Georgetown board OKs open-lunch incentive proposal

GEORGETOWN – School officials said Monday that keeping Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School students in the building at lunchtime is working well, but students may get to leave campus on a limited basis next year as part of an incentive program.

Georgetown-Ridge Farm High had an open campus at lunchtime until the start of the 2007-08 school year, when the rules were changed to keep all students at school during lunchtime as a way to better monitor students and to try to reduce the number of students who were late to afternoon classes or skipped them.

Champaign schools planning group seeks public input

CHAMPAIGN – If you are a student, parent or teacher in the Champaign school district, or an interested community member, the school district wants to hear from you.

Those who are working on a long-range plan for the district's infrastructure and educational programs are holding a series of community forums, with the first scheduled for this week. It will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Centennial High School gym.

Champaign alternative high school proposal on table

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign school board members will hear a new proposal for an alternative high school program when they meet Monday night.

The school board meets at 7 p.m. at the Mellon Administrative Center, 703 S. New St., C.

Centennial band members head to New York

CHAMPAIGN – Centennial High School band members will be performing in New York City and seeing its sights next week.

For many of the 120 students on the trip, it will be their first time in New York.

Engineering Open House display has serious message

URBANA – Champaign and Urbana students will learn about engineering when they visit the University of Illinois' Engineering Open House this weekend, and they'll also get a lesson in the dangers of distracted driving.

Students from Urbana High School and Champaign's Jefferson Middle School will attend the Engineering Open House with the help of money donated to the UI College of Engineering in memory of Matthew Wilhelm. Wilhelm had just received his master's degree in mechanical engineering in 2006 when he was struck and killed while riding his bicycle in Urbana. The woman driving the car that hit him had been downloading ring tones on her cell phone while driving.

Kids with knack for computers help classmates, teachers

CHAMPAIGN – The Edison Middle School students in the computer lab after school are making "sprites," images they'll use to play a computer game. They'll learn how to program the images to move them around in a virtual room they build.

It's not homework. The members of an after-school computer club are learning to use Game Maker software because it's fun. But it also builds their computer skills and knowledge, says Laurie Jacob, the instructional technology specialist at Edison.

Officials say in-service days having impact

URBANA – All those afternoons and days when students are off school so teachers can do professional development are paying off with better classroom teaching and learning, said Urbana officials at the Tuesday evening school board meeting.

Comparing data from several assessments as well as the pass rate for freshman courses, the district found student achievement rising. For example, the pass rate for freshmen in algebra in fall 2006 was near 70 percent. In fall 2007, that measure rose to nearly 90 percent.

Two Parkland employees take new positions

CHAMPAIGN – Two Parkland College officials have been named to new administrative offices.

Kris Young was named vice president for academic services. She has served in that position on an interim basis since July 2007.

Kids get Web site to learn about weather

URBANA – On Monday, raindrops didn't seem too hard to catch – it was avoiding them that required some skill (or good raingear, anyway).

But catching virtual raindrops can be a little trickier.

DACC center puts emphasis on success

DANVILLE – When Chelsea Booher first visited Danville Area Community College's Student Success Center, she knew the center offered tutoring to first-generation college students like herself.

But she didn't know the center also offered counseling; workshops on managing time and stress, taking tests and other topics; even visits to four-year colleges.