Thursday, September 29, 2011

Washington Academy’s technology lab offers students a glimpse into the digital world

The door to Ms. Rios’ Technology Lab at Washington Academy opens and a bunch of excited little people dressed in navy blue tops and khaki slacks and skirts scoot to their favorite places at tables, and on the rug. Two to each laptop computer, they take turns drawing with their fingers on the touch screens, using tools like virtual paint brushes, creating shapes or clicking with the mouse on templates to color

Read more of the story by clicking on the following:  http://www.belvideredailyrepublican.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6995:washington-academys-technology-lab-offers-students-a-glimpse-into-the-digital-world&catid=106:belvidere&Itemid=508

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DeKalb District-428 wants to unload empty buildings, expenses

By ANDREW MITCHELL

With the budget constraints we’re in, it just costs too much to keep them sitting empty like that,” he said.

State and local regulations require the district to maintain the unused buildings; vandalism has to be cleaned up, damage has to be repaired and the schools have to be heated in the winter to prevent pipes from freezing and breaking. Sidewalks and streets also have to be salted and plowed.

August, the school board approved spending $5,500 to appraise the three buildings, along with other pieces of property in the district. Gorla said the board should receive the final results of the appraisal within two weeks.

From there, Briscoe said the matter likely would be discussed in the district’s soon-to-be-formed finance committee. He hopes the board finds new owners for the schools in Cortland and Malta.

But failing that, the district would likely demolish them – something that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars – depending on what bids come in and if there are any asbestos to remove

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  http://www.daily-chronicle.com/2011/09/26/d-428-wants-to-unload-empty-buildings-expenses/ars7h7p/?page=2

Homecoming Photo for Belvidere North

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Belvidere Daily Republican has a few homecoming photos.Click on the following:  http://www.belvideredailyrepublican.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6984:community-photo-album-week-of-sept-25&catid=108:boone-county&Itemid=510

Monday, September 26, 2011

NEA President earns large TRS pension

 

For the Good of Illinois

“We’ll shine the light. You’ll bring the heat.”

Thank you for registering and searching at www.openthebooks.com.
You’re ready for reform. Over 25,000 people have rendered over 300,000 pageviews since our spectacular online launch.
As the Chicago Tribune exposé of sweetheart union access to City pensions became a national story, we have the only publicly accessible City of Chicago retirement database. Choose RETIREMENT and CITY OF CHICAGO from the two dropdown search boxes on the homepage, then click twice on MONTHLY ANNUITY AMOUNT (orders from most to least).
Union Chief, Dennis Gannon has the top city pension of the last ten years. Retiring in 2004, Gannon worked one day for the city and has a monthly pension of $13,583. He has already collected over $1 million.
If our portal was up five years ago, three years ago, or last year, the sunlight would have made insider union pensions impossible! In Illinois, transparency is the foundation for good government.
On September 6th, we exposed that the unions also have insider access at the state level. Read the post, here. Listen to my interview with Big John & Amy on WIND 560AM Chicago, here.
The second highest teacher pension in teacher retirement history ($20,200/month) went to the President of the National Education Association (NEA), Washington DC. His Illinois government pension was predicated on his out-of-state union pay and not his earnings as an elementary school teacher from Harvey. For his earnings, contributions and monthly annuity, click here.
What are you finding? On a confidential basis, please let us know.
Thank you for being a part of our website launch and a watershed moment in Illinois politics.

Sincerely,

Adam Andrzejewski
Founder | CEO
For the Good of Illinois

Letter to Editor of NW Herald draws over 300 comments

This letter to editor regarding teachers has over 300 comments at last count.  Take a look for yourself at:  http://www.nwherald.com/2011/09/21/demonizing-teachers/aetdmqf/

DEMONIZING TEACHERS

To the Editor:

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck. That saying is true and also works in reverse. If you treat someone like a duck, don’t be surprised when they start acting like one.

Take our much maligned teachers with their evil pensions. In our quest to Walmart-ize every last job in America, we have cut teachers’ pay, reduced their benefits, attacked their right to collectively bargain, and lengthened their workday.

In Wisconsin, scores of the best and most experienced teachers have decided, for whatever reason, to retire early. Don’t be surprised when a teacher who used to forgo lunch, or stay after school to help the struggling student, suddenly decides not to.

When more and more teaching time is spent grading the previous day’s assignments rather than taking it home to complete, again don’t be surprised. Forget about school spirit. Why promote it by helping out at a football game or an after-school event.

Today’s teachers are burdened with very little resources, often funding the day’s art project themselves, all the while being portrayed as greedy villains.

We have all had a teacher who has left a lasting impression on us or our kids. There are many good, honest, hardworking people working everywhere, including Walmart. But the next time you go there, look around and ask yourself who you really want to entrust the next generation to.

Jeff Albertz

Woodstock

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rock Valley College Enrollment similar to rest of state

Just like the majority of Illinois public junior colleges shows a slight decrease in enrollment from the all time highs of Spring 2011.

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These charts are available at:  http://www.rockvalleycollege.edu/About/upload/BOT-Packet-092711-2.pdf

Saturday, September 24, 2011

St. Charles North teacher faces theft charges

By Erika Wurst

St. Charles North High School physical education teacher charged with two counts of retail theft is back in the classroom following a weeklong paid administrative leave.

Katie Sauber (Duraski), 34, 600 block of Dural Lane, North Aurora, was arrested twice last month for allegedly stealing items from a Von Maur department store and a Target, according to Kane County Court documents.

Sauber was put on paid administrative leave on Sept. 1, said Jim Blaney, director of school and community relations for the St. Charles School District. She returned to work on Sept. 8, Blaney said.

Click on the following for more details;  http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/7826937-418/st-charles-north-teacher-faces-theft-charges.html

Enrollment leveling at Elgin Community College

By Emily McFarlan

Last spring, 11,943 students had enrolled at the community college. Enrollment last fall, at the start of the 2010-11 school year, remains the highest on record at 12,219 students.

Sam said that enrollment has been up over the past few years at all age levels and in all fields of study except health care.

“The thing with health care is we’ve been stymied by the size” of the school’s health care facilities, he said. “We always get more applications than we are able to admit.”

That will change when the college’s 130,000-square-foot Health Careers Center opens this spring, according to the college president.

That building, part of the Elgin Community College Facilities Master Plan, was scheduled for completion in summer 2012. It also was expected to cost the school $55 million, the bulk of the $178 million bond referendum amount that voters in Elgin Community College District 509 approved in April 2009

Click on the following for more details:  http://couriernews.suntimes.com/7810682-417/enrollment-leveling-at-ecc.html

SwedishAmerican Medical Center/Belvidere Launches Student Art Program

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ROCKFORD (SAH) -- Students from Belvidere-area schools have an opportunity to display their artwork in the hallways of SwedishAmerican Medical Center/Belvidere, thanks to a new art program established by the hospital in partnership with the Belvidere School District.

The program was developed at the end of the 2010-2011 school year when Medical Center/Belvidere Administrator Dawna Menke reached out to the Belvidere School District to discuss how the facility could connect with area students.

"We are committed to being an active member of the Belvidere community," says Menke. "By utilizing available wall space and public areas of the hospital, we have been able to create a gallery space where the public can see how creative area students are."

Recently, artwork from students at Meehan Elementary School, Belvidere North High School and Belvidere High School was framed and put on display on the first floor of the hospital. Artwork was provided by the following students:

-Avry Blume
-Dakoda Hattendorf
-Mackenzie Morris
-Alejandra Pasillas
-Elizabeth Resendiz
-Natalia Rodriguez

“I think it's amazing that one of my pieces hangs in the halls for everyone to see,” says former Belvidere North High School student Dakoda Hattendorf. “It's a pretty cool feeling.” Dakota is currently attending Rock Valley College and hopes to transfer to an art institute where she will focus on advertising design.

These pieces are being displayed outside of the vending area of Medical Center/Belvidere and are visible to patients and visitors. Although space is limited, students interested in having their work considered may contact their art teachers and/or Shannon Hansen, the Communications Coordinator for the Belvidere School District, at (815) 544-8528 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (815) 544-8528

Click on e following for more details: http://www.wifr.com/news/headlines/SwedishAmerican_Medical_CenterBelvidere_Launches_Student_Art_Program_129841573.html

Friday, September 23, 2011

Education pensions receive diagnosis at DeKalb High School

In fact, the TRS brought in $10.5 billion last fiscal year while scheduled benefits for this fiscal year amount to $4.5 billion. Dick Ingram, executive director for TRS, said it is that perceived cushion that has led some lawmakers to question why the state needs to make its full contribution.

Ingram said it is important for the state to make its full contribution because the results of partial payments has led to an inequitable burden on taxpayers. Previous taxpayer generations did not make full contributions to the system, so the current taxpayers are responsible for two or three generations of teachers, he said.

“The right people aren’t paying for the right costs,” Ingram said.

The result is a $44 billion unfunded liability in the system. Ingram said it is important to realize the unfunded liability is more like a mortgage, and that the liability should go down each year if payments by the state, members and school districts are made on time and as the formula requires.

But the state has struggled to make contributions in the past and is on the hook for $2.4 billion in contributions this fiscal year, two-thirds of which is past due payments and loan interest. Ingram said if the state had not “kicked the can down the road,” it would have $1.6 billion more for other budget items.

“That’s the cost of the can,” Ingram said.

The average educator in the DeKalb area now will have, upon retirement, a pension of $34,152 per year, down from the state average of $46,452. But all teachers could see a change in their pensions because of pending legislation in Springfield.

Read more of this Daily Chronicle article by clicking on the following:  http://www.daily-chronicle.com/2011/09/22/education-pensions-receive-diagnosis-at-dekalb-high-school/am3cbvv/

Thursday, September 22, 2011

McHenry County to wait to fill ROE post

By KEVIN P. CRAVER

McHenry County Board has given up on finding a new regional superintendent of schools for the time being.

With 10 candidates rejected for the now-unpaid elected office defunded by Gov. Pat Quinn, and the courts so far siding with Quinn’s power to do so, the county is not pursuing the matter further until the money from the state is there, County Board Chairman Ken Koehler said.

“We have basically come to the conclusion that until we know there’s a funding source, we can’t hire anybody on,” Koehler told the County Board on Tuesday evening.

McHenry County faced a daunting problem – find someone who met the long list of qualifications who would work for free.

State law requires regional superintendents to have a master’s degree, a state education supervisory certificate, at least 20 credit hours of graduate professional education, and at least four years of teaching experience. Candidates must have spent two of the past four years either teaching or supervising. Because the position is elected, a vacancy must be filled by a Republican, the same party as the previous officeholder

Read the rest of the story by clicking on the following: http://www.nwherald.com/2011/09/21/county-to-wait-to-fill-roe-post/augozxl/

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kishwaukee Community College's growth hasn’t hit ceiling other community colleges have reached

By ANDREW MITCHELL

report from the Illinois Community College Board found spring 2011 enrollment fell nearly 2 percent statewide from 2010’s record enrollment.
Of the state’s 48 community colleges, 18 saw an increase in total students from last year; 15 saw an increase in full-time equivalent – or FTE – enrollments. That number is determined by calculating the total number of credit hours being taken by students and dividing by 15, the number of hours traditionally considered a full-time class load.
Kishwaukee College is among the schools that saw an increase in both categories. While the actual number of students increased by only 13 from spring 2010 to spring 2011, more students increased their credit hours, bumping up the college’s FTE by 82, or 2.9 percent.

Click on the following for the rest of the articlehttp://www.daily-chronicle.com/2011/09/20/kishwaukees-growth-hasnt-hit-ceiling-other-community-colleges-have-reached/alt7o0w/

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

District 100 and mandated School Choice/Tutoring

Because Lincoln and Washington have not made adequate annual progress under “No Child Left Behind” school choice and tutoring was mandated.  What is the participation rate in these programs?

The photocopy below is from:  http://www2.district100.com/District/Pages/default.aspx?RootFolder=%2FDistrict%2FAbout%20Us%2FSchool%20Choice%20Information&FolderCTID=0x0120000C45CF7286A2014883760031B8AE7D93&View={F3AE284C-49AF-4FEB-9DE8-18A9CA0F4E19}

Click on the photocopy to enlarge.image

Here are some highlights from the above posting:

1. With a combined enrollment of 1,436 students, a total of 29 students have requested transfers to other elementary buildings.

2.  Historical Data: 2009-2010 was the first year students at Lincoln and Washington Elementary Schools had the option to transfer to either Kishwaukee or Perry Elementary Schools. Of the 1,724 students, 4 exercised this option

3. Supplemental Educational Services (tutoring), 2010-2011 is the first year of student eligibility. Of the 822 student families who meet the income limits under the law, 175 have elected to receive tutoring

Sunday, September 18, 2011

McHenry Community College enrollment drops, follows statewide trend

Enrollment dropped nearly 4 percent to 7,104 students this fall, compared with 7,392 last year, college officials said.

MCC had led the state in enrollment growth in recent years. Overall, students have enrolled in 22 percent more credit hours since fall semester 2008, said Joe Baumann, director of institutional research at McHenry County College

“Community college enrollment often works in opposition to the state of the economy; as the economy becomes stronger, enrollment tends to balance out,” Smith said. “However, in this particular economic downturn, a better assumption may be that students have less flexibility now than they have in past economic downturns and they may have to work, leaving less time for taking classes.”

Read the entire article:  http://www.nwherald.com/2011/09/16/mcc-enrollment-drops-follows-statewide-trend/atfq2dd/

Task force to pitch ideas to D-156 McHenry

One of the recommendations that came out of a brainstorming session was “pass a referendum.”

Orendorff said a referendum would be part of six overall suggestions, and any referendum would need to come in later in the future.

“We know it shouldn’t be right away,” Orendorff said.

In November and April, District 156 had two property tax-hike referendums that would have benefited day-to-day operations and programming in the district.

Both were overwhelmingly defeated.

Orendorff declined to give further details about the presentation.

According to documents provided by the district, among the ideas that came out of the Finance Committee during a brainstorming session: reduce pay for staff, reduce the amount of staff through attrition, increase student fees, consider early retirement buyouts for staff members nearing retirement, create corporate sponsorships and partnerships, solicit donations, reduce outside special education placements, and reward staff for financial suggestions that result in financial savings for the district.

It will call for enhanced systems that will create energy-efficient facilities, expanding buildings to meet current and future needs, and working with the community to meet space and educational needs.

The committee recommends that there be an upgrade to the East Campus kitchen, expansions of energy-efficiency initiatives, replacement of mobile classrooms, an addition onto West Campus, and discussion of additional sharing of assets with the city, among other things, according to district documents.

Read more by clicking on the following:  http://www.nwherald.com/2011/09/16/task-force-to-pitch-ideas-to-d-156/arigw82/

Friday, September 16, 2011

Calif. schools turn away unvaccinated students

Some California schools are turning away middle and high school students who have not received a required whooping cough vaccine while others are defying a law passed last year after a historic spike in cases of the potentially fatal disease.

The law approved last September initially required all students entering grades seven through 12 to get vaccinated by the start of the 2011-2012 school year. Lawmakers passed a 30-day extension this summer as districts worried many students wouldn't meet the deadline.

Under California law, students also can still attend if their parents file a form saying they oppose vaccines.

Click on the following for more details:  http://www.beloitdailynews.com/news/national/calif-schools-turn-away-unvaccinated-students/article_b6a8dc29-52bd-5002-aef6-d69ab949c29a.html

SIU faculty to vote on possible strike

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CARBONDALE (AP) – Faculty at Southern Illinois University's flagship campus in Carbondale will be voting later this month on whether to go on strike as part of a lingering contract dispute.

The Southern Illinoisan reports that the group representing tenured and tenure-track faculty at the 20,000-student school voted unanimously Thursday to seek a strike-authorization vote. That means the entire membership will vote Sept. 28 on whether a walkout is in order.

A representative of the group says the union began bargaining with the administration in April of last year.

A spokesman for the university told The Associated Press on Friday he hopes both sides continue talks. He says a walkout would be unfortunate but that the school would do whatever it takes to minimize disruption of courses during a strike.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Discipline Reports for School Year 2011

Listen to tape on this item by going to: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/district100/Board.nsf/Public—as shown below.  Click on Item E-3, PBIS report, then click on second icon 6 PBIS Report

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Below is the actual data which is being detailed.

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

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Adequate Yearly Progress: Only Kishwaukee and Caledonia meet all of the guideposts

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

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What happened to the graduation rate at North High School in SY 2011?

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Here are the individual test/school scores for the elementary schools and middle schools

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Those responsible:  The Board of Education

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Neighboring ZIP codes absorb Rockford exodus

To read the entire article go to:  http://www.rrstar.com/insight/alexgary/x219198780/In-Sundays-paper-Suburbs-absorb-exodus-from-Rockford

The latest release of 2010 census data proves what anyone driving around the Rock River Valley already knows — the population is moving.
The U.S. Census Bureau released population changes from 2000 to 2010 broken down by ZIP code. In Winnebago County, just two major ZIP codes lost population. Downtown Rockford east of the river, 61104, fell by nearly 6 percent. And 61101, which is Rockford’s northwest side, declined by 8.1 percent. And of those Rockford ZIP codes that did see population growth, not one saw even 10 percent growth.
For much of the decade, the moving vans were heading to such places as Poplar Grove and Belvidere, where populations grew by 35.8 and 17.3 percent, respectively, and Winnebago, up 20.4 percent.
…..
Both the Belvidere and North Boone school districts in Boone County felt the crunch of new families flocking to their areas. Belvidere built a new middle school and a second high school. North Boone expanded an elementary school, built a new high school and put on an addition to the old high school.
Michael Houselog was superintendent of North Boone for much of the decade and now is the superintendent of Belvidere. In the 2000-01 school year, Belvidere had 6,352 students and North Boone 1,283. By 2007, Belvidere’s student population surged to 8,728 and North Boone’s to 1,686.
But in the wake of the Great Recession, the growth rate has slowed. In 2010, Belvidere was up to 9,001 and North Boone to 1,746.
And Houselog said that unless the economy revives and people begin returning to Boone County, Belvidere is going to have too many schools within five years.
“This year, our three smallest grades are kindergarten, first and second grade,” Houselog said. “This will put it in into context. In 2005, we had more than 700 kids in kindergarten. This year we have 485.”
Still, Houselog is confident that Boone County will become a destination of choice again.
“The things that made this a desirable place haven’t changed. We have lower tax rates than what you’ll find in the Chicago area. Having (Interstate 90) coming through our county allows easy access to Rockford, Madison, Chicago,” he said. “When the economy turns, we think it’ll turn here first. The question is when.”
While the once hot growth areas wait for another boom, Krause said the aging areas of Rockford are waiting on something else — reinvestment.
“In Chicago, there are a number of aging neighborhoods that have done well because developers took industrial buildings and turned them into condos,” Krause said. “Part of the reason they took that risk is because prices in Chicago’s suburbs had increased so much that it made sense to reinvest in the older neighborhoods. That could happen here, but so many developers were hurt by the recession that few are ready to take that risk in Rockford.”
Krause said there have been some residential redevelopment success stories in Rockford, such as the Brown building downtown and the Garrison Lofts & Town Homes, but much more is needed to persuade retailers to come back as well.
Assistant Business Editor Alex Gary may be reached at agary@rrstar.com or at 815-987-1339 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 815-987-1339 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

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