. The High School program is grade based and the grade received goes on the student’s transcript and fulfills necessary academic requirements. The High School curriculum is the sum of a semester of yearlong courses that students may take during their time in high school. High School students can determine to take an elective that may not fit their semester schedules or get a core course completed. The way that summer school works is that each “summer” day is equivalent to a week of the regular school year, thus the schedule can be rigorous. There is a lottery for some of the more popular summer school classes that incoming freshmen choose to complete before the new school year, so early enrollment is highly encouraged.
If the Oak Park Education Foundation did not offer the Summer School program, 475 students who attended this past school year would not have been able to participate in a program to help them participate, accelerate or simply take an enrichment class. For some High School students, this made a difference in having enough credits to graduate. In addition the Summer School program employs some 35 plus Oak Park Teachers and Administrators.