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RANTOUL – When Rantoul school board members tabled a proposal four years ago to make sweeping changes in their elementary schools, Superintendent Bill Trankina thought briefly about retiring.
"In 23 years, that was the only time the board chose to go in a different direction," Trankina said. "There's a saying that inaction is a form of action. I felt like the proposal was a valid approach to meeting students' needs. Those were dark days."
CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district is considering hiring a St. Louis communications firm to help gauge the community's feelings about the district and its building needs.
A representative of Unicom-ARC will make a presentation to the school board Monday on how it could help the district with public input. The school board meets at 7 p.m. at the Mellon building, 703 S. New St., C.
URBANA – After celebrating the accomplishments of retiring Urbana school Superintendent Gene Amberg, school board members said they're also looking at the future.
They said they're looking seriously at internal candidates to replace Amberg, who will retire June 30, 2007.
URBANA – Standing on the steps of Urbana High School this morning surrounded by cameras and well-wishers, Gene Amberg announced that he will retire on June 30, 2007.
"It's time for a new beginning," said Amberg, head of Urbana schools for 14 years and the longest-serving superintendent in the state's large unit district system. "This is a significant personal and professional decision. I'll have new goals, new ways to invest my energy."
DANVILLE – State, local and college officials sank golden shovels into the ground Wednesday morning to commemorate the beginning of a $5.4 million expansion and renovation of Danville Area Community College's Bremer Conference Center.
"It's not just bricks and mortar," said Illinois Rep. Bill Black, who spoke at the ceremony. "It's an investment in human capital."
CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district has hired Zanita Willis as principal for Carrie Busey Elementary School.
Willis, of Champaign, is student services coordinator and an instructional specialist at Stratton Elementary School. The board approved her as principal of Carrie Busey at a meeting Monday night.
URBANA – How much of a teacher's work lies outside the classroom?
There are the tests and homework to grade, the meetings with parents and other teachers, the lesson planning, the improvement lectures, committees and workshops, the No Child Left Behind-inspired curriculum and test preparation. And so on.
CHAMPAIGN – Kenwood Elementary School Principal Patricia Lewis said an emotional goodbye to her students on the last day of school Friday.
It wasn't just goodbye for the summer. It was Lewis' last day with the Champaign school district, where she has spent her entire 33-year career.
The Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation awarded a record amount of money to Champaign and Urbana schools to fund 31 projects.
The grants, totaling $43,070, range in size and scope. The smallest gives $350 to Robeson Elementary School in Champaign to provide computer-assisted activities to help students with organization.
CHAMPAIGN – When Rachel Kaplan and Lisa Mazzocco start school at the University of Illinois this fall, they'll have a little extra help paying their expenses.
Both women received National Merit Scholarships from the school. They were among more than 2,400 winners nationwide announced last week. They'll each get $500 per year for four years.