On April 3, School District 65 dedicated its Community Welcome Center, a room on the ground floor of the Joseph E. Hill Education Center, which is accessible through a hallway near the main entrance to the building. The dedication was attended by District 65 administrators, staff and parents and representatives of many community organizations.

School Board President Suni Kartha said, “The District has long recognized the importance between the home school connection. Supporting our students means also supporting parents and caregivers to be equal partners in their education. That’s what this welcome center is about.”

Ms. Kartha added that the welcome center will provide a space for parents to come and build community and to come and feel empowered to build that connection with their teachers and principals so they can continue to be their child’s first and best teacher.”

Superintendent Paul Goren said when the District was gathering community input in developing its strategic plan four years ago “the call that we had was we had to do more to make District 65 a welcoming place for our parents, for our caregivers, for our family members and our children,”

 Dr. Goren said the welcome center can be used for meetings, for a wide range of classes and for families who are new to the District to come in and get oriented in a way that is welcoming and warm.”

Ellen Urquiago, the District’s Family Engagement Coordinator, told the RoundTable that the District is currently using the center to provide GED classes offered by Oakton Community College, one-on-one tutoring provided by staff from the Howard Area Community Center, computer classes provided by the Evanston Public Library and a knitting club.