Middle school program takes positive approach

CHAMPAIGN – As students filed into Jackie Baxter's seventh-grade science classroom at Jefferson Middle School earlier this month, Baxter greeted them by telling them how responsible they were for bringing their books, as instructed.

Baxter praised those who raised their hands and waited to be called on for their patience. As the class quieted down and the students began working, she continued talking, telling them how focused and hard-working they were the day before.

Danville radio station replaying school music programs

DANVILLE – A local radio station will present its 13th annual series replaying school holiday programs on Sunday.

WITY-AM 980 records elementary, junior and senior high school choral and instrumental presentations. The replays of the programs join the station's tradition of airing Christmas music nearly 24 hours a day through Christmas.

Hip-hop artist now reaching a whole new audience as teacher

CHAMPAIGN – Teaching and performing have many parallels for Jaime Roundtree. All eyes are on him as he tries to make connections with his students or his audience.

Roundtree is a fifth-grade teacher at Champaign's South Side Elementary School, and he is also a hip-hop artist with a number of recordings to his credit. He was devoted to making music, and working as a substitute teacher in Chicago for the extra income, when he found he loved teaching as well.

Parkland offers high school students intro to technology

CHAMPAIGN – It's not often that students are asked to destroy their UFOs.

But the command came frequently in a game-design computer class, part of Parkland College's fourth annual Tour IT career information program for high school students.

Annual performance is key to No Child Left Behind program

URBANA – Annual testing is a key to the federal No Child Left Behind education plan that ties schools' status – and future funding – to performance on those tests.

The law imposes increasingly serious sanctions against schools that fail to make "adequate yearly progress" annually. But states set the standards.

Rivals team up to bid on energy project

They compete for top faculty and students, but two major public research universities have partnered on a bid for a $500 million biofuels and biosciences project with British fuel company BP.

The University of Illinois has joined with the University of California at Berkeley to try to land the BP Energy Biosciences Institute.

Achievement test scores delayed until at least January

BEMENT – School administrators say they can't make targeted plans to help students learn if they don't know results of achievement tests they took last spring.

State school officials now say scores for the Illinois Standards Achievement Tests – the foundation for most school improvement plans and for work plans for individual students – won't be released until January at the earliest.

Champaign school officials tap UI for north side proposals

CHAMPAIGN – University of Illinois students showed off their ideas Thursday evening of what a new school campus in Champaign might look like.

School officials and community members heard about ideas for a Great Campus in north Champaign that would include Stratton Elementary School, the Early Childhood Center and Columbia Center.

Senegalese artist urges pupils to add personal touches to art

URBANA – Though Yelimane Fall doesn't speak English, he had no trouble communicating with fifth-graders from Wiley Elementary School on Thursday morning.

In a guest lesson, he – and they – spoke the language of art.

Urbana school board to get updates on programs

URBANA – Urbana school board members will hear Tuesday about the progress of a variety of middle school, high school and adult education programs.

The school board meets in study session at 7:30 p.m. in the Burkholder Administrative Service Center, 205 N. Race St., U.