Advocates say balanced school calendar cuts learning gap

URBANA – Can chopping summer vacation in half be a good thing?

That's just one of the quandaries staff and parents at two Urbana elementary schools are facing as they start discussing the year-round school option.

Expert: Early detection of autism important

URBANA – Amy Wetherby, a professor of communication disorders at Florida State University, may not be an actual rock star, but for parents and researchers of children with autism, she might as well be.

"I've been a fan of hers for several decades," said Champaign speech pathologist Ann Osterling.

Danville officials: 'Dropout factory' study wrong

DANVILLE – Danville schools officials are disputing figures in a nationwide study that refer to Danville High School as a "dropout factory."

Associate Superintendent Mark Denman said he doesn't believe the study by Johns Hopkins University researchers accurately factored in the number of students who had moved out of the district.

Schlarman High School focusing on victims of genocide

DANVILLE – Schlarman High School is holding a 5K walk on Saturday to bring attention to the ongoing crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. in the front of the school at 2112 N. Vermilion St.

Educators fear students have a lack of motivation

Last April, Oakwood educators had no problem getting high school juniors to show up to take the two-day Prairie State Achievement Exam.

But they're still working on getting the students to take the test seriously and give it their all.

Unit 4 board gives budget wish list, names vision committee

CHAMPAIGN – The wish list of what Champaign school board members would like to see the district pay for includes everything from expanded foreign language offerings to making buildings more energy-efficient to more library clerks.

Chief Financial Officer Gene Logas asked board members to give him their ideas of programs they'd like to see the district invest in, at Monday's school board meeting. By presenting their ideas early in the budget process, the initiatives they suggest stand a better chance of being included in the district's budget next year, he said.

No trick: Students need your donations

Some students from Danville High School and University Laboratory High School in Urbana will be out trick-or-treating on Wednesday evening, but they won't be asking for the typical mini-candy bars, candied apples and wax vampire teeth.

Instead, they're hoping to score canned goods, boxes of macaroni and cheese and jars of peanut butter.

DACC instructor nabs national honor

DANVILLE – Glenda Boling was thrilled to be named the top instructor in her region by the Association of Community College Trustees this summer. But, she thought, there's no way she would win the national instructing award two months later.

The awards usually go to science and math teachers, the Danville Area Community College speech and drama instructor thought. In fact, last year's national winner was DACC's own Kathy Sturgeon, a professor of – what else – science and math.

Champaign school board to name planning panelists

CHAMPAIGN – School board members will announce Monday the names of community leaders who will oversee the Champaign school district's planning for its building and program needs.

About 30 people will make up an umbrella, or "vision," committee to oversee the planning process and two working groups.

Rantoul schools make strides on state tests

RANTOUL – Looking at past state assessment scores, Bill Trankina and Rantoul City Schools officials saw clear trends – and they didn't like what they saw.

They made changes in reading programs, staff training and schools' populations. They offered incentives for good performance and added social services staff members. They test students more often so they know who needs help.