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ETHS math program honored

Evanston Township High School is one of three U.S. high schools named as finalists in the 2010 Intel School of Distinction Awards competition for implementing innovative math programs and serving as models for other schools.

Evanston Township High School is one of three U.S. high schools named as finalists in the 2010 Intel School of Distinction Awards competition for implementing innovative math programs and serving as models for other schools.

In all, the Intel program honors three elementary, three middle, and three high schools for math and another nine for science excellence.

Each finalist school will receive a $5,000 award from the Intel Foundation and a trip to Washington, D.C., in September, where six schools will be named Intel Schools of Distinction. These winners will each receive an additional $5,000 from the Intel Foundation and a package of goods and services valued at approximately $100,000, including computer hardware and software and teacher professional development products contributed by award sponsors.

One of the six winners will also be selected as “Star Innovator” and will receive $25,000 from the Intel Foundation, and additional prizes and services from sponsors.

“It is essential that U.S. schools invest in math and science education,” said Shelly Esque, vice president, Legal and Corporate Affairs director, Corporate Affairs Group. “Because such investment is critical to maintain U.S. competitiveness in a global economy, the schools recognized as Intel Schools of Distinction are contributing in a significant way to preparing students for the future,” she added.

The Schools of Distinction honors schools in mathematics that offer students a rigorous, challenging and engaging program that teaches mathematics skills and how to apply them to solve real-life problems, approach projects as a member of a team, and communicate succinctly on the subject.

The awards program also honors schools in science that provide a rich science curriculum incorporating hands-on investigative experiences that prepare students for 21st-century jobs. Programs encourage student achievement in sciences and engineering, while simultaneously helping students become knowledgeable consumers of news and data in order to be active and informed citizens.

ETHS Superintendent Eric Witherspoon said, “This is a great honor for the ETHS mathematics department to be recognized as one of the top three high school math programs in the nation. We strive for excellence, to be the best, in everything we do at ETHS. We want our students to have the finest opportunities in the nation."

"Our math department," Witherspoon added, "has been on the cutting edge in striving to implement the very best practices in mathematics teaching, and they are working collaboratively as a department to improve instruction for all students. The math department is dedicated to achieving equity and excellence in mathematics so all ETHS students benefit from the finest teaching and learning.”

ETHS offers math courses at the regular and honors levels ranging from 1 Algebra through (Advanced Placement) Calculus, as well as Advanced Placement Statistics and Computer Science, beginning computer programming, and Topics in Math, a dual-credit course with Oakton Community College.

In addition, students who complete the top course, Multivariable Calculus/Linear Algebra, can take a university-level, independent study taught on-site by a Northwestern University professor. All levels prepare students for college and advanced careers. Support classes, bridge courses, and focused instructional strategies and technological tools help unprepared students increase their understanding, and visualize internalize key concepts to be successful.

Enrollment in Advanced Placement math continues to climb, due in part to summer courses in geometry and pre-calculus to help students access calculus during their senior year.

The school’s average ACT math score is at historic highs (24.0 in 2009 vs. 20.6 for the state), and black, white and Latino students outscored their state and national counterparts. In 2007, for the second time, ETHS was the Illinois winner of the Siemen’s Award for its Advanced Placement programs in math and science.

The other high schools honored for their math programs were North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, N.C. and Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago.

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