Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Report to the Board of Education - February 6, 2018

Equity In Action

21st Century Learning Community Centers Grant - USD116 is planning to apply for the 2018 21st Century Learning Community Centers Grant.  We have posted our intent to apply on the district website as required by the grant.  If funded, we will use this grant to provide additional educational opportunities for our students.

Excellence In Action

UHS Senior Joey Wright's Echo article about Urbana Public Television's Jason Liggett is featured on the City of Urbana Website.

The USD116 Choral Festival will be tomorrow (Wednesday, February 7 at 7PM in Oscar Adams Gym at UHS).  The UMS Choral Students will be joining the UHS Choral Students for a district-wide celebration of song.

On Thursday, February 8 at 7PM, the USD116 All City Strings Concert will be in the UMS Gym.  This includes 5-12th grade strings students.  Hope to see you there!

Finally, the UHS Drama students will be presenting the ghostly comedy, "Blithe Spirit," in Cobb Auditorium at UHS from February 14 - 18! 

Engagement In Action

National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) is a day for parents to visit their children's schools, see what their children experience at school, and support their children's education.  All USD116 schools will be celebrating NAAPID on Monday, February 12, 2018.  A full list of events will be published on the district website and individual schools will be sending home information to parents.

The ThoughtExchange survey regarding the expansion of Dual Language programs in USD116 elementary schools is open and active.  We want to hear your thoughts about the future of Dual Language.  To participate in this open ended and interactive survey, please visit this link: 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Report to the Board of Education - January 16, 2018

Equity In Action:
Tonight the Board of Education heard a report from members of the Champaign County Racial Justice Task Force. Amy Felty and Anne Blagoyen focused their remarks on the Task Force’s work around education and juvenile justice. You can find the full report online. The specific pages that dealt with education recommendations can be found on pages 57 and 58 of the report. Dr. Samuel Byndom, Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning, served as one of the co-chairs of this county-wide committee for the past two years.

In the coming months, the Board of Education will hear reports and discuss several of the topics contained in the recommendations:
  • February 6, 2018 Study Session - Restorative Practices Update and Report
  • February 20, 2018 Business Meeting - School Resource Officer Program in USD116

Excellence in Action:
This past weekend, many members of the USD116 family participated in events celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Some of the students who received special recognition were:

  • Girl Scout Troop 2207, made up of mostly USD116 students at King and UMS - Recipients of the Doris Hoskins Prestigious Community Service Award – Spirit of Love Award
  • Breana Donald, UHS Junior - Recipient of the James R. Burgess, Jr. – Susan Freiburg Humanitarian Award – Peace and Non-Violence
  • Shauri Gonzalez and Gage Curtner of UHS received the MLKjr Scholarships
Engagement in Action:
On Monday, January 15, 2018, the UHS Interact Club, a group of high school students supported by the Urbana Rotary, held its annual Day of Learning and Service in the UHS Commons. Despite the bad weather, there was a great turn out. Fire Marshal Phil Edwards gave the keynote, and Illini Fighting Hunger helped coordinate the service project which involved packaging rice for distribution at a local food pantry.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Report to the Board of Education - December 19, 2017

Equity In Action:
As we wrap up First Semester, we are pleased with the commitment our entire staff is making to engage with issues of racial equity, bias, and the impact that racism has on our students and coworkers. Every employee in the district has been participating in monthly building-based professional development to support and challenge each other to reduce inequities for our students.

The Administrative Team has been reviewing the initial performance reports about Restorative Practices. We are excited about both the successes and opportunities for growth. We plan to have Elaine Shpungin from Conflict 180 present her findings to the BOE in February.

We have a strong team of leaders working on a systematic plan for recruiting and retaining faculty and staff of color. The team is implementing a variety of strategies as we enter 2018 to ensure that we continue to increase the diversity of our employees.

The 2017-2018 Truancy Alternative and Optional Educational Program (TAOEP) grant has been approved by ISBE, and we are excited to have a team of Student Engagement Advocates and Clinicians, hired and already working in the schools, getting to know the students and observing the culture and climate of the buildings.

In order to comply with the Learn with Dignity Act (PA 100-0163), we are purchasing and installing feminine hygiene products dispensers for all of the girls restrooms at UMS and UHS. The feminine hygiene products will be available after winter break at no cost to students. We have always offered this service through our office or school nurse, but now the dispensers will be available to students in the restrooms.


Excellence In Action:
Ten UHS music students have been selected to participate in the ILMEA All-State Festival in Peoria in January, 2018. This represents the largest number of UHS students to receive such an honor in the past 10 years. We are very proud of the students and their accomplishments: Eliza Abbamonte (Trumpet); Lukas Gollings (Bass Trombone); Ksenya Kouzminova (Flute); Max Zhang (Violin); Payton Borich (Trumpet); Ellie D’ Andria (Trombone); Sarah Stelzer (Flute); Alora Rent (Soprano); Rebecca Owen (String/Electric Bass); Tiana Steele (Composition). #TigerPride

A team of educators and administrators from UECS are writing a proposal for the Early Childhood Expansion Grant, which, if funded, could expand services to CU Early and UECS students.

USD116 is piloting the “second cohort of the Competency-Based High School Graduation Requirements Pilot Program. School districts participating in the pilot will replace select high school graduation course requirements with a competency-based system of the district’s design. Competency-based teaching and learning structures students’ educational experience around the individual student’s knowledge and interests, rather than seat time. In competency-based learning, students play the active role in determining the course of their education. Students advance as they demonstrate mastery of specific skills, abilities, and knowledge.” https://www.isbe.net/competency

Engagement in Action
The district is participating in the IL 5 Essentials Survey, which measures five key areas of school culture including, ambitious instruction, effective leaders, collaborative teachers, involved families, and supportive environment. The survey will be open until January 31, and teachers and families will receive an email reminder with the link after Winter Break.

The USD116 Family Advisory Committee held its first meeting on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at the Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center. The group discussed the family survey that was completed during Fall Parent Teacher Conferences and worked on planning a Parent Academy for Tuesday, March 13, 2018.