Alternative high school program considered

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign high school students who aren't attending school or doing well could have another option for completing classes this fall.

Champaign school district officials are hoping to begin a pilot alternative high school program for the next school year.

Fate of middle school graduation up to vote

DANVILLE – Greg Hilleary said he understands both sides of a debate to eliminate eighth-grade graduation exercises at North Ridge and South View middle schools.

"It's a hard one," Hilleary said of the decision he and other Danville School Board member will be asked to make this week. "The one extreme is canceling it completely, and the other is leaving it as it is. I'm hoping we can reach some type of middle ground here, but I'm not sure exactly what that will be."

Looking for help to build school, minds

CATLIN – Three Vermilion County school districts want to join forces to battle shrinking class sizes, aging schools and rising costs.

But school officials in Catlin, Jamaica and Oakwood have their hopes pinned on a construction grant from the state to pay for the construction of a new, centrally located high school.

Unity Junior High board holding off on adding sports

TOLONO – There will be no new sports at Unity Junior High School for the 2007-08 season.

The Unit 7 school board has decided to wait until May to make a decision on whether to offer baseball, softball and wrestling at the junior high. If approved, Unity could start the programs through the Illinois Elementary School Association by the 2008-2009 season.

School revives art of snail mail

MAHOMET – On Tuesday, Sangamon School's Wee Deliver mail service will open for business, to help the school's first- and second-graders practice the fine art of snail mail.

On Friday, Principal Mark Cabutti launched the mail service program, revived at Sangamon after an absence of several years, by accepting a special letter delivered by second-grader Kaitlin Lewis, who marched up on stage wearing a carrier's vest and a mail bag.

Merchants shower mentors with appreciation

URBANA – Though the Thursday lunch crowd dispersed, Courier Cafe still hopped with customers at half past one, with nearly everyone at the front tables enjoying one of the restaurant's decadent milkshakes.

"It's a vanilla malt," Ann Corey said. "I love it."

Truancy grant boost possible for Vermilion County

DANVILLE – State grant money that helps area school districts keep students in school by providing the money to hire attendance outreach workers may be distributed in a new way for the next school year.

Vermilion County stands to gain about $100,000 over the next four years under the recommended changes, said Jane Quinlan, a member of the task force making the recommendations and assistant regional superintendent for Champaign and Ford counties.

Filing period for boards begins Monday

DANVILLE – Six years ago, Rickey Williams Jr. set off for graduate school in Atlanta. Before he left, he attended a Danville school board meeting and spoke about one of his goals.

"I told them one day, I hoped to come back and serve the community by working in the school district in some capacity," recalled the 28-year-old Danville man, who was planning to study political science, education and housing policy. "I thought I would teach and eventually become an administrator."

Display drives home point of gun hazards

URBANA – Keyonna Perry-Edwards knows the rules about guns.

"If you find a gun, you shouldn't touch it," said the 10-year-old.

DACC, EIU reach dual admission deal

DANVILLE – Students who plan to get an associate degree from Danville Area Community College and a bachelor's degree from Eastern Illinois University can enroll at both schools at the same time.

Danville Area Community College trustees made that possible on Tuesday when they approved a dual admission agreement with EIU. The agreement guarantees that students in the program can transfer to the Charleston-based university after they graduate from DACC.