Some residents don't want to see Dr. Howard School demolished

CHAMPAIGN – Climb up and down a few levels of stairs and head back to the far corner of the basement in Dr. Howard Elementary School and you'll find the reading recovery classrooms.

The enrichment courses are taught in a second-floor hallway.

UI student initiates effort to get kids ready for fall

CHAMPAIGN – Each fall, the staff at Garden Hills scrambles to ensure that all its kindergarten and fifth-grade students have their required physicals and immunizations.

Often, about 30 percent of the fifth-grade class at Garden Hills starts the school year without the required medical care, said Principal Cheryl O'Leary. More than 900 children throughout the district were out of compliance at the beginning of this school year, she said.

Policing our schools: Urbana's Cory Koker

Urbana school resource officer Cory Koker is charged with patrolling all nine public schools, with a focus on the middle and high schools. In his four-day, 40-hour workweek, Koker has a mass of responsibility. News-Gazette reporter Amy F. Reiter and photographer Robin Scholz tailed him on Wednesday to find out just how much.

Black parents urge boycott after school board action

CHAMPAIGN – Nicole Causley's son went to school Wednesday. But he might not be at Central High School much longer, she says.

Causley and her sister, Natalie Freeman, say they will take their children out of the Champaign school district in protest of the decision to put armed police officers in the schools. They are asking other parents to do the same.

More teacher development time proposed in Urbana

URBANA – Representatives from elementary schools around Urbana met Tuesday night with the Urbana school board to propose adding several hours of teacher development time to the calendar every year – and taking that time away from teaching students.

They suggest increasing the teacher development days from six half-day sessions – currently early dismissal days for students – to six full-day sessions, a measure that would need state as well as school board approval.

Schools will get resource officers

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign school Superintendent Arthur Culver says he usually isn't given to public displays of emotion.

But he was shouting Tuesday night as he spoke to the Champaign City Council about the need for a school resource officer program in Champaign middle and high schools.

Ailing employees get assistance from colleagues, students

URBANA – When Linda Darr slipped on a patch of ice and seriously injured her back in February, her recovery could have been one of the worst experiences of her life.

Instead, she said, "I am just so overwhelmed with how well I've been taken care of."

Board OKs resource officers for next year

CHAMPAIGN – After two hours of public comment from a standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 people Monday night, the Champaign school board approved putting full-time police officers in its middle and high schools.

The school resource officer program will begin next fall, pending approval from the Champaign City Council at its meeting tonight.

A second chance for necessary learning

URBANA – Jayner Bryant woke up every day for 27 years wondering where she'd get the drugs and alcohol that fueled her life.

After a year in jail and participation in a successful substance abuse program there, Bryant, 47, decided to turn her life around. She's now very close to earning her high school diploma at Urbana Adult Education, and that's just a start. Her next goal: to earn a degree at Parkland College on her way to becoming a counselor.

WILL-TV mentor program building a love for books

SAVOY – The preschoolers in Anita Rhodes' classroom at Savoy Head Start added a new book to their home libraries Thursday.

The children listened to volunteers read "Who Took The Farmer's Hat?," then they each received a copy of the book to take home, as part of WILL-TV's book mentor program. The program, in its second year, puts community volunteers in five Head Start classrooms – three in Savoy and two at Prairie School Head Start in Urbana – and books in the children's homes.