It’s Back to School time.  Retailers selling clothes, shoes, backpacks, and school supplies inundate us in the month of August with messages about Back to School, messages that herald the closing days of summer and the rapidly approaching Labor Day weekend. This is the time of year in Evanston-Skokie when families rush to squeeze a few more activities into the remaining days of summer as the impending first day of the new school year looms closer and closer. Summer on the North Shore is a beautiful time of year, and the start of school signals that summer will soon be ending.

But Back to School signals something much more significant than the closing days of summer. It signals the next step in the education of young people in our community. Last year’s eighth graders are this year’s freshmen. Students who entered kindergarten in 1997 are now beginning their senior year in high school. Each year is an important step academically; each year is important in the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of each student.

A new school year reminds us how much we value education in Evanston-Skokie.  We invest a great deal in our schools, because we believe in the power of educating our youth. Educating the young people in our community is vital to growing our next generation of good parents and good citizens, preparing our future leaders for all walks of life, and assuring a good quality of life for generations to come. Historian-philosopher Will Durant said, “Education is the transmission of civilization.”  And the esteemed British statesman Benjamin Disraeli proclaimed, “Upon the education of the people of this country, the fate of this country depends.”  Education matters.  And in Evanston-Skokie we define ourselves by making education our top priority.

School resumes at Evanston Township High School on Monday, August 31.  Our challenge is to make sure that all 3,000 students are successful learners. Reflecting the high value our community places on education, our priority at ETHS is to work collaboratively and collectively as a community to ensure that all students, not just some students, are academically strong and that they all take challenging courses and succeed in advanced classes. Getting a top-flight, rigorous education is vitally important for every student.

Education shapes the future of our community.  Education changes lives.   In our community, we want to make certain that all our students thrive when they go Back to School.