After school choices abundant in Oak Park, River Forest schools
Julian's sixth grader Owen Frankel prepares his robot during The Oak Park Education Foundation's seventh annual Vex Robotics competition between Julian and Brooks middle school students Jan. 28. \ Oak Leaves file photo
Updated: October 1, 2012 3:56PM
OAK PARK — After school programs are gearing up with so many choices, organizers say students will have their pick of games, sports and academics.
“If you can’t find something to do after school in Oak Park, you are not looking hard enough,” said Chris Jasculca, director of policy, planning and communications for Oak Park District 97, which has 5,600 students, eight elementary schools and two middle schools.
The same is true in River Forest, Recreation Services Manager Karen Scherrer said.
“Every day there is something different at our schools,” Scherrer said. “We offer a lot to keep kids busy and active.”
Both District 97 and River Forest District 90 offer programs in partnership with other entities.
District 97 offers enrichment programs in cooperation with the PTO, Oak Park Education Foundation, Hephzibah Children’s Association, Oak Park Public Library and the Park District of Oak Park.
In River Forest, District 90 has a similar arrangement with its PTO and other contributing organizations, but the park district contracts many activities out to private companies. Most of the activities happen at the schools, but are privately run, Scherrer said.
In Oak Park, academic support programs are ongoing before school, at lunch and after school. Its PTO sponsors enrichment programs and classes.
Extra-curricular activities include the BRAVO! performing arts program at Brooks Middle School, CAST at Julian Middle School, Longfellow Larks, Whittier Walkers and Lincoln Trekkers.
Academic support includes Sunrise Study Hall at Longfellow Elementary, After School Media Program at Lincoln Elementary and Homework Club at Mann Elementary schools.
The Oak Park Education Foundation offers Vex Robotics, Art Start, Architecture Adventure, Science Alliance and Geared Up.
Hephzibah provides day care after schools, at many until 6 p.m., Jasculca said.
The Park District of Oak Park provides sports programs while the Oak Park Public Library has a variety of programs for kids and teens.
Some programs have been around for a long time. CAST is in its 21st year, Jasculca said.
In River Forest, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Willard schools offer sports, arts and academic activities for all ages. From basketball to cheer leading to the arts such as dance, the district caters to the interests of the individual student.
The Chicago Bulls/Sox Academy will bring basketball and baseball camp instruction to area youth.
The District 97 school year began Aug. 22, while the District 90 school year begins Sept. 7. Check with the district to find out the starting times for the after school programs. Scherrer said most programs will start a week after Labor Day and registration is under way.