OPRF master plan is all about equity

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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I watched America to Me and learned a lot from the courageous students who told their stories. Without exception, their ability to manage the hurdles of this traditionally very large and very white institution depended on (1) involvement in extra-curriculars (in smaller groups), athletics, music, science and math, theater, literature/poetry and arts programs, and (2) access to supportive faculty, staff and each other. 

The Imagine Oak Park Committee's comprehensive research included (hundreds of?) hours of interviews and focus groups with students and faculty/staff with diverse academic and cultural perspectives. The result is a plan that, in addition to classroom improvements, focuses up front on centralized and flexible spaces for all students to access support resources, such as library, tutoring, faculty advisors and each other in group work spaces; and addresses the urgent and critical need for newly designed/re-configured and accessible facilities for athletic and music programming that keeps many, many students motivated and connected to their larger academic and career preparation goals. 

If you've attended presentations by the Imagine Committee, you will know that the structure of the south "field house" does not allow simple moving of walls, also that each new section is designed to be accessible and adaptable to different programming needs and is not extraordinarily extravagant. Structures like this are inherently expensive, but consider how long the old one has lasted!

These two pieces of a very complex and well-thought-out, long-term plan seem to me to directly address equity needs and should not be delayed. Just "imagine" students using these spaces vs. the experience of a freshman in the first episode of America to Me and you may agree.

Sunny Hall

Parent of three OPRF graduates and
grandparent to an OPRF sophomore

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Michael Nevins  

Posted: December 27th, 2018 4:53 PM

Just curious, but is there any supporting evidence that changes proposed have raised academic equity/proficiency any where? Or is this another expensive "it sounds good" project by OP? What do we have for the millions spend on "The Collaboration"? It's been around 15 years since this "it sounds good" began and I'd feel much more optimistic about "it sounds good" programs if, well, y'know, they provided successful/measurable results. Am I asking too much or "it sounds good!" is all we need? That and the highest prop taxes that are "Imagine"able.

Dori Bernstein  

Posted: December 27th, 2018 11:45 AM

There were five Sequences not two in the Imagine plan The estimate for all five Sequences was $218 million. The Board of Education voted to move forward with Sequence One with a cost of $32 million. This includes moving the library and a lot of the ADA needs. The America to Me series is a signal that this community needs to address equity and stop obsessing about a giant swimming pool for a small number of elite swimmers.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: December 26th, 2018 11:28 PM

The head of the Pool Group became the head of the Imagine group immediately after the voters said NO to the pool. Imagine is nothing but an olympic sized pool, with luxury seating and locker rooms, being sold as an equity project. It is not an equity project and that entire argument is an insult to the community. Stop the lies about it.

Richard Lane  

Posted: December 26th, 2018 5:05 PM

No. The Imagine Master Plan is all about THE POOL.

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