Haven Middle School

As a year filled with student behavior problems, teacher protests, and angry parents nears an end, a leader of the PTA at Haven Middle School asked members of the group “what can you do to make Haven proud?”

In a virtual Haven PTA meeting Monday night, Kate Lister called on parents and teachers to pitch in and volunteer, particularly to help make Haven welcoming for incoming sixth graders in the fall.

Lister said she was planning to step down from her leadership team position, but concluded “there is still a lot of work to be done” in the Haven community, so she’s staying on.

“We can’t do this as one group,” she added. “We must come together.”

Haven has seen a number of student fights lately, including one where a teacher was knocked to the ground and had to be taken to the hospital.

Although that teacher said being pushed was likely not intentional, she and other staff members have complained about discipline problems, even packing a recent school board meeting and demanding action.

District leaders have conceded there is a problem, which they blame on a small percentage of Haven students. Administrators say steps have been taken to improve student behavior, with more steps to come.

Lister said parents and educators at Haven are galvanized to make things better for students and teachers.

“Let’s take some of the energy we’ve found over the past few weeks,” she said, “for positive change which will benefit rather than break us down.”

Lister praised the teachers and administrators who are trying their best to improve Haven’s climate and culture.

“We have an opportunity and an obligation,” Lister said, “to make a change.”

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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