The Evanston-Skokie School District 65 Board is scheduled to vote Monday on plans to dedicate the Bessie Rhodes magnet school to bilingual Spanish-Engilish instruction.

Many parents of students at Bessie Rhodes have opposed the plan since it was presented four weeks ago.  They accuse the board of rushing the decision and not getting enough input from the community.

Staff made some adjustments to the proposal after hearing parent concerns. One is to retain Mandarin instruction at the school.  

Donna and Kuan Su.

Parent Donna Su says that is not enough to convince her to keep her children at the school if this plan is implemented. She says it doesn’t help with another key concern, teacher retention. She says most teachers at Bessie Rhodes will start looking elsewhere for jobs, knowing they will not be suitable for the bilingual instruction that’s being implemented. 

The report acknowledges teacher retention will be difficult. It states,” With the addition of the TWI program, the vast majority of the educators and staff at Bessie Rhodes will need to be English/Spanish bilingual and have an EL endorsement….The shift means that the vast majority of current Bessie Rhodes educators will be transferred to different schools in District 65.” 

It goes on to say, “The transition of staff will be a gradual process that spans over several school years starting with kindergarten. There is no plan to reassign classroom teachers or other staff members before it is necessary. All tenured teachers will be reassigned to a position they are qualified to teach and every reasonable effort will be made to place teachers in an assignment most similar to their current assignment.”

Su says she and many other parents will leave the school if this plan for Bessie Rhodes gets the green light.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the School Board office at 1500 McDaniel Ave.

Related stories

Parents fight back against plans for Bessie Rhodes (11/7/17)

Rhodes proposed to get Spanish-English focus (11/3/17)

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