Monday, November 14, 2016

USD116 - Safe and Supportive Schools

The following message was sent to all employees and families today (November 14, 2016).

______________________________

Greetings,

The mission of Urbana School District #116, a multicultural 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.

Additionally, Urbana School District #116 is devoted to promoting welcoming, safe, and equitable learning environments for all of our students and families regardless of student identities including: race, class, (dis)ability, language, religion, sexuality, gender, immigration status, and others. As educators, adults, and leaders in this community, we want to make sure that all of our students feel safe and supported.

One of the ways we promote safe and equitable schools and help support educators, students, and families is providing all of our employees with racial equity training. We are also committed to reducing harassing behavior as evidenced by our board policies and administrative procedures. We do not condone harassment, bullying or bigotry. We investigate and address all issues that are brought to our attention, and we have begun using restorative practices to build a better understanding among individuals.

Please know that if you need support for your students or yourself, do not hesitate to ask; we are here for you. Sometimes students need an outlet, and the best thing we can do is model respectful listening. As we are here for you, please remember that our students look to all of us for support and understanding.

DDO

__________________________

Saludos,

La misión del Distrito Escolar de Urbana 116, una comunidad multicultural comprometida a la excelencia académica, es de asegurar que todos los estudiantes adquieran los conocimientos, desarrollen las habilidades y cimienten el carácter para lograr la grandeza personal y ayudar a crear una mejor sociedad mundial. Esta meta se logrará al proveer programas innovadores y comprensivos, al respetar los estilos de aprendizaje individuales y las diferencias culturales y al cultivar relaciones de afecto, cuidado y protección, mientras se motiva la participación de cada estudiante, de su familia y de toda la comunidad.

Adicionalmente, el Distrito escolar de Urbana #116 está comprometido a promover ambientes de aprendizaje acogedores, seguros y equitativos para todos los estudiantes y familias sin importar su identidad incluyendo: raza, clase, habilidad, lenguaje, religión, preferencia sexual, género, estatus migratorio y otros. Nosotros como educadores, adultos, y líderes de nuestra comunidad queremos asegurar que todos nuestros estudiantes se sienten seguros y apoyados.

Una de las maneras en que promovemos la seguridad y equidad en nuestras escuelas y apoyamos a nuestros educadores, estudiantes y familias es ofreciendo entrenamiento de equidad racial a todos nuestros empleados. También estamos comprometidos con la reducción del comportamiento de acoso como lo demuestran nuestras políticas de la junta directiva y los procedimientos administrativos. Nosotros no toleramos el acoso, la intimidación o la intolerancia. Investigamos y resolvemos todos los problemas que se nos reportan, y hemos comenzado a usar las prácticas restaurativas para construir un mejor entendimiento entre los individuos.

Tenga por seguro que si necesita apoyo para sus estudiantes o para usted estamos aqui para ustedes. Por favor no dude en acercarse a nosotros. Algunas veces los estudiantes necesitan una manera para desahogarse y lo mejor que podemos hacer es modelar una forma respetuosa de escuchar. Estamos aquí para ustedes, por favor recuerde que nuestros estudiantes necesitan el apoyo y la comprensión de todos nosotros.

DDO

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Redefining Ready - The Difference Between "Or" and "And"

At the October 18, 2016 USD116 Board Meeting, I presented information about the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act - formerly No Child Left Behind (NCLB), now Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  A major component of the legislation deals with redefining NCLB's rigid, test-based accountability system.  ESSA provides states the flexibility of creating an accountability system that uses multiple measures to define student and school success.  This is long overdue.

At a recent LUDA (Large Unit District Association) meeting, I saw a very compelling presentation about the research behind the National College and Career Readiness Indicators - published at www.redefiningready.org.  I will confess that the mission of Redefining Ready resonates with my personal belief that students, schools and communities are/should/can not be defined by a single test score.  For far too long, educators, parents, and policy makers have relied on a single test score to rank and label students, schools, and communities.

The Redefining Ready recommendations are well researched and compelling.  In short, "students are college ready if they meet either the academic indicators OR standardized testing benchmarks listed below:

Academic Indicators
GPA 2.8 out of 4.0 and one or more of the following academic indicators:
  • Advanced Placement Exam (3+)
  • Advanced Placement Course (A, B or C)
  • Dual Credit College English and/or Math (A, B or C)
  • College Developmental/Remedial English and/or Math (A, B or C)
  • Algebra II (A, B or C)
  • International Baccalaureate Exam (4+)
Standardized Testing Benchmarks (minimum score)
  • SAT Exam: Math (530) | Reading and Writing (480)
  • ACT Exam: English (18) | Reading (22) | Science (23) | Math (22)
  • College Readiness Placement Assessment (determined by post-secondary institution)" 
(http://www.redefiningready.org/college-ready/)

I was pleased to see the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) adopt a very similar definition for college ready; however, please note that there are subtle differences.  ISBE's proposed definition for College Readiness requires:

"GPA 2.8 out of 4.0 and Readiness college entrance score on the SAT 
AND two or more Academic Benchmarks Or Industry Credential: 
  • Industry Credential 
  • Dual Credit Career Pathway Course 
  • Advanced Placement Exam (3+) 
  • Advanced Placement Course (A, B or C) 
  • Dual Credit College English and/or Math (A, B or C) 
  • College Developmental/Remedial English and/or Math (A, B or C) 
  • Algebra II (A, B or C) 
  • International Baccalaureate Exam (4+) 

AND two or more Behavioral and Experiential Benchmarks 
  • 90% Attendance 
  • 25 hours of Community Service (or military service) 
  • Workplace Learning Experience 
  • Two or more organized Co-Curricular Activities (including language and fine arts)"
(http://www.isbe.net/ESSA/ppt/essa-isbe-student-family-forum-pres1610.pdf)

The difference between "AND" and "OR"

ISBE’s proposed accountability system will guarantee that fewer students will be labeled “ready for college” than our current single test system.  By changing the word "or" to "and" in their proposed accountability rules, ISBE is creating a host of new inequities and inequalities in how they label students.  I am all for setting high expectations for students; however, those expectations should be based on evidence.  There is no evidence that says a student has to have a high GPA, and an "entrance score on the SAT," and...  ISBE's system will reinforce the narrative that our schools and our students are failing.  This is not an accurate portrayal of our our students or or education system.  In the USA, we have more students graduating from high school than at any other time in history (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-high-school-graduation-rate-hits-new-record-high-0).

The research is clear that standardized test scores are not the best predictor of college success (http://www.redefiningready.org/research-college-ready/ or better yet, use Google Scholar and do your own research about this topic).  Our students really are more than a score.


There will be many school districts in Illinois that will not be able to have any student reach the ISBE “college ready” benchmark, because the district doesn’t offer AP, IB, or Dual Credit options.  Does that mean that the valedictorian of a school district that doesn't offer these advanced classes is not ready for college? That is ridiculous.  

I encourage all of you to read the Redefining Ready proposals for logical and evidence-based accountability solutions for ESSA.  I then encourage all of you to ask ISBE, why they changed the "or" to an "and."  

DDO

Report to the Board of Education - October 18, 2016

Superintendent’s Report to
Urbana School District #116
Board of Education
October 18, 2016

Academic Monogram
On Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 7PM in Oscar Adams Gym, Urbana High School will be recognizing sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have excelled academically.  It is a time we not only celebrate the success of our students, but students are also encouraged to invite teachers who made a difference in their educational careers.

Principal Appreciation Week
October 16-22, 2016 is Principal Appreciation Week in Illinois.  We want to extend a great deal of thanks and appreciation to all of the outstanding principals in USD116.  They work hard every day to ensure our students, families, and educators are engaged and learning together.  Thank you principals!

Parent Teacher Conference Reminder
Parent Teacher Conferences will be held on the evening of October 27 and morning of October 28.  Please contact your child’s school if you would like to meet with her/his teacher(s).

USD116 Facilities Planning Committee
The USD116 Facilities Planning Committee will begin meeting next week on Tuesday, October 25 at 6PM in the Board Room.  There will be two meeting per month except in December, when there will be just one meeting.  All meetings will be open to the public and a schedule will be posted soon.

Kudos and Celebrations:

Congratulations to Coach Wayne Mammen, who was presented the Lifetime Service Award by the Illinois Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.  Coach Mammen was the UHS Wrestling Coach from 1970-1990.  Under his guidance, UHS Wrestlers won the Regional Title nine times in a row from 1982-1990.  In 2013, the Board of Education named the UHS Wresting Room after Coach Mammen.  http://www.news-gazette.com/sports/prep-sports/wrestling/2016-10-15/ex-tiger-mammen-receiving-hall-call.html

Congratulations to UHS Junior, Saskia Bakker, who was named the 40 North ACE Student Award recipient.  This award is usually recieved by college students, but Saskia was chosen for, “striving to promote understanding and appreciation of the local arts community by creating the Undercut Collective, an organization with the mission to create shows that are accessible and comfortable environments for teens.”  http://40north.org/programs/ace-awards

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

School Safety and Clown Rumors



I sent the following email to all USD116 Families today in response to the internet rumors about scary clowns threatening children and schools.





Good Afternoon:

The Urbana School District 116 is aware of rumors on social media regarding non-specific threats and reported sightings of creepy clowns in the area. As always, the District works closely with local law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and well-being of our school. We have been in close communication with Urbana Police about these rumors. At this time, no credible reports have been noted regarding threats to Urbana schools or students. The safety of our students is our top priority. Should you have any concerns, please feel free to contact me, your child’s principal, or Urbana Police.

Sincerely,

Dr. Donald D. Owen
Superintendent

_____________________________________________

Buenas tardes:

El Distrito Escolar de Urbana 116 esta consiente de los rumores en los medios sociales relacionados a amenazas especificas y reportes de payasos en el área. Como siempre, el distrito esta trabajando en conjunto con la policía local para asegurar la seguridad de nuestra escuela. Hemos mantenido comunicación directa con la Policía de Urbana sobre estos rumores. En este momento, no se han notado reportes creíbles hacia estudiantes de Urbana o escuelas de nuestro distrito. La seguridad de nuestros estudiantes es nuestra máxima prioridad. Si usted tiene alguna preocupación por favor no dude en ponerse en contacto con el director de su escuela o la polcia de Urbana.

Sinceramente,

Dr. Donald D. Owen
Superintendente

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Report to the Board of Education - September 6, 2016

Superintendent’s Report to
Urbana School District #116
Board of Education
September 6, 2016

New Landscaping at UHS
We would like to thank UHS educators, Becky Webber, Kristine Sherrick, and Lisa Quinn who have done an excellent job designing and installing new landscaping along the Iowa Street entrance and around the 108 West Iowa Street House. This volunteer project consisted of countless hours and the finished result looks great.  Please join me in thanking them for their hard work to make UHS look great.  

USD116 Bilingual & Multicultural Programs receive Institutional Award
The CU Immigration Forum has announced the individuals and group to be recognized at their 3rd Annual Immigrant Welcome Awards.  The USD116 Bilingual and Multicultural Programs has been honored with the Institutional Award, recognizing, “Local government or other large community institution, which has made significant changes in response to the growing immigrant population.”  The awardees will be recognized at a ceremony on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 2PM at The Urbana Free Library.  Congratulations to all of our educators who provide an award winning program for our students and families!

UHS Student Featured on National Center for Women and Information Technology Website:
Computer Science @ Illinois is the Central Illinois Chapter for NCWIT Aspirations (National Center for Women and Information Technology).  For the last two years the group has hosted an awards ceremony for high school women and high school educators known nationally as Aspirations. In Spring of 2016, we had five recipients including one from Urbana!  Lily Hall (Class of 2019) can be seen featured on the Aspriations web page: https://www.aspirations.org/aspirations-community/illinois-central-illinois  Congratulations to Lily!
Applications for 2017 Aspirations opened today and we encourage all students and teachers to apply!  You can learn more about it here:  https://www.aspirations.org/

Dedication of Wassaja Hall at the University of Illinois
On Thursday, September 8, 2016 at 1:30PM, University Housing at UIUC will be holding a dedication ceremony for Wassaja Hall - 1202 S. First Street, Champaign, IL 61820.  Wassaja (aka Carlos Montezuma) graduated from Urbana High School in 1880 and the University of Illinois in 1884.  He was president of his UIUC Graduating Class and the first American Indian Graduate from the University of Illinois.  A documentary about his life will be screened on Wednesday, September 7 at 8PM at SDRP - 301 E. Gregory Drive, Champaign (2nd Floor).  The documentary can also be found on YouTube: “Carlos Montezuma: Changing is Not Vanishing

REMINDERS:

UHS Homecoming is September 16, 2016
The Parade will be at approximately 3PM, followed by the Tail Great and the Football Game.
The Urbana Alumni Association is hosting “Rediscover Downtown Urbana” on September 16 and 17 and a Golf Outing at Stone Creek on September 17.  More information can be found at the UAA Website (www.urbana-alumni.com) or UAA Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/UrbanaAlumniAssoc/).

Walk as One Event for Kindergarten Readiness
Mark your calendars - The Community Coalition and Champaign Urbana Cradle2Career are teaming up to conduct a community walk through parts of USD116 and CUSD4.  The purpose of the walk is to talk to parents of 3, 4, and 5 year olds about the importance of social emotional development.  The message to parents is that it is vitally important to read, talk, and play with your child every day.  The Walk as One event will take place on Tuesday, September 13th from 5-7 PM.  The USD116 walk will use Dr. Preston L. Williams Jr. Elementary School as the starting place.   To sign up to participate, please register at:  http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F0A45ABAF23A0FC1-walk

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.

Photos from Marching Illini Visit to UHS - September 2, 2016

The Marching Illini helped UHS Football and the Tiger Marching Band kick off the home opener - a cross town rivalry game against Champaign Centennial.

The Marching Illini invited the Tiger Marching Band onto the field after their pre-game show to play the National Anthem as well as during their half time show.

Photos from the event are now posted on the UHS Website:

UHS Website - Slideshow of Marching Illlini at UHS

My photos from the evening can be seen here:  September 2, 2016 Photos - Marching Illini at UHS



Monday, August 29, 2016

Urbana Hosts the Marching Illini and Centennial Chargers on September 2, 2016

The first home football game for the Urbana Tigers is always a big game. This season is it bigger than ever. On September 2nd, the Tigers will be playing their cross-town rivals, the Champaign Centennial Chargers. Both teams are looking for the first win of the 2016 season.

In addition to an exciting football game, the Urbana Tigers Marching Band will be hosting the Marching Illini. The Marching Illini will be helping the Urbana Tigers Marching Band kick things off before the game and will also be performing during half-time! It will be great chance to celebrate the fact that one of the drum majors for the Marching Illini is an Urbana graduate, Jordi Pakey-Rodriguez!

Admission prices are:
  • Adults - $5.00
  • Students (Grades 1-8; and 9-12 w/ ID) - $4.00
  • Senior Citizens and Military Personnel with ID - Free
  • Preferred Seating - Single Game - $7.00 ($6 for Senior Citizens)
  • Preferred Seating - Season Pass - $30.00 ($25 for Senior Citizens)
Kick off is at 7PM, but the bands will be warming up early. I hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Urbana Sweetcorn Festival - August 26-27, 2016

Just a reminder that the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival is starting tomorrow in Downtown Urbana.  South Race Street, Broadway, and Main Street will all be closed from 6AM Friday through Noon on Sunday (http://www.urbanaillinois.us/node/5957).  If you are planning to visit Urbana School District #116 Central Office on Friday, please be aware that you will have to approach Central Office from the north (University and Race).  

When I was a teacher at Urbana Middle School, the Sweetcorn Festival always marked the first weekend after school started.  It is a great event that draws the entire community to Downtown Urbana for music, food, and fun.

If you missed my last report to the Board of Education, here is what I said about the Sweetcorn Festival:

Urbana Sweetcorn Festival
This weekend Downtown Urbana will be the site of the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival, hosted by the Urbana Business Association.  The Urbana Tigers Marching Band will be playing on Saturday evening (5PM) along with the marching bands from Central and Centennial.  Many of our UHS athletes will be volunteering during the event.  It is a great way to mark the end of the first full week of school.  Oh yeah, and there is lots of other music, food, and, of course, corn!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Report to the Board of Education - August 23, 2016

Superintendent’s Report to
Urbana School District #116
Board of Education
August 23, 2016


Welcome Back to School
The 2016-2017 School Year started with an amazing Opening Day for staff which featured The Urbana Tigers Marching Band and the UHS a capella group, VCR.  The first day of school for students was exciting, and the high school and middle school both had transition activities for students and parents of sixth and ninth graders in order to help them adjust to a new school.  Our numbers appear to be up, and Dr. Ivory-Tatum will present six-day enrollment numbers at the next board meeting.


Open Houses and Back to School nights have been very well attended, and we have a few more this week and next week.


Urbana High School is also holding “Neighborhood Meetings” at each of the elementary schools, and two community centers.  Mr. Stark plans to talk to parents and families about what UHS offers and how parents can engage with their students’ education during the high school years.  


Urbana Sweetcorn Festival
This weekend Downtown Urbana will be the site of the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival, hosted by the Urbana Business Association.  The Urbana Tigers Marching Band will be playing on Saturday evening (5PM) along with the marching bands from Central and Centennial.  Many of our UHS athletes will be volunteering during the event.  It is a great way to mark the end of the first full week of school.  Oh yeah, and there is lots of other music, food, and, of course, corn!


Marching Illini at First Home Football Game
The Marching Illini will be performing at the first UHS Home Football Game on Friday, September 2.  The Tigers will be playing Centennial, and the Marching Illini will be helping the Urbana Tigers Marching Band kick things off and will also be performing during half-time! It will be great chance to celebrate the fact that one of the drum majors for the Marching Illini is an Urbana graduate, Jordi Pakey-Rodriguez!


Walk as One Event for Kindergarten Readiness
Mark your calendars - The Community Coalition and Champaign Urbana Cradle2Career are teaming up to conduct a community walk through parts of USD116 and CUSD4.  The purpose of the walk is to talk to parents of 3, 4, and 5 year olds about the importance of social emotional development.  The message to parents is that it is vitally important to read, talk, and play with your child every day.  The Walk as One event will take place on Tuesday, September 13th from 5-7 PM.  The USD116 walk will use Dr. Preston L. Williams Jr. Elementary School as the starting place.   To sign up to participate, please register at:  http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F0A45ABAF23A0FC1-walk


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.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Illinois State Budget Impasse Ends... For Now


June 30, 2016

A compromise K12 budget was passed just before 4PM today. The bill covers all of Fiscal Year 2017. The legislature also passed a Stop Gap 6 month budget for other state agencies and higher education.

Today ends an historic budget impasse that has had long lasting negative effects on the students, families, employers, and institutions across Illinois. Students and families have already been negatively impacted by the year-long budget impasse. Social service agencies reduced services or shut their doors, colleges and universities have made dramatic cuts or increased tuition, and the list of casualties goes on and on.

The compromise budget for K12 education fully funds the General State Aid formula for the first time in almost a decade. No school districts will receive less state funding than they received in Fiscal Year 2016! That would be good news in any other state. Illinois holds the dubious distinction of having the most inequitable and regressive funding system in the United States. Unfortunately, the over-reliance on local property taxes has allowed the state to ignore its constitutional requirements to adequately fund public education.

The General Assembly and the Governor have a long way to go to meet the spirit and letter of the Illinois State Constitution which reads, “The State has the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education.”  As a state, we need to work hard to ensure that we reduce the inequities in school funding.  Funding for education should not be differentiated by zip code or region.  

I remain optimistic that members of the General Assembly will keep the conversation about reforming the school funding formula and reducing the inequities.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Report to the Board of Education - June 21, 2016

Superintendent’s Report to
Urbana School District #116
Board of Education
June 21, 2016


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.


Elementary Physical Education Teachers
While we did not have this issue on the agenda for tonight’s Board of Education meeting, it is still a top priority for the administration.  The current Illinois Budget Impasse has created a situation of uncertainty unlike any other in the school district’s history.  I am optimistic that the budget stalemate in Springfield will be resolved before the start of the school year.  If there is a K12 Budget passed in Springfield before the start of the school year, we might bring this issue to the Board in August.  We know that there are qualified applicants in our local pool, and we are capable of implementing an elementary PE schedule with licensed teachers very quickly, upon board approval.  


State Budget Impasse
The Budget Impasse in Springfield has already had a negative effect on our students and families.  We have seen the closure of social service and partner organizations that support schools, students, and families.  Public education is a positive economic driver and the state needs to accept its constitutional responsibility for having primary responsibility to fund public education.  If the state takes primary responsibility, provides adequate funding, and reduces inequities, the entire state benefits from the investment in our students.  Our local legislators, Senator Scott Bennett and Representative Carol Ammons, have been very supportive of public education.  I encourage people to contact their elected representatives in Springfield and encourage them to support adequate and equitable funding solutions for public education to support our students.  


Even if the State of Illinois is not meeting its primary responsibility, the education of all our students is our primary mission.   Despite fiscal and political forces that are beyond our control, USD116 will continue to be good stewards of public dollars.  


Urbana schools will open as scheduled in August.  We will continue to provide an outstanding, comprehensive education for every student.  We will constantly evaluate the situation in Springfield and keep our students, families, staff, and community informed about how the budget impasse might impact all of us as we move through the school year.  


Centralized Registration
This summer, Centralized Registration will be held at Urbana Middle School
Wednesday - July 27- 9:00AM to 4:00PM
Thursday - July 28 - 12:00 (Noon) to 7:00PM

Additional information about registering for school can be found on the district website: http://www.usd116.org/parents/registration-information/

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Report to the Board of Education - June 7, 2016

Superintendent’s Report to
Urbana School District #116
Board of Education
June 7, 2016


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.

Congratulations to the UMS Track and Field Teams
Both boys and Girls competed in the IESA AA Track and Field Meet on Saturday, June 4.  DiamonAsia Taylor is the State Champion in the High Jump, and Tyler Carrel is State Champion in the Pole Vault.  There were nine other medalists and 12 additional students who placed in the top by 10.

Commendation to Sandy Davin, ASCCP Director
At the 30th annual Spring AfterSchool Conference celebration, Before School and After School Childcare Program director Sandy Davin was awardedThe Richard Scofield Award by the Illinois AfterSchool Network (IAN) organization. This award recognizes exemplary service and leadership in the afterschool profession throughout the state of Illinois.


Thoughts about the IL Budget Impasse
Article X of The Illinois State Constitution declares that, “The State has the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education.”  Illinois holds the dubious distinction of having the most inequitable and regressive funding system in the United States. Unfortunately, the over-reliance on local property taxes has allowed the state to ignore its constitutional requirements to adequately fund public education.
Urbana schools will open as scheduled in August.  Even if the state of Illinois is not meeting its primary responsibility, the education of all our students is our primary mission.   Despite fiscal and political forces that are beyond our control, USD116 will continue to be good stewards of public dollars.  

As Dr. Tony Smith, IL State Superintendent said in today’s Weekly Message, “Even without a state budget – or funding for our schools – we have to open for as many days as we can. Our students and families are depending on us.”  The students and families in Urbana School District #116 deserve nothing less than our best efforts in this time of fiscal uncertainty.

We will continue to provide our award winning comprehensive educational opportunities to our students for as long as we can.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Report to the Board of Education - April 19, 2016

Superintendent’s Report to 
Urbana School District #116 
Board of Education
April 19, 2016

UHS Debate Team

The meeting started with a presentation by the UHS Debate Team, who discussed the successes and lessons of their inaugural season.  


Board Meetings on YouTubeRemember 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.

May 17, 2016 Business Meeting at Yankee Ridge SchoolThe May 17 Business Meeting of Urbana School District #116 Board of Education will take place at Yankee Ridge Elementary School in the Library at 7:30PM. The agenda will include a tour of the school, the Elementary Fine Arts Report, and further discussion about the planned renovations of Yankee Ridge.

ISBE Federal and State Monitoring AuditOn April 15, 2016, we received the Audit Report from the Illinois State Board of Education Federal and State Monitoring visit. There was one audit adjustment required in the amount of $3,419 in the Special Education Personnel reimbursement (which is a $1,288,000 reimbursement). There were no written responses required, and the ISBE staff were appreciative of the cooperation and efficiency of USD116 staff.

Summer Youth Employment Program 2016 - Community CoalitionThanks to the generosity of the Community Coalition and a grant administered through Illinois State University (Care4U), UHS students will once again participate in a Summer Youth Employment Program during the summer of 2016. UHS Coordinators, Ms. Tammy Newton and Ms. Amanda Perez are working on placing students. Our hope is to have between 25-40 students participate this summer.

Washington School Bid InformationAt the March 15, 2016 Business Meeting of the Board of Education, the BOE passed a resolution to dispose of Washington School (1102 N. Broadway). In their resolution, the BOE established a minimum bid of $450,000.00. Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 6, USD116 will be publishing the sale notice in the News-Gazette and on our website. By state law, that notice must run for three consecutive weeks. There will be a tour for interested parties on April 28 at 10AM. The opening of the closed bids will be May 11 at 2PM. Questions regarding the bid should be directed to Carol Baker at 384-3642 or by email at cbaker@usd116.org.

2015-2016 Professional Development UpdateIn addition to District Institute Days, Staff Development Days, and Building-Level Professional Development time, the Office of Human Resources and Professional Development has provided approximately 240 hours of after school professional development through over 60 course offerings on a wide variety of topics. In each the fall and spring semesters, approximately 100 administrators, teachers and staff registered to participate. 


New in January 2016 - Online Professional Development

  • In January, we began engaging educators with online professional development opportunities through Google Classroom. Teachers are more invested in taking ownership of their professional growth when given the flexibility to engage in learning on their own time and at their own pace.
  • We have 6 book study groups and 3 technology groups currently offered through Google Classroom.
  • Typical attendance rates have more than doubled (book groups going from 10 participants to close to 30). 
Partnerships
  • Krannert Art Museum
    • Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 “Fear No Art: A KAM Journey”
    • In this course, participants explored permanent collections and current exhibitions at KAM, and critiqued visual artifacts by using Visual Thinking Strategies, an inquiry-based approach that relies heavily on questioning, analyzing, and problem solving. 
  • Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
    • Fall 2015: “A 1984 Exploration: Aesthetic Theory and Theater”
    • Spring 2016: “A Midwinter Night's Exploration: Aesthetic Theory and Theater”
    • This course used the performances of 1984 and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at KCPA to help participants explore how aesthetics and perspectives in fine arts can enhance one’s development, teaching, and critical thinking within an educational framework.
  • Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology in Education (MSTE) at UIUC
    • Spring 2016: “Engineering Design and Renewable Energy”
    • This course will help teachers bring renewable energy and engineering design to their classrooms.
  • EdCampCU - A connected and collaborative model of professional development
    • June 18, 2016: USD116 will be hosting an EdCampCU day of learning
  • The Mindful Teacher Foundation
    • Fall 2015 and Spring 2016: “Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids”
    • This course is dedicated to providing mindfulness training for the benefit of teachers and students in our local schools. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Report to the Board of Education - April 5, 2016

Superintendent’s Report to
Urbana School District #116
Board of Education
April 5, 2016


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.


Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation Gala
On Saturday, April 2, the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation (CUSF) held its annual gala celebrating Distinguished Alumni and educators from Urbana School District #116 and Champaign Unit District #4.  Ms. Erika Harold, UHS Class of 1997, was the CUSF Distinguished Alum from UHS.  Ms. Jessica Wilson, a high school teacher from Gerber, received the CUSF Cupcake Award, which recognizes, “exemplary service, extra efforts, enthusiastic attitude and innovative ideas that noticeably benefit their students.”  Congratulations to both Ms. Harold and Ms. Wilson!


I’d also like to congratulate and thank Janice Mitchell and her cake design team (Lori Ellinger, UHS; Teresa Brown, UMS) for creating an amazing USD116/UHS cake for the CUSF Cake-Off.  




CUSF is already taking nominations for the 2017 Gala for Distinguished Alumni, Local Hero, and Business Community Impact Award.  If you know a graduate of Urbana High School who is distinguished, a local hero, or leads a local business that has had a community impact, please consider nominating her/him.  Nomination information and forms for each of these awards can be found here.


Washington School Bid Information
At the March 15, 2016 Business Meeting of the Board of Education, the BOE passed a resolution to dispose of Washington School (1102 N. Broadway).  In their resolution, the BOE established a minimum bid of $450,000.00.  Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 6, USD116 will be publishing the sale notice in the News-Gazette and on our website.  By state law, that notice must run for three consecutive weeks.  There will be a tour for interested parties on April 28 at 10AM.  The opening of the closed bids will be May 11 at 2PM.  Questions regarding the bid should be directed to Carol Baker at 384-3642 or by email at cbaker@usd116.org.


UHS A Cappella Silent Auction Fundraiser
On Saturday, April 9 at 6PM, the UHS a cappella groups will be holding a fundraiser at Lincoln Square Mall.  Both VCR and VHS will perform as well as the award winning co-ed a cappella group from the University of Illinois, No Comment. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. There are amazing items that have been donated for the auction.  Please email rpark@usd116.org if you have any questions or if you would like to reserve your ticket.


Boneyard Arts Festival
April 7-10, a community-wide celebration of art will take place.  Hundreds of USD116 students will be performing, displaying their art, or participating in events throughout the community.  For a complete list of events, visit: http://www.boneyardartsfestival.org/