District 65 Curriculum & Policy Committee meeting.

They probably won’t have sweatshirts with a “Parent University” logo, but Evanston/Skokie School District 65 is looking into having a program to help families deal with a variety of interpersonal and parenting issues.

Superintendent Devon Horton told a Board of Education committee on Monday that the “Parent University” concept is in the very early planning stages.

The idea, Horton said, is to “equip our parents and our families with the same supports that we have” as educators dealing with children, such as conflict resolution training and other skills to improve family dynamics.

No timetable was given.

Board members and the adminisration also discussed the recent teacher transfer controversy, reiterating that the reason behind the shifts was to avoid layoffs as the district downsizes staff due to declining enrollment.

Twenty-two positions were eliminated for the next school year. Andelib Khelghati, assistant superintendent for human resources, said while most of the transfers were involuntary, it was less painful than having to let people go.

“This is not the time we want to be laying off teachers,” he added, calling the process “one of the toughest things I’ve been through.”

Some teachers, along with three former PTA presidents at Haven Middle School, have said the transfers out of that school were retaliation aimed at union activists and other leaders who spoke out about various school problems.

But Horton said that while “it wasn’t an easy process,” and the transfers did cause frustration, they were “not a shot at any school” nor individual.

“These are hard times but we need to make hard decisions,” he added.

Horton said in the end, the district has to be “fiscally responsible” stewards of the public’s tax dollars.

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

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  1. You know, it’s out of the box thinking. Give them credit for that. These leaders deserve a lot of criticism, but the best way to solve problems is lots of ideas which are put through the democratic process. Then the best idea wins. Not debating and being open to ideas is what got us here so as a community we should hear all these ideas.

  2. Yawn. D65 leadership and the school board have done nothing and despite their gaslighting, they don’t actually listen to the parents, community or its teachers. Everyone agrees that a 5th Ward school is a great idea. It’s just too bad that people think that alone will fix all of the issues. What about the fact that the teachers they are transferring from Haven are the ones that the kids actually like? What about the fact that there is school-wide uproar about them not hiring back an assistant principal at Willard? What about the lack of transparency regarding weapons found in school at Haven on multiple occasions? How about the decrepit schools all across the city? What about the fact that one MS gets to go on field trips and the others don’t? Etc…, etc….

    What is there to be proud about regarding D65 schools? They are failing our children. Period.

  3. The district blamed their ineffectiveness in district management on the inability to hire resources, but then they lay off 22 people. Would love to see an analysis of teacher pay as a percentage of the district budget. The district appears to be focusing less on education standards, which is truly their only mandate, and directing their focus more toward throwing a bunch of experimental ideas to a wall to see what sticks. Please just educate the kids. Eliminating educators is the absolute worst way to balance a school district budget.

  4. These ideas boil down to a strategy of “blame the victims” (parents and children) – to avoid accountability related to the district’s utter failure, low-quality leadership, and eroding educational standards and performance due to foolish policies that place education as a secondary priority.

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