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Supporting All Students At Evanston Township High School

Support systems are in place (some more consistent than others), but how can we as a community support every student at ETHS?

My eldest son, an incoming freshman at , just finished summer school at ETHS last week.

From his perspective, the experience was terrific. He took the Prep to Humanities course offered through the school’s STAE program. STAE stands for Steps Toward Academic Excellence, which, according to the ETHS website, is targeted support for math and/or English at the honors level:

“STAE is a study hall program for freshmen and sophomores who are capable of doing honors work but could use some regular academic support. Most students have the study hall three days a week, during a period that alternates with their science labs. A teacher confers with STAE students on a regular basis about their grades, about the supports available to them in the school, and about how they can best apply study skills. For students who struggle the most, the study hall teacher provides extra support and guidance. The goal of STAE is to help students achieve success in their honors classes.”

“100% of STAE students are enrolled in either honors math or honors English. Regular grade monitoring by teachers ensures that students are successful. When they are struggling, intervention occurs within the study hall.”

I’ll be honest: I’ve heard conflicting accounts of what STAE does for students. Some parents say their kids are better prepared for college as a result of the STAE program, while others have shared discouraging accounts of how STAE study hall teachers barely interact with their students. A neighbor recently told me the program is nothing like what it used to be, which makes me wonder, “What was it like before...and how does it compare now?”

The other question I have is, wouldn’t every student at ETHS benefit from a program like this, in which a study hall teacher (or another adult) is available for students’ questions and struggles? What are the resources required? If it's beyond the ETHS budget to provide such services, might there be a way to incorporate community resources and volunteers?

I’m thrilled my son was invited to participate in a support program like STAE, but as a naïve parent of a new ETHS student, I can’t help but wonder how we as community support every kid at ETHS. What do you think?

Melanie July 09, 2012 at 07:01 PM
I absolutely agree with you Christine. Both of our sons just recently graduated from ETHS, 2011 and 2012. Our youngest son was invited to participate in the STAE program and his 8th grade english teacher strongly recommended it. However, they only accept so many students into the program because as I recall, they only have enough staff to support a small number of students. So, he was not accepted because they believed he would do well on his own. It is a shame that there are programs such as this and even Magnet schools for that matter, that are in place to support only a few students when all children should receive this type of support and special curriculum. All schools should be "Magnet" schools. Why should we hold a lottery (or whatever they do) to select a few lucky students to receive a better form of education and leave other students to attend the "not as good" schools. It is a form of discrimination that leaves a lot of our children at a disadvantage and certainly needs to be addressed with the U. S. Department of Education. Thanks for addressing this issue. On another note, I would also like to see District 202 address the growing rate of crime on campus that tends to be swept under the rug more often than people are made aware of. It has become alarmingly scary! Good luck to your child's attendance at ETHS!

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