Evanston Township High School will hold community conversations with “Future Wildkit” parents and families starting next month.
ETHS Superintendent Eric Witherspoon will host the sessions several Evanston/Skokie School District 65 elementary schools.
Parents and family members of children who attend public, private and parochial schools or who are home-schooled in the Evanston/Skokie school district are encouraged to attend the meetings.
Staff members from ETHS will be available to answer questions, help refine understanding of key issues, and build awareness of the school’s current efforts.
Since each student’s high school experience is unique, ETHS also encourages participation by families who have enrolled children at ETHS in the past and may be sending their younger children to ETHS.
The meetings weill be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on the following schedule:
- Monday, April 16, at Dawes Elementary School, 440 Dodge Ave.
- Thursday, April 26, at Walker Elementary School, 3601 Church St. in Skokie.
- Monday, April 30, at Oakton Elementary School, 436 Ridge Ave.
- Thursday, May 3, at Kingsley Elementary School, 2300 Green Bay Road.
- Wednesday, May 9, at Washington Elementary School, 914 Ashland Ave.
- Monday, May 14, at Lincolnwood Elementary School, 2600 Colfax St.
- Wednesday, May 16, at Lincoln Elementary School, 910 Forest Ave.
- Tuesday, May 29, at Dewey Elementary School, 1551 Wesley Ave.
Spanish language translation will be provided at all sessions except the one on May 3. Free childcare services will be provided at each venue for ages 2-12. Registration for childcare is required.
Interested parents can RSVP for childcare by calling 847-424-7515 or by filling out an online request form on the ETHS website. Childcare will not be available at sessions where parents do not sign up in advance.
For more information, visit the ETHS website or call 847-424-7515.
Glad ETHS is paying attention as serious questions exist
I am one of many parents who is seriously considering moving out of Evanston due to the recent changes in the curriculum at ETHS and the reports of fights (including a teacher being injured).
I know that many people will write that their children received excellent educations at ETHS. But that was then. This is now. I need some concrete (meaning: believable) information as to why ETHS is now better with few (if any) honors courses at 9th grade. The usual soft soap sold to parents by our school districts for their baseless decisions is insulting.
We live in a highly competitive, global marketplace and society. Our school districts' obsession with ignoring the needs of students who excel is shameful and will be a drag on our ability to attract families with children, as well as intelligent taxpayers in general, to Evanston in the future.
Do you know that District 65 middle school report cards list grades A, B and C as each "Meeting Expectations." Is it so hard to write the words that some children EXCEED expectations in a class? Why can't a student who gets an A in a class at least be told that he or she is exceeding expectations? Instead, a student who gets an A gets the mixed message that he or she is simply meeting expectations. That is just wrong.
But this is the District 65 way — meeting expectations (in other words, the race to mediocre) is just fine with them. Now ETHS appears headed the same way. And some of our families are heading out rather than be subjected to a repeat of District 65 in ETHS.
And I do not want to send my children to a school where fights among students are common — so common that a teacher winds up injured during a student fight.
Yes, ETHS needs to address serious issues
I am pleased to see ETHS senior administration is conducting this series of meetings to listen to and address questions from the community. The recent change to "restructure" Freshman Humanities and Freshman Biology created a lot of controversy. 99.9999% of people in Evanston want all kids to achieve their potential. Today's world does require all our children to be better educated in order to have opportunities today and in the future. However, just restructuring curriculum and hoping kids change their behavior isn't the answer. Just look at the recent achievement data released by District 65. Good news, achievement is improving for almost all sub-categories. But there continues to be significant differentials based on socio-economic factors which are correlated to race. Look at the Free and Reduced Lunch performance differentials for example. This pattern of performance needs to be addressed at ages 0 to 5 if we are going to realistically change achievement patterns. District 65 will continue to change curriculum and restructure resources (as Dr. Murphy highlighted in the report) in the never ending quest to seek a solution. But unless, and until we understand why the achievement gap exists, we as a community, will not make significant improvements in achievement for all students. In Evanston the differential is exacerbated based on income differentials and academic differentials. Look at recent census data for Evanston and you will see that over 1/3 of Evanston residents above age 25 have a 4 year college degree AND masters or higher, another 1/3 have JUST a 4 year college degree, and another 1/3 either don't have a high school degree (~6%) or just a high school degree or have attended community college. This combination of income and educational attainment explains why the "Bell Curve" in Evanston is so wide. Both ETHS and D65, parents, and community members need to understand the underlying causes in order to develop programs that will actually help all students achieve their potential. And ALL students can achieve.
When programmatic changes are made they need to be based on current research not emotional reasons. When changes are made they need to be benchmarked to show that best practices are being used, not just "trust me" and things will be better. When changes are made, results need to be reported, not just glossed over. (Look at the recent D65 Achievement results and notice a lack of attention about the ACC results)
Yes, ALL students can and need to improve their academic achievement, but the strategy of "HOPE" and "TRUST US" does not work in Evanston.
Go and attend these informational sessions and get your answers addressed.
You bring up several excellent points, Mr. Paine…
Notably: "pattern of performance needs to be addressed at ages 0 to 5…" This is absolutely true, and is also nearly impossible to do anything about! From this critical time period, the PARENT(s?!) are solely responsible for the educational well-being of the child. What influence do you expect D65/202 to exert when they have no authority until AFTER age 5 when the children enter school? By that time, it is far too late, and all that can be done is to try and play "catch-up."
Add on top of this built-in delay are the developmental/nutritional/emotional handicaps that may also be present when children are raised in less-than-ideal circumstances.
I also agree that "trust" is in short supply given the management style and divisive approach that seems to pervade every educational issue that comes into play…
Sky not falling
Anonymous1 above, why is it you think most all 9th grade honors courses at ETHS have been eliminated? This is simply not a fact. Every child who was reading at grade level was permitted to try honors humanities, that's all. Please get the facts before crying about the sky falling. ETHS has had a higher average ACT score than the surrounding suburban HSs to the west, the Maines and the Niles. There is no reason to think that permitting a kid reading at grade level to take an honors class will change that, and may improve test scores. BTW, I'm not even an Evanston resident, and know this because I researched it, why don't you? Do not rely on sensationalistic Tribune articles for your education news.
The facts known by those with students at ETHS
The fact is that the honors classes (as honors classes) have been eliminated. You are simply slicing and dicing words to ignore that fact — those classes no longer exist.
The "earned" honors classes are a joke for any student reading at grade level or above. Perhaps you would know that if you had a student at ETHS, rather than relying on what you call research.
The curriculum of ETHS has been unnecessarily weakened by this. I choose not to ignore it or watch from the sidelines. And the assertion that it "may improve test scores," perhaps you consult to ETHS as the "well, it could help" attitude pervades the actions of the ETHS administration.
By a simple post asking the ETHS administrators to explain themselves and their less-than-well-reasoned decisions, I certainly did not "cry that the sky is falling." Instead, my post noted that the educational standards, as well as our students' educational opportunities, have most certainly fallen.
Why do you think that the ETHS administrators are going to local elementary schools? Because they feel that their changes in the curriculum have been well received? No, it reflects that they are trying to do some serious damage control among those who need to be its future customers. Perhaps if you weren't just researching or casting helpful "may improve test scores" comments from the sidelines, you would know that.
We are currently researching other options for our children's high school education. I am certain that ETHS will not miss them.
ETHS should have higher ACT scores
Just because ACT scores are higher doesn't provide "proof" of educational success in Evanston relative to High Schools to the west. Look at the demographics of the communities. Look at the amount of money spent per pupil.
Yes, there are many positive changes at ETHS including more resources and attention on the Systems of Support. But when major changes are made to the curriculum without tangible examples and evidence that educational excellence will occur, people will and should be concerned. All to often leaders provide rhetoric and sound bites that appear constructive, but when you start to peel back the onion questions arise and things don't make sense.
Why hasn't the administration shown the community how ETHS is benchmarked to other schools in the CSL? why hasn't the administration talked about what other schools are doing in the Minority Student Achievemnt Network? Shouldn't best practices be shared and used? Why hasn't ETHS benchmarked itself to other top 50 public high schools in our country?
We should be striving and aspiring to be amongst the best high schools in the country, not settle for mediocrity in the name of "equity"
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