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OPRF teacher takes her talents to Stanford

March 12th, 2019 1:46 PM

Jessica Stovall

By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

The 10-part documentary series, America to Me, which took a probing look at the racial inequities at Oak Park and River Forest High School, has inspired one of the film's subjects to create an entire college course. 

Jessica Stovall, the OPRF teacher who is currently on leave from the high school to pursue a doctorate at Stanford University, created a curriculum series called "America Never was America to Me: Race and Equity in U.S. Public Schools," WBEZ recently reported. 

Stovall's attempts to forge a meaningful relationship with former OPRF student Ke'shawn Kumsa was among the documentary's dramatic touchpoints — as was her failed attempts to establish a racial equity curriculum at OPRF. Many observers felt that the failure to implement Stovall's course reflected poorly on school administrators. Now Stovall is seeing her ideas flourish elsewhere. 

"People are having really intense and important conversations about race and equity," Stovall told WBEZ. "So I thought, why not bring it to an institution like Stanford University that's at the forefront of some of these conversations about race and schools?"

Michael Romain 

Contact:
Email: michael@oakpark.com

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  • Drew Rein (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: March 17th, 2019 2:47 PM

    I believe Ms. Stovall used ATM as a springboard for furthering her career and it worked! She was not very popular among her colleagues and complained to her students about feeling hurt. Perhaps someday one of them will share why that was. In any event there was/is already a promising program in place to address the gap but, apparently, she knew better. Stanford, mired in the current admissions scandal, might be just the place for her. I'm sure she thinks she can fix it.

  • Amanda Poppenk Massie from Oak park (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: March 16th, 2019 4:55 PM

    This is a huge loss for OPRF High School. If you saw "America to Me" you know she had some great ideas to help the opportunity gap. Perfect example of not listening to a good teacher with new ideas. Her ideas have now been proven to work at other schools. Now we've lost her. Hope we learn from this. We need to be open to new ideas from our teachers.

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