CHAMPAIGN – Zanita Willis was just starting her first school year as a principal in August when she invited an Army reservist to speak to her students at Carrie Busey Elementary School about the skills he uses in his job.
The appearance of a soldier in uniform at the school generated several weeks' worth of controversy in the community. Willis turned to Bottenfield Elementary School Principal Barb Daly to talk over the matter. Daly has been a principal for 10 years and serves as Willis' mentor.
HOOPESTON – Hoopeston teachers could be working under a new contract soon. The Hoopeston Education Association and school district reached a tentative agreement early this morning after a bargaining session that lasted more than 12 hours.
A federal mediator helped broker the talks.
HOOPESTON – Don Inman cannot help but worry about whether Hoopeston teachers will strike, since they're still without a new contract after eight months of negotiations – and talks between the union and school district seem to be at a standstill.
"It makes you feel uncomfortable," said Inman, whose daughter, Chelsea Rutledge, attends Hoopeston Area High School. "If they go on strike, it could affect the kids' education."
CHAMPAIGN – Ask high school students what they read for fun, and chances are many will cite the blockbuster "Harry Potter" series.
Coincidently, the popular J.K. Rowling books also top the American Library Association's list of most challenged books of the 21st century – books parents filed formal protests about with school or public librarians, asking that they be removed because of content or appropriateness.
If the names on the ballot for the 15th Congressional District look familiar, it's because this is a rematch.
Democratic challenger Dr. David Gill, an emergency room physician from Clinton, is trying for the second time to unseat U.S. Rep. Timothy Johnson of Urbana, now in his third term.
CHAMPAIGN – Champaign school district officials will spend the next several months revamping a report on how they'll meet the goals of the district's consent decree.
U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade told administrators at a hearing Thursday he was not satisfied with the report they submitted last month, that it was "largely unresponsive" to his order and didn't address how they would speed up their progress. He said the plan was not an easily understandable road map and wasn't specific enough as to how the district could accomplish its goals.
TOLONO – Unity High School students will have the benefit of counselors when they return to school Monday to help them deal with the tragic death of a 16-year-old classmate killed in a car accident Thursday afternoon.
Three other Unity students also injured in the accident remained at Carle Foundation Hospital this morning.
CHAMPAIGN – Visitors to Edison Middle School will now be greeted at the door and asked for identification, in the wake of a report of an intruder in the building Wednesday.
Shortly after noon Wednesday, a student reported seeing a man in the building, near a restroom, and became concerned, said Principal Joe Williams. No intruder was found.
A recent string of robberies in the area around the University of Illinois campus follows patterns of past years, according to police.
"This is a crime of opportunity," said Assistant UI Police Chief Jeff Christensen. "Walking in well-lit areas, taking well-populated routes, being alert and using mass transit or Safe Rides take away that opportunity."
TUSCOLA – A representative from the U.S. Department of Education will be in Tuscola on Tuesday to present a Blue Ribbon Award to North Ward Elementary School – one of only 15 schools in the state to receive the honor.
Principal Ann Lamkey said she's thrilled the school is getting the recognition. But she said the success at North Ward is due to people, not programs.