WTB: Demolished neighborhood

re: http://www.wicd15.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wicd_vid_5403.shtml?wap=0


This got me thinking, what would happen if Unit 4 were in cahoots with city planners and fingered this area for a new high school. I would be kicking myself if this option were not considered!


More to follow later tonight.

More about High School Configuration

Apparently, Unit 4 has been putting some serious thought into a part of Greg Novak’s “master plan” (I’m not sure that is what he called it, but that is what I am calling it). When looking through the June 11th Board Meeting agenda, one of the first presentations is by a University Master student:

The high school options under consideration include a change from the current grade configuration of K-5, 6-8 and 9-12.  One of the options under consideration includes changing the middle school grade configuration to include grades 6 and 7, a prep academy that would have grades 8 and 9, and one high school grades 10-12.  Previous presentations from Central and Centennial Administration highlighted the positive aspects of this configuration, along with the limitations.

In order to inform the Board and the Champaign Community, a thorough literature review was conducted by University of Illinois Graduate student, Lisa De La Rue.  This evening, Lisa will share her findings as it relates to grade configuration, student achievement and participation.

[Note: the “[p]revious presentations from Central and Centennial Administration” were mostly negative towards this configuration :)]

School Configuration – A relatively short (22 pages) look at how “configurations” affect achievement. Basically, there are tons of factors that affect achievement and one kinda has to roll the dice on configuration. More significant factors are probably the downstream effects of the configuration; for example, how resources are allocated, the number of transitions, the climate of the school atmosphere, etc. Great short list of “quick points” starting on page 19.

Bibliography – Includes an almost one-page summary for each of the 23 sources cited


It is interesting that Unit 4 is stepping up the ante by engaging the University this way. I think this is what some of us have been wanting for a while. I also wonder if Dr. Wiegand is taking advantage of the fact that she graduated from the College of Education from the University. 🙂 That would so totally make sense.


So if you are at the Board Meeting on June 11th, you are going to get a double whammy of high school options. Come prepared with thoughts and comments.


Looking at the rest of the agenda, I am amazed at how huge it is. Wow! And most of it is via Dr. Wiegand. This is going to be a challenging meeting for her; Gene was such a core piece of the team and carried a lot of weight, and now not only is Dr. Wiegand picking up that weight, but she also has to deal with the loss of a person. My thoughts and sympathies go out to her.



The High School dilemma: weighing the options

Giving out a shout out to Holly Nelson and her website about the study of what to do with Central. Especially take a look at the “booklet” she has created – very succinct yet also very informative:


I have read bits and pieces of the source document and research as it has accumulated, but have not taken it all in at one reading session, yet. Holly has done a great job exploring the topic and the options from many different angles and has presented as clear and as unbiased a picture as possible.

Now the task is ours to digest this information and figure out what we really want. Sooner or later, Unit 4 is going to send a PE firm asking similar questions, and then followed by a referrendum in which we all get to make a binary choice. The more we cogitate on this now, the better informed we will be and the more fruitful discussion we can have.

PS – Holly is presenting at the June 11th Board meeting.

Dr. Wiegand on "Penny for your Thoughts"

Hat tip to Lynn Peisker for announcing that Dr. Wiegand was going to be joining Jim Turbin on “Penny for your thoughts” this morning.


I did a little head scratching and came up with 4 questions I wanted to pose:

  1. Update on Public Engagement Firm concerning the high school options
  2. Update on RFP for School Assignment
  3. Reflections/thoughts about Leadership Book Study
  4. Top issues of the day


Jim essentially asked two of my questions for me (#1 indirectly, and #4). Dr. Wiegand conversed with one caller who was commenting on the “distinguished” high school graduation ceremonies last night. Jim and Dr. Wiegand chatted about the big changes going on with Carrie Busey, Westview, with a minor and very slight tangent about the name(s) of the schools (what to call the building on Kirby in 3 years when it is done being a revolving door?). Dr. Wiegand shared how 5 new classes are being added to accomodate the record-setting incoming students. When asked about the high school options, Dr. Wiegand mentioned that things are still rather up in the air (my words), that the single mongo high school option is still on the table (2 middle schools 6-7, a prep school for 8-9 and a high school for 10-12). She mentioned that Holly Nelson, the graduate student who has taken on Unit 4 as a research project, will be reporting at the June 11th Board Meeting. She concluded by stating that the District is still very much interested in hearing what parents and community members think, and they are possibly engaging a PE firm in the Fall. When asked about some of the big things going on, Dr. Wiegand mentioned that she is looking forward to meeting the new Administrative Staff (ie, Dr. Laura Taylor, Dr. Susan Zola, Ms. Angela Smith).


I called in. I hate it when Read the rest of this entry »

Action Step from Houlihans (May 16th)

At Houlihans on May 16th, Chuck and I decided that we are going to bring to the June 11th Board Meeting a concern about communication (need to clarify and finalize) and ask about an update for the high school options; “Where are we, how did we get here where are we going?”


We have 3 minutes to chat away, so I’ll be looking for other talking points to hit. And I am looking at you. 🙂

Letter to the Board: "April 23rd Board Meeting"

My letter to the Board follows – I am linking this to my previous post about the board meeting.

[sheesh, this wordpress formatting is HORRID – some kind of div fetish….]

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the Board,

I was unable to attend yesterday’s Board Meeting but I did intend to state a couple of things in Public Comment. So I am resorting to email as a secondary method to communicate.

First, I wish to again congratulate the Board on their choice of Ileana Saveley, and wish Ms. Saveley a satisfying and most successful term(s) of service with the Board.

Next, I wish to again implore the Board and the Administration to further seek out ways to achieve transparency and build trust with the community. There are two areas of immediate relevancy in regards to the direction of the School District and the community. For each, I list the issue and a possible solution – I am open to other possibilities as well.

1. High School Options. 
Issue: During the Feb 27th Board Meeting, Read the rest of this entry »

April 23rd Board Meeting

I am unable to make it tonight, so I am hoping that some of you were able to attend. I even had some statements I wanted to say in public comment….


Anyway, I am particularly interested to find out how the Board responds to the Resolution to Abandon the WCB (ie, will Jamar motion, will anyone second?). I am also interested in hearing feedback about the high school options. I am quite concerned that the board has made decisions to take things off the table (one high school, Garwood site, Boulder Ridge site, etc) and yet it appears (my perception is) that the board did this without much community input. I could be quite wrong. I am very much anxious to hear how the board intends to collect feedback outside Ms. Nelson’s website (which is good, by the way – she is doing some great research).

High School Options Research

UofI Masters student Holly Nelson continues to make headway in her research of the various sites identified as possible locations for a new high school. She has a wordpress site up that is waiting for your perusal and comments:



In addition, she has also provided a nice 46-page document about the Social Impact which she will present at the April 23 Special Board Meeting (I have yet to read it, but have added it to my short-list).


Feb 27th Special Board Meeting

After hearing about Meg Dickinson’s article highlighting the working cash bonds and taking a peek at the Agenda, I decided to drop by and see what was going on. In truth, I was very interested to hear about the Great Schools, Together (GST) report and the research on the high school options, both of which have received very little coverage. Both topics consumed roughly 2.5 hours, a long, drawn-out “conversation”. I kept thinking to myself “there has got to be a better way to do this”.

I am going through the notes I took, and I have to apologize that they are not fully organized. But I’ll relate to the best of my ability.

Before the meeting kicked off, Read the rest of this entry »