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Evanston Township High School (ETHS) is among 18 U.S. schools named as finalists in the 2010 Intel School of Distinction Awards competition for implementing innovative math and science programs and serving as models for other schools. Of the 18 finalists, only three high schools, including ETHS, have been honored for excellence in mathematics.

The Schools of Distinction honors schools in mathematics that offer students a rigorous, challenging and engaging program that teaches mathematics skills and how to apply them to solve real-life problems, approach projects as a member of a team, and communicate succinctly on the subject. The awards program also honors schools in science that provide a rich science curriculum incorporating hands-on investigative experiences that prepare students for 21st-century jobs. Programs encourage student achievement in sciences and engineering, while simultaneously helping students become knowledgeable consumers of news and data in order to be active and informed citizens.

ETHS Superintendent Eric Witherspoon said, “This is a great honor for the ETHS mathematics department to be recognized as one of the top three high school math programs in the nation. We strive for excellence, to be the best, in everything we do at ETHS. We want our students to have the finest opportunities in the nation. Our math department has been on the cutting edge in striving to implement the very best practices in mathematics teaching, and they are working collaboratively as a department to improve instruction for all students. The math department is dedicated to achieving equity and excellence in mathematics so all ETHS students benefit from the finest teaching and learning.”

Eugenia Brelias, ETHS Math Department chair, said, “While the sequence is traditional, there is a connectedness among topics taught both within and across courses. The curriculum at all levels is rigorous and emphasizes conceptual understanding, reasoning and problem-solving, as well as procedural fluency. The curriculum also challenges and engages students in problems that include real-life applications. Teacher professional development focuses on improving instruction and learning so every student will excel in math. In addition, ETHS is committed to eliminating the achievement gap between white students and students of color, and has made many structural, curricular, instructional and assessment changes over the years.”