Back-to-School Resources

District 97 will welcome students back to school on Wednesday, Aug. 23. To help families prepare, we created a webpage with helpful back-to-school information. This page will be updated throughout the summer.

Important Links to Bookmark:


National Preparedness Month:
How Does District 97 Prepare for Emergencies?

National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergency situations that could happen at any time.

In District 97, the physical and emotional safety of our students and staff is our highest priority every day. Throughout the month, we will share information on how the district prepares for and responds to emergencies, as well as some important tips and resources for families.

If you have any questions or feedback, please reach out to the Operational Excellence Safety Team via Let's Talk. Additional safety information and resources can be found here.

A Holistic Approach

We believe in a comprehensive approach to safety that includes our entire community and is rooted in our shared interest in creating safe and supportive learning environments in our schools.

Strong Community Partnerships

District 97 leaders meet monthly with representatives from the Village of Oak Park, the Oak Park Police Department, the Oak Park Department of Public Health, and Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 to coordinate the implementation of our intergovernmental agreements and strengthen our collaboration around school safety.

Common Training, Language and Visuals

This year, District 97 is utilizing the Standard Response Protocol language and visuals developed by the I Love U Guys Foundation, a national organization dedicated to school safety. The premise is simple - there are five specific actions that can be performed during an emergency incident: Hold, Secure, Lockdown, Evacuate, and Shelter. An overview of these protocols can be viewed here. >> 

All District 97 staff members are expected to attend designated safety trainings, participate in emergency drills, and review shared resources/materials on an ongoing basis.

Safety Drills

One of the most important things we do to keep our schools safe is practice a variety of drills each year to ensure that everyone is prepared should an emergency occur. This includes: three fire drills (including one with the fire department present to observe and provide feedback), one severe weather drill, one bus evacuation drill, and one law enforcement drill (more commonly referred to as a lockdown drill). Additional details about the lockdown drill will be shared directly by your student’s school.

Threat Assessment Teams

District 97 schools now have Threat Assessment Teams composed of administrators, social workers, other school staff and Oak Park police. These teams will meet regularly and as needed throughout the year to review safety procedures.

Series adapted from Downers Grove School District 58.





First Day of School and 2023-24 Calendar

The first day of school for the 2023-24 school year will be Wednesday, Aug. 23. We will follow the district’s regular Wednesday schedule, which means our elementary schools will be in session from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., while our middle schools will be in session from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

You can access the 2023-24 calendars for all 10 of our schools and the district by visiting our website. You also have the ability to export these calendars to your personal calendars. To export any of our online calendars, please visit and click on the export button next to the calendar you want to share with your own.

NEW Updated Student and Family Handbook for 2023-24

District 97 has updated the Student-Family Handbook for 2023-24. It contains important information regarding school policies, procedures, guidelines, student rights and responsibilities, and notifications required by state and federal law.

The purpose of this handbook is to outline for students, families and staff the expectations for building an educational community where everyone feels safe, included and able to learn. Having shared expectations, procedures and policies helps us respect all members of the school community in which we learn and work every day. Please take the time to read through the handbook and review it with your child.

Meal Information for the 2023-24 School Year 

The breakfast and lunch menus for our elementary and middle schools are available at During the 2023-24 school year, students may:

  • Bring a nut-free lunch from home.
  • Order school lunch.

Free and Reduced Lunch Application
Students may receive meals at a free or reduced cost either by being directly approved by the State of Illinois OR being approved after completing the 2023-24 Free and Reduced Lunch Application (English/Spanish). All families who are directly approved by the state will receive an approval letter by email. If you feel your student may qualify for free or reduced priced meals but are not directly approved, we encourage you to complete the application as soon as possible Please visit for more information.

Food Allergies/Nut-Safe Schools

Nuts and nut products are not allowed in any District 97 schools during the 2023-24 school year. This includes products that are labeled “processed in a facility that shares equipment with nut products.” Our schools have been nut-safe for the past two years—helping to create safer, more inclusive environments for all of our students. 

Please visit to access information about the district’s food allergy management program, as well as tips and options for identifying food that is safe for snacks and field trips. We appreciate your support of this important initiative!

Health Services

Please visit the Health Services web page to find important forms related to physicals, screenings and medication, as well as information about our policies for illness, allergy and asthma management, concussion protocol, medication and more. For specific questions or concerns, please contact your school nurse.

Technology Update

Please visit for information from the district’s technology department about the deployment of student devices, online filtering at home, the district’s acceptable use policy, and the procedures and protocols that are used to set up accounts for students.

School Fees

The district is currently accepting fee payments for the 2023-24 school year. Full payment is due by September 30, 2023. You can access the fee information by visiting

D97 Newsletter and Social Media

We will begin sending our MyD97 Weekly Wrap-Up emails on Friday, Aug. 25.

The district uses Facebook and Twitter to help keep the community updated on what is happening in our schools and the district as a whole.

Email Notification System

The district uses the email notification system BrightArrow to communicate with families via email and phone calls. We encourage you to add 855-994-4242 to the contacts on your phone. This is the number that will appear on your caller ID when either the schools or district make calls using BrightArrow.

The district also sends periodic text notifications from the short code phone numbers 79041 and 87569. You may opt-in to text messages from your school at any time by sending YES to these numbers. You must have your phone number on file with your child's school to receive text messages. Once you opt-in, BrightArrow will send you a confirmation that your phone number is opted-in.

Translation and Interpretation Services

District 97 is committed to providing improved language access for all of our students and families. If you are in need of translation or interpretation support during the school year, please contact Gabrielle Haynes at or call 708-524-3000.

The district's Multicultural and Multilingual Parent Advisory Committee (MPAC) also offers a number of supports for students and families. To learn more about MPAC, check out this brief video introduction!


Preparing for the Portrait: D97 Appoints Senior Leaders for 2023-24 School Year

During its regularly scheduled meeting April 11, the District 97 Board of Education approved the appointment of three senior leaders for the 2023-24 school year:
  • Dr. Luis Fernando DeLeon will serve as the assistant superintendent of middle schools.
  • Patrick Robinson, the current principal of Whittier Elementary School, will serve as the assistant superintendent of elementary schools.
  • Luis Rodriguez will serve as the district’s chief legal and equity officer.
District 97 Superintendent Ushma Shah said that the newly appointed leaders will be key figures as the district prepares for Portrait of a Graduate and the organizational shifts planned for the upcoming school year.

“The three leaders we have hired not only reflect our district’s values of equity and inclusion, but also have a record of success in their respective fields,” Shah said. "We are thrilled for them to join our team and to lead this next phase in our work.”

Click here to learn more >>
Pictured left to right: Dr. Luis Fernando DeLeon, assistant superintendent of middle schools; Patrick Robinson, assistant superintendent of elementary schools; and Luis Rodriguez, chief legal and equity officer.



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