Three schools in the Evanston/Skokie District 65 school system have been recognized with academic achievement awards from a state organization.

Willard Elementary School and the Bessie Rhodes Magnet School were awarded Academic Excellence Awards, which went to 438 schools in the state that have registered three consecutive years of “very high academic performance.”

And Walker Elementary School was designated a 2011 Illinois Spotlight School, which recognizes academic achievement in 167 Illinois schools where at least half of the students are living in families classified as low-income.

The designations came from the Illinois Interactive Report Card website operated by Northern Illinois University.

Also, Chute Middle School was cited by the Illinois Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance for its “exemplary quality and commitment to state and national standards in physical education.”

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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3 Comments

  1. Yay Walker!

    Congrats to all the schools! As a Walker family, I'm particularly thrilled and proud to see our school recognized for this achievement.  Kudos to the faculty, staff, administration and families for making our great school community what it is.

  2. Awards for best test taking

    To the extent that high rates of passing the ISAT tests means fewer children are being "left behind" academically, it's great that so many students at these schools are meeting state standards. Really, really great.

    But there is an awful lot of time and energy spent teaching to the test. This does detract from the depth and quality of the curriculum. There is a lot of focus on ISAT passage rates, but very little evaluation of the extent to which schools are providing meaningful education for their students.

    There is a lot of busywork and boredom, and not so much emphasis on breadth and depth of knowledge, or skill-building in areas that are not tested on the ISAT. And there is really no individuated curriculum (as promised) for above-average students who are languishing.

    It would be nice if schools were evaluated and recognized for more than just their ISAT passage rates.

    1. Just “meeting” state standards is NOT good enough

      The State of Illinois has significantly lowered the bar with respect to academic rigor in order to get funding from the Federal Government for No Child Left Behind.

      Good news is that many of the current D65 School Board members understand this issue and the district is using more comprehensive measures of academic achievement. However, many parents are under the illusion that their kids are doing just fine if their kids are meeting Illinois State Standards.

      I believe that Illinois is ranked ~ 43rd out of our 50 states with respect to academic rigor as measured by the ISAT standard for just "meeting" state standards. The University of Chicago published a research study that showed if 8th grade students were just meeting state standards that they were likely to score ~ 19-21 on the ACT test which they will take in their Junior Year.

      The scoring range for the ACT is from 1 to 36. U of I in Champagne average ACT score is in the mide to upper 20's. Point being, both parents and students are being misled by our State Board of Education and any educator who tells them that they are "doing just fine" if they meet Illinois state standards.

      By the time people figure this out, it is too late. And the saddest part is that many of these students have the potential to do better, but it requires a lot of hard work and time and effort.

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