In a close election on April 2, Monique Parsons, Stephanie Teterycz and Elizabeth Rolewicz were elected into the three open spots on the District 202 Board of Education. With 31.4% of the votes, Parsons was elected to her second 4-year term on the board and will continue to serve as the Vice President of the board. Close behind her, Rolewicz and Teterycz received 26.7% and 23.8% of the total votes respectively, making them the two newest members of the board. The fourth candidate, Slaney Palmer, finished last in the election with 18.2% of the votes. The reorganization of the board will occur at the April 29 board meeting
Teterycz’s involvement in many Northwestern, District 65 and other community initiatives, in addition to her perspective on ETHS led her to run for the Board of Education.
“I have my ear to the ground on what people are doing at the high school and what people are concerned about, and I think having that perspective on the board is really helpful and useful,” Teterycz said.
Once she takes her place on the board, Teterycz wants to focus on the issue of literacy among the student population.
“The reality is we have a significant portion of students not coming in [reading] at grade level; a significant portion of those students are students of color, and particularly black students,” Teterycz said. “That is extremely urgent because those kids are here, they’re coming in a few months, and we need to get our arms around them and gets those supports in place so they can succeed in high school.”
Teterycz also wants to work towards closing the achievement gap by recognizing systematic problems in the school system and altering it to better accommodate all students.
“If you’re going to attack things like the achievement gap, or literacy with students coming not reading at grade level, you need to do that work and you need to be able to examine it critically through a lens of equity. You need to understand that these are not problems of the students, this is a problem of the system, so how do we change the system so that we can help students thrive and support all students?” Teterycz said.
In the beginning of her term, Teterycz hopes to learn a lot and find her place on the Board of Education
“I expect to learn a lot in the first year for sure. Hopefully as time goes on, I’ll be able to understand how I can make a particular contribution and what kind of insight I can bring, but right now it’s going to be a lot of learning,” Teterycz said.
After serving for four years on the board, Monique Parsons decided to re-run to continue her commitment to the students at ETHS and to solving issues that are yet to be resolved at the school.
“I decided to rerun because I’m so invested in what our students’ future is in Evanston and beyond,” Parsons said. “Quite honestly, I felt like I had work to still be doing and there was a difference to be made.”
Parsons hopes to continue working towards solutions for problems that exist in the school such as the achievement gap.
“Unfortunately, we are still struggling with this persistent achievement gap… I’m looking forward to really having deeper and broader conversations around that, and setting some very strategic and targeted goals around that,” Parsons said.
In addition to focusing on the achievement gap, Parsons also wants to prioritize communication with community members including students, parents and teachers.
“Communication is always hard because people have to gravitate towards what is important to them, but we have to figure out how to be a little bit more creative in trying to reach out and collaborate with different stakeholders in our community, so they understand what our challenges are, what challenges our students are facing, and the direction that the board is going,” Parsons said.
Parsons also wants to emphasize her gratitude to the community for her re-election.
“It’s just really important for me to express how grateful I am that they voted for me again to serve as a school board member,” said Parsons. “I’m grateful and appreciative, and will continue to focus on what’s best for our students.”
An active member of the community, Liz Rolewicz has had previous experience working on organizations such as the Parent Teacher Association Equity Project, the D65 African American, Black and Caribbean parent group and Evanston CASE.
“I became interested in the school board because I was hearing concerns and frustration from the families of our Black, Latinx and special needs students with them expressing that their children were not prioritized in accessing resources and opportunity at school,” Rolewicz said. “When I saw the data supporting that belief, I knew that there was important work that had to be done.”
Rolewicz is working on the issue that many different people are prevented from educational opportunities they deserve, and has specific plans on how to achieve equal opportunities for all.
“I would like to see our data disaggregated not just by race and socioeconomic status, but also disability, gender and English language proficiency… We need to partner with District 65, community advocacy groups and the city of Evanston to obtain a broader picture of our students and their experiences prior to arriving at ETHS. Disparities need to be identified at a young age, and interventions employed sooner, to affect outcomes by high school age,” Rolewicz explained.
Rolewicz has big hopes for the future of ETHS and plans to make her years on the school board valuable.
“I am excited to be a part of the vibrant, close-knit ETHS community and to help push the school and the students to reach their full potential,” Rolewicz said. “I envision ETHS as being a national model for its work towards educational equity, eliminating bias, and cultivating cultural respect and literacy within the school, and sending our students out into the world, prepared, and ready to spread their knowledge into society.”