Evanston RoundTable
Members of the Illinois State Board of Education meet March 16. (Screenshot via ISBE.net)

Good Thursday morning, Evanston.

In an effort to improve state assessments for elementary and middle schoolers, the Illinois State Board of Education is considering a wide range of potential updates to its current testing system, a spokesperson for the agency told the RoundTable this week.

Although a specific proposal is not yet on the table, possible changes include shifting to more frequent, shorter, intermittent tests throughout the year, rather than one long and demanding assessment at the end of each spring. Additionally, other options are simply shortening the end-of-year exam, computerizing the test-taking process to deliver results more quickly and offering more individualized student assessments.

Irwin Weil (Photo by Nurbek Matzhani, CC BY-SA 4.0 Creative Commons license)

This week, the RoundTable’s Les Jacobson caught up with Irwin Weil, Professor Emeritus of Slavic Languages and Literature at Northwestern University. Weil remains in close touch with his friends in Russia’s academic and intellectual communities, and what he hears is gloomy.

“Of course they can’t say it in so many words,” says the longtime Evanston resident regarding the Russian war on Ukraine. “As you can imagine, phones may be tapped. But you can hear how upset and angry they are in their tone of voice and the way they talk.”

COVID-19 by the numbers: 15 cases and one death were reported Tuesday, March 29, the last day the city updated case totals. The seven-day average is eight cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

At This Time: Wednesday at 8:09 a.m. JY Sun prepares for next week’s U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships in Newark, Delaware. He gave up competitive skating in 2009 but is returning to the ice this year. Biggest challenge? “Your mental fear of jumping. It’s a little scary if you haven’t done it in a long time.” Sun, who works for the Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago, drives from the south Loop three or four times a week to practice at the Robert Crown Community Center. “There is a lot of fun in performing. Telling a story on ice.” (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Jeffrey Albaugh. (Northsore University HealthSystem photo)

Levy Lecture: Relationships and intimacy during COVID-19. Jeffrey Albaugh, Director of Sexual Health at NorthShore University HealthSystem, returned to the Levy Lecture Series on March 22 to discuss issues pertaining to relationships and intimacy while facing illness or the threat of illness.

Peggy Tarr: Art and hearts together. While visiting a post office out of town, our columnist helped brighten the day for a grieving clerk with a bookmark featuring her painting of a tree.

ETHS softball: Squad must move on minus pitcher Goodwill. Two of the best players in ETHS history won’t be back. Slugging shortstop Chloe Haack graduated and pitcher Serafina Goodwill is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL ligament playing club volleyball, so the WildKits will look to their young talent for a boost.

Omar Brown. (Submitted photo)

NorthShore University HealthSystem appoints Omar Brown to Board of Directors. Omar Brown, Evanston resident and Senior Vice President, People and Culture Officer, Big Ten Conference, has been appointed to NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Board of Directors.

Rank and File | Nakamura qualifies for World Championship Candidates Tournament. RoundTable chess columnist Keith Holzmueller breaks down U.S. Grandmaster Hideki Nakamura’s win to secure the last automatic qualifying spot in the Candidates Tournament that will be held this June and July.

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Around the web

Chicago is considering a bid for the 2024 Democratic National Convention. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth are coordinating a campaign to bring the Democratic convention back to Chicago for the first time since 1996.

‘I want them to have an experience of being celebrated’: Booked plans a Transgender Day of Visibility party for youth. Eli Cooper-Nelson, the general manager at Booked, a children’s and young adult bookstore on Main Street in Evanston, will celebrate the Transgender Day of Visibility this Friday.

California group votes to limit reparations to slave descendants. California’s first-in-the-nation state task force on reparations has narrowly rejected a proposal to offer compensation to all Black people regardless of lineage.

Chicago’s COVID cases are rising, but city in ‘good control’ of its outbreak, top doc says. Despite a 27% rise in average daily cases from a week ago, Chicago’s health commissioner said the increases are nothing to be alarmed about for now.

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Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...