The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

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New department unites teachers across disciplines

Arts & Innovation department promises collaboration between Fine Arts, Career & Technical educators
A+sign+showing+the+way+to+new+the+Arts+%26+Innovation+Office.
Emma Thomas
A sign showing the way to new the Arts & Innovation Office.

As the start of the 2023-2024 school year approaches, one of the major changes to the ETHS curriculum is the arrival of a new department, titled Arts & Innovation. This department would combine the Fine Arts and CTE departments and focus on interdisciplinary learning.

The idea for the new department came from the decision to rename the Fine Arts wing the Arts & Innovation wing. When the idea was proposed to District 202 administration, administrators liked it, because the change combined two disciplines that aren’t necessarily thought of as similar, but do have overlap. After deciding to rename the wing, administrators realized that they had to create a new division as well to collect ideas for where the collaboration could go in the future.

“We wanted to create a space where the teachers are together, they’re thinking about how their classes come together, how their learning is together, how the discipline is interdisciplinary,” said Superintendent Dr. Marcus Campbell. “And how do fine arts and the visual arts connect with industrial design?”

To ease the integration and creation of the new department, along with its new courses and curricula, ETHS facilities will undergo numerous renovations. This includes potentially building a black box theater, as well as renovating ETHS’ own Little Theater.

“We’re talking about new classrooms, more ‘flex space’,” said Campbell. “Learning isn’t always connected. But what happens when we start connecting and learning [at the same time]? What happens when we start interconnecting more disciplines? We’re going to be doing a lot of renovations to facilitate what that vision is.”

All Fine Arts and CTE teachers will join the Arts & Innovation department. Starting this year, they will be creating and designing courses together that turn their disciplines and lesson goals into a cohesive, collaborative curriculum. However, the first opportunity to take an Arts & Innovation course won’t be available until the fall of 2025.

We wanted to create a space where the teachers are together, they’re thinking about how their classes come together, how their learning is together, how the discipline is interdisciplinary.”

— Superintendent Dr. Marcus Campbell

“So the teachers this year are going to be spending a lot of time talking about what a collective vision looks like,” said Campbell. “How do they see themselves in the future? What is their identity?”

For Campbell, one of the main draws of the new department is the cohesiveness that it aims to bring to the teachers who used to be part of the Fine Arts and CTE departments.

“Within the [Fine Arts and CTE departments], there were these groups and all these different components. So, now, we’re just bringing it all together, and really figuring out how to connect the teams that exist within the different departments,” said Campbell.

Along with the creation of the new department comes the need for reconsideration of the breakdown of credits needed for graduation.

Previously, students needed a total of three credits in Fine Arts and CTE; either two Fine Arts and one CTE or one Fine Arts and two CTE. When the first Arts & Innovation courses come out, and the Fine Arts and CTE departments join together, new graduation requirements will need to be put in place.

“They’ll be coming back with recommendations for me to take to the board as they figure this all out,” said Campbell.

Another incentive for the creation of the department is the example that it will set for other high school districts in the area.

“I think it’s so, so cool that we are going to set a new precedent in education,” said Campbell. “Once we do this, I think that other schools will follow suit [and realize] that there should be more interdisciplinary courses.”

The potential benefits of the new Arts & Innovation department are seen by some students, even those that likely won’t feel the effects of the change during their time at ETHS.

“I think that the new department is a good step towards showing students the large number of opportunities that await them in a variety of different fields,” said incoming senior Cade Likhite.

Looking into the future, Campbell is looking forward to the opportunities that the new department will provide students and teachers at ETHS.

“It’s all very exciting: the new courses, the new classrooms, and the new vision,” said Campbell.

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About the Contributors
Ethan Ravi, News Editor
Hi! My name is Ethan Ravi (he/him). I’m a junior, and this year I’m the News Editor, as well as the Resident Food Critic. This is my third year on staff, previously I was the Assistant News Editor (sophomore year), and a staff writer (freshman year). I love writing for the Evanstonian because I get to work with our wonderful staff to tell important Evanston stories. Outside of the paper, I play tennis for the ETHS team, work at a local tennis shop, compete on the Math Team and participate in peer tutoring. In my free time, I enjoy reading, seeing friends and family, playing the piano and drinking coffee.
Emma Thomas, Photographer
Hey there! My name is Emma Thomas (she/her). I am a freshman and a photographer. This is my first year on The Evanstonian and I am so excited. I wanted to be a photographer for The Evanstonian because I wanted to try something new and I think it will be a fun and meaningful experience! Outside of the newspaper I really enjoy skateboarding and playing the drums. I also love to travel, spend time with friends and family and read.
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