U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Illinois > Chicago Suburbs
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-15-2009, 11:39 AM
 
10,611 posts, read 18,112,931 times
Reputation: 3526

Advertisements

My wife and I love Evanston, but have concerns about the public elementary and middle schools there. The test scores are slightly low for a suburban school district, even compared to another diverse suburb like Oak Park. Most test in the low 80s for the ISAT and the "all tests" composite. Granted, this would be a great score for a CPS school, but if we move to the suburbs we want EXCELLENT schools, not just decent ones. However, we realize that test scores are only one factor, and would like to hear about people's experience with District 65.

Does anyone have personal experience with the Evanston schools? How did you feel about them? Did your kid get a good education? Was too much time spent helping the underachieving kids catch up? Did you like the culture of the schools and the people your kids were hanging out with? Were teachers and staff responsive to concerns?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-15-2009, 12:40 PM
 
21 posts, read 45,077 times
Reputation: 14
Our son is only in kindergarten, but he has had a wonderful year at Washington School. The teachers and principal have been very responsive, the PTA is very active, and the diversity of the school has been great. He's an overachiever and his teacher has been very good at recognizing this and making things more challenging for him and the other more advanced kids. We're hopeful for his future experiences there.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2009, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Winnetka, IL & Rolling Hills, CA
1,273 posts, read 2,772,103 times
Reputation: 537
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lookout Kid View Post
My wife and I love Evanston, but have concerns about the public elementary and middle schools there. The test scores are slightly low for a suburban school district, even compared to another diverse suburb like Oak Park. Most test in the low 80s for the ISAT and the "all tests" composite. Granted, this would be a great score for a CPS school, but if we move to the suburbs we want EXCELLENT schools, not just decent ones. However, we realize that test scores are only one factor, and would like to hear about people's experience with District 65.

Does anyone have personal experience with the Evanston schools? How did you feel about them? Did your kid get a good education? Was too much time spent helping the underachieving kids catch up? Did you like the culture of the schools and the people your kids were hanging out with? Were teachers and staff responsive to concerns?
The main reason Evanston's scores are low is because of the integration program. You have to take Evanston's scores with a grain of salt because there are more low-income children from other neighborhoods attending your neighborhood school. If you take a look at GreatSchools.net, ETHS, in particular is rated very highly.

I had a personal experience with Evanston schools for three years and for the most part they were excellent. I did have trouble dealing with the administration if there was an issue, but it was a brand new administration when my child was there.

I am mostly positive of the Evanston school system. My child got a great education while there. Evanston doesn't spend much time trying to get other kids to catch up. They are more likely to divide the children and put certain kids in remedial classes. The schools in general are divided by race or neighborhood even within the neighborhood school, which I didn't like but the children generally don't notice. The teachers were very responsive, we did have a crazy one that left half-way through the year.

I now live further north on the North Shore, but we didn't move further north because of schools. It was partly because I couldn't stand "The People's Republic of Evanston".

P.S. there was an article in the Pioneer Press several weeks ago that was discussing the startling racial disparities found in Evanston, mostly at ETHS. It mentioned that there was a high instance of white families requesting that there kids not be placed in classes with minority children. It also found that white students were treated more fairly by the teachers and administration.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2009, 02:27 PM
 
1,060 posts, read 2,371,134 times
Reputation: 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by US-Traveller View Post
The main reason Evanston's scores are low is because of the integration program. You have to take Evanston's scores with a grain of salt because there are more low-income children from other neighborhoods attending your neighborhood school. If you take a look at GreatSchools.net, ETHS, in particular is rated very highly.

I had a personal experience with Evanston schools for three years and for the most part they were excellent. I did have trouble dealing with the administration if there was an issue, but it was a brand new administration when my child was there.

I am mostly positive of the Evanston school system. My child got a great education while there. Evanston doesn't spend much time trying to get other kids to catch up. They are more likely to divide the children and put certain kids in remedial classes. The schools in general are divided by race or neighborhood even within the neighborhood school, which I didn't like but the children generally don't notice. The teachers were very responsive, we did have a crazy one that left half-way through the year.

I now live further north on the North Shore, but we didn't move further north because of schools. It was partly because I couldn't stand "The People's Republic of Evanston".

P.S. there was an article in the Pioneer Press several weeks ago that was discussing the startling racial disparities found in Evanston, mostly at ETHS. It mentioned that there was a high instance of white families requesting that there kids not be placed in classes with minority children. It also found that white students were treated more fairly by the teachers and administration.
Just to clarify. The parents were NOT asking that their children be placed with other white students. They were requesting that their honor students be placed in honors classes, not the mixed level classes. It absolutely was not about racism, it was about academics.

Denied:1up! Software ()

This was a focus group report. There was no evidence that white students were being treated more fairly. There was a perception among minority students that this was happening.

"Seth Lichter, a Northwestern professor of mechanical engineering and parent of three District 65 students, had a different point of view. "I can state unequivocally that the conclusions in the report don't follow from their analysis," he said. "Maybe it's in the Pacific Educational Group's financial self-interest to believe that there is institutionalized racism in the high school. ... There's no reason to give this report any credence."

BTW - PEG is getting a large contract to teach cultural awareness to teachers at ETHS.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2009, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Evanston
272 posts, read 677,814 times
Reputation: 100
We moved to Evanston from downtown a year ago, and our experience at our public school (Kingsley) has been nothing short of great. For background, we came from a highly-rated private school downtown and our son is at the high end of academic ability. He reports being more challenged and engaged than he was at the private school in the city, and we have been very impressed by the differentiated learning program within the context of an ability-integrated classroom.

I've written about this before, so I'll just offer one suggestion. Go onto the District 65 website and pull down test results for individual schools. As the results are segmented, look at the results for your kid's demographic. If you're caucasian and non-low income, for example, look at that data. You'll gain comfort pretty quickly about how your kid is likely to perform. (This can also be done for ETHS data, and if you do it you'll find that white non-low income kids test slightly better on average than kids at Stevenson, NT, Hinsdale, etc. The statistical difference may not be significant, but the facts are undeniable.)

I shoudl also say that I hope Evanston can address the disparity between minority and non-minority performance; unfortunately, it seems that upper-income minorities in Evanston shun the public system so that "minority" = "low income" in most of Evanston's public schools. Still, the good news for folks like us is that I haven't seen any evidence that the weaker performance of minority kids has hurt performance of non-minorities in District 65 or 202.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2009, 03:56 PM
 
10,611 posts, read 18,112,931 times
Reputation: 3526
Quote:
Originally Posted by SloopyJ View Post
...and we have been very impressed by the differentiated learning program within the context of an ability-integrated classroom.
If you don't mind, could you provide some more information about this? Are you saying that they try to track students within class rooms instead of putting them in separate rooms? Or is this a program with more to it?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2009, 03:58 PM
 
21,618 posts, read 36,706,743 times
Reputation: 10660
Sloopy:

I am glad things are working out for you. I think that while you may "slice" the data anyway you want to help support your own decision to utilize ETHS the reality is that the folks that work on the US News evaluation do NOT slice things that way for a very good reason: it is not the right thing to do.

I think the State tests are about as useful as holding a mirror under a students nose and saying "if it fogs you pass".

Much better in assessing the quality of the schools are the numbers derived from AP tests. By this measure ETHS is not doing horribly, but frankly it is NOT on par with the schools you mentioned:

New Trier Township High School Winnetka: Best High Schools - USNews.com
Hinsdale Central High School: Best High Schools - USNews.com
Adlai E Stevenson High School: Best High Schools - USNews.com

Evanston Township High School: Best High Schools - USNews.com


Until better measures are widely accepted I think it is foolish to try and do what the mortgage resellers tired to do by reslicing the "under performing" loans into tranches with the acceptably performing loans to try and even out risk. We all know how well THAT worked...

While there are lots of reason that some one may like Evanston there is no data that would support it having BETTER schools than the other towns you mention.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2009, 04:07 PM
 
10,611 posts, read 18,112,931 times
Reputation: 3526
Well Chet, with the links you've provided it's interesting to note that ETHS has a much higher "college readiness index" than most suburban school districts, including places like Lyons Township High School. And it's actually pretty close to Hinsdale Central's number. Why is the "college readiness index" listed at the top and sort of highlighted? Why would AP numbers be a better measure than this composite?

I'm annoyed that Oak Park River Forest High School is not listed there. Newsweek's rankings routinely place it above ETHS, yet U.S. News didn't give it a silver rating? I'd like to see the numbers for it as a comparison. They must have vastly different methodologies.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2009, 04:11 PM
 
21,618 posts, read 36,706,743 times
Reputation: 10660
Default With out getting too edu-wonky on you...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lookout Kid View Post
If you don't mind, could you provide some more information about this? Are you saying that they try to track students within class rooms instead of putting them in separate rooms? Or is this a program with more to it?

... every school goes from doing those things to not doing those things in cycles.

Back when I was in school (and the whale oil lamps and slate came from Welsh mines) the "blue birds" read from one primer and the "robins" another and the "jay hawks" a third.

Then my kids were all forced into one big "happy circle". That sorta worked, as long as the smart kids were paired off with the slower ones so that at least half of any team could read something. But the teachers felt sorta guilty that the really slow kids and the really bright kids were not good matches for each other, so thus they ed. school profs worked out way to bring back robins, blue bird and and jay hawks with out stigmatizing anyone / leaving the District open to a Civil Rights lawsuit...

Honest.

The reality is that the SMALL number of parents who really put time into their own kids education are unlikely to have kids perform really poorly in all but the most horribly deficient school (which is hard to say exist in ANY desirable area in the region) but the MAJORITY of parents that do not put enough effort into their own kids education are going to be poorly served in but a handful of the TOP performing districts. Clear?

Do NOT be afraid of Evanston if you are committed to getting involved in your own kids education, but DO NOT make the mistake of assuming it is a top District, cause it ain't...


EDIT:

As to why AP tests are such a good measure: First the tests are NOT just multiple choice. They are free response / essay in addition to tick the box. The tests are developed by the College Board in cooperation with subject matter experts from Universities and graded by the TOP high schools instructors in a rigorous controlled manner. The kids that score well TRULY know the stuff taught in a college course. As to why that matter for HIGH SCHOOL rankings, the basics MUST be in hand -- you can't have a kid doing AP US History or Ap English Literature or AP Calc if they have NOT mastered basics of government or reading or math! Second, it takes HIGH QUALITY teachers to lead students through this material -- newbies might 'know the facts' but they rarely have the strategies to help 16-18 year olds conquer this -- experienced teachers know how to guide students to success.
Additionally a school has to has an academic focus to have ENOUGH students and teachers perform at this level. A place full of jocks, drivers ed teachers, and mall rats is NOT where you find kids proficient in AP Chinese, Studio Art, Virgil, and Macroecomics!

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/.../subjects.html

Last edited by chet everett; 05-15-2009 at 04:20 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2009, 04:12 PM
 
Location: Evanston
272 posts, read 677,814 times
Reputation: 100
My oldest kid is only in 2nd grade, so I can't speak to how it works in the upper grades except to say that when we met with the school principal prior to enrolling, we were told that older kids can take some classes at the junior high if their abilities warrant it. But I think that's still the exception, and most differentiation is in the classroom.

At the younger age, the differentiation almost exclusively occurs in the classroom. (There is some openness to pulling kids out to take individual lessons with older grades, but my guess is they'd only do it if the parents really pushed it. It wasn't something we necessarily wanted and it wasn't something they really encouraged.) Within the classroom, there are things that get taught to the entire class; there are reading and math groups where kids work with peers at similar levels; and there are individual work packets whereby, for example, accelerated kids who complete their group lessons are steered to work on their math or reading packets. Those packets are done at the student's pace and can be as challenging as the student can handle.

One reason I like this approach is that even the large-group activities offer some benefits in terms of social interaction and in developing leadership and teaching skills for the more accelerated kids. I personally think those skills are just as important as the math and reading skills themselves.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2011 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $84,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Illinois > Chicago Suburbs
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:44 PM.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top