Enrollment not a problem at Leal
URBANA – Enrollment within the Urbana school district seems to be increasing, but not at Leal Elementary, where overcrowding has been a concern in the past.
Deputy Superintendent Jennifer Ivory-Tatum told the board at its Tuesday meeting that so far, class sizes at Leal have not met the limits as defined by the school district's contract with its teachers.
Last spring, the board decided that when those caps are reached, students will will be assigned to other schools using a petitioning process.
So far, that hasn't been necessary. Tuesday was the first day of classes in Urbana.
Superintendent Don Owen called enrollment so far at Leal “very comfortable.”
The school district is also putting together a committee to change the boundaries of Leal's attendance area in order to prevent overcrowding in the future.
Ivory-Tatum told the board the school district has seen some increased enrollment at Urbana Middle and High schools “and we're excited about that.”
Enrollment is also up at some elementaries, including Prairie Elementary. The school district recently added a kindergarten classroom to accommodate all the students enrolling, she said. Prairie now has three classrooms of kindergarten in which just English is spoken, and two dual-language classrooms.
Ivory-Tatum said she'd provide the school board with more specific information about enrollment in September.
Also Tuesday, the school board hired Samuel Byndom as its new director of adult education.
Most recently, Byndom said he's been assistant director of the Writer's Workshop at the University of Illinois and a full-time faculty member at Parkland College, where he worked in developmental reading and writing. He's also been a coordinator for the Odyssey Project, which helps low-income adults earn college credits.
“I'm excited about being able to help improve educational outcomes in the community we live in,” Byndom said.
Also at the meeting, Owen told the school board he's planning upcoming board study sessions to discuss plans for its high school graduation ceremony, as the State Farm Center will be undergoing renovations next spring and for the next several years.
And in October, the school board will have a joint study session with the Urbana Park Board. The board this fall will also study the long-term use of its facilities, including the Washington Early Childhood building, which was replaced by the just-opened Urbana Early Childhood School.