All Education Content

All Education Content

Education of the Big Easy

URBANA – When fourth-graders in student-teacher Sara North's class start their Friday, they do it with Cafe du Monde decaffeinated coffee, beignets and jazz playing lightly on their classroom boombox.

Welcome to New Orleans, by way of Wiley Elementary School in Urbana.

Urbana adult ed program faces funding cuts

URBANA – Urbana Adult Education operates almost completely on grant funds, a patchwork of money from federal, state and local sources.

And that makes the program, which now has an enrollment of about 1,400 students, vulnerable to the whims of lawmakers.

New Parkland president realizes 'lifelong dream'

CHAMPAIGN – Robert Exley's family members didn't put a priority on attending college, so after high school, Exley went to work.

Exley, who will be Parkland College's fourth president, returned to higher education, however, first attending a community college in Texas. He said he's spent most of his career working in the community college system because of his gratitude for what that late start at San Jacinto College did for him.

Unit 7 gym space at a premium

TOLONO – The school gyms in the Unit 7 district are popular places for all kinds of afterschool activity – maybe too popular.

On Feb. 22, at the last public meeting of the Unit 7 school district, Athletic Director Scott Hamilton said that school physical fitness facilities – particularly Unity Junior High's Rocket Center – were increasingly being booked by nonschool organizations.

Champaign school officials plan to start from scratch

CHAMPAIGN – The new president of the Champaign school board says it's time to take a long, hard look at district priorities and to mend fences with community leaders.

Voters Tuesday decisively scuttled building plans that were controversial from the beginning. Margie Skirvin, who was elected president of the board March 13, said although volunteers worked hard to convince taxpayers of the needs in the schools, the message clearly didn't get through.

GCMS' driving safety program wins top honors

GIBSON CITY –You can't beat being No. 1 in the nation.

And that's the regal title a bunch of enthusiastic kids from Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School claimed Friday when their yearlong effort to get kids to buckle up and slow down won the national Project Ignition contest.

Champaign schools referendum soundly defeated

CHAMPAIGN – Although Champaign schools may go back to voters in November seeking money for improvements, Superintendent Arthur Culver says officials will have to address requirements for north side space before then.

Voters Tuesday resoundingly defeated a building bond proposal to build three new schools in Champaign and make major improvements to most other elementary schools.The final votes: 4,006 in favor of the proposal and 7,079 against it.

Expansion, remodeling project OK'd in St. Joseph-Ogden

ST. JOSEPH – St. Joseph-Ogden High School will get an $8.5 million remodeling and expansion.

Superintendent Vic Zimmerman said he was pleased that Ogden voters, who faced two tax increases on Tuesday's ballot, came through for the high school.

Champaign school board's decision upsets crowd

CHAMPAIGN – In a stunning about-face Friday that infuriated an already angry black community, Champaign school officials advised board members to stick with the Boulder Ridge site they picked Monday for a new northwest Champaign school.

Backlash was immediate. Activist Imani Bazzell said the black community will almost certainly turn to its attorneys and a court monitor to ask for legal sanctions, including an extension of the costly consent decree that's due to expire in the 2008-09 school year.

Some seek to save oldest sections of Dr. Howard School

CHAMPAIGN – The original Dr. Howard School sits on Park Avenue, a brick street lined with stately trees and century-old homes.

Circa 1910, it blends nicely with the old neighborhood. But some of the school's later additions aren't nearly so picturesque – notably an ill-conceived walkway connecting a 1950s-era addition to the east.