$17 million from the state

I’m excited about the capital development award, although I had to miss the press conference for a vet visit. So I wanted to express my excitement here!

PHS Release

I drove by PHS and through surrounding neighborhoods at release time today; if anything exciting went down today, I didn’t see anything. I’ll continue to do so when I can as long as we’re hearing complaints about after school behavior to try to observe it myself.

First Day: Glen Oak, Thomas Jefferson

I went, toddler in tow, to visit Glen Oak at 9 a.m., and TJ at 10:30ish, to see two of our buildings in action and meet the kids (and parents, at Glen Oak) and the teachers.

Glen Oak, of course, is new and it’s BEAUTIFUL, so bright and so well-arranged for student learning, and when the whole park setting is finish it is just going to be gorgeous. It fits in the neighborhood really well. It’s a shame to see the older building go — I love the old architecture — but the new building is ADA compliant and has great student bathrooms and is just fantastic all around. It was busy at Glen Oak this morning with students who had not yet registered trying to register and get to their classrooms, but the staff was doing a great job helping students find their rooms in a new building and helping everyone get registered and sorted. (My toddler companion was very unhappy I wouldn’t let him go play in the Head Start rooms!)

Thomas Jefferson also looked great; the new LED lights make it so bright, with such a natural “sunshine” light. And the kids and I all agreed that the colored LED lights at the tops of the pillars in the hallway were, in a word, awesome. They were multicolored today; the principal told me they’ll be red-and-white (TJ’s colors) on many days, but that the janitor already has a blue-and-orange setup programmed for Mondays after Bears’ wins. We had a chance to see the severe-and-profound area, which is still getting set up, but was much brighter with the new lights and skylights, and to visit many classrooms and (since TJ is my neighborhood school) to see some kids we knew.

Exciting to see the new schools up and running, and exciting to see our kids back and ready to learn!

First Year … Trying, anyway

I keep attempting to post a well-thought-out post about what I’ve learned my first year in office, but life keeps interfering. I’m working on it! Hopefully I’ll finish before school starts again.

Residency Requirements for Employees

Mrs. Parker brought up having residency requirements for employees. I’m not against this idea (especially for administrators), but I do have some concerns. There are many two-teacher or one-teacher, one-civil-servant families, where both may be subject to residency requirements. There are many excellent “second-career” teachers who may have children of their own in high school and be reluctant to uproot their family, especially in their first couple years of teaching. And in this economy, there are many families working in two different cities who may wish to split the commute.

It seems obvious to me there would have to be exceptions, and the risk is that you either exempt so many people that it’s a meaningless requirement, or that you make it too draconian and have no sensitivity to people’s family situations. (I even wonder if it might not make more sense to make residency a requirement for tenure but not for initial hire, given that attrition for teachers is so high the first couple years in teaching? And could you fire a tenured teacher who moved out of the district?)

I don’t have a strong opinion either way — I feel I need to explore the issues and implications a lot further before I develop an opinion — and I am interested in input from the community.

(As a reminder, all comments are now moderated prior to posting and may take some time to appear on the site. I am not filtering out opinions but controlling a problem with a spam issue and with a couple of people making in appropriate statements about district children in particular, which just isn’t okay with me.)

Video Available Here

… earlier than it’s available on channel 17.

http://centralillinoisproud.com/district-150

(I hear some people are having problems playing the video but, no, I have no idea how to fix that. I’m not that computer-savvy!)

Graduation

Just back from the WHS graduation; the kids wrote and sang a really nice song, “Strong as a Warrior.” The refrain went:

Whether I’m …
Noble as a Knight,
Tough as a Ram,
Sleek as a Lion,
I’m always going to be
Strong as a Warrior.

It was really, really nice, definitely a highlight of an excellent graduation ceremony.