Superintendent responds to King Arts parents

Evanston School District 65 School Superintendent Paul Goren respondedin a letter to demands for staffing and curriculum changes made by King Arts parents in a press conference Monday afternoon.

Dear King Arts Staff and Families -

Yesterday afternoon, a committed group of family members representing the Black Parents of King Arts, the King Arts PTA, and ONE King Arts came together at a press conference to present their vision to address academic disparities between black and white students, the school’s need for additional educator and student supports, and to ask for collaboration with district and school leadership.

I felt that it was important to attend the press conference with members of my senior team and our school board president. We were not there as participants but to listen to the voices who represent not only black children at the school but all children. I hear the resounding feelings of frustration, anger, and the need for both accountability and significant change. The concerns of King Arts families are real and their demand for action is warranted.

At the end of the day, we all want the same thing - significantly better outcomes for students of color and the overall educational experience that they deserve. I see this as a shared responsibility that starts with district leadership, school leadership, and school staff - with support from community partners and collaboration with families.

Our commitment to racial and educational equity across and at all levels of the organization is widely known. Those who spoke yesterday acknowledged that the gaps in achievement by race in Evanston have been well-documented for many years. Under my tenure, we have never shied away from these data. We have used this information to enact a robust equity agenda focused on support for students below the 25th percentile; culturally responsive and relevant teaching and learning for all students; use of an equity lens in decision making, including employee hiring; professional learning and affinity spaces for staff, students, and families; and a commitment to restorative justice and improved school climate.

In collaboration with school and district leaders, we have used these areas of focus as a foundation to create a specific and actionable plan to address student achievement in the short, medium, and long term. Details were provided in a letter to the King Arts community, sent on April 11 by Dr. Brown. We will also consider the demands presented yesterday and how they intersect with the plan and work already underway across the district. We are committed to continued collaboration with King Arts educators and families to ensure the necessary follow-through and progress monitoring.

We are working fast to address equitable outcomes for students of color at King Arts and for students across the district. I recognize that for families whose children are not receiving the opportunities needed to reach their maximum potential, that this isn’t fast enough. While I am confident in the actions underway, we must hold ourselves accountable, myself included, to ensure meaningful and lasting change for the children of this community. We continue to appreciate the push from families who are advocating on behalf of children. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to the King Arts family and District 65 community.

Sincerely,

Paul Goren

Superintendent of Schools

Related story

Parents demand staff, curriculum changes at King Arts (5/20/2019)

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Comments

Congats to Supt. Goren

I have to hand it to Superintendent Goren: he has a talent to say absolutely nothing of substance in 500 words.

When I saw the headline I thought it was unwise to even engage the points of a couple of parents who held the press conference since their "demands" are silly and not well-thought out.

But after reading his statement it is clear that he actually didn't engage with them, instead giving the appearance of engagement with 500 words of nonsense.

Well played, Superintendent!

support for students

We agreed to pay higher real estate taxes so District 65 would have the funds to address student needs.  To me, that means more social workers, psychologists, full time reading teachers and the like - all assigned to schools and to appropriate students such as those who may need support at King Arts and at all our schools.  It seems our neighborhood school is staffed just as it was before the tax increase.  Is sending all the administrators to a conference out of state, hiring consultants, and forming another committee to generate paper and stress for classroom teachers what we thought we would get for our dollars?  We need some transparency on this issue while staffing is still in flux for next year.  

They hired more administrators and bought ipads

The District 65 referendum was a joke. I was surprised so many people bought their sob story.

Look where the money has gone. They hired additional administrators and bought a bunch of iPads with the dough as far as I can tell.

yes we can...

Yes we can have African-centric curriculum to make black students feel better. I only presume that learning more about Shaka Zulu will make them become better at algebra.

But then we also need to have European-centric and Asian-centric curricula in order to maintain equality. Let them not forget about Plato, Newton etc etc.

How about we simply re-segregate schools and be done!