Lyndsay Jones

Lyndsay Jones

Showcase time: At Champaign's Franklin Middle, it's full STEAM ahead

CHAMPAIGN — By now, the acronym "STEM" (science, technology, engineering and math) is ubiquitous.

Less familiar, however, might be its counterpart "STEAM," which adds an "A" for "arts" and is part of Franklin Middle School's new name: Franklin STEAM Academy.

Teacher of the Week: Sandi Cummins

Meet SANDI CUMMINS, a math teacher at Danville First Baptist Christian. After spending 12 years at home raising three boys, friends cautioned her about returning to the profession:

Champaign school board approves 40-year PR vet as communications head

CHAMPAIGN — A 40-year veteran of public relations is slated to begin working for Unit 4 next Monday, "shoring up" a communications department flooded with responsibilities related to the district's 2016 referendum, board President Chris Kloeppel said.

Election 2019: It's filing time in the cities

Monday marked the first day of the week-long filing period for a slew of area races on the ballot in the April 2 consolidated election. News-Gazette Media's reporters will track the filings as they happen. Here's the latest:

Unit 4: When school's out, workers will move in

CHAMPAIGN — Students won't be all that's cleared out of Central High School over Unit 4's winter break.

Before finals are finished on Dec. 21, district capital projects manager Mark Roessler said, workers will pack up rooms on the third floor, readying the area for hazardous abatement work over break.

As interim Urbana superintendent, Williams' pay set at $1,200 per day

URBANA — While Urbana looks for a new school superintendent to replace the ousted Don Owen, interim fill-in Preston Williams will be compensated up to $144,000 for a maximum 120 days of work in the job he once held, according to district documents.

I-74 crash: 'A great loss for our school'

CHAMPAIGN — Going forward, they'll pray.

After a bus carrying the Normal West High School freshman girls' basketball team they'd just played hours earlier was involved in a horrific crash that left two people dead Wednesday night, a handful of Champaign Central Maroons players discussed praying for their opponents and for their own safety before they travel for games.

Teacher of the Week: Natasha Capell

Meet NATASHA CAPELL, a science teacher at 2-year-old, nontraditional Academy High. The native Canadian believes her current work reflects what she was born to do.

UPDATE: Owen 'shocked and surprised' by ouster as Urbana superintendent

URBANA — Next year, Don Owen will be out as Urbana schools superintendent, and in the meantime, the man he succeeded will be temporarily assuming some of his duties.

Owen said the announcement Friday that he and two other assistant superintendents will be replaced with interim appointments "shocked and surprised" him, as the board had not provided a written explanation.