Education

Old Chanute USO will bustle with activity again

RANTOUL – A Rantoul building with a rich history has a new lease on life annexed to J.W. Eater Junior High School.

Workers this fall will put the finishing touches on the former Chanute Air Force Base USO, where soldiers met and danced with women from the area. The construction project includes a new entrance to the building and to Eater to improve the traffic flow. The addition also gives administrators more scheduling options.


Like mother, like daughter

URBANA – When Christy Simon joined the Urbana school district as an Urbana Middle School math and language arts teacher this fall, the position was new to her, but the district certainly wasn't.

Her mother, Cathy Simon, has been teaching at Leal Elementary School for 34 years. Education runs in the family; Cathy's father was a teacher as well.


District plans to boost biodiesel use in bus fleet

URBANA – Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District buses now run on a gasoline blend that includes 5 percent soy-based biodiesel.

But officials there hope to increase the blend soon to 20 percent.


Parents more tearful than kids as they begin educational journey

CHAMPAIGN – First day of kindergarten for students at Robeson Elementary School: One little girl cried. One father with a video camera got choked up.

It's a big day for children and an emotional one for parents. But the teachers skillfully get the children settled, and by 8 a.m. Friday, they sit quietly at their tables, ready to get to know each other and learn what school is all about.


Field dedicated in honor of longtime football coach

PAXTON – Jerry Zimmerman probably was looking down wondering why everybody was making such a fuss over him.

The late Paxton-Buckley-Loda football coach never liked attention drawn to himself, but Friday they could have gone on all night about the coach and man the Panther community has sorely missed since he died last November.


Board OKs contract for Rantoul City Schools teachers

RANTOUL – Board members Thursday approved a three-year contract that gives 105 Rantoul City Schools teachers 4.75 percent raises this year.

Raises for the next two years of the contract will be 5.8 percent next year and 4.6 percent the following year, said Superintendent Bill Trankina.


Preliminary ISAT scores for Champaign show promise

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign school administrators are itching to release their ISAT results from last year.

They received a preliminary status report Tuesday showing all their elementary and middle schools made adequate yearly progress and showing substantial gains in test scores by some schools, said Assistant Superintendent Beth Shepperd.


New resource officers ready to offer hand to educators

CHAMPAIGN – By the time students arrived at Centennial High School on Wednesday, got their schedules and started class, Champaign police Officer Ed Wachala had been at the school for more than two hours.

On the first day of class, Wachala, Centennial's school resource officer, made sure residents moved their cars from no-parking zones near the school and walked the neighborhood with Centennial Principal Judy Wiegand, reminding students they should be on campus.


Orientation conducted for educators new to Urbana school district

URBANA – Fear of the first day of school isn't only for the young people facing the blackboard.

For new teachers, facing two dozen eager, evaluating faces can also be an exercise in anxiety. Do I have all my books and classroom plans? How do I record attendance? What happens if my student cuts his finger? What if they don't like me?


RTHS teachers filing intent to strike

RANTOUL – Rantoul Township High School teachers Monday voted to file an intent-to-strike vote, a move that starts the clock ticking and puts pressure on stalled contract negotiations.

"We're apprehensive, uneasy," said Michelle Strater, a spokeswoman for the Rantoul Township High School Teachers Association, which represents 63 teachers at the school.


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