Changes to the student pilot for the school year

For the 2023-24 school year, the ETHS administration made several key changes to the handbook
North Cafeteria, the new drop-in cafeteria location.
North Cafeteria, the new drop-in cafeteria location. (Emma Thomas)
North is the new drop-in cafeteria

ETHS administrators made a change in school policy this summer to change the drop-in cafeteria location from South Cafeteria to North Cafeteria.

The school had made South the drop-in cafeteria to begin the second semester of the 2022-23 school year, allowing students to enjoy lunch with their friends even if they were assigned different lunchrooms.

This decision followed heavy criticism from students that they were being separated from friends by a strict lunch policy that enclosed them in their assigned cafeteria.

However, South is the smallest cafeteria, and the amount of students attempting to enter the cafeteria was often greater than the lunchroom’s capacity. This created a long line to enter South, as well as a lengthy line for students who wanted hot lunch.

Those students who were denied entry to the drop-in cafeteria had no choice but to return to their assigned cafeteria or leave the building, where they may have felt isolated or restricted.

Administrators hope that the switch to North—ETHS’ largest cafeteria—allows for more students to enjoy the privilege of enjoying a meal with friends.

Removal of extreme tardies

In a school-wide email sent on July 13, ETHS announced that extreme tardies will be removed from the student pilot for the 2023-2024 school year. These types of tardies were given when a student was 10 minutes late or later to a block and counted towards the student getting no credit for the class.

Student response to the removal of extreme tardies was generally positive.

“I was excited to see the extreme tardies being removed,” said junior Mary McDonald. “I believe that they weren’t an effective way of helping students be on time.”

Sophomore Olivia Tankevicius agreed.

“I think it’s good that [extreme tardies] were removed. When first hearing about the policy, I was shocked and pretty threatened by the fact that if you missed a certain amount of minutes, you’d be completely dropped from the class,” said Tankevicius.

You never really know what a person’s situation is, so I think it’s for the best that the policy is being removed.”

— Junior Signe Harris

With the removal of the extreme tardy policy, students can be assured that they will not be heavily penalized for being late to class, regardless of circumstance.

“This change could start to implement more trust in students if they know that the school is there for them,” junior Signe Harris said. “You never really know what a person’s situation is, so I think it’s for the best that the policy is being removed.”

Despite the outpour of support for this change, some have been more hesitant. The fear that students will abuse the new system and come in late to class was at the forefront of many minds following the announcement.

“People are going to take advantage of the fact that they can show up late with minimal consequences, which can cause some impracticality for teachers if their students are consistently showing up late,” said Harris.

The change in policy is not to say that students can come into class whenever they would like without being reprimanded, however. Under the new system, any student that enters their assigned classroom anytime after the tardy bell is to be given a tardy, which can be cleared via AM Support, visiting the Academic Study Center, attending a Wildkit Academy day and more. These supports are less punitive than the actions taken against extreme tardies, such as working towards getting no credit for a class, but still serve to encourage students to attend their classes on time.

The removal of extreme tardies is one of many policy changes made as ETHS enters the 2023-2024 school year as the administration works to make the school as safe and welcoming of a community as possible.

An ETHS student fills out the residency form.
An ETHS student fills out the residency form. (Emma Thomas)
New proof of residency requirement for students

Until this year, proof of residency to attend Evanston Township High School was only required for incoming freshmen. This policy changed this summer. From this school year on, every student at ETHS must fill out the residency application annually to prove that they currently reside in Evanston/Skokie and pay taxes.

This could be an inconvenience for families who lived in Evanston prior to this change and now moved to Chicago or other communities because of the price of Evanston housing and taxes with the hope that their kids could still attend ETHS. Marcus Campbell, the ETHS Superintendent, explained how the ETHS administration is trying to be understanding yet strict with this change in policy, “We want to serve everybody that we can but we want to do it within the confines of the law,” Campbell said.

The ETHS administration has put this policy change in order to ensure that the students attending ETHS truly live within the Evanston borders. This modification is important to ensure that those attending are paying Evanston taxes so that the school has the resources it needs, but it can also be important for making sure the students at ETHS are actually members of the community. This can even impact sports and other activities. Harris Boes, a sophomore at ETHS, sees the potential impact.

“This policy affects the students here because it ensures that all students are from Evanston and aren’t being recruited by ETHS for athletics, academics, theater, etc,” Boes said.

ETHS has a wealth of athletic programming and has different activities. Students from other schools could benefit from this and go to ETHS for this reason even though they might not currently live in Evanston. This could limit the opportunities for Evanston students, especially in sports, programs, and activities that have cuts or number limitations.

While there are scenarios where students and families have bent the rules, Campbell and the ETHS administration have decided to put in place this new policy while still holding onto showing care and compassion for the school community.

“We’re trying to be responsible,” Campbell said. “But we also want to be very supportive, because there are a lot of extenuating circumstances.”

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