Cook teaches full schedule

Economics teacher temporarily teaching Smith’s classes, hopes to achieve 100 percent AP pass rate


Senior Justin Haddox holds up his “Cook Bucks” — economics teacher D.J. Cook’s incentive to encourage students to participate during class discussions. Cook utilizes a combination of economics teacher Kevin Smith’s syllabus and his own (Anastasia Greer/Talon).

Economics teacher D.J. Cook will teach CP and AP Economics full time for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year, in place of economics teacher Kevin Smith, who is on medical leave.

From 2007 to 2011, Cook taught numerous courses at Oak Park High School, including AP U.S. History, AP Psychology and life skills. He also was a teacher at Oak Park Independent School, where he was required to teach every subject between the sixth and 12th grades.

[My goal is] to have a 100 percent pass rate on the AP Macroeconomics exam, ”

— D.J. Cook

“At Oak Park Independent, you have to kind of become a jack of all trades, a master of none … so I can dabble in every subject that the high school has to offer, except for maybe calculus and physics,” Cook said.

Cook has found the transition from OPIS to OPHS to be “seamless.”

“I use Mr. Smith’s syllabus [for] about 75 percent of the class, and then I added 25 percent based on what I feel my strengths are and structure it to the syllabus and to the class,” Cook said.

Cook has high aspirations for this semester.

“[My goal is] to have a 100 percent pass rate on the AP Macroeconomics exam, and for my CP students, to help them have a better understanding of economics and how it impacts their lives on a daily basis,” Cook said.

Honestly, [he is] one of the best teachers in the school,”

— Jack Whiteley

Senior Taha Sutarwala said he enjoys learning about the practical implications of economic principles from Cook.

“It’s fun, because he’s a really engaging teacher, and he relates everything we learn about in econ to current world events … so it’s always interesting and relevant,” Sutarwala said.

Senior Jack Whiteley said he also finds Cook’s teaching to be engaging.

“I think Mr. Cook’s teaching is really great. He encourages participation, which helps to increase understanding of class content while giving an appropriate amount of homework. Honestly, [he is] one of the best teachers in the school,” Whiteley said.

Cook said he hopes that this will not be his last semester at Oak Park.

“Whatever the department or the school needs, I’m more than willing to teach it,” Cook said. “I love being here and would love to be here for the rest of my career.”