Monday, December 21, 2015

Report to the Board of Education - December 15, 2015

Superintendent’s Report to
Urbana School District #116
Board of Education
December 15, 2015

Board Meetings on YouTube
Remember that all Board Meetings are broadcast live on UPTV, Channel 6. They are also posted on the USD116 YouTube Channel within a few days of the meeting.

Happy Holidays!
We would like to thank everyone who made the 1st Semester of the 2015-2016 School Year successful.  We congratulate our December graduates and wish everyone a very relaxing and restful holiday season!

Qualified School Construction Bond Resolution
At the December 15 Board Meeting, the Board of Education approved a resolution directing the administration to apply for the Qualified School Construction Bonds that were recently announced by the state.  The application is due January 15, and we should be notified in March regarding our application.  These bonds could help accelerate the renovation work at Yankee Ridge, Thomas Paine, and Wiley while saving nearly $5 Million in interest.  The QSCB requires that we complete the project within three years.  Our application will include the work at Yankee Ridge and Thomas Paine because we can complete those two schools within the three year timeline.  We will be able to fund the work at Wiley with a variety of other sources, but still complete and finish it earlier than we had anticipated if we receive these bonds.  

PARCC and 2015 School Report Card Information
Letters when home to families about the 2015 PARCC scores.  The individual score reports will be mailed home with end of semester report cards.  If any family has questions about their students’ PARCC scores, please contact the classroom teacher or building principal.  We plan on using the PARCC information, along with our other assessment information to improve teaching and learning for our students.  All of the 2015 School Report information can be found on the web at: https://illinoisreportcard.com/ or on the district website at: http://www.usd116.org/district/illinois-school-profiles/

Celebrations
Jean Korder, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, presented at the National Achieve Annual Conference, on December 3 and 4 in Washington D.C.  She was presenting about the work USD116 has undertaken to revise our assessment frameworks and the work our teachers have been doing to improve formative assessment and feedback for students.

Board Meeting Schedule Reminder
The Board will meet on January 5, 2016 with a representative from the Illinois Association of School Boards for a Board Self Evaluation. This will be an executive session that is not open to the public.  

The Board's Study Session will be January 12, 2016, and the Board's Business Meeting will be January 19, 2016.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Report to the Board of Education - December 1, 2015

Superintendent’s Report to
Urbana School District #116
Board of Education
December 1, 2015


Board Meetings on YouTube
Remember that all Board Meetings are broadcast live on UPTV, Channel 6. They are also posted on the USD116 YouTube Channel within a few days of the meeting.


ThoughtExchange Engagement  #USD116Engage
We want to thank everyone who have participated in the first ThoughtExchange Engagement so far.  We had 701 participants share 3124 thoughts during the “Share” phase.  We had 933 participants assign 82,227 stars to those thoughts in the “Star” phase.  Next week, we will begin the “Discover” phase of looking at the results and analyzing trends in the ideas that our community prioritized.  Please remember that this first engagement was what we call a “temperature check” to help us get a baseline of the overall thoughts and attitudes about schools in the district.  The next round of ThoughtExchange will be more forward focused and more directed at the strategic planning process.  


Winter Concert Season has Arrived
This week and next week, the USD116 music teachers and teachers are highlighting their talents during a series of concerts:


Tuesday, December 1; 7PM - UHS Choir Concert at UHS
Thursday, December 3; 7PM - UHS Orchestra Concert at UHS
Monday, December 7; 7PM - 5th Grade Band Concert at UMS
Tuesday, December 8; 7PM - UMS Choir Concert at UMS
Thursday, December 10; 7PM - 5th Grade Strings Concert at UMS


We hope you can join us to celebrate the accomplishments of our talented students!


Winter Break Hours
Urbana School District #116’s Central Office (205 North Race) will be open from 8AM-4PM on December 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 - over Winter Break.


Celebrations
Three UHS Students were selected, based on their performances at the ILMEA District III Concert Festival in November, to participate in the All-State Festival in Peoria in January 2016.  The UHS All-State Music Students are: Yasir Badillo-Acosta (Band; Bb Clarinet); Lincoln Taylor (Band; Trombone); and Henry Ando (Orchestra; Bb Clarinet).  We are proud to have these three talented students representing UHS and USD116 at the ILMEA All-State Festival!  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Report to the Board November 3, 2015

Superintendent’s Report to
Urbana School District #116
Board of Education
November 3, 2015


Board Meetings on YouTube
Remember that all Board Meetings are broadcast live on UPTV, Channel 6. They are also posted on the USD116 YouTube Channel within a few days of the meeting.


ThoughtExchange Engagement  #USD116Engage
Last Thursday, October 29, 2015, we launched our first engagement with ThoughtExchange.  The majority of staff, students, and families in the district received an email directly from ThoughtExchange asking them to participate in a short open ended survey about their school and the district.  To date we have had over 410 people participate and share over 1800 thoughts.
 
If you didn't get an email directly from ThoughtExchange (using USD116 Engage), we apologize for the error.  We still want you to participate.  Check your spam folder before you do anything else.  If you still can't find an email inviting you to participate, please use this link to “opt-in” to the ThoughtExchange process.  http://usd116.thoughtexchange.com/invitation

ThoughtExchange uses email addresses to invite people to participate in each stage of the process.  All of the responses are anonymous and not connected to individuals or their email addresses.  

After this initial round of thoughts are collected and analyzed, ThoughtExchange will send out invitations to participate in the "Star" process, where individuals will get to see everyone's thoughts about the three open ended questions, and people will get to assign "stars" next to the thoughts that they think are most important or resonate most.  The Star process will start on approximately November 13 and last about 10 days.  From there, we will begin the process of analyzing and reporting out the results of these first two steps.  The responses will be shared publicly, and we will use this process to begin setting priorities for revising our Strategic Plan.


Celebrations

IGW Architecture and Perkins+Will, Inc. will be recognized at the IASB Joint Annual Conference for designing the new Urbana Early Childhood School and for an addition to Dr. Preston L. Williams Jr. Elementary School in Urbana.  This is a juried competition and IGW and Perkins+Will received the highest award: The Award of Distinction  

Sandy Davin, ASCCP Director, has been selected to be a member of the AfterSchool Today Readers’ Advisory Panel.  On this advisory panel, Sandy will be helping determine content and reviewing articles for a national journal dealing with after school programs and practices.

Dr. Joseph Wiemelt, Director of Equity and Bilingual Programs, has been asked to present at the National Association of School Board’s Equity Symposium in January.  Joe will be one of two school district leaders speaking about concepts of inclusion and equity at the national symposium.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

#USD116Engage

The mission of Urbana School District 116, a multi-cultural community committed to educational excellence, is to ensure that all learners acquire knowledge, develop skills, and build character to achieve personal greatness and help create a better global society, by providing innovative, comprehensive programs, respecting individual learning styles and cultural differences, and fostering caring and nurturing relationships, while engaging each student, every family and the entire community.

I am very excited to begin a new level of engagement with our school and larger community to help us update our Strategic Plan.  As you know, our Mission, Beliefs, and Parameters are strong powerful statements that have community and organizational support.  We want to preserve those elements of our current plan, and engage in a process that asks students, teachers, families, and the larger community to help us plan for the future. My hope is to increase participation while at the same time analyzing which issues, concerns, dreams, and aspirations are most widely shared.

Our current strategic plan served us very well. As we have evaluated the plan, we have determined that we accomplished about 75-80% of the action items. That doesn't mean that we reached 80% of our goals; however, my hope is that we keep reaching for the three broad objectives while we engage our USD116 families, students, employees, and community members in helping us set new targets for the future.

Our plan is to engage our USD116 staff, students, families, and community in a variety of ways. We will do road shows at staff meetings, visit with PTA groups, and hold district wide forums. As you know, we enjoy going out and literally going door to door if that helps with engagement.

We have been very impressed with a company called ThoughtExchange as a platform for engagement, analysis, and support. They have experience assisting large and small districts engage around issues of strategic planning, facilities planning, redistricting, referendums, and marketing. They also do what they call a 360º weather report about how the district is viewed by different sectors of the community. 

Later this week, we will be launching our first ThoughtExchange engagement.  Three open ended questions that ask about your thoughts about your school and your district.  Your responses will be anonymous, they will be reviewed, and they will be shared.  Please join the conversation.  Watch for an email from your building principal and me later this week.  If you don't receive an email directly, watch the district website and social media for ways of joining the conversation.

You are all aware how important it is to have a plan to guide us through uncertain times. Today, next year, and ten years from now are very uncertain. Now is the best time to engage in a strategic planning process to help us focus on the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of our local community.  Please join us as we launch #USD116Engage!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Report to the Board October 20, 2015

Superintendent’s Report to
Urbana School District #116
Board of Education
October 20, 2015


Board Meetings on YouTube


Remember that all Board Meetings are broadcast live on UPTV, Channel 6. They are also posted on the USD116 YouTube Channel within a few days of the meeting.


The Future of Virtual Field Trips: Google Expeditions


Today, I had the opportunity to experience Google Expeditions using Google Cardboard.  Actually, I  just wanted to write that sentence.  Google Expeditions is an app (Apple and Android) based virtual field trip that I can only describe as a 3D Stereoscope or a View Master.  The teacher and student interface is very interactive, and the result is the feeling of being able to walk through a spherical picture of whatever place in the universe you choose (and has Expeditions content).  This would be a great idea for a CUSF Grant Application!


Strategic Planning Re-envisioning Starting Soon


I want to outline my vision for the strategic planning process and rationale.  As you know, our Mission, Beliefs, and Parameters are strong powerful statements that have community and organizational support.  I want to preserve those elements of our current plan but engage in a process that asks students, teachers, families, and the larger community to help us plan for the future.  My hope is to increase participation while at the same time analyzing which issues, concerns, dreams, and aspirations are most widely shared.  

Our current plan served us very well.  As we have evaluated the plan, we have determined that we accomplished about 75-80% of the action items.  That doesn't mean that we reached 80% of our goals; however, my hope is that we keep reaching for the three broad objectives while we engage our USD116 families, employees, and community members in helping us set new targets for the future.  I have attached a basic presentation that reviews the main parts of our current Strategic Plan.  
My plan is to engage our USD116 staff, students, families, and community in a variety of ways.  We will do road shows at staff meetings, visit with PTA groups, and hold district wide forums.  As you know, we enjoy going out and literally going door to door if that helps with engagement.  

We have been very impressed with a company called ThoughtExchange as a platform for engagement, analysis, and support.  They have experience assisting large and small districts engage around issues of strategic planning, facilities planning, redistricting, referendums, and marketing.  They also do what they call a 360º weather report about how the district is viewed by different sectors of the community. ThoughtExchange is an option that can be tailored to our needs and customized to help us discover answers to specific topics.  They also will help us continually evaluate our work be engaging our stakeholders in annual weather reports.  

You are all aware how important it is to have a plan to guide us through uncertain times.  Today, next year, and ten years from now are very uncertain.  Now is the best time to engage in a strategic planning process to help us focus on the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of our local community.


Urbana Crossing Guard and Substitute Crossing Guard Positions - City Seeking Applicants

Urbana School District #116 has been working closely with the City of Urbana and the Urbana Police Department to ensure the safety of school crossings.  Through our partnership, the City of Urbana employs nine crossing guards across the city.

This school year, the City has not been able to fill all nine positions.  They are also planning to hire several substitute crossing guards.  I am attaching a Job Announcement that describes the crossing guard and substitute crossing guard positions, hours, and compensation.  If you are interested, or know someone who is interested, please apply online at: www.urbanaillinois.us/jobs

Thank you for helping us ensure safe routes to schools.  Please remember to drive slowly and alertly through school zones and other areas of town when students are walking or riding bikes to and from school.  For more information about our safe routes to schools, please visit the district web page: http://www.usd116.org/schools/c-u-safe-routes-to-school/

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Report to the Board - October 6, 2015

Superintendent’s Report to
Urbana School District #116
Board of Education
October 6, 2015

Board Meetings on YouTube

Remember that all Board Meetings are broadcast live on UPTV, Channel 6. They are also posted on the USD116 YouTube Channel within a few days of the meeting.

Barbara Linder Announced her Retirement effective June 2016

Barbara Linder, District Coordinator of Mentoring, addressed the Board of Education tonight and announced that this would be her last year.  She discussed her experiences as a parent volunteer in 1991 and how that experienced grew into a full time position that coordinates over 1000 tutors, parent volunteers, and CU One to One Mentors.  During the next month, we will be be holding focus groups to help set the vision for what we are looking for in the next district coordinator.  I know I speak for the entire Urbana community when I say that Barbara has transformed the culture of this district and this community.  Thank you Barbara!

Walk and Roll to School Day is Tomorrow (Wednesday, October 7, 2015)

All USD116 Elementary Schools are participating in the National Walk and Roll to School Day tomorrow.  We want to emphasize the importance of traveling safely to school.  A listing of our “Safe Routes to Schools” can be found on the district website:  http://www.usd116.org/schools/c-u-safe-routes-to-school/

Dr. Tony Smith, IL State Superintendent

Last week, I had the privilege of attending Dr. Tony Smith’s presentation at the IASA Conference in Springfield.  He outlined his areas of focus for the 2015-2016 school year:
  • Finance reform: “We need to address the most regressive and inequitable funding formula in the country.”
  • Quality: His is committed to utilizing the talent and resources of IL to create the strongest school system in the country.
  • Autonomy: Dr. Smith stressed that local districts and boards of education know how to best address the needs of their students and families.
  • Competency:  Dr. Smith is committed to moving past “seat time” requirements for graduation and moving toward a mastery based model of advancement.
  • Community:  “A healthy public system organized around schools is the cornerstone of healthy communities.”

UHS and Urbana Alumni Association Homecoming Activities

This week is Homecoming Week at UHS.  The parade will take place on Friday at 3PM, followed by the Tail Grate on the UHS Practice Fields.  The football game starts at 7PM against Peoria Notre Dame High School.  At halftime, the 2015 Hall of Fame Inductees will be honored, including: Mykhail Chambers (2008); Mandy Kirby (2008); Shannon McFarland (2005); Daniel Wingler (2001); and “Tiger for Life” recipients, John Dimit and Dr. Preston L. Williams, Jr.

After the game, the Urbana Alumni Association will be holding their Homecoming Celebration at Lincoln Square Mall.  There will be music, raffles, and auctions.  All proceeds will be directed to the Wall of Fame Project honoring the accomplishments of UHS graduates.  If you would like to buy tickets or learn more about the event, please visit: http://www.urbana-alumni.com

Celebrations

Congratulations to Rusty Clevenger, Elementary Fine Arts Teacher, for receiving the 2015 Teacher Ace Award from 40 North - Champaign County Arts Council.  He will be presented with the award at a reception on Friday, October 9.

Congratulations to UHS Seniors, John Dandria, Rebecca Hanks, Jared Hatcher, and Eamon Kuo for being recognized as Commended Students in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Congratulations to UHS Seniors, Henry Ando, Fiona Munro, and Marshall Schriner for being recognized as National Merit Semi Finalists by the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Please check out tomorrow’s News-Gazette for the #TeacheroftheWeek, Karla Schroeder, Kindergarten Teacher at Wiley Elementary School!  Congratulations Karla!  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

PARCC - ISBE Superintendent's Message with Comments

I wanted to share this email from Dr. Tony Smith, IL State Superintendent, which was sent on Friday, September 11, 2015.  I highlighted some important points, and I hope we all can appreciate that these sentiments are coming directly from Dr. Smith.  I also provided a few [editorial comments] to provide insight into my sentiments about the content of this email.  

I am very proud to work with such a talented group of educators who are focused on improving the quality of learning and helping each student strive for his or her personal greatness.
___________________________________________

Dear Colleagues:

On Wednesday, September 16, the Illinois State Board of Education will release the initial, and still incomplete, statewide results from the PARCC test. I want you to get as much information as we can share as soon as possible.  We will continue to update and publish the data as we receive it.  As you are aware, this is the first year you are receiving PARCC results.  It is our collective challenge to explain to principals, teachers, parents, and community members what these scores mean for their schools, their classrooms, and their children. I want to offer a few thoughts to help frame these discussions.

First of all, while the numbers are not final, we know that the percent of students who demonstrate proficiency are likely lower than the percentage of students who were proficient on the previous test. Please let everyone in your communities know that we fully expect results to improve as teachers and students become more familiar with the higher standards. These initial results are simply a new baseline from which we can move forward. I do not want anyone to use these results to shame teachers or schools.  We need to celebrate the good work our teachers and schools are doing to teach the new content our children must have for success in the future.

Second, please help parents understand that the PARCC test is not an “additional” test but that it replaces an existing test with one that is better aligned to the new standards. As you know, Illinois is deeply committed to minimizing testing and reducing test prep that consumes precious learning time. With aligned assessments, curricula and standards, the best preparation for testing is good teaching and the need for multiple tests and test prep is dramatically reduced or entirely eliminated. [I want to emphasize one point - We, as a district and community, will not define the success of a student, teacher, or school on a single test.  We will also not waste valuable learning time on "test-prep." -DDO]

Third, I encourage you to help parents understand that the primary purpose of testing is to help parents and teachers support their children’s learning. Ideally individual student results would be available at the start of the school year so that teachers, parents, and students could use them to inform instruction. This year, we expect individual student results later in the fall.  In subsequent years we expect to have them much sooner. Either way, please help parents understand the primary purpose of this assessment is to help their children. [Dr. Smith is alternating between "testing" and "assessment" in this paragraph.  When discussing assessments (with each other and with parents), I believe it is important to differentiate between "formative" and "summative" assessments. Formative assessments, like the ones teachers use on a regular basis, are much better at informing instruction.  Until we see the reports and scores generated by PARCC, we will not be able to evaluate how well PARCC helps "inform instruction." -DDO]

Finally, please let your principals and teachers know that these results are only one of many factors that inform our accountability system. We will never use test scores in isolation to drive school interventions or personnel decisions. We all understand that no test can ever fully capture the inspiring skills and abilities of a great teacher or the extraordinary benefits and positive impact of a great school. Tests are simply one measure to help track our progress.  Along with other indicators, tests help give us a sense of where and how we are succeeding and where and how we must improve.

In the four months I’ve been in this role, I have had the pleasure of meeting many outstanding educators and students all across Illinois and I can say with absolute confidence that we have the talent, skills, and commitment to meet our highest aspirations. Thanks for all your hard work on behalf of our children. Thanks for doing society’s most important work. Thanks, above all, for caring.


Sincerely,

Tony Smith, Ph.D.
State Superintendent of Education

[Very well said Dr. Smith - DDO]

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Report to the Board - September 15, 2015

Superintendent’s Report to 
Urbana School District #116 
Board of Education
September 1, 2015

Board Meetings on YouTube
Remember that all Board Meetings are broadcast live on UPTV, Channel 6. They are also posted on the USD116 YouTube Channel within a few days of the meeting.

Board Meeting Topics for 2015-2016
Based on the discussion with the Board at their September 1, 2015 Study Session, we have developed a DRAFT of Board Meeting Topics and Agenda Items for the 2015-2016 School Year. The Study Topics and Administrative Reports are in no particular order and roughly grouped by month. We will spread out the topics in order to prevent one meeting from being excessively long and another excessively short. The attached calendar is a draft and subject to change.



Board Self Evaluation and Goal Setting
The Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) recommends that the Board of Education conduct a Self Evaluation on a regular basis. The last time the USD116 BOE completed a Self Evaluation with IASB was in November, 2011. I am asking the Board to set aside time in the next two months to schedule a Self Evaluation with IASB. This process will be beneficial as the district administrative team begins working on revising the Strategic Plan. Lori Johnson will work on scheduling a time with IASB and the BOE to ensure full participation.

Celebrations
Lucia Maldonado, Latino/a Family and Community Liaison, received the Leadership Award from the CU Immigration Forum at their 2nd Annual Awards Celebration on Saturday, September 12.

Janice Mitchell, Family and Community Liaison, received the Winding Ivy Award for Educational Enrichment from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Epsilon Epsilon Omega Chapter Pink Panache Scholarship Banquet on Friday, September 11.

Urbana Early Childhood School received an Award of Excellence for Inclusion of Children with Special Needs in ExceleRate Illinois. Congratulations to the entire staff at UECS! The award letter stated:
The Awards of Excellence are the highest level of our state’s quality rating and improvement system, and recognize research-based best practice in specific content areas. This Award of Excellence demonstrates your program’s successful implementation of high-quality, inclusive early learning services for children with special needs. Urbana Early Childhood School’s Award of Excellence for Inclusion of Children with Special Needs will remain in effect for up to three years, provided that your program retains its overall designation in the Gold Circle of Quality in ExceleRate Illinois during this time. Awardees will be honored at a reception during the Sharing A Vision Conference in Springfield on September 29, 2015, and we invite you and your team to celebrate your success with your colleagues and state agency officials.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 will be “Dr. Preston Williams Day” at Dr. Williams Elementary School. Dr. Williams will speak at a school assembly at 9AM.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Report to the Board - September 1, 2015

Superintendent’s Report to
Urbana School District #116
Board of Education
September 1, 2015
Board Meetings on YouTube
Remember that all Board Meetings are broadcast live on UPTV, Channel 6. They are also posted on the USD116 YouTube Channel within a few days of the meeting.


Six Day Enrollment
Dr. Ivory-Tatum, Deputy Superintendent reported that K-12 numbers are up by almost 100 students over last year, and that we are at our highest Six Day Enrollment numbers in more than a decade!


Preliminary Food Service Participation Numbers
This year marks the first year of the district’s participation in the Community Eligibility Program through the National School Lunch Program.  All of our families, regardless of income or previous eligibility are allowed to eat a full breakfast or full lunch at no charge (this does not include ala carte items).   As was reported to the BOE in the Spring of 2015, this program would only be financially beneficial to the district if there was an overall 3% increase in participation.  

We have received an initial report from Aramark that compares last year’s first week of school with this year’s first week of school.  We are happy to report that breakfast participation across the district has increased by 16.1% over last year, and lunch participation has increased by 8.7% over last year.  We will keep close track of participation and provide regular updates.


First Student Contract Negotiations
First Student and their drivers are in negotiation talks.  We are optimistic that an agreement will be reached that is agreeable to both sides; however, we are not involved in the process.  First Student will update us with any relevant information.  We have been assured that buses will be running their scheduled routes.  

If families have questions or concerns about First Student bus service, they should start by calling First Student at 217-344-4586.  Families can also call their child(ren)’s school with questions about schedules.


Website and Social Media
This is just a reminder that calendars of events are posted online on the district and building websites which can be accessed at: www.usd116.org.  UHS Athletic Schedules can be found at: http://il.8to18.com/urbana

You can also stay up to the minute by following USD116 on social media:
Facebook: USD116
Twitter: @Urbana116
The Superintendent’s Report to the Board of Education is posted on the Superintendent’s Blog: http://usd116superintendent.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Superintendent's Report to the Board - August 18, 2015

Facilities Summer Projects Update from Ota Dossett
We had the most aggressive summer of construction and renovation projects in recent memory. The weather and several issues outside of our control delayed many of the projects. We apologize to teachers, principals, and buildings whose rooms were not ready for you to prepare for the first day of school.

Dr. Williams Elementary:
Central HVAC = Completed 2 weeks late - construction continues all year

Leal Elementary:
Main Office carpets = Completed on schedule

King Elementary:
Roof replacement = Not complete - several weeks behind schedule

Thomas Paine Elementary:
Driveway/Parking Lot = Completed on time

Yankee Ridge Elementary;
Window replacement = Completed 3 weeks late

Urbana High School:
Tuckpointing/Sealing = On schedule to be done in 2 weeks
Kitchen/Commons = On schedule - Work continues all year
Library carpeting = Completed on schedule

Opening Day Institute
We had a successful start to the school year. The entire staff was welcomed by the Urbana High School Tiger Marching Band. Speakers included 2015 UHS Graduate, Abram Washington, and the Director for the Center of Education in Small Urban Communities, Dr. Bill Trent. The remainder of the day focused on professional development about restorative practices, curriculum, and assessment.

First Day of School
The first day of school for K-9 students (½ of Kindergartners) on Wednesday, August 19! UECS has Parent Orientation on Wednesday, August 19; EC-12 (other ½ of Kindergarteners) attend school on Thursday, August 20. All students are in attendance on Friday, August 21.

King, Thomas Paine, and Dr. Williams are all having Open House/Back to School activities tonight. UECS has New Parent Orientation/Open House tomorrow (August 19; 3:30-5:30PM). UHS has an Open House for 9th Grade and Spanish Speaking families from 6-7PM and a general Open House from 7-8PM (August 19). UMS has a Family Curriculum Night on August 24 (6:30-8PM). Yankee Ridge has a Back to School Night on August 27 (6-7:15PM). Leal is having grade level parent nights: K (tonight, August 18); 1st (August 25 - 6:30-7:30PM); 2nd (August 24 - 5:30-6:30PM); 3rd (August 27 - 5:30-6:30PM); 4th (August 25 - 5:30-6:30PM); 5th (September 1 - 5:30-6:30PM); and a school-wide Ice Cream Social (August 26 - 6:30-7:30PM).

Celebrations
Congratulations to UHS Art Teachers, Susan Gleason and Jill Lagerstam, who collaborated with two teachers from CUSD4 to write a Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation Collaborative Grant, which will allow students from both districts to spend a day at Krannert Art Museum and then collaborate to create their own artwork that was inspired by their trip to the museum. The grant was for $2700.

Congratulations to Beth Gatsche, Assistant Principal of Gerber School, for being named the Cunningham Children’s Home Employee of the Quarter.

Congratulations to Alicia Burge, UHS Science Teacher, who was named one of the 40 Under 40, by the News-Gazette’s Central Illinois Business Magazine.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Superintendent's Report to the Board - August 4, 2015

Centralized Registration:
We had over 75% of returning families register during Centralized Registration at UMS last week. We received several positive comments in person and on social media about the process and customer service. Families who were out of town and could not attend Centralized Registration will have to register at their child(ren)’s school(s) during regular business hours (7:30AM-4:30PM). The School Based Health Center held a “Walk-In” clinic during Centralized Registration that was very successful and allowed families to take care of physicals and immunizations without an appointment.

Back to School:
Opening Day for Teachers and Staff will be on Monday, August 17, 2015 at Urbana Middle School. We have a full day of professional development that starts with an address by a 2015 Graduate of UHS, Dr. Bill Trent, from UIUC, and music from the Urbana Marching Tigers.

School starts for K-9 students (½ of Kindergartners) on Wednesday, August 19. UECS has Parent Orientation on Wednesday, August 19; EC-12 (other ½ of Kindergarteners) attend school on Thursday, August 20. All students in attendance on Friday, August 21.

Human Resources and Professional Development:
I would like to welcome Katherine Barbour, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Professional Development, to her first Board meeting in her new role. She and her department members have been working hard all summer to support principals with their summer hiring and to prepare for our district’s New Teacher Orientation, Unified Professional Development August Day, Substitute Recruitment Fair, Substitute Orientations, New Employee Orientations, and Opening Institute Day.

Summer Construction Update:
Ota Dossett will provide a full update at the August Business Meeting, but we will say that several projects are behind schedule. Ota has been sharing regular updates with building staff. Ota and his district and building staff are working hard to get rooms ready for teachers and students.

Celebrations:
August 7, 2015 - Reception for the naming of the Dorothy Vickers-Shelley Library at Booker T. Washington School; 4PM - 6PM

August 8, 2015 - Celebration of the renaming of Dr. Preston L. Williams Jr. Elementary School; 1PM - 3PM

August 13, 2015 - Piato’s Lunch Buffet to support King School Backpack Program (accepting donations and school supplies from lunch through close)

August 15, 2015 - CUSF Flapjack Fundraiser; Applebee’s in Champaign; 8AM - 10AM (Family Friendly)

August 15, 2015 - Laugh-A-Palooza Fundraiser for the Greg Chew Theatre Scholarship; Mike and Molly’s in Champaign; 7PM - Midnight (Not appropriate for youth)