Oak Park’s School District 97 has recently been awarded two new titles. Julian Middle School was named a Special Olympics National Banner Unified Champion School for their achievements with inclusion. The district’s PreKindergarten Program has also been recognized with a Gold Circle of Quality from the State of Illinois.
Julian Middle School earned the Special Olympics honor by providing inclusive sports and activities for students with and without disabilities. The middle school currently has Unified Sports teams for golf, basketball, soccer, rhythmic gymnastics, and track. There are only 3 other schools in Illinois that hold the same title of Special Olympics National Banner Unified Champion School. Julian has a Unified Champion Sports Committee that works hard all year to plan events and programs that foster an atmosphere of inclusion and respect.
District 97’s PreKindergarten Program earned the Gold Circle of Quality for meeting or exceeding all of the high standards set by the State of Illinois to ensure quality care and education for the PreK’s in the program. ExceleRate Illinois, which manages the program, focuses on four categories when evaluating programs: teaching and learning, family and community engagement, leadership and management, and qualifications and continuing education. The Gold Circle that was earned by the district’s program is the highest available award of excellence.