The City-School Liaison Committee discussed a citywide violence prevention program, updates on a new 5th Ward school and more at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center Aldermanic Library Wednesday night.
The committee is a group composed of city council members and officials from the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education and Evanston Township High School District 202 Board of Education. The group convenes three times per academic year, and aims to promote communication between the city and both school boards on finances and school communities.
Superintendent of Evanston Township High School District 202 Dr. Marcus Campbell spoke about partnerships between Evanston school districts and city agencies in combating violence. He said a great relationship has formed between the school districts, city and the Evanston Police Department regarding Evanston’s youth.
“There’s been a lot of collaboration with the school districts and Parks and Rec and various agencies throughout the city, to not just be responsive to the events that have been occurring in the city — the shootings that have been happening in the city — but also getting on the preventative side of that conversation as well,” Campbell said.
Later on in the night, the committee also discussed the city’s recent implementation of wraparound services, a form of mental health services which aims to address the underlying causes of mental health issues and respond to crises.
President of the District 65 Board of Education Sergio Hernandez said work on wraparound services has already begun within the district.
“We contracted out family and school liaisons in our middle schools to work with our students who really need support,” Hernandez said. “(But) not just students, because students are part of families and are part of communities, right?”
Hernandez said District 65 will also consider the family situations of students in need of services, reaching out to families to ensure students are succeeding in school.
Dr. Angel Turner, interim superintendent of District 65, said simply talking about wraparound services is not enough — the district needs to move from conversation to action.
Committee members also discussed updates on the new 5th Ward school, which could open as early as the 2025-26 school year. Turner reported no new updates but noted that she and her team are continuing to work on the final design for the school.
City Engineer Lara Biggs said construction around the city is “starting to wrap up” for the most part. By the end of the year, she said, traffic caused by multiple construction projects will settle as those projects come to an end.
“I think what’s changing for us is these silos of communication,” Turner said. “We’re collaborating, we’re making sure that we’re all on the same page because we recognize and support the same community. We support the same families.”
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