2 day countdown for November 4th

Last week I received a copy of the email that was sent out to Chamber of Commerce members; in my opinion, the letter was very thoughtful and tackles both sides of the issues surrounding the Unit 4 $149 million bond referendum. I urge you to read it and take the embedded suggestion seriously – “(r)egardless of how you choose to vote, please remember to vote on November 4”:



Aside from the numerous Opinion articles to appear in the NG today (letters and an editorial, all of which you can find on my index), Dr. Wiegand was recently (and timely) interviewed by Laura Bleill of ChambanaMoms.com:



And if that were not enough, there were two related articles in the October 31st NG that caught my attention:

  • Since you asked: Behind the video of referendum supporters: Nicole Lafond wrote this article to address questions that the NG has received related to various promotional materials in support of the referendum. What I liked most about the article is how Shatterglass co-founder Brett Hays donated the time and energy used to produce the video. The video itself is well done, and as I told a couple of you readers earlier, I agree 100% with everything the students say in the video. They stayed on safe ground. 🙂 Regardless of whether this referendum passes or not, I sincerely hope that the support that has sprung up around Unit 4 continues to grow – it is afterall a community school district.
  • Flipping the script: The students have become the teachers: Another article by Nicole Lafond, this one focuses on how teachers and students in Urbana are exploring the concept of a “flipped classroom”. When I tweeted Matt Sly (an Educational Technology Coach in Unit  4) about this topic, he responded with “Flipping is alive and well in Unit 4!” I personally really like some of the core ideas with this approach is that it makes the entire classroom much more interactive. There are obvious downsides of course; for instance, what if a student simply does not do the “required” self-learning at home via reading and/or watching podcasts? I am not saying this approach is perfect, but I do like it very much. How is this related? I believe the recent surge of embracing technology as a tool to help “flip” classrooms and allow more versatility within the educational environment is the meat and bones of a “21st Century Education.” I could be wrong, but this is the way I am leaning at the moment.



We have big issues to tackle, but never impossible ones.


5 Responses to “2 day countdown for November 4th”

  1. Rebecca Patterson Says:

    Watching podcasts at home? So kids will be required to have computers at home with internet access to be able to participate in class or be left behind. I asked about numbers on kids in private school locally and how the economy affected those numbers. They didn’t answer me. I never really knew how many private schools there were until my granddaughter transferred to Uni and joined the basketball program. I seem to recall that when the economy was really shaky some students left STM and moved to public. Basically, do the unit 4 numbers allow any flex for a sudden influx of private students who are by law entitled to enroll, or are they just ignored?

    I was looking at the school report cards and the breakdown for racial divide really stood out to me. First it’s still there. Second, it seems to be steady in the high schools. But what jumped out at me was the middle and grade schools. They were showing improvement until 2012 and it looks like the bottom fell out. What happened in 2012? Did tests change? A tragedy I missed? All the scores fell, black and white, some drastically.

    • charlesdschultz Says:

      Rebecca, which website are you using as a reference? The Illinois Interactive Report Card shows a decline since 2012:

      I have not yet figured out how to get the IIRC to show years prior to 2012.

      • charlesdschultz Says:

        I did find a 10-year range, and it looks like things were slowly going upwards, and then starting in 2012 a drastic downwards trend.

      • charlesdschultz Says:

        Oh, another note – one of the reasons that we had fewer students reaching the performance goal is that NCLB was systematically raising the “pass rate” each year; if the overall performance of the students is level (as before 2012), than an increase in standards would automatically show up as a decline in student performance. I am not saying one is “best” or “better” over the other, just trying to make an observation about what happened. Note that I hate the ISAT and standardized testing as a means of assessment in the first place, so personally I don’t give a rip what those tests say about our students in general. Your mileage may vary. *grin*

        I will qualify that statement and say that I think it is useful to look at the performance of subgroups. In a number of cases, the only reason a school did not meet AYP was because of one subgroup in one topic. Sometimes two topics. Why is a certain subgroup not performing as well? Again, this is not meant in the way of a witch-hunt, but rather, how are we failing to properly prepare and equip those students? Or are we?

  2. kshannon617 Says:

    Well, I thought I would at least be relieved when the election was over. But now it sounds like the board is about ready to do the exact same referendum. Apparently the ‘no’ voters need more educating. I am seriously disappointed that they don’t want to listen to us at all. Anybody thinking about running for school board?

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