Officials say flawed standards fail students in special education

DANVILLE – Danville schools' 2006 state report card show students made marked improvements in reading and math.

Despite that, the district failed to make adequate yearly progress and was put on the state's academic warning list because a subgroup, special education students, didn't meet Illinois learning standards in reading.

Danville schools cut only one job; grant would restore it

DANVILLE – Unlike last year, when Danville schools officials were forced to notify nearly 100 employees that their positions would be cut, officials on Wednesday announced that only one job will be eliminated through a reduction in force.

"This is really great news," Superintendent Nanette Mellen said earlier this week.

Urbana School Board approves facility improvements

URBANA – Board members Tuesday approved about $1 million worth of school improvements.

And that doesn't count the life safety work to be done in the district, with a price tag of about $493,000, covered by money from a designated fund.

Board fills assistant superintendent spot

CHAMPAIGN – Superintendent Arthur Culver is looking to a Texas school administrator to help increase learning and test scores in Champaign's high schools.

The Champaign school board hired Michael McFarland at its Monday night meeting as assistant superintendent for achievement and pupil services.

'So far, so good' for achievement tests

DANVILLE – Around this time last year, East Park Elementary School Principal Valerie Gilbert was in a slight panic.

Shortly before third- through fifth-graders were set to take their 2006 state standardized tests, some of the testing materials were missing.

Rantoul's population has continued to decline

Jerry Zachary remembers being in awe of the huge crowds that filled the Rantoul Township High School gym when he played for the Eagles in the 1950s.

"We packed the gym for every game," remembers Zachary, who's now superintendent of Ludlow grade school. "It was a great feeling playing before 1,600 people.

Urbana substitute a soothing presence at Thomas Paine

Tammie Kirby had days when she wondered whether being a substitute teacher was worth it. Like the day the kids were jumping on the tables, hiding under them, throwing things and generally wreaking havoc.

"There were days when I thought, 'You know, I'm not going to make it past lunch,'" Kirby said. "They see a sub, and they walk in and think it's play day."

Team gives troubled students something to look forward to

CHAMPAIGN – After an overtime loss Friday, the basketball team at Columbia Center is 4-5 in its first season.

That's still quite an accomplishment, considering:

Unity students spreading word about seat belts

PHILO – Melanie Newberry knows the importance of wearing a seat belt.

The Unity High School student was driving to a class at Parkland College one morning when she swerved and flipped her car, landing it on its roof.

Danville district, high school fail to meet standard

DANVILLE – Despite a number of improvements in standardized test scores, the Danville School District and high school failed to meet Illinois learning standards in 2006, officials said Friday.

Associate Superintendent Mark Denman said the district did not make adequate yearly progress, required by the federal No Child Left Behind, because special education students' reading scores did not meet benchmarks, and the high school did not because of juniors' math scores.