Welcome to Oak Park and River Forest High School. Our school is located nine miles west of downtown Chicago and has a spirited student population of 3139. We are proud of our academic achievements, our athletic accomplishments and our diverse school community. Founded in 1873, we are rich in history and tradition. "Those Things That Are Best" has been our school motto since 1908 - explore our home page and learn more about ‘The Best’ at OPRFHS.
Oak Park and River Forest High School exists to provide all students a superior education so that they may achieve their full human potential.
In pursuit of this mission, we value:
* educational excellence for its own worth
* a broad range of educational opportunities
* the potential in all students to learn
* a commitment to learning as the responsibility of each student to achieve his or her full potential
* an awareness of students as individuals with different learning styles
* respect for the rights of all members of the school community in a secure, safe and caring environment
* a sense of community and good citizenship
* equity across groups and fairness toward individuals
* the high school as a communicator of common values to students
* an appreciation of diversity
* a sense of self worth
* a partnership between the student, family, school, and community
At Oak Park and River Forest High School we have:
An experienced and dedicated teaching staff is at the heart of the educational program. Eighty-three percent of the faculty have earned a masters degree while fifty-four percent have earned 30 or more hours beyond the MA. The typical teacher has ten years of teaching experience. A number of Oak Park and River Forest High School teachers are leaders in their professional organizations and frequently publish articles and speak at educational conferences. With an average class size of 23, teachers are able to provide the personal attention students need to learn.
A strong academic program is the foundation of the well-rounded curriculum at OPRFHS. More than 200 courses in nine divisions of study provide challenge and enrichment to satisfy diverse student needs. In four years, a student is required to take at least 43 credits in six essential curriculum areas. In addition to courses required to meet graduation requiremtns, students can choose from a wide array of electives in Art, Music, Business, Speech Arts, Family and Consumer Sciences, Technology and World Languages.
Classes in English, History, Math, Science and World Languages are designed to meet the needs of all students. Students with learning difficulties will find help through a multidisciplinary approach and, with parental involvement, each student is educated within an environment most conducive to that individual student's needs. Honors and accelerated courses challenge gifted students in preparation for university work. Advanced Placement or college level courses are offered in all academic departments.
An Excellent Learning Environment
Visitors to OPRFHS comment on the friendly yet businesslike atmosphere of the school. Clean and beautifully maintained facilities provide an inviting environment for a successful teaching and learning experience.
A diverse student body of more than 3,000 provides a stimulating atmosphere and opportunities to develop appreciation for different races, religions and customs. More than 93 percent of the graduates go on to post-secondary education. Through the Advanced Placement Program, many enter college with credit for subjects mastered in high school. OPRFHS consistently ranks among the top five schools in Illinois in total number of National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.
Oak Park and River Forest are located just west of Chicago, a convenient 20-minute ride from Lake Michigan and the commercial heart of the city. The villages are famous for their Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and charming Victorian homes.
The two villages have a tradition of placing a high value on education. Since 1873 their citizens have been providing strong leadership and outstanding resources necessary to guarantee a superior secondary education for their children. The high school's fine physical facilities provide cultural and recreational benefits for students and all residents. The school takes pride in its past achievements and has faith in its future.
Enjoying the advantages of an ethnically and racially diverse community, OPRFHS students learn to respect each other and to develop a sense of social as well as personal responsibility.
The Oak Park and River Forest High School has grown from a small one story building to a four square block campus with a four story building, library, stadium, field house, theaters, TV Studio, driver education simulation room and computer labs. More importantly it has grown to become one of the best high schools in the country with a strong commitment to academic achievement for all its students.
Three graduates received diplomas at the first commencement in 1877. Since then over 55,000 students have gone on to graduate from OPRFHS and have left their mark in hundreds of fields of endeavor including the arts, business, diplomacy, environmental studies, government, law, literature and television all over the globe.
OPRFHS has been an academic leader for over a century. It was among the first secondary schools in the country to build science labs (1890), a school library (1899), athletic facilities for girls (1928) and to offer driver education (1940). The faculty was among the early pioneers in the AP program and computer assisted technology.
During the last half of the 20th century the communities of Oak Park and River Forest have grown increasingly diverse both racially and economically. OPRFHS, along with its communities have embraced diversity as a goal and has adopted programs to ensure that all of its students will achieve at equal levels.
Since 1873, Oak Park and River Forest High School has been a leader among secondary schools holding high academic excellence as a tradition to be cherished, built upon and renewed by each entering class. In Greek letters on the school crest are the words "Those Things That Are Best". This is not a boastful phrase but a goal to which all students should strive.
Each school year is marked by many traditional activities that shape the lives of our students. They include Homecoming, the Tradition of Excellence Awards that are presented annually to distinguished alumni, the turnabout dance - King of Hearts, the Senior Class Blood Drive and commencement.
Oak Park and River Forest High School seeks to honor its past while helping each new student meet the mission of the school which is "to help all students meet their full human potential".
Planning and implementation of a technology integration blueprint has been underway at OPRFHS since June 1994. Technology integration has included installation of a building-wide network, placing a computer on every teacher's desk, upgrading or replacing of all support staff computers and construction of 25 computer lab/classrooms. With scanners, printers, and over 1000 computers now linked to the network, OPRFHS can be considered a pacesetter in the integration of technology for instruction.
The district in realizing the need for continual staff development and with a desire to showcase best technological practices established the Technology Learning Center (TLC). Staffed by two faculty members the center is open daily for technological and curricular support for faculty and staff.
During the school year over 50 clubs, musical groups, student government, drama, speech and debate teams, as well as publications offer students a variety of extracurricular activities and productions. Through participation in these activities students can find new friends, relaxation, competition and enjoyment. By involving themselves in these important extra-curricular experiences, students can enrich their social life and enlarge upon their educational experiences. In addition, there are several student service organizations which provide an opportunity for leadership and service to the school, local community and the global community.
Quality Athletic Program
With over 40 Illinois High School Athletic State Championships, today’s student athletes are building upon a rich athletic heritage. Long recognized as a leader in interscholastic sports in Illinois, OPRFHS athletes blend athletics with high academic demands. Athletes are required to maintain a 2.0 grade point average and to have no F’s in order to participate on a sports team. The athletic program offers a wide range of activities for athletes with 13 sports for men and 15 sports for women. In addition the high school provides an intramural sports program for those who seek a less competitive environment.
Oak Park and River Forest High School has grown from a one story building to a four square block campus with a four story building, field house and stadium.
The high school has all of the traditional instructional spaces for science, English, history, mathematics and world languages. In addition, there is a two floor library and 15 computer lab/classrooms. All of the instructional spaces have internet connections and the capability for cable TV.
The physical education/athletic facilities include the football stadium, a fieldhouse with a basketball court and indoor track, two swimming pools, a dance studio, a wrestling room, eight tennis courts, several playing fields for soccer, field hockey and lacrosse, baseball and softball diamonds and two adaptive exercise gyms.
Facilities for the fine arts include art studios, a TV studio, a digital imaging lab, photography lab, a 1700 seat main auditorium, a 320 seat Little Theatre, a flexible studio theatre, orchestra/band and choral rooms and practice rooms.
Applied Arts has a multitude of specialized facilities including a commercial kitchen, a child development lab, an auto shop, CAD Lab, and several keyboarding /word processing labs.
The high school community is currently undergoing a 20 million dollar upgrade and expansion of instructional and athletic facilities to position the school to remain an educational leader well into the 21st century.
Over 55,000 students have graduated from OPRFHS since the first four students crossed the stage in 1877. OPRFHS alumni can be found in all walks of life and across the globe. Each year 4 individuals are selected for recognition for the contributions they have made to their respective fields and are presented the Tradition of Excellence Award. Through these individuals the school recognizes the work and contributions of all alumni and the efforts of countless teachers who helped shape, encourage and support them. Pulitzer Prize winners, a Nobel Prize recipient, corporate leaders, judges, actors and actresses, an ambassador, TV executives, a missionary, and Miss America each has taken from OPRFHS a special gift and shared it with the world at large.
The motto 'Excellence Our Tradition and Diversity Our Strength' has come to symbolize the work of OPRFHS during the last third of the 20th century and into the new century. In a society characterized by diversity the Board of Education recognizes the multicultural/ multiracial character of the villages of Oak Park and River Forest and the importance that all persons understand both their own heritage and the heritage of others. Awareness of ethic, religious, racial, economic and political backgrounds encourage empathy, communication and constructive interaction necessary to our developing society. The educational materials, programs and activities of the school reflect this multicultural/ multiracial philosophy.
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