Lighthouse Partnership Continues
Plans are under way to extend the Lighthouse Partnership, a three-year collaboration between Northwestern University and Evanston/Skokie School District 65 to enhance teaching and learning in district schools scheduled to end in June.
Northwestern, which provided approximately $500,000 of the original $670,000 program cost, has pledged funds for an additional year. The District 65 School Board is considering a recommendation to continue funding its share.
The partnership conducted both research and curriculum improvement projects.
Lighthouse offered support and monitoring of the district’s implementation of its new Two Way Immersion language program in two Evanston elementary schools serving heavy concentrations of Spanish-speaking families. The partnership studied the distribution of leadership across teachers and other staff in one district elementary school and worked to improve math instruction through the use of videotaping in one elementary school, allowing teachers to critically examine their math instruction. The partnership also assisted in the development of new elementary school math units in the district’s adopted math curriculum, with accompanying staff development.
A collaboration between Northwestern’s Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools (LeTUS) and middle school science faculty incorporated inquiry-based science units using computers and data from the Internet into every middle school in the district. LeTUS faculty support District 65 teachers in preparing for each unit, in resolving technological complications with the district’s hardware and software, and in helping teachers better understand how to challenge students to think and act as scientists do.
SESP Professor G. Alfred Hess Jr., Lighthouse coordinator, facilitates the cooperation of Northwestern faculty and staff with District 65 administrators and teachers, oversees the budget of the partnership and provides direct support to the superintendent and members of the Board of Education in developing district plans.
Hess and SESP Professor Solomon Cytrynbaum designed and facilitated a community-wide planning process that included workshops across the district to solicit resident and parent input into the challenges facing the district and the goals the district ought to pursue. With the active leadership of the Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, the Board of Education assembled and approved a list of key challenges and goals, forming the basis for the Five Year Strategic Plan adopted by the board last year.
(adapted from the Northwestern Observer, Spring 2003)