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

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

The Daily Northwestern

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Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award
District 65 School Board votes to close Dr. Bessie Rhodes School
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Pro-Palestinian graduates walk out of 2024 Commencement Ceremony in solidarity with Gaza
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June 4, 2024

Haner: A love letter to the multimedia room

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Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Tewaaraton Award

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Lacrosse: No. 1 Northwestern falls 14-13 to No. 2 Boston College in national championship battle

May 26, 2024

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District 65 Board hears 5th Ward school naming update, presentation on individualized education services

Anavi Prakash/The Daily Northwestern
The District 65 school board heard updates on the naming of the 5th Ward School and its student individualized education programs at its Monday meeting.

The Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education heard an update on how to name the future 5th Ward school at its meeting Monday night.

The meeting followed the third and final public hearing regarding the potential closure of the Dr. Bessie Rhodes School of Global Studies. The board announced its plan to begin the closure procedure for the school at its January 22 meeting.

The district put out several surveys to gauge community ideas for naming the 5th Ward school, said Kirby Callam, the district’s director of college and career and EvanSTEM director.

He said the criteria for picking a name includes ensuring it is distinct and “inspires and connects” the school community. 

The four main options that are being considered are the 5th Ward Foster School, Foster School, New Foster School and 5th Ward School. These names were chosen in September 2023 by the Foster Senior Club, a group made up of former students of the old Foster School.

A survey given to the 5th Ward and Bessie Rhodes communities received 189 responses. “Foster School” received a survey-high 78 votes.

Respondents also voted on the school’s mascot. Ninety-four respondents voted for a phoenix. 

A similar survey was conducted among third to fifth grade students in a Family Focus Evanston class, an after-school program. After learning about the history of the 5th Ward and Foster School, 47 of the 54 surveyed students also voted for a phoenix as the mascot.

Callam said many students liked the phoenix because it rises from the ashes during challenging times. 

“They all jumped on that as part of the history of the school, the history of the community, the history of the African American struggle in the United States,” he said. 

There are plans to honor Bessie Rhodes within the 5th Ward school, either by naming the library after her or adding her to the school’s History Hall, Callam added. He said this is important to the community because Rhodes was a leader in District 65.

Board member Soo La Kim said she appreciated plans to honor Bessie Rhodes and her community impact. 

“I like the resonance, and I wish the Bessie Rhodes community were here to hear that,” she said. “The history and the resonance and connection there.”

The board also heard a presentation about the district’s individualized education services from Romy DeCristofaro, the district’s assistant superintendent of student services.

About 15% of the student population has individualized education programs, which is aligned with the state average, DeCristofaro said. This school year, there are 1,162 students with IEPs, an increase from 1,133 last school year. About 23% of those 1,162 students are dually identified, meaning they have an IEP and are multilingual learners.

The percentage of IEP students achieving an expected growth in math scores increased from 54.8% to 63.4% this school year. In English, the percentage of students achieving expected score improvements increased from 49.8% to 55.2%.

However, the percentage of students meeting the College Readiness Benchmarks has decreased. Last school year, 15.4% of students met the standard in math, compared to 14.6% this year. In reading, the percentage of students decreased from 32.6% to 31.7%.

Board member Elisabeth Lindsay-Ryan said these numbers represent both successes and areas for improvement. 

“Obviously there’s still a lot that we have to do, but to see growth on so many of these things is fantastic,” Lindsay-Ryan said.

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