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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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May 14 School Board meeting features reflections on past school year, plans for future

Jenny Weber, CTE teacher and DECA leader, announced students’ accomplishments as part of the club.

On May 14, the District 202 School Board held their last meeting before the end of the 2023-2024 school year. The meeting consisted of a variety of presentations and discussions,  in topics that ranged from student fee adaptation to restorative justice.

The meeting began with public comments. In his three minute window, Joel Sternstein, a parent of a rising junior, shared his thoughts about Board remarks made at an April 8 board meeting. 

Sternstein reflected on the “war in Gaza,” stating his acknowledgement of the tragedies that have occurred. He took the stance that Israel, “has no choice but to finish the war.” 

Sternstein ended his time by prompting the board to create panel discussions at ETHS for Israelis and Palestinians to discuss peace.

Next on the agenda, the board began with recognition of ETHS students involved in the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA). These students had begun their involvement in DECA within the first two weeks of school, and “dedicated their lunch periods and free periods, coming in for AM Support and before and after school to work on [their] projects,” said Jenny Weber, ETHS Career & Technical Education teacher, who was also named Illinois DECA Marketing Educator of the Year.

The high school competitive business club involves written and roleplay elements of competition. After thriving at the Illinois Career Development Conference in February, many students earned the opportunity to attend the international conference in Anaheim, California.

The international conference consisted of competition in categories like franchise business plan, business services operations research, community awareness project, community giving project and independent business plan. Projects revolved around gun safety, ETHS partnerships with organizations and products adapted to the athlete, for example.

Students and staff delivered a sustainability update, sharing progress and future plans.

Following the presentation of the DECA students came a sustainability update. A group of two students and two staff presented a slideshow, which began by accentuating the passing of the Green New Deal Sustainability Policy for ETHS.

While the passing of the deal was an exciting moment, the team admitted that there is still a lot of room for improvement.

“We can celebrate what we have done, and we have done some good things this year, but there is a lot of work to do,” said John Crawford, Director of Operations & Sustainability.

The policy consists of eight goals focusing on the following topics: a sustainability plan and scorecard, education, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, water conservation, waste, food, healthy in and outdoor environments and sustainable purchasing.

In addition to the synopsis of the new policy, the group gave progress updates on Stored Energy Mechanism (SEM) electrical and gas savings and the current greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

The presenters also expressed their excitement for an upcoming waste audit in the fall. The goal of the audit will be “to develop a baseline for waste,” according to Jexa Edinberg, current junior in E-Town Sunrise, a student climate advocacy group at ETHS.

After the sustainability update, a significant amount of meeting time was designated to a proposed adjustment of student fees. Two representatives from the ETHS business office put forward a plan for an “equitable and modernized fee structure” in response to inflation and to meet school needs.

The fee structure has remained unchanged for around ten years. Currently, grades 10-12 pay $340 each year, freshmen pay $380 and qualifying families pay a reduced rate of $25 per year. The money goes towards a variety of things, like CPR certification, heart rate monitors and student activities. 

According to the suggested rate, students of all grades would be charged $365 each year, and the reduced rate would remain at $25. Along with the new financial structure, the business team hopes to introduce improvements, such as replacement of heart rate bands with better equipped watches.

Next up on the agenda: the student board report. ETHS Student Representative, Nicole Yao, and two of her fellow seniors from the Emerge leadership program gathered to discuss a project on restorative justice.

“Restorative Justice is the idea of responding to conflicts, harm and crime in a reparative way,” said Brandon Rosemond, an outgoing ETHS senior.

The group is confident in the continuation of restorative justice practices at ETHS next year as they continue their partnership with The Moran Center, which offers restorative services. They recapped their strengths and weaknesses and presented next steps, concluding the presentation.

Yao will be graduating this year, meaning this student board report was her last. Board members allocated time to celebrate her time spent on board, and appreciate her hard work. They wished her luck in future endeavors, including her pursuit of pre-med and pre-law at Carleton College in Minnesota.

After their heartfelt goodbyes to Yao, the board identified Rachel Durango-Cohen as the new Student Representative and Annah Stevenson as alternate.

Durango-Cohen proceeded to take the oath of office assuming her new role. She then replaced Yao at her seat among the other board members.

After the oath, Marcus Campbell, ETHS Superintendent, delivered the Superintendent’s Report. He summarized recent events like the opening of the new health science center, MENAA Summit, Abilities Conference, Climate Justice Conference, Matilda musical and discussion with three attorney generals about social media and mental health.

Lastly, Pat Savage-Williams, Board President, introduced the twelfth and final item: organization of the board. The board underwent a series of roll calls and motions, confirming the unchanged positions for the next school year.

“We wish everybody a really safe, wonderful and restful summer and congratulations to the seniors,” Savage-Williams concluded.

The next meeting is scheduled for June 10.

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About the Contributor
Natalie Weinert
Natalie Weinert, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Natalie Weinert (she/her), and I am a staff writer for The Evanstonian. I am a freshman, so this is my first year being part of the paper. I am writing for The Evanstonian to improve how I collaborate with people in a team setting, to learn about useful skills and journalism in general, and to have fun with the new people I meet! I play volleyball at ETHS, and I might join other clubs or sports teams as the year goes on. In my free time, I enjoy being with family and friends, playing sports, traveling, reading, and watching TV.
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