The plans for a new student resource center to be completed in mid-September are designed to help Evanston Township High School students get better grades, become more involved in student activities, and increase community service, according to a presentation made to the District 202 School Board on May 5.
“The Hub”, as the space was named in a contest, will allow all students to get academic support and connect with ETHS’s College and Career Center, Community Service and Student Activities departments, as well as the satellite offices of Youth Organizations Umbrella and Youth Job Center, all in one location. A core group of students and staff have worked together since last October to plan the space that will take over what is now room West 201.
The goal is to create a “one stop shop” to increase the ability of students to connect with resources more easily, said Paula Frohman, director of technology, project manager for The Hub and member of the panel presenting the plan to the School Board.
Barriers presented by having resources spread throughout the school will be eliminated with this new space, said Reggie Murphy, one of the students on the planning team. Those seeking tutoring in The Hub will no longer need to go through the process of getting a pass to-and-from study centers. Instead, students will be “scanned in” and attendance will be resolved electronically. Students will also be able to use their time more efficiently by having the ability to access help in multiple subjects in one trip to The Hub versus having to stay at a specific study center for an entire period.
Couches, tables, movable walls and offices will create both quiet study spaces and areas for group meetings. A mobile school store will sell supplies, spirit wear, water bottles and more and will have the ability to move around the school. Computers and an ample supply of textbooks will be available for homework. Student greeters and a Help Desk will work to engage and assist visitors.
The plan received an enthusiastic response from the School Board. Several Board members called the plan, “very exciting” and congratulated the planning team on their efforts.
Gretchen Livingston, Board president, said that looking at the mock- ups, the space “looks so bright and airy.”
Mark Metz, Board member, said, “Sometimes for students seeking help, the biggest barrier is that initial approach. Once in this place, I think we’re more likely to see those barriers broken down. I’m hopefully we’ll see an increase in the number of students served because of the synergy created by a facility like this.”
Board member Bill Geiger asked what success would look like. The panel members said much thought had gone into measuring the effectiveness of the space. Numbers of students accessing academic support, participating in community service and student activities will be analyzed.
“We would like to see an increase in homework completion and grades,” said Emily Varua, one of the students on the panel. “With everything being in the same room and having more textbooks, kids will have more access and so hopefully that will increase their success in academics.”
The PowerPoint presentation detailing the plans for The Hub, including mock-up photos, is on the ETHS website, eths.k12.il.us., under board book.