I am writing to bring to the attention of the attention of our community to the fact that Dr. Bessie Rhodes Magnet School (scholastically a leading school in the district) is struggling to provide consistency of leadership that if continued will result in a district wide failure of decreasing the magnetic attraction and enrollment balancing function the school provides. The school does not have an Assistant Principal and it is sorely needed.
What many Evanston/Skokie residents may not understand is that families who choose to attend Rhodes Magnet school frequently do so for the consistency of a K-8th grade education and global focus but this is at the expense of not having science labs, locker rooms, fully rostered sports teams, and other extra curricular activities for our students. Managing the wide spectrum of a K-8th grade school with 367 students requires at minimum a full time Principal and Assistant Principal. Other middle schools within the district have these positions in addition to PBIS coordinators and numerous other support positions that provide infrastructure so that educators can teach and the lead educator (e.g. the Principal) can ensure the school continues to provide our students with the education to which they are entitled.
When Dr. Bessie Rhodes originally envisioned the school it was with the intent of creating a technologically advanced educational environment. To achieve her dream, she exchanged the school’s allocated assistant principal position for a technology specialist. As technology has been mainstreamed within our district; technology positions standardized/eliminated; and managing student behavior has become an increasing part of education; Rhodes Magnet School stands at a deficit that must be rectified if it is to continue to be an effective resource for our community. Each Rhodes family has made a personal decision about whether or not they should become a part of the magnet school community. We realize there are pluses and minuses associated with this decision but consistent and adequate school leadership for the purpose of supporting our kids academically and socio-emotionally must not be one of the things we compromise.
I would like to thank the Evanston/Skokie community for their ongoing support of this matter.
Wendy Woodward King
Rhodes Magnet School Parent