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Evanston Township High School is far more than an address on Dodge Avenue. ETHS is a community treasure, vital to life in Evanston over the decades, vital to life in Evanston today, and vital to the future of Evanston.
With our school rapidly climbing even higher in the national rankings (last May, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post placed ETHS in the top 1-2% of all high schools in the nation, higher than our 2015 rankings), ETHS not only reflects the achievements of our students and their fine teachers, but it also reflects our community values. With our graduation rate steadily increasing, well above the national average, and our dropout rate the lowest in school history, that has important implications for our students and for our community.
With our ACT scores and the percentage of students excelling in Advanced Placement courses the highest in ETHS’s history, that matters for each student and also for our entire community. When we have expanded our curriculum to provide cutting-edge courses like Advanced Manufacturing, Astrophysics, Geometry in Construction, and Algebra in Entrepreneurship; when we have state-of-the-art learning facilities, inside and around the campus; when we are financially sound and have earned one of the few Aaa bond ratings of any school district in America; and when we have model partnerships, including those with Northwestern University and Evanston Cradle-to-Career, we are constantly reminded that ETHS is a source of community pride, a school teeming with accomplishments.
Our public schools are among our most valuable assets in Evanston. The Center on Education Policy in the report Why We Still Need Public Schools has documented that Americans see important reasons for having strong public schools:
When asked to choose which reason for public schools seemed most important to them, 25% of Americans participating in a 2006 national poll cited as their top reason “to give all children a chance to get ahead and level the playing field”; 22% said “to keep America strong and competitive in the global economy”; 19% said “to help strengthen our democracy so children will have the skills to participate as adults”; and 16% said “because today’s children are tomorrow’s workforce.” (Other reasons were cited by 10% or less of those polled.)
Having a top-tier and renowned high school is vital to Evanston. Having great K-12 schools in Evanston/Skokie serves to retain families and also attract new families to our community, increasing the demand for housing and strengthening property values. Excellent schools like ours attract employers who can better attract employees to this community by touting our fine school system. Great schools help increase the level of educational attainment in the community, subsequently enhancing the arts, recreation, entertainment, wellness, and more. In fact, there have been studies that show the economic health of a community and the quality of life are inexorably linked to the strength of its schools.
We have ETHS alumni in Evanston and around the world who proudly wear the orange and blue. We have parents, guardians, and grandparents of current students and graduates who have experienced the value of an ETHS education in their own families. We have taxpayers who highly value our top-flight schools and generously support this celebrated high school, making it possible for each generation to benefit from an unparalleled ETHS educational experience.
As we begin this new school year, we anticipate we will once again see student outcomes that distinguish this outstanding high school. We will see students shine in math, science, DECA, [Distributed Education Clubs of America],Poetry Slam, YAMO, journalism, dance, music, theater, National Merit Scholarships, creative writing, national assessments, speech and debate, athletic competitions, and much more. And equally as important, we will also see our students’ humanity reflected in how they treat one another with respect and honoring diversity, in their community service projects and other acts of kindness, and in their activism for social and racial justice.
Yes, ETHS is a community treasure, a school where the students from our neighborhoods throughout Evanston/Skokie thrive. Welcome to the excitement and the promise of another school year.
It’s a great day to be a Wildkit.