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  1. As an education researcher, I absolutely commend Dr. Cabiya er. al for this thoughtful commentary. As a 5th ward resident and parent of children who will attend the new school, I need to know that they will be taken seriously because I need to know that my kids, their friends, and our community genuinely need this school to be done right, because it will deeply affect almost every aspect of the rest of their lives.

    It is essential that the various architecture and structural design firms engaged in this project need to take into account the wealth of recent research around the design needs of creating safe and inclusive learning spaces.

    Though I know we are just beginning to enter the stage of solidifying decisions around the building’s design, I am somewhat concerned that the consultants who have attended community meetings have not been very approachable or communicative thus far and, from my perspective, hesitant to affirm requests such as those made in this letter.

    If it’s a question of funding (and I’m sure it is) then being quiet is NOT the way to go here. The money exists and can be found to do the right thing, it’s just a matter of those who have the ability to commit that funding to the project, actually do so. Evanston owes it to the 5th ward to do far more than “good enough.” The residents and especially the Students of the new school need to know without a doubt that every effort has been made to make this school not simply a token gesture but a genuine investment in the community and set a new standard of what a D65 school can and should be. Anything less just continues to tell the 5th Ward community that any talk about addressing the generations of harm done to them is only that, talk.

  2. Dr Cabiya talks about improving the air quality for Black students in the 5th ward’s Meanwhile the overall student population is declining year after year. Families are leaving for private schools or to Wilmette. Tests scores are declining and the standards have been lowered again according to the District 65 school board and Superintendent Anyone can use a study to support almost anything. This letter cites numerous studies but the reality of what is happening in our schools should be a wake up call for everyone

  3. Thank you for this critical information. The District should sit down with you and other experts to build a path forward and create a school designed to support optimal learning, environmental health and well-being. The families to be served by this school deserve nothing less.