Most unfortunate news: Gene Logas passed away this morning

The school district is mourning the sudden loss of a very fine Chief Operating Officer (and formerly Chief Financial Officer) Gene Logas. Others have said it better than I can.

Unit 4 press release: http://www.champaignschools.org/news/news_view.php?action=view&news_type=press_release&id_news=447

WILL: http://will.illinois.edu/news/spotstory/unit-4s-chief-operating-officer-dies/

NG: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2012-06-05/champaign-schools-official-gene-logas-dies-56.html

 

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Two items: Upcoming Board "retreat" and expansion of classes

I was informed that the Board has set the date and time of their next retreat, which I am told is open to the public.

When: June 21st, 8:am – 12:pm

Where: Mellon Center (??)

In the past, Board Members have told me that these retreats are very helpful and they got a lot of out of them. In fact, Greg Novak had this to say of the last retreat:

BEST   –  BOARD   –   MEETING   –   EVER  !!!!      Got a great view of the district and its issues and strengths from an experienced outsider it was the Superintendent – seven board members – no one else – serious and open discussion (in open session no less) of issues facing the school district today – including lack of district engagement with the community.

I have never been to one before and I am not sure if many members of the public have been either. It is not exactly the most convenient time for those of that work, but the same goes for the existing Board Members as most (if not all) of them will have to take time off work.

Not seeing anything on the District homepage yet, but I would expect them to post a formal, if brief, agenda.

Secondly, concerning all the new classrooms and teacher shuffling going on, Trevor has finally come out and laid out the cards:

http://will.illinois.edu/news/spotstory/unit-4-prepares-for-influx-of-students/

However, I would still like to hear more from the district. For instance, Robeson is getting a ESL class. What about all the support structures that go along with ESL? Where are the new teachers coming from? This makes me wonder what else is happening beyond the mere mention of “adding classes”. Another thought I have, it seems just a tad odd that these decisions were discussed and completed internally with little communication with the public. And perhaps little communication with the Board? I have heard a number of parents who were affected by these changes; for instance several Latino parents were told they were moving to Robeson. They were not asked, they were not included in any of the decision-making. The picture that was painted to me was that this was quite abrupt and disruptive for those affected. To give the District a little credit, I give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they were in a rush to make some big decisions. Certainly, they need to do something about the larger Kindergarten and First Grade classes. I am hoping that in the future there is a bit more of a collaborative effort between the District and the community to address larger issues like this.