Unit 4 releases the Fall 2011 Handbook

re: http://www.champaignschools.org/files/district_handbook.pdf

This thing weighs in at 73 pages. Going to take a while to read and digest the tome. Here are some observations gleaned simply by skimming:

  • Quality Two-Way Communication: Hundreds of volunteers work with Unit 4 students each year as mentors, tutors, and guest speakers, as well as providing classroom support. Ad hoc committees allow parents and community members to provide input into district-wide programs in areas like attendance and discipline. Each campus has a Building Council that includes parent representation, and strong PTA/PTSA groups offer support for students and staff. A Key Communicator Network (KCN) provides community members the opportunity for direct dialogue with the Superintendent about issues of interest.” (p 5)
  • Listing of BOE members w/ contact information (pp 7-8)
  • “Unit 4 is committed to transparency and responsiveness. News and information are posted and clearly labeled on our website for your convenience. We have over 10,000 pages of information for the community, parents, and staff members and strive each day to communicate effectively” (p 10)
  • A mere two paragraphs for Schools of Choice (p 21)
  • Educational goals – very ambitious (which is good) (pp 23-24)
  • Almost 8 pages devoted to health information (pp 35-43)
  • About 6 pages for discipline (pp 47-53)
  • 3 paragraphs for the PTA, followed by 2 more paragraphs for other community engagement (pp 67-68)


I’ll have to come back to this later. A part of me is wondering what a “bottom-up” handbook would look like.

No Child Held Back

Victor Rivero recently wrote an EdTech article about moving away from NCLB. Interesting timing, eh?


So this is just a little strange for me. I feel like http://www.nochildheldback.com reflects a lot of the conversations that I have already been having. Except these guys take it to the next level and bring in people who know what they are talking about. The major downside is that I don’t see any conversations on the website. I see “Join the conversation”, but no conversation. It’s very much like walking into the Grand Opening of a store and all the shelves are bare. I see “Take action” but no actionable steps to be taken.


Here is another strange thing. Read the rest of this entry »

The Voice of the People

I stumbled on this concept about a year ago (I think) but never really put much thought into it. I saw it again today and it opened my eyes:




I really like this idea. It is very similar to “See.Click.Fix” in nature. Obviously this is geared for an online audience, but in my opinion, this general idea is exactly what elected officials at all levels should be doing. Or rather, this should be an important of their daily duties; listening to constituents and providing feedback before, during and/or after taking action.


Browsing through the various petitions are interesting in and of themselves. 🙂 A good read.

What's wrong with this picture?

As a child (and even as an adult, truth be told), I rather enjoyed the “What’s wrong with this picture?” on the back of Highlights magazines. There is a picture with several humorous “impossibilities” or “extremely unlikely” nuances, for instance, a fish walking a dog. Or a car with a doughnut wheel. Or a fire hydrant spitting out grape juice.

When looking at the school district, there are several things that just seem wrong. Unfortunately, they are far more serious. Read the rest of this entry »

Dr. Wiegand (probably) stepping up as the next interim super

re: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2011-10-28/wiegand-will-be-champaign-schools-next-interim-superintendent.html


Kinda saw this coming, with much of the higher up Admins leaving and Dr. Malito’s 100 days coming to a close. The cynical side of me wonders exactly what is needed to run a school district – we are losing a lot of high-paying jobs, so I cannot help but wonder how they will be filled or if they even need to be filled. The NG article says that they will be interim positions.


Dr. Malito has some big shoes to fill. I know that Dr. Wiegand already wears several hats; my best wishes to her as she takes on this juggling act. Same thing for Logas who is stepping up as COO. I am looking forward to find out how we are going to make this work. 🙂 And I really want to hear the Board’s take on this. Guess I’ll be making a couple phone calls this weekend.



Ideas on restructuring Unit 4

When I talked with Dr. Bob Malito back in September, one of things I did not mention in my summary was one of the big ideas he has about possibly restructuring how we do 7-12th grade. During our last Wednesdays at Houlihans, this idea came up again, so I figured it is past time for me to give it some space here. I can swear I read this elsewhere, but right not Google is not helping me out. NG? WILL? I am sure I’ll find it some time…..

So here is where we are at. Not too long ago, a bunch of folks wanted to create a brand-new 3rd highschool up near Olympian Drive. I am not exactly sure who the biggest pushers were, but once the public got involved in the discussions, the BOE was forced to take a step back from their aggressive planning. Which is probably a good thing. Granted, we need to do something about our aging buildings. But what? Read the rest of this entry »

BOE Meeting Minute crawling: Sept 26 – Oct 24

Sept 26 – Special Meeting

Lots of reports; Student Enrollment, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Budget, School Recognition, FMLA for Occupational Therapist… Gene Logas brought his typical arsenal of documentation again – that guy is a machine! 🙂

Oct 3 – Special Meeting

Absolutely NOTHING! How do you have NOTHING on the Agenda, and NOTHING in the minutes 3 weeks later? Nothing?!?

Oct 17th – Regular Meeting