At the Feb. 13 District 65 School Board meeting, Board member Candance Chow commented on the District’s 2018 Achievement Report which was discussed at the Board’s Jan. 28 meeting that she could not attend.

Ms. Chow noted that the percentage of Black students who were kindergarten ready dropped from 41% in 2015 to 27.6% in the fall of 2018. She said, “I would like to specifically call for a discussion in conjunction with Cradle to Career to own this drop and better understand root causes and immediate actions. …  We must reverse this trend.”

 She also said that growth of students in the bottom quartile is insufficient between kindergarten through third grade to enable them to reach proficiency, and that students across the State are outperforming District 65’s students with special needs on the Dynamic Learning Assessment.

“Based on these trends, we must take a deep, hard look at our approach, structure, resource allocations and execution of interventions, particularly in literacy, and special services for our students as a key priority,” said Ms. Chow. 

“We are in year three of our five-year strategic plan – a plan which took a very comprehensive approach to the work necessary to move us forward. I call on us to work with the administration as our spring performance data becomes available and question, rationalize and prioritize the work of our plan.

“We must make some clear choices, limiting our initiatives where necessary, to act with urgency and deliberateness and reverse these trends. 

“To oversimplify, I believe the primary function of this [achievement] report is to tell us at a macro level are we getting the academic results we want for our children? 

“From here it is incumbent on management to unpack the data to refine, revise and correct our programs and initiatives to meet the results we seek. It is then incumbent on us as a Board to prioritize, throughout our agendas, the review of those programs central to our progress with more diagnostic analysis during these meetings.”

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...