Police Search For Killer Of Champaign Teenager

CHAMPAIGN – Police in Champaign are still searching for the person who shot and killed a Centennial High School student. On Friday, the city identified the victim as 17-year-old Jonathon McPhearson. Officers said McPhearson was sitting along West Kirby Avenue on Thursday afternoon when multiple people in masks walked up and opened fire on him. So […]

Illinois Schools Will Get $7B To Help Students With Pandemic Recovery

CHAMPAIGN – School districts in Illinois will receive $7 billion in federal funding over three years for kindergarten through high school education. The influx of cash comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, the latest federal COVID-19 stimulus package, which Congress passed earlier this year.  This funding is in addition other monies provided by the […]

Pritzker Urges Schools To Focus COVID Relief Funds

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker took to the road Monday to urge local school districts in Illinois to carefully target the roughly $7 billion in federal funds they will soon receive in order to help students overcome the learning loss they may have suffered during the pandemic. “We’re all wondering if this was a lost […]

Golden Apple Finalist In Champaign Reflects On Teaching Amid A Pandemic

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign Unit 4 teacher Dominique McCotter is one of 32 pre-K through third grade finalists for the Illinois Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching this year. McCotter is a Kindergarten teacher at Dr. Howard Elementary School.  The statewide award honors teachers for their impact on student growth and learning. Recipients of the […]

Nearly 1,300 Champaign Unit 4 Schools Staff Members Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

CHAMPAIGN – Earlier this month, 1,291 teachers and other staff members at Champaign Unit 4 Schools received their first dose of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. This week, they return for a second dose. Dozens of staff members and some members of the community filed in and out of Centennial High School on Monday. They […]

New Champaign Unit 4 Schools Leader Moving From Springfield

CHAMPAIGN – The next superintendent of Champaign Unit 4 Schools is moving from Springfield. On Thursday night, the Board of Education announced its selection of Shelia Boozer. Boozer is 23-year veteran of education.  She is currently the Director of Teaching and Learning and Technology in Springfield District 186. Boozer earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from […]

Champaign, Urbana Schools Donate Thanksgiving Meals To Families In Need

  CHAMPAIGN – During a typical school year, Laura Dees says families in need rely on food drives held at school buildings in the Champaign Unit 4 School District. Dees, director of food services for Unit 4, says that wasn’t a possibility this year because schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  But Dees […]

217 Today — Nov. 25, 2020

Wednesday November 25, 2020 Today’s headlines: One in four people hospitalized in Illinois are COVID-19 patients –even as the rate of COVID diagnosis has slowed down in the last two weeks. Champaign Unit 4 Schools distributed nearly 500 Thanksgiving meals to families this week. Hospitals in central Illinois are exploring ways to increase capacity to care for an increasing number […]

New Restrictions Begin In Champaign-Urbana Due To Rising COVID-19 Rates

CHAMPAIGN – From schools to restaurants to hospitals, restrictions are once again underway around Champaign County as COVID-19 cases rise. Friday will be the last day for in-person classes at Champaign Unit 4 Schools and Urbana School District 116. Both districts are switching to remote instruction only, starting Monday. At a Thursday news conference, Champaign-Urbana […]

Champaign Unit 4 Plans To Bring Middle, High Schoolers Back To Classrooms In January

CHAMPAIGN – During a Board of Education meeting Monday night, Champaign Unit 4 Schools officials discussed bringing middle and high school students back into classrooms beginning in January. The plan as presented by Unit 4 administrators includes two schedules. Under either scenario, all students would learn virtually on Mondays, and in the mornings for the […]

Champaign Unit 4 Elementary Students Can Return To In-Person Instruction

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign Unit 4 elementary school students will have the option to return to some in-person instruction at the end of this month.  Unit 4 officials unveiled plans this week to bring students back into classrooms for shortened school days. The first day of in-person instruction is scheduled for Oct. 27.  Parents can still […]

Student Arrest Records A ‘Disturbing Mess’ At Illinois School Districts

Twenty-one Champaign Unit 4 students were arrested during the 2013-14 school year — 19 of them were Black — according to documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. During the 2015-16 school year, 17 students were arrested — of which 15 were Black. But the federal government thinks there were no arrests.  That’s […]

Working Parents And Closed Schools: The Childcare Struggle During COVID-19

Sierra is in a bind. She and her husband have two children — ages three and nine years old — and they live in Urbana.  Sierra’s 9-year-old son is attending school remotely this fall, because the local school district has deemed it unsafe to reopen for in-person instruction. While she and her husband placed their […]

New Limits On Free Meals For Kids Concern Illinois School Officials

CHAMPAIGN – Some Illinois school officials are upset that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has not extended waivers that would allow districts to continue serving free meals to all students under 18 years of age.  In a typical school year, students must meet specific criteria to qualify for the USDA-operated National School Lunch Program. Families […]

Unit 4 Superintendent Says Fall Classes Will Stay Online For 1st Quarter

CHAMPAIGN – In a change of direction, the Champaign Unit 4 school district has announced that fall classes will be held on a remote basis only, through at least mid-October, as a continuing precaution against spreading COVID-19. Unit 4 Superintendent Susan Zola said in a statement released Wednesday evening that the district will use Distance […]