Once a year, the two school boards that operate Evanston’s public schools hold a joint meeting to discuss ways in which they can work together, or “articulate,” better.
This year, that meeting will be held Monday night, beginning at 7 p.m., at the headquarters of District 65, which is responsible for grades kindergarten through eight.
The other board, District 202, operates Evanston Township High School, which includes grades nine through 12.
Most communities in this country have only a single district that covers grades K through 12, so articulation is not so much a problem as in Evanston.
But here we have two districts, each with a highly paid superintendent and a cadre of teachers and administrators, that need to communicate with each other in order to provide a seamless transition for the student from one level to the next.
In a memo to the two boards, an assistant superintendent from each district collaborated to list 42 meetings held within the last year between different groups of the two districts to enhance this “articulation” between the two.
The “Academic Articulation Log” they came up with listed meetings in such areas as English, mathematics, world languages, science, and fine arts, as well as special education, technology, and physical education .
They also listed 14 “additional strategic partnerships” utilized by the two districts, including food service, joint borrowing, crisis planning, and a joint breakfast with real estate agents to tout Evanston’s schools as a reason for families to choose this area as a place to buy a home and raise a family.
But the “elephant in the room” at the meeting will be the opportunity for collaboration that was presented by the resignation last August of District 65 Superintendent Hardy Murphy.
In Lake Forest, for example, the two districts there collaborated by combining the administrative staffs of their districts under a single superintendent.
To date, none of the members of either board have proposed exploring similar opportunities to enhance articulation or financial savings for Evanston parents and taxpayers, except to say that any such collaboration must show clear benefits for the education of the area’s students.
Board watchers will be curious to see if any proposals are discussed at the joint meeting to propose additional articulation between the two districts.