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ETHS plans fresh start for fall

Clears detentions from books, eliminates semester exams, starts new 'block schedule'

Evanston Township High School official today announced plans for a new class schedule and other reforms when full in-person instruction resumes this fall.

The changes includes removing all detentions, tardies and social probations from student records, eliminating semester exams and adopting a new schedule fewer, but longer, classes each day.

“ETHS is seizing the opportunity to revisit the district’s vision as we address some of the challenges in our current structures,” Principal Marcus Campbell said.

“For years, we have heard concerns from students, parents, and teachers about the amount of testing in schools and at ETHS. These concerns are only heightened today,” said Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. “ETHS teachers and staff are doing incredible work to prepare students for college and career choices after high school. Eliminating semester exams may help students to better focus on their post-secondary options through their coursework.”

Teachers, staff, and administrators also identified and discussed challenges associated with the school day schedule, in particular. In addition to reviewing committee recommendations, staff members gathered feedback through the lens of the current e-learning structure.

ETHS will implement the new block schedule on Aug. 16, the first day of school in the 2021-22 school year.

Benefits of the block schedule, Witherspoon said, include fewer class transitions each day (and therefore a less hectic pace) and larger chunks of instructional time for more experiential, hands-on learning in all classes. The shift to a block schedule in 2021-22 will not interfere with the course selections made by students this semester.

“Changes to the 2021-22 school year are guided by the creativity, thoughtfulness, and compassion needed during the past year,” Campbell says. “We are committed to returning to a different ETHS.” He said more details on the changes will be made available before classes resume in August.

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