Urbana Middle School next school to undergo lockdown

URBANA – A graffiti message containing a "potential threat" was found by an Urbana Middle School employee in a school bathroom early Thursday afternoon, said John Muirhead, the Urbana school district's spokesman.

The message – discovered between 1 and 2:15 p.m. – has not been released; however, it was said to contain a reference to Virginia Tech, which Muirhead did not deny.

Alternative in works for Rantoul students behind in credits

RANTOUL – Rantoul Township High School officials plan to open an alternative high school this fall for students who need to make up credits.

The school board this week approved the plan to address a graduation rate, 67.9 percent, and test scores that don't please district or state officials. Superintendent David Requa said the project, named Eagle Academy, will be housed at a location separate from the high school. He's looking for that location and for teachers to work there.

Oakwood parents to get letters about grade school threat

DANVILLE – Parents will get letters today from school officials regarding a threatening message at Oakwood Grade School that was found Wednesday in a bathroom stall.

A student has been disciplined over the threat.

Robeson principal finalists address packed gymnasium

CHAMPAIGN – The two finalists for principal at Robeson Elementary School – the district's largest elementary school – both now lead small, mostly white schools.

But both stressed their experience with a diverse student body at a community forum at Robeson Tuesday night.

Parkland board accepts Exley's resignation

CHAMPAIGN – The Parkland College Board of Trustees will meet next week to consider the next steps following President Robert Exley's resignation.

As expected, Parkland board members on Tuesday unanimously accepted Exley's resignation."

Officials reassure students at PBL

PAXTON – The waning days of school in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda high school and junior high are being spent under heightened police security after a threat put the schools into a lockdown Tuesday afternoon.

Plainclothes officers – from Paxton, state police and the Ford County sheriff's office – staffed three stations outside the school this morning to check students' belongings before they entered.

Champaign schools' mentoring supporters speak out

CHAMPAIGN – Kim Dalluge has seen her son struggle to fit in at school.

His autism makes it difficult for him to participate in sports or music, and he has problems with social skills.

ROTC grad gives brother first salute

University of Illinois senior and Army ROTC Cadet Battalion Commander Matthew Ewing hoped his brother Michael would be at the UI over the weekend and on Monday for his graduation and commissioning.

But Michael's business kept him on the road – in Iraq, where he's a Marine corporal, based at Camp Al Asad air base.

Tuscola school's history program wins best in state

TUSCOLA – As Tuscola prepares for its sesquicentennial celebration this summer, it's fitting that one of its schools has received state recognition for excellence in history education.

In fact, East Prairie School in Tuscola has the best history program in the state, according to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. It won the single Governor's Award at an expo last week.

Urbana School Board meeting to highlight art by students

URBANA – The Urbana school board's first business meeting with new officers Tuesday looks to be a little more colorful than most.

The board will recognize student art from each of its elementary schools as part of an annual fine arts program. The art will hang on the walls of the Burkholder Administrative Service Center, 205 N. Race St., U, for a year.