Teacher of the Week: Miranda Simmons

Submit your nominations: On Wednesdays, we’ll spotlight an area educator who is making a difference in the classroom and community. To nominate: email N-G schools writer Lyndsay Jones at or tweet her (@__lyndsayjones).

Campus Conversation: Esther Ngumbi

ESTHER NGUMBI grew up in a part of Kenya where girls were considered "less important," destined to be married off and raise children.

DREAAM House founder aims to create 'culture of young learners'

CHAMPAIGN — Tracy Dace often refers to the youth he works with as dreamers, but the program he launched three years ago goes way beyond that.

"They see us as do-ers," Dace said, describing how parents of the boys involved view DREAAM House — a proactive, pre-kindergarten-to-college pipeline program he started to cultivate academic excellence and leadership in black males.

Top of the Morning, Oct. 17, 2018

ASHER BRADD, a star on Monticello's unbeaten and popular high school football team, is used to performing on the big stage.

But Friday's all-school assembly brought a new challenge.

With everyone watching — and cheering — the senior had to plop a five-second smooch on a mother goat.

2018-19 High School Confidential: Week 4

Welcome to Year 3 of High School Confidential, an ambitious project made possible by aspiring student journalists from every corner of our circulation area. Each Wednesday through May, they’ll tell us what’s happening in their hallways at

Unit 4 says Booker T. Washington principal on 'extended leave of absence'

CHAMPAIGN — Just over a year since taking over as principal at Booker T. Washington STEM Academy, Thea Perkins is on an "extended leave of absence" from the school district, officials said in a letter to parents Tuesday.

In the note sent by Unit 4 Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Ivory-Tatum and obtained by The News-Gazette, Perkins' absence was described as "effective immediately."

'It doesn't stop with an opinion'

A pair of educators are teaming up to give college students and fourth-graders new tools to fight prejudice and racial separatism — a project that took on new significance with the appearance of white nationalist stickers on campus last week.

Urbana school board president recovering after stroke

URBANA — Urbana school board president and longtime board member John Dimit suffered a stroke last week, but is recovering, according to school district Superintendent Don Owen.

Owen said Tuesday he'd been in touch several times with Dimit's family. He planned to make an announcement at a school board meeting Tuesday night.

Family Checkbook | Some financial tasks that might be on your to-do list

How do you build time into your life to take care of important financial tasks? I know some people work well with to-do lists. Others use sticky notes posted in obvious spots or highlighted events on their calendar. I'm always open to new ways to manage time and tasks effectively.

Health district educators ensuring middle-schoolers get comprehensive sex ed

CHAMPAIGN — "Don't have sex because you will get pregnant and die!"

The fictional Coach Carr of the movie "Mean Girls" might be the source of that quote, but the message is one Whitney Greger remembers from her own school's sex education — and hopes to prevent years later in her work with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.