Award Year: 2015

G. Kerkstra Elementary School

14950 South Laramie Avenue
Oak Forest, IL, 60452-1323

(708) 687-2860

Mr. Jeffrey P Kulik, Principal at time of Nomination

Forest Ridge Elementary School District 142

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Our mission is to create and maintain an environment that ensures a high level of academic achievement as determined by state and national standards.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 4%
  • White: 75%
  • Hispanic: 17%
  • Asian: 3%
  • Two or more races: 1%
  • ELL: 6%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: %
Students conference with their teacher about the narrative writing process.

Students conference with their teacher about the narrative writing process.

Kerkstra Elementary School is located in Oak Forest, Illinois and serves students in first through fifth grade from sections of Midlothian, Crestwood, and Oak Forest. While Kerkstra’s enrollment has remained stable, the district’s minority and low-income demographics have shown a trending up. During this upward trend, student achievement improved so dramatically that the Illinois State Board of Education recognized Kerkstra as an Illinois Honor Roll School for Academic Improvement.

Kerkstra’s curriculum is tightly aligned to the New Illinois Learning Standards and has been written collaboratively. In addition, teachers intentionally employ high-yield methodologies and deliver bell-to-bell instruction. A data matrix is created for each grade level in reading, mathematics, and behavior. The matrix triangulates data in order to determine which students are in need of support or enrichment beyond the core curriculum. Data meetings are held three times a year, allowing for data-informed decision-making regarding allocation of resources, interventions, and core instructional program changes. This allows for adjustments while the learning is taking place. At Kerkstra, students understand that the work they do is important and that the staff will provide the supports necessary for them to succeed. Students and teachers possess a committed sense of responsibility. The learning atmosphere is stimulating, success-oriented, and responsive to individual student needs. The climate engenders respect and students feel free to accept feedback and express ideas without fear or prejudice. Students strive to become scholars and they aspire to be lifelong learners as they prepare and plan for the future.