Evanston/Skokie School District 65 will have two new positions on the payroll by next fall. An executive director of black student success and an equity instructional coach will be tasked with improving outcomes for black students in the schools.
The divide between black and white student success has been evident in Evanston for more than a generation, and leaders in the black community have been pushing for action to tackle the issue for years.
A couple dozen Evanston residents were on hand at Monday night's school board meeting to support the announcement by Superintendent Goren and board members.
“We want to acknowledge and congratulate on your decision to make a positive step toward mitigating the black student achievement gap in District 65,” said Roger Williams of OPAL, the Organization for Positive Action and Leadership. He also urged Superintendent Paul Goren to let Black leaders help find and vet the ideal candidates for those roles.
While saying the responsibility ultimately lies with him, Goren did not rule out the involvement of community leaders in the search.
Funding for the positions will come from some reorganization within the district and $141,750 from Northwestern University. Northwestern offered the financial commitment annually to offset losses in local revenues due to the university's recent property acquisitions in downtown Evanston.