Park Forest Sets Specific Goal Relating to Schools

Goal focuses on working more closely with School District 163

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Among the goals set by the Park Forest Village Board for the 2010-11 year is one that focuses on improving relationships with School District 163. Specifically, the goal states, "Creating relationships and program initiatives to engage families, teachers, and school board members of the District 163 community to increase collective awareness of problems, challenges, and opportunities to work together to provide the best education possible for the children of Park Forest."

The Village of Park Forest includes five separate school districts, in addition to the Prairie State College Community College District 515. Rich Township High School District 227 includes all of Park Forest except for the Will County section. In Will County, both high school students and elementary school students attend schools of Crete-Monee School District 201-U. Park Forest children who reside in the Lincolnwood section of the Village attend elementary schools of District 162, and students in Chestnut Street neighborhood attend elementary schools of District 194. All the rest of the Park Forest students attend elementary schools of District 163.

Mayor John A. Ostenburg said District 163 has a very rich heritage and has a history of being a district that set standards for other districts to live up to. He noted that the district graduated students that went on to achieve high academic accomplishments. He said the Village Board’s goal is to help foster an atmosphere that will put the shine back on the image of the district.

"Image is based on perception and not necessarily reality," Mayor Ostenburg said. "When someone has an unfavorable impression of something — unless a dramatic effort is put forth to change that impression — it slowly permeates everyone’s opinions until the image becomes completely tarnished. The Village Board wants to make sure that doesn’t happen with the schools of our town," he said.

Mayor Ostenburg said the Village hopes to initiate programs that will encourage citizens to become more deeply involved in the affairs of the schools. "I believe the teachers of District 163 are among the best in our region," he said. "We intend to do things throughout the year that will recognize the contributions of those teachers.

"In addition," he continued, "we want to get more parents involved in education-related activities in our community. We have lots of programs that are of benefit to young people — including a number of things that happen regularly at the Park Forest Public Library — and we want our parents to know about those things so they encourage their sons and daughters to participate."

Mayor Ostenburg said he believes most of the members of the District 163 Board of Education share the desires of the Village Board. "We know that they have the same commitment to excellence in education that we do," he said.