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ETHS District 202 Announces Changes to 2021-22 School Year

March 24, 2021  8:35am CT


In preparation for the transition to the next school year, Evanston Township High School District 202 is announcing plans for 2021-22, which include several changes that will be implemented this August. ETHS continues to prepare for full in-person instruction this fall with considerations about how to reintegrate all students academically, socially, and emotionally. 


Changes for the 2021-22 school year include: 

  • clearing detentions and social probation
  • eliminating semester exams; and 
  • adopting a block schedule.


“Recognizing that our students and staff will not return to ‘business as usual’ after a prolonged pandemic, ETHS is seizing the opportunity to revisit the district’s vision as we address some of the challenges in our current structures,” said ETHS Assistant Superintendent and Principal Marcus Campbell.


Even prior to the pandemic, ETHS recognized the need for systemic changes to address challenges faced by ETHS students. A range of staff members was represented on various committees that met during the current and past school years to make recommendations about the district’s student-centered efforts. As a result, all ETHS students will start the new school year with a clean slate to support their wellbeing. This means that all detentions, tardies, and social probation will be removed from student records by August 2021.


ETHS has also recognized the need to address the amount of testing in high school, its impact on student wellbeing, and the need to increase instructional time. “For years, we have heard concerns from students, parents, and teachers about the amount of testing in schools and at ETHS. These concerns are only heightened today,” noted ETHS Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. “ETHS teachers and staff are doing incredible work to prepare students for college and career choices after high school. Eliminating semester exams may help students to better focus on their post-secondary options through their coursework."


Teachers, staff, and administrators also identified and discussed challenges associated with the school day schedule, in particular. In addition to reviewing committee recommendations, staff members gathered feedback through the lens of the current e-learning structure.


ETHS will implement the new block schedule as of August 16, 2021, which is the first day of school in the 2021-22 school year. Benefits of the block schedule include fewer class transitions each day (and therefore a less hectic pace) and larger chunks of instructional time for more experiential, hands-on learning in all classes. The shift to a block schedule in 2021-22 will not interfere with the course selections made by students this semester. 


“Changes to the 2021-22 school year are guided by the creativity, thoughtfulness, and compassion needed during the past year,” Campbell emphasized. “We are committed to returning to a different ETHS.” More information and resources will be shared with students, families, and staff in the months prior to August 2021.