Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Report to the Board of Education - January 12, 2015

Superintendent’s Report to 
Urbana School District #116 
Board of Education
January 12, 2016

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.

Visit from ISBE First Deputy Superintendent
On Thursday afternoon, January 14, USD116 will host the ISBE First Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Karen Corken, for a tour of Dr. Williams and Urbana Early Childhood School.

Parent Engagement WorkshopDr. James Harden, author, principal, and former UHS teacher, will conduct a workshop for parents and educators from 6-8PM on Thursday, January 14 at the UHS Commons.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Community Wide CelebrationA number of students, families and alumni are being recognized and participating in the 2016 MLKjr Celebration activities that start on Friday, January 15.
A complete calendar of events for the MLKjr Celebration can be found: http://www.diversity.illinois.edu/mlk/Documents/MLK_Calendar_2016.pdf
Some of the USD116 students who will be celebrated include:The Creative Expressions Contest Winners are celebrated at the Community Celebration on Saturday, January 23 (10AM-Noon) at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Mrs. Tracy Williams’ Class from UMS - Winner of the 14th Annual Creative Expressions Contest: Maria Fajardo-Diaz; Jonathan Harrison; Elizabeth Hatcher; America Jeovani Moreno Duran; Jahn Mukendi Mulunda; Kryssida Khalyaila Simmons; Arely Soledad; Maximilian Zhang; Dohntez Roberson
Jessy Nzinga - Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School - Honorable Mention - Creative Expressions Contest

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Advocacy for Justice Committee Scholarships are presented at the 31st Annual Dr. MLK, Jr. Advocacy for Justice Event on Sunday, January 17 (5PM-7PM) at Foellinger Great Hall; Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Advocacy for Justice Committee Scholarship Winners from UHS:
Karen Guadalupe Hernandez; Zellarose Walden; Haoxiang (Howard) Li; Felix Imbanga; Ta’Darrionia Hite; and Star Shomongo. Adriana Alvarez is an alternate.

In the News - Urbana’s Tax SituationThere have been several articles recently in the News-Gazette about the recent ruling by the Illinois 4th District Appellate Court related to the ongoing legal battle over the Hospital Charitable Care Tax Exemption (in the 2012 Amended IL Tax Code). USD116 and Carle settled the legal aspects of this dispute by joint agreement in October of 2013. It was the right decision for the district at the time.
The recent ruling by the appellate court will not impact the settlement. Beyond that statement, there are too many unknowns to make predictions about the impact of the ruling. We will continue to research how the ruling will affect USD116 and Urbana tax payers.

In the News - College Entrance Exam Situation in Illinois
There has been a great deal of discussion in the media recently about the future of college entrance exams for juniors in the state of Illinois.
Last year, the legislature passed a law requiring ISBE to administer a “college entrance” exam to all juniors. The newly revised SAT was chosen by the Illinois State Board of Education as that exam; however, an appeal to the selection process was filed, and now students, schools, and districts are waiting for the dispute to be resolved. We are taking steps to ensure that our students complete waivers for testing fees, and we are also working with ACT to provide a test at reduced costs at Urbana High School on one of the national testing dates this spring.

Cold WeatherPlease remember to take extra precautions when dressing for cold weather. Luckily, temperatures have not been dangerously cold, but they are cold enough to require hats and gloves in addition to extra layers. Our principals use National Weather Service wind-chill guidelines to make decisions about which days are "outside" recess days. Principals and teachers are always on the lookout for kids who do not have appropriate cold weather gear. This CNN article is worth a read: Cold air does not cause sickness. If your child has a medical condition that is triggered by cold air, please make sure you communicate that to the teacher and/or principal. With the weather finally getting to normal temperatures for this time of the year, it is a good time to remind our students to dress appropriately for weather and to be weather aware.