Unit 4 employee hired as principal

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district has hired Zanita Willis as principal for Carrie Busey Elementary School.

Willis, of Champaign, is student services coordinator and an instructional specialist at Stratton Elementary School. The board approved her as principal of Carrie Busey at a meeting Monday night.

Interesting developments with teachers' time

URBANA – How much of a teacher's work lies outside the classroom?

There are the tests and homework to grade, the meetings with parents and other teachers, the lesson planning, the improvement lectures, committees and workshops, the No Child Left Behind-inspired curriculum and test preparation. And so on.

Last day of school

CHAMPAIGN – Kenwood Elementary School Principal Patricia Lewis said an emotional goodbye to her students on the last day of school Friday.

It wasn't just goodbye for the summer. It was Lewis' last day with the Champaign school district, where she has spent her entire 33-year career.

$43,070 in grants awarded to fund 31 C-U projects

The Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation awarded a record amount of money to Champaign and Urbana schools to fund 31 projects.

The grants, totaling $43,070, range in size and scope. The smallest gives $350 to Robeson Elementary School in Champaign to provide computer-assisted activities to help students with organization.

Two bound for UI receive financial lift

CHAMPAIGN – When Rachel Kaplan and Lisa Mazzocco start school at the University of Illinois this fall, they'll have a little extra help paying their expenses.

Both women received National Merit Scholarships from the school. They were among more than 2,400 winners nationwide announced last week. They'll each get $500 per year for four years.

Interest in Stratton Elementary increases

CHAMPAIGN – Most school district employees are thinking about finishing up this school year, but the staff at the Family Information Center is focused on next year.

They are still juggling waiting lists for most of the district's elementary schools and getting late applications for kindergarten students for the fall.

Mahomet-Seymour senior trades hospital gown for grad robe

URBANA – Lauren Ellis should have been walking across a stage to receive her high school diploma Sunday afternoon.

Instead, she graduated while sitting in a wheelchair in the hospital, with a drain in her infected right leg.

Retiring St. Malachy principal will serve in part-time position

RANTOUL – Sister Sara Koch will retire as principal at St. Malachy School in Rantoul this summer after serving in that position for 16 years. She will work part time as St. Malachy parish's spiritual life coordinator.

Sister Koch said she loves St. Malachy because of the cohesion among students, parents, staff and faculty members.

Area districts take look at middle school graduation traditions

As the end of the school year looms, many districts are recognizing their eighth-graders' accomplishments with graduation ceremonies.

But some administrators and boards are having second thoughts about continuing the tradition, which now sometimes includes limousine rides and dress clothes.

Champaign school board approves contract extension for Culver

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school board voted Wednesday night to extend Superintendent Arthur Culver's contract two more years, to June 30, 2011.

The board met in closed session for about three hours Wednesday to evaluate Culver before voting on the contract extension. The vote was 5-2, with board members Dave Tomlinson and Arlene Blank voting no.