Sunday, April 8, 2018

Racial Inequities in Student Outcomes are Not Acceptable - Not The Urbana Way!

Over the past several weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about secondary disciplinary structures in Urbana School District #116. The discussions have been covered in the News-Gazette, and the racial inequities have been covered by WCIA. We are currently in the process of transforming our practices and structures in order to provide better outcomes for our students. We have listened to staff, students, and community members, and we understand the concerns about the way these changes were communicated. We have also heard and recognize the sense of urgency to change our practices and policies to dismantle inequitable systems to provide better outcomes for our students of color. We are confident that as we move forward, we will address both of these concerns by working collectively and collaboratively with all stakeholders.

At the USD116 Board of Education Study Session on April 3, 2018, the Board discussed disciplinary data trends that must be addressed immediately. As a district, we are committed to Restorative Practices and Racial Equity. Most of our professional development focus for the past two years has been in these areas. We have seen very positive gains related to the overall number of days students are suspended out of school, and the number of students who miss instructional time due to punitive disciplinary consequences. We know from years of local and national research that out of school suspensions are not effective at changing student behavior. Even worse, students who receive out of school suspensions miss valuable instructional time, which negatively impacts academic outcomes.

The harmful effects of suspensions and expulsions on student outcomes are well researched.
Data from UHS and UMS demonstrate that since implementing restorative practices two years ago, and implementing SB100 changes last year, the overall use of exclusionary discipline practices has decreased at both UMS and UHS - this is a piece of the data we should celebrate. However, the disparities between White Students and Students of Color has grown (See Figure 1 and Figure 2).

Figure 1: Please note that this represents number of students (unique students - not incidents) - Please note that the 2017-2018 data includes ONLY August 20, 2017 - March 2, 2018 (partial year)

Figure 2: A disparity ratio measures the relationship between the percentage of a group represented in a school population makeup and the percentage of students in that group who are represented in some other data we collect. Numbers above 1 represent over-representation of a group, while numbers until 1 represent under-representation of a group

All of the data related to referrals, suspensions, and academic progress (as measured by Ds and Fs) can be found here.

The systems we have put in place actually magnify inequitable outcomes for our Students of Color. This is not “The Urbana Way!” The system we have in place is an example of an almost perfectly inequitable system - student outcomes when it comes to exclusionary disciplinary practices are predictable by race - the exact opposite of what we are striving to achieve. This is not “The Urbana Way!”

The work we have done related to racial equity is based on the premise that there are individual, institutional, and structural barriers to racial equity. During our building and district level equity professional development, we work to address individual and relational aspects of racial basis and inequity. At the district board and administrative level, we need to examine policies, procedures, and structures which lead to disparate outcomes for our students of color.

Achieving excellence and equity for all students is possible. It requires an honest look at beliefs, structures, practices, and a willingness to do what it takes to make change. Schools should not be daunted and must begin immediately—there are too many students who cannot wait. We can act our way to new beliefs and start to make the structural and instructional changes necessary to achieve excellence and equity. To do anything less is educational malpractice.” - Eric Witherspoon, District 202 Superintendent in Ed Week, 2011

Saturday, April 7, 2018

April 10 "Lunch and Learn" for UHS Students

Attention UHS Students!

On Tuesday April 10, from Noon-3PM, Urbana School District #116 is hosting a “Lunch and Learn” at Lincoln Square Mall for all UHS students. Topics include Civic Engagement, Mental Health, District Visioning, and a Q & A session with district administrators. We hope you will join us for an informative and engaging event! Pizza will be available starting at 12:30PM. Seniors who participate, can receive verification to fulfill their attendance requirement for the day. Hope to see you on Tuesday afternoon! 


 Remember, April 10 is SAT and PSAT Testing Day at UHS: 

 Urbana High School students in grades 9, 10, and 11 will participate in SAT-related testing on Tuesday, April 10. Our 12th-grade students will participate in a College, Career, Community/Volunteer activity, or attend the “Lunch and Learn” and will not be required to be in attendance on April 10th. The 11th graders will conclude testing at approximately 1:00 PM and will be dismissed at that time. Sack lunches will be available for students at the conclusion of testing. 

Both First Student and MTD buses will run at 1:26. The 9th and 10th-grade students will take a practice version of the SAT called the PSAT. Taking the PSAT will help our 9th and 10th-grade students to learn the content and pacing that is on the SAT. All 9th and 10th graders will be dismissed at 12:26 at the conclusion of testing. This is our typical early release time and First Student and MTD buses will run accordingly. Sack lunches will be available to 9th and 10th-grade students.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Sad News - UHS Student Death

Dear Urbana Families:

Urbana High School and Urbana School District 116 is saddened to learn of the passing of UHS student, Jesus Bustamante.  Our thoughts and sympathy go out to his family and friends.  We understand his death could be stressful for a number of our students and/or staff and we offer our thoughts and support during this difficult time.  Grief counselors will be available to any student or staff starting at 7:45am Monday, April 2, 2018 at UHS.

La Escuela Urbana High School y el Distrito Escolar de Urbana 116 lamentan el fallecimiento de nuestro estudiante de UHS Jesús Bustamante.  Nuestros pensamientos y oraciones están con su familia y amigos. Comprendemos que su fallecimiento puede causar mucho estrés para un gran número de estudiantes y personal de la escuela y queremos ofrecer nuestras condolencias y nuestro  apoyo durante estos difíciles momentos. Habrá consejeros disponibles para cualquier estudiante o miembro del personal comenzando el lunes 2 de abril a las 7:45 am en UHS.

In sadness,