School News

Kerkstra Elementary School
Forest Ridge School District 142

September 29, 2015
Kerkstra Elementary School received the 2015 National Blue Ribbon Award for Exemplary High Performing Schools from the U.S. Department of Education. Congratulations to the faculty, staff and students who worked so hard to achieve this lifetime distinction. 

March 19, 2015
Students, faculty and staff at Kerkstra Middle School dug up a time capsule that was placed into the ground on the school's campus in 1986. At that time, Kerkstra was known as Laramie School. Click here to find out what the students of today found from the students of yesteryear.

The 1986 time capsule inspired the Kerkstra community to place a new time capsule in the ground, which will be marked by a plaque with instructions to dig it up in 2045. The items in the time capsule include a blank report card, Frozen sticker, Minecraft figure, letter/photo from President Obama, cursive writing samples, three classroom pictures, and a fourth-grade level signed Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation t-shirt from this year's fundraiser.

Scarlet Oak School 
Arbor Park School District 145

Arbor Park School District 145 recently celebrated the opening of the newly equipped Innovation Station at Scarlet Oak School. District administrators worked closely with the school's principal in designing a state-of-the-art learning environment for students. The Innovation Station, which incorporates Google colors on the walls, desks and chairs supports 36 individual computer work stations, collaborative study areas, a presentation arena for shared inquiry, and a Promethean Smart Board for interactive and engaging lessons. 

The school district prepared teachers to use this new technology by providing training opportunities with cloud-based technology programs and state-of-the-art devices. Teachers were introduced to ClassFlow, a program that is designed to allow student tablets to communicate with the Promethean Smart Board creating a high-tech learning experience. Teachers can assess student leaning in ‘real time’ and adjust lessons to accommodate individual student needs.  

In addition, the school district invested in ActiSlates to accompany each Promethean board so teachers can have wireless control of their teaching. The slates enable teachers to deliver truly interactive, engaging lessons, while providing the freedom to instruct from anywhere in the room. Special education, music, and art classrooms as well as all third and fourth grade classrooms are now equipped with 21st Century technology that will improve instruction and positively affect student achievement.

Fierke Education Center
Community Consolidated School District 146

  • Jessica Bordenaro, a fifth-grade student teacher, was selected as the 2015 winner of the Patricia Burnette Rising Star Award by the South Suburban Reading Council.
  • Superintendent Dr. Jeff Stawick received a regional “Superintendent of Distinction” at an awards luncheon at the governor’s Executive Mansion in Springfield. Stawick was selected by his peers in the Illinois Association of School Administrators South Cook Region. (April 2015)
  • Fierke Education Center meets or exceeds the benchmark for student growth (2012-2015) and state testing data (2009-2013).
  • Fierke exceeds the benchmark for meeting the social/emotional needs of students, according to a research study (2014).
  • For the last three years, Fierke has demonstrated better than expected or expected growth on the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP Testing).
  • Fierke won a “Forest in Bloom” beautification award in 2010 and 2013 from the City of Oak Forest.

Oak Forest High School
Bremen High School District 228

  • For the past six years, Oak Forest High School has received the Operation Safe Teen Driving Grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation, in cooperation with Ford Motor Company.  Through the program, high school students create unique safe driving campaigns focusing on distracted driving and hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management and speed control.
  • In 2014, the Illinois State Board of Education presented its “Those Who Excel” Award to a group of Oak Forest High School staff members. The group, referred to as the “Awesome for Autism Team,” received an Award of Excellence from ISBE.
  • As a district, the Class of 2014 was offered more than $16 million in scholarship opportunities.  It was reported that many students were offered scholarships amounting to $100,000 or more. 
  • The student body of Oak Forest High School has continued its long tradition of academic success, and 2014 was no exception.  Forty-two students were recognized as Illinois State Scholars, and seventy members of the class received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence.  Two students were awarded National Merit Scholarship Commended status.  Oak Forest High School also produced numerous state finalists in BPA, DECA, FCCLA, and ICE.
  • One of the major contributing factors to our academic success is our attendance rate.  Our average student attendance rate is 95 percent and our graduation rate for this past five years has been 96 percent.   On the ACT Test, which is the most popular test used for enrollment in colleges and universities in the Midwest, our most recent graduating class scored a composite 21.6, higher than both the state and national averages. 

Notable Oak Forest High School Alumni


Kerkstra Time Capsule