D202 board unveils portraits honoring longtime member, discusses COVID-19 measures


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Evanston Township High School. During Monday night’s board meeting, District 202 honored former board member Jane Colleton with a portrait.

Olivia Alexander, Senior Staffer

Evanston Township High School/District 202’s Board of Education honored Jane Colleton by unveiling a pair of portraits portraying the longtime board member during Monday’s meeting. 

Colleton and her husband have lived in Evanston for more than 50 years and raised four ETHS graduates. She served on the board from 1991 to 2011. Before her retirement, Colleton worked as an administrator and teacher at Chiaravalle Montessori School on Dempster Street. 

 As a board member, she voted to end tracking at ETHS — the practice of dividing students into different course paths based on ability level. Superintendent Eric Witherspoon said Colleton’s monumental decision made ETHS a more equitable school where every student receives the best courses and curriculum. 

During her 20-year tenure, Colleton said she and her colleagues prioritized equity and addressed the disparities in student experience caused by racism and social injustice. The board decided to detrack District 202’s freshman curriculum in 2010, primarily in history, English and biology courses — but not without resistance. 

“It was and it remains a complex challenge, but we made a good start,” Colleton said. 

The portraits were created by local artist Ann Ponce, who was also in attendance. One depicts Colleton in a local ballet studio, which she describes as her second home. In the second, Colleton appears against a lush green background. 

Following photos and a reception, Board President Pat Savage-Williams invited members of the District 202 Medical Advisory Group to provide updates on the district’s COVID-19 guidelines. 

Weekly updates will continue to appear on the COVID-19 dashboard on Fridays at 12 p.m, according to Taya Kinzie, District 202 associate principal for student services. 

Ninety-six percent of ETHS staff and over three-quarters of students have been vaccinated, Kinzie said. COVID-19 SHIELD testing, a saliva test with a 24-hour turnaround developed by the University of Illinois, will begin within the district on Monday. The program will start distributing shots to unvaccinated students.

Following the updates, board member Gretchen Livingston asked how the team planned to encourage students to get vaccinated. 

There is still some hesitancy among certain parents, according to Medical Advisory Board member Sharon Robinson, a pediatrician at NorthShore University HealthSystem and ETHS parent. But she and her colleagues will continue to engage with families who are open to the vaccine, she said.

“I have been on a mission since the day I got vaccinated in December to put myself any and everywhere I could to try to get the message out about vaccinations,” Robinson said. “I know my colleagues have done the same.”  

Savage-Williams said she expects student vaccination numbers to go up once the district begins SHIELD testing next week. She said students will notice when their peers have to participate in testing.

Board Vice President Monique Parsons offered words of gratitude and encouragement to the representatives present at the meeting. She thanked them for being patient and working with the board to continue the “marathon” of COVID-19 protocols. 

“Being in this Evanston bubble, you can become complacent, right? And say, ‘Oh yeah, we’re good, we’re good, we have high numbers,’” Parsons said. “I appreciate that we are still very much aware that we have to continue to be very conscious and aware, staying the course and doing all the things that we know are working.” 

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