Check presentation ceremony at D65 offices.

A former elementary school teacher’s funding effort means the local elementary and middle school district will be able to hire and train 20 new teachers.

That former teacher, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston), gave Evanston/Skokie District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton one of those over-sized cardboard checks on Monday afternoon, representing $600,000 real dollars.

The money will help fund another year of District 65’s CREATE program, the Collaborative Residency for Achievement and Equity.

“This is exciting,” Horton said, noting there is a teacher shortage across the country.

In the residency program, now wrapping up its first year, participants teach in a District 65 school Mondays through Thursdays for an entire school year, under the supervision of experienced educators.

The residents also take classes, and earn a master’s degree from either Northwestern University or National Louis University.

Each participant receives a $30,000 stipend, which is $30,000 more than the traditional student teacher gets.

Plus, each graduate is guaranteed a job in District 65, which they promise to keep for four years.

Horton implemented similar residencies in East St. Louis and in Louisville, Kentucky, where he worked before coming to Evanston.

“I started as an elementary school teacher,” Schakowsky said, adding she was “thrilled to help District 65” continue the residency program.

Schakowsky said the $600,000 came as a result of her request for Community Projects Funding, part of the recently signed 2022 omnibus appropriations bill.

Making it through teacher residency is not easy. Seven of the original 19 this year have left the program.

But half of those remaining are in hard-to-fill areas, such as bilingual education and special ed.

In addition, the majority of teacher residents are individuals of color. Attracting more Black and brown educators is a priority for the district.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Join the Conversation


  1. D65 should not have to be utilizing a TFA-like teacher program to weaken teacher salaries. D65 should be a destination and a goal to reach as a professional educator. Yet here we are, having to incentivize non educators to get into the field. D65 still can’t do that effectively, 7/19 is a rather disturbing attrition rate prior to the end of the very first year. Even their handpicked people are throwing their hands up and running, not walking away from this place. Can’t say I blame them.

    Horton and his cronies can buy a lot of nonsense with $600k. Whatever he wants to do with the 600k will be rubber stamped by this incompetent, lecturing school board of know it alls. D65 is turning Evanston into Cicero on the lake. People will eventually start to pay attention. Then the circus will leave with declining property values left in their wake. Off to sell their monorail “miracle” to the next batch of well intended suckers down the road.

  2. It doesn’t take much research to figure out Dr. Horton is simply trying to create a micro-sized Academy for Urban School Leadership set up in Evanston. It’s the same place Tanyavutti spent a year working for.

    And it also doesn’t take much research to further uncover that the Academy has always had mixed to poor results, regardless of how many teachers they fired.

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