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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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District 202 board approves Capital Improvement Program, discusses diversity and equity in staff and multilingual students

Daily file photo by Jorge Melendez
A new Multilingual Services Department was added at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year to accommodate a growing multilingual student population.

Evanston Township High School District 202 board members discussed equitable hiring practices and introduced a new Department of Multilingual Services on Monday night.

Board members also approved the Fiscal Year 2024 Capital Improvement Program and the addition of new courses to the ETHS curriculum at the meeting.

Dr. Scott Bramley, ETHS Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, and Angela Gardner, ETHS Associate Director of Human Resource, began by reviewing new hiring goals for faculty and staff. 

The district aims to prioritize recruiting a more diverse staff. Out of their licensed staff hires for the 2023-24 school year, 67% identified as people of color, a 6% increase in the 2022-23 school year. Additionally, this year, 75% of new district leaders hired were people of color, which was also an increase from previous years. 

Part of this effort included training for hiring committee members on “anti-bias” and “anti-discriminatory” practices. 

“How do we interrupt implicit bias?” Bramley said. “How does bias show up in our lives as human beings, and how do we interrupt that process by asking ourselves critical questions?” 

The district has collaborated with Northwestern University and the Golden Apple, an organization that develops and supports new teachers, to bring in new staff.

Dr. Kiwana Brown, ETHS Associate Principal of Instruction and Literacy, has also been working with NU’s School of Education and Social Policy to launch a teaching residency program in the district. 

“One of the other opportunities we have is to host a summer institute, which we’re exploring right now to have scholars work in the district with our students to learn about what our community is and how they could work here,” Bramley said. “(We’re) really excited about that opportunity, it’s going really well.”

The board also heard a presentation from Dr. Lindsey Rose, ETHS Director of Multilingual Services, about the district’s new Department of Multilingual Services. ETHS established the department at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year to accommodate a growing population of students who qualify  for English Learner Services. 

According to Rose’s presentation, D202 experienced “exponential growth” of EM students in the past three years when the population of EM students reached 10% for the first time — its largest increase of all time. 

Rose said EM students have historically performed lower than other groups on the state’s summative designation test. This, she said, affirms the urgency of the new department’s goals. 

“We have enormous opportunity before us to co-construct a school ecology where the learning of our multilingual students is accelerated through an approach of shared ownership and collective efficacy,” Rose said. “Emergent multilingual students are no longer problems … relinquished to English learner teachers. That is an old paradigm and an old way of thinking.”

Other meeting presentations included information about the 2023 Summer School program and Evanston Cradle to Career, a collaborative partnership of over 40 organizations and 150 community members who promote systemic change for local families. 

Pat Savage-Williams, the board’s president, emphasized the importance of intentional and active work towards promoting inclusion within the district. 

“It’s not just words. We’re actually doing it,” Savage-Williams said. “We’re serious about equity.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated which plan the D202 board approved at Monday’s meeting. The Daily regrets this error.

Email: [email protected]

Email: [email protected]

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