Operation Hope activities set for Garden Hills

Operation Hope activities set for Garden Hills

CHAMPAIGN – A joint program of the city, the school district and the park district will give students living in the Garden Hills neighborhood recreational and educational activities, beginning this summer.

The one-year pilot program, which the school district is calling "Operation Hope," aims to promote positive behavior and expose students to career possibilities. It will include homework help and tutoring; recreational activities; and, for high school students, career exploration, job opportunities and community service.

The program will begin with a nine-week summer day camp for children in kindergarten through eighth grade, and bimonthly park district activities. During the school year, the school district will provide a Lighted School House. The Garden Hills Elementary School will be open Tuesday and Thursday evenings for homework help and tutoring; computer lab work; and games, arts and crafts.

A year-round program for high school students will offer career and vocational programs, including help with interviewing skills and finding summer jobs, workshops and guest speakers to discuss career issues, college enrollment and financial aid, and tours of colleges, businesses and work sites.

The three entities will share the costs of the program. The costs for the school district would be $29,700 for staff salaries and in-kind use of the school building. The school district would provide a college/career placement liaison, a certified teacher, a staff member from the district's Kids Plus after-school program, and a custodian.

The school board will discuss the program and vote on whether to approve its share of the funding when it meets at 7 p.m. Monday at Carrie Busey Elementary School, 1605 W. Kirby Ave., C.

Also on Monday, the school board will evaluate Superintendent Arthur Culver in closed session.

The board has already heard from Culver on his progress during the past year, and he has provided documentation to board members, said board President Dave Tomlinson.

The board will discuss his goals and performance and score him on each category on a scale of 1 to 5, Tomlinson said. Then they'll talk with Culver about areas in which they like what they see and areas where they feel improvement is needed.

Tomlinson said the board will not take any action following the evaluation, because Culver and the board have already agreed his current contract, which goes through 2012, will not be extended this year.

Tomlinson said the board will hold a special meeting in March to set new goals for Culver.

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