Four-year Parkland effort a success

CHAMPAIGN – Parkland College's four-year fundraising campaign will conclude Dec. 31 with about $14 million in pledges, double the amount planners expected to raise.

President Zelema Harris, who will retire from the college in June, said that's an upbeat way to wind down her career. But Harris doesn't take credit for the success of the campaign that started in 2001.

Board OKs contract for new school superintendent

MAHOMET – Keith A. Oates will bring energy, enthusiasm and "amazing potential" to his new job as superintendent of the Mahomet-Seymour schools.

The Mahomet-Seymour school board Monday unanimously approved a three-year contract with Oates, who will begin his new job July 1, replacing retiring superintendent John Alumbaugh.

Emphasis on reading is starting to pay off

CHAMPAIGN – David Bales said success sometimes comes slowly in fourth-grade reading class, but when it happens, it can be amazing.

"Some students get all the way through high school without discovering the joy of reading, but our class had a chance to experience that discovery," said Bales, a teacher at Westview School, where reading skills have become a priority.

Unit 4 school plan met cautiously

CHAMPAIGN – Dori Walker's three Dr. Howard students will have moved on by the time a new school would be built there, but Walker is glad to hear the plans for the school.

"Dr. Howard is so old and so cramped," said Walker of Wednesday's facilities committee decision to put the school on its $68 million priority list. The list calls for the construction of three schools: one at the Dr. Howard site, one on the north side of the city and one in Savoy.

A team approach to improving behavior

CHAMPAIGN – The numbers tell the tale.

This year so far, 29 Champaign students have been expelled from their home schools. That's almost two students a week since school started late in August. Last year, expulsions numbered 31 for the entire year.

3 new grade schools proposed

CHAMPAIGN – A Champaign school district committee is calling for three new grade schools, including one in Savoy, in recommending a $68 million plan that voters would have to approve in March.

Facilities committee members spent three hours Wednesday listing priorities, arguing and horse-trading to come up with a compromise plan to address building needs of Champaign schools.

Top kids on the block

CHAMPAIGN – For eight Edison Middle School students, Legos are not just toy building blocks, they're also the means to discovering engineering robotics, computer programming and teamwork.

And they are the vehicle to a first prize at the regional FIRST Lego League Robotic Competition, held on the University of Illinois campus last Saturday.

State says Dr. Howard made adequate progress

CHAMPAIGN – Deputy Superintendent Dorland Norris topped her Monday night review of the district's report card with good news – Dr. Howard School made adequate yearly progress.

Norris said state education officials who rank results of the Illinois Standards Achievement Tests, given every spring, took a second look at scores of 4,000 students and reversed the results for the one Dr. Howard student who kept the school from making adequate yearly progress.

Professor recognized as pioneer of future

John Rogers thinks your walls, carpet, couch and clothing could compute some day, not to mention your newspaper.

Mind you, he's not talking about reading the news on a computer screen. He's talking about folding the screen and putting it in your pocket, much like the paper paper.

Now's the time to watch for credit card fraud

So you're at a crowded cafe and call Ticketmaster on your cellphone to order some concert tickets.

You pull out your wallet and read off your credit card numbers to the operator over the phone.

Bad idea. The person sitting behind you could jot down those numbers, then head to the mall for a shopping spree, courtesy of your good credit.