Urbana School District


Yearly Archives: 2014

All District Centralized Registration Dates for 2014-2015

July 17th, 2014

The dates have been set for Urbana School District’s Centralized Registration for the 2014-15 school year.

The dates and times are:

  • Tuesday, July 29th – 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 30th – 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 31st – 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Centralized registration is an all-in-one registration event held at Urbana Middle School, 1201 S. Vine St, for all Urbana schools, including Early Childhood, all elementary schools (including incoming Kindergarteners), middle, and high school.

For more information, please visit our Centralized Registration page.


Registro escolar para todas las escuelas del distrito incluyendo el centro de enseñanza temprana, todas las primarias (incluyendo clases de Kinder), secundaria y preparatoria.

Los padres podrán entregar los exámenes médicos requeridos para sus estudiantes en grados Kinder, sexto, y noveno.  Este examen debe estar en el record antes del primer día de escuela.

Se requieren también  exámenes dentales para Kinder, segundo y sexto grado. Exámenes de la vista solo para Kinder. Los padres pueden entregar todos estos exámenes durante el registro centralizado.

  • Martes 29 de Julio  – 10:00 a.m. a 3:00 p.m.
  • Miércoles 30 de Julio – 3:00 p.m. a 7:00 p.m.
  • Jueves  31 de Julio – 9:00 a.m. a 1:00 p.m.

Walk as One event set for Tuesday, July 15

July 14th, 2014

On Tuesday, July 15, 2014, Urbana School District #116 teachers, staff, and students, along with several other civic organizations, will participate in a Walk As One outing for the school district.

USD #116 is working with the City of Urbana, Urbana Police, and the Champaign Community Coalition to bring volunteers together for the Walk As One event in the neighborhood around Prairie Elementary and Urbana Early Childhood schools. “We pride ourselves on maintaining open lines of communication with our families and the community,” said Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Ivory-Tatum. “The Walk is yet another way to share positive information and resources through a different home to school connection that we have not tried before. Hopefully, families and residents will learn more about our community partners as well as more ways we support student learning.”

Volunteers in groups of three and four will be out in the neighborhood from 5pm to 7pm, visiting each house to provide information about USD #116 schools and programs, Centralized Registration, the USD #116 School-Based Health Center, and other community-led efforts such as the 211 line that community members can access through the United Way. Along with volunteers from the City of Urbana, Urbana Police and Fire Departments, other members of the community from across Urbana-Champaign area will be taking part in the Walk As One event.

Superintendent Dr. Donald Owen said in an email to the District that the Walk as One will help us to “find new ways of engaging our families and community.”

Applications being accepted for USD #116 substitute teachers and teaching aides

July 1st, 2014

Urbana School District #116 is looking for Substitute Teachers and Teaching Aides for the upcoming 2014-2015 School Year!

Come and complete an application to be considered for the positions at the Jean Burkholder Administration Center, 205 N. Race Street, Urbana, Illinois.

Applications are being accepted on Monday, July 7th and Wednesday, July 9th from 8:00 a.m. until noon.

Full Day Substitute Teachers are paid $90 per day, and Teaching Aides are paid $11:45 per hour.

Urbana School District #116 is an equal opportunity employer.

2014-15 Elementary schools & UMS supply lists are available

June 10th, 2014

The Urbana elementary schools and UMS supply lists for the 2014-2015 school year are now available below.

The elementary school lists can also be found on each of the individual school sites.  The links are located on the Information page, under the Quick Links on the left-hand side.

2014-15 School Supply Lists


2014 UHS Commencement Photos

June 5th, 2014

On Saturday, May 31, 2014, Urbana High School held the commencement ceremony for the Class of 2014.  For the first time, the event took place in McKinley Field at the Urbana Athletics Complex.  Senior Class President, Saul Downie was the host and was one of three student speakers.  The other two student speeches were give by Victor Mouschovias and Ficara Akins.  Ta’Shawn Wilson introduced Alumni Erika Harold who presented the key note speech.  Mr. Terrance Douse and the graduating seniors of the UHS Choir performed a medley of songs for an appreciative audience.

Video of the full ceremony can be found on the UHS Channel.

Below, please find a sample of photographs taken during the 2014 UHS Commencement ceremony.

UMS Students Ring New Tunes With Handbells

June 5th, 2014

Sixth and seventh grade students from Urbana Middle School gave an unusual concert shortly before school ended for the year.  Unusual in the fact that most of the students had only been playing their instruments for about two and half weeks.  Also unusual is that their audience, mostly parents, were able to join them and play a song, successful after a short tutoring session by the students.

“Playing them is really fun but really hard,” said one sixth grader during an end-of-class discussion in the Urbana Middle School band room.

“How many of you agree about playing the handbells and handchimes?” asked teacher Karen DeBauche.

All around students’ hands shoot into the air. Lots of grins, too.

“It’s an unusual excitement at this time of year,” says DeBauche. “Their last [band] concert was two weeks ago so we needed to do something different for the sixth and seventh grade bands.”

Different, in this case, was to put away the tubas, trumpets and timpani and replace them with 191 handbells and handchimes.

“Giving these students a new instrument to learn was a great way to keep their focus,” says handbell music instructor Daniel M. Reck, who was invited by DeBauche to work with over 100 band students for two-and-a-half weeks in May.

At the end of that time, the students presented a short in-school recital for their parents and classmates.

“At a time of year when students always find it hard to concentrate, it was great to see all the kids focused on working together to make what was really shockingly lovely music.” said sixth grade parent, Amy Ando.  “This event was yet another example of the greatness of the band teacher, Karen DeBauche, who used her connections to the community to make such an experience possible.” Read the rest of this story »

Urbana School District #116 Unsung Heroes

June 4th, 2014

The Urbana School District #116 is please to announce the 2014 USD #116 Unsung Heroes.   The Unsung Heroes listed below were honored at the USD #116 Board of Education study session on Tuesday, June 3.  There was a short reception at 7:15 p.m., and then recognition during the meeting itself.

For the past six years, USD #116 has recognized District employees who have gone above and beyond for the students and families in the school district. All employees are eligible to be nominated for the award, which looks to highlight an individual that exemplifies the commitment to the betterment of the USD school community.  Nominations are requested in May by the USD #116 HR department.  They ask for nominations of two individuals from all schools, programs, and administrative offices.  The winners are then announced in June and honored at a BOE meeting.

The 2014 USD #116 Unsung Heroes are:

  • Arlene Anderson, Urbana Adult Ed
  • Merv Benting, Facilities and Maintenance
  • Suzy Behrensmeyer, Prairie Elementary
  • Vickie Blaney, Thomas Paine Elementary
  • Marcie Bowman, Urbana Middle School
  • Gloretha Brown, Urbana Early Childhood
  • Shari Caston, Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Elementary
  • Angela Cobb, Thomas Paine Elementary
  • Kevin Collins, Facilities and Maintenance
  • Yolande Cooke, Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Elementary
  • Dee DeNardis-Ehler, Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Elementary
  • Ronda Driscoll, Urbana High School
  • Kevin Erlinger, Urbana Middle School
  • Tina Giamberdino, Urbana Middle School
  • Terri Kinsel, Urbana High School
  • Brenda Koenig, Leal Elementary
  • Tammie Leigh-Dean, Prairie Elementary
  • Kal Lutz, Facilities and Maintenance
  • Jill McPike, Central Office
  • Teresa Mendez-Bray, Leal Elementary
  • Jason Montgomery, Facilities and Maintenance
  • Patti Patterson, Yankee Ridge Elementary
  • Stephen Scranton, Leal Elementary
  • Erin Stratton, Prairie Elementary
  • Vashon Wilson, Thomas Paine Elementary

King Elementary teacher Sally Thompson receives Excellence in Teaching Award

June 4th, 2014

Congratulations to Sally Thompson, King Elementary 5th grade teacher, for being awarded the Gene Amberg Excellence in Teaching Award from the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation June 4, 2014, the last day of the school year.  The award recognizes a teacher who exemplifies eight traits:

  1. Practices the keen sense of criticality of relationships with his/her students.
  2. Utilizes imaginative approaches to keep his/her students interested.
  3. Demonstrates a willingness to take the risk of pursuing needed learner solutions in their classroom(s).
  4. Recognizes and practices that learning is continuous and mutual.
  5. Displays qualities of warmth and a caring attitude toward students, colleagues, and parents.
  6. Communicates effectively with parents, both orally and written.
  7. Applies the concepts of firm, fair, and friendly in the classroom.
  8. Maintains a sense of humor in dealing with peers, students, and stakeholders.

Ms. Thompson has positively impacted the lives of many of her students during her 22-year career with Urbana District 116.  Ms. Thompson’s former student wrote, “There is no award great enough to honor her dedication, energy, sincerity and skill in the way she handles her classroom and students.”  And a colleague shared, “Sally knows that she and her students are constantly changing and adapts her learning and teaching accordingly.  Continuous questions and reflecting allows Sally to always stay one step ahead.”

Photos courtesy of Christopher Fuller

Dr. Gene Amberg (Ph.D.) began his career in public education in 1972 as an elementary school teacher in St. Louis, Missouri. He was named superintendent of Urbana School District in 1992. In 2003, the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation Gene Amberg Excellence in Teaching Endowed Chair was established to honor Dr. Amberg’s leadership and dedication to children and educators throughout his career. Professional colleagues, friends, and family continue to contribute to this endowment, to be presented to an Urbana School District teacher every three years for excellence in teaching.

Ms. Thompson will receive a monetary award for three consecutive years to recognize her accomplishments.  King Elementary School will receive a portion of the award as well, as the school where Thompson teaches. The first Amberg Excellence in Teaching Award was given in 2006.  Ms. Thompson is the fourth recipient.

Visit CUSchoolsFoundation.org to learn more about the Foundation and its programs that benefit Champaign Unit 4 and Urbana District 116 students and schools.

Urbana School District offering summer breakfast and lunch to all children 18 and under

June 3rd, 2014

UPDATE:  Urbana School District #116 will continue to offer free summer meals during July at the Urbana High School as part of the Seamless Summer Food program sponsored by the federal government.  Breakfast and lunch will be offered to children 18 years of age or younger regardless of enrollment in summer school or home of record, during the following times:

Urbana High School
July 7 through July 17; Monday – Thursday only
Breakfast:  8:30 am to 9:00 am
Lunch: 11:45 am to 12:00 pm


Urbana School District #116 will offer free summer meals during June at several schools as part of the Seamless Summer Food program sponsored by the federal government.  The meals will be offered to children 18 years of age or younger regardless of enrollment in summer school or home of record at Urbana High School, Urbana Middle School, Prairie Elementary, and King Elementary, during the following times:

Urbana High School
June 9 through July 3; Monday – Thursday only
Breakfast:  8:30 am to 9:00 am
Lunch: 11:45 am to 12:00 pm

Urbana Middle School
June 9 through July 3; Monday – Thursday only
Breakfast: 8:00 am to 8:15 am
Lunch:  12:15 pm to 12:30 pm

Prairie Elementary School
June 9 through July 3; Monday – Thursday only
Breakfast:  8:30 am to 9:00 am
Lunch: 12:00 pm to 12:30 pm

King Elementary School
June 9 through July 3; Monday – Thursday only
Breakfast:  8:15 am to 8:30 am
Lunch: 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm

The menu for the months meals can be found here:  USD #116 Summer Meal & USD #116 Menú Seamless de Verano Junio 2014

Free meals will be made available to all children 18 years of age and under or individuals over 18 with a state-defined mental or physical disability.  Free meals are made available to all eligible participants without regard to race, color, national origin, disability, sex or age.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistant program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.) Any person who believes that he or she has been discriminated against in any USDA-related activity should write immediately to:  USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C.  20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 or (202) 720-6382 (TTY).

For more information about the program, please contact USD #116 Chief Financial Officer, Carol Baker at 384-3642.

UHS 2014 Commencement Ceremony in Tweets

June 1st, 2014

The Urbana High School Class of 2014 held their Commencement ceremony at 11am on Saturday, May 31 on McKinley Athletic Field. Alumni Erika Harold was the keynote speaker.

After the cut, please find a number of tweets from USD #116 and others about the ceremony. Read the rest of this story »

2014 UHS Commencement Details

May 27th, 2014

UHSfieldThe Urbana High School Class of 2014 will hold their commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 31, 2014.  The event, starting at 11am, will be held for the first time on McKinley Athletic field on the grounds of UHS.  Gates open at 9am, and no tickets are required.  There will be limited handicap parking in the Urbana Aquatic Center lot, immediately to the east of McKinley; all other parking can be in the UHS and Urbana Middle School lots, as well as on-street parking.

The ceremony will be streamed online at http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/channels/urbana-urbana-illinois

Rain location will be UMS gymnasium, same date and time.

UHS Commencement focus of Urbana School’s first Twitter Chat

May 20th, 2014

Urbana High School Principal Matthew Stark and Urbana School District #116 Superintendent Donald Owen will participate in Urbana School’s first Twitter chat on Thursday, May 22, from 4:30pm to 5:30pm.  The Twitter chat will use the hashtag #UrbanaSchoolsChat to facilitate questions for Mr. Stark and Dr. Owen regarding the upcoming ceremony.

The focus of the Twitter chat will be the Urbana High School’s Commencement ceremony, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 31, at 11:00 am on the UHS McKinley Athletic Field.  Rain location is the Urbana Middle School gymnasium.  Both the @Urbana116 and @UrbanaHS Twitter accounts will be used to field questions and provide the community with answers.  The district’s Facebook account (www.facebook.com/USD116) will also be monitored for any questions regarding UHS Commencement.

Medication Reminder

May 16th, 2014

medicationThe last day for medication administration will be Wednesday June 4th. All unused medication must be picked up by parents or it will be disposed of. We will not be sending home emergency medication, including asthma inhalers. After Friday June 13th, all medication will be properly disposed of. If you need to pick up medication after the last day of school, please call your child’s school office before coming in, since their hours may be different.

If your child will be receiving prescription or over the counter medication next school year, you and your child’s physician must complete a new medication authorization form.

District Medication Authorization forms may be downloaded at USD # 116 website (usd116.org – Parents – Forms).  The form is under the “District Medication Forms” subhead. You may also obtain medication forms from your child’s school.

If you have any questions please contact the Medication Nurse at your child’s school or the District Nurse @ Ph # 384-3564.

Did you miss Kindergarten Connection?

May 6th, 2014

Kindergarten Connection at the Urbana Civic Center on April 8th was a success!  We had 184 families attend this first step into kindergarten!

If you missed the Kindergarten Connection and your child will be entering Kindergarten in one of Urbana’s neighborhood elementary schools this fall, you are encouraged to go to your child’s school to begin the sign-up process.  If you are unsure of what neighborhood elementary school your child would attend, please check on the Elementary Attendance Areas page.  If you are unable to determine the school or have additional questions, you may contact the Office of Curriculum and Instruction, at 217-384-3651, to verify a specific address.

At the school, you, the parent or legal guardian, will complete the registration forms, sign-up your student for an August kindergarten screening, and receive a handbook with information about Urbana’s kindergarten classes and how to ensure success for your child.

Each neighborhood elementary school has set aside time between now and the end of the school year (June 4th) for parents who missed Kindergarten Connection but still need to start the registration process.  Dates and times are listed below for each school.  Starting the process now will help you to avoid the long “New Student” lines at Centralized Registration on July 29th – July 31st.

Kindergarten Connection/registration times for each elementary school are:

King Elementary School
Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm
(217) 384-3675

Leal Elementary School
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:00 am – 10:30 am
(217) 384-3618

Prairie Elementary School
Monday through Thursday, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
(217) 384-3628

Thomas Paine Elementary School
Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm
(217) 384-3602

Wiley Elementary School
Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 12:30pm & 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
(217) 384-3670

Yankee Ridge Elementary School
Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm
(217) 384-3607




“Heroes and Dreamers”

April 15th, 2014

Ken Paxton, speech and language therapist, posed a question to some Leal 3rd and 4th graders.  Who are your heroes and what were their dreams?  The students’ answers provided a rich mosaic of people from all walks of life.  The project became more than just a one-time, class assignment.  These heroes became the basis of the student’s visual art, writing, dance, and rhetoric. The process the teachers and students went through and their work will become a documentary that Mr. Paxton and his group of students, teachers, and community support have put together with the help of a City of Urbana Arts Grant.

The film project called “Heroes and Dreamers” will document the students’ work over several related-projects.  The students in Greg Ballweg’s 3rd grade Spanish-speaking class room and Molly Headtke’s 4th grade English-speaking class room were reading “What Was the March on Washington?” by Kathleen Krull.  With the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream,” speech approaching, the students studied not only the speech, but the events that lead up to the event and other people who were involved.  Dr. King’s speech provided the jumping off point for the numerous projects.  The concept what heroism is and who is a hero, the characteristics of a hero was discussed and that led to the question of who are the students’ heroes.  These classroom discussions were also taken home by the students and they engaged their families in similar conversations.  These discussions led to a diversity in choices of the students’ heroes.  These lessons were also used in Maggie Kinnamon’s dance class, providing another creative outlet for the curriculum and lessons.

Read the rest of this story »

Thomas Paine Elementary students honor volunteer’s dream with donation

March 31st, 2014

The character trait of the month was compassion. The students, staff, and community at Thomas Paine Elementary showed that trait in action all in the name of two beloved volunteers that embody what it means to be compassionate.

For their 2014 Community Service Project, the school choose to raise money to donate to an elementary school in Senegal, one that their volunteer Mung Nguyen had dreamed about helping.  Mr. Nguyen is a special volunteer at Thomas Paine (more on his story below) and when they heard about his dream of helping the other school, it made sense for Thomas Paine students to make that dream come true.  Sare Aladji Elementary’s wish list, comprised of basic supplies like pencils, notebooks, even soccer balls, as well as a donkey and cart to delivery the items, was given to Thomas Paine so the students understood what they were raising the money for.  With the help, encouragement and organization of Kay Grabow, Angie Armstrong, and Principal Cooper, the students set out to raise $1,600.

The students purchased the rights to wear a hat on one day, or pajamas on another.  Several students brought in their allowance money and donated it.  One student not only donated her allowance to this project, but then had her hair cut and donated it to Locks of Love.  The giving was infectious, the whole Thomas Paine community responded.

Read the rest of this story »

Bryan Lake shares his memories from Washington, D.C. awards trip

March 17th, 2014

Urbana School District #116 Instructional Coach Bryan Lake recently returned from a visit to Washington, D.C., where he was honored with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.  He received the award for his teaching of kindergarten science at King Elementary.  Bryan provided us with the essay below, telling us the story of his visit to the White House and how he met fellow Illinoisan, President Barack Obama.  The White House also blogged about the visit and that story can be found here.

I was in Washington, D.C. from March 1-5 to participate, along with the math and science awardee from each state, in workshops, events, activities and ceremonies surrounding the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. The whole trip was amazing!  The group didn’t let a little snow, which closed some government offices on our first day, shut down our experience.  We spent time in the White House and at the National Science Foundation (NSF).  We shared experiences with NOAA, NASA, and NSF researchers and scientists (among others).  We met with the president of NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics), who demonstrated Number Talks, a new math teaching strategy which many of us have been using here in Urbana all year.  It was exciting to know our district is on the cutting edge!

It was absolutely thrilling to connect with the science winners from the other states and hear their stories.  One 4th grade teacher in Oklahoma is working diligently to change the fact that students, at least formally, don’t receive any science education until they get to her!  Some of the teachers are currently wrestling with their states’ decisions to edit evolution out of the new science standards, but everyone had innovative ideas and strategies and curricula to celebrate and share.  Definitely built a wonderful new network for support and continued sharing! Read the rest of this story »

King Elementary celebrates sculpture dedication

February 21st, 2014

King Elementary School was honored recently by the installation of a sculpture through the Urbana Public Arts Commission in King Park.  Artist Preston Jackson of Peoria was commissioned to create a sculpture in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and his work in the Civil Rights Movement.  The sculpture was placed in King Park by Lincoln Avenue in Urbana.

Prior to the installation, USD Elementary Fine Arts teachers, Cara Maurizi (music) and Sarah Tavis (art) presented ideas to celebrate its dedication and these events were approved by the Arts commission in October, 2013.  Both teachers created lessons that began in the fall and culminated in a celebration on January 24, 2014. Students at King school started learning about civil rights in their classrooms as well as in Fine Arts classes.  Studies included guitars, protest songs, quilt squares and sculptures.  All King students then participated in a program that included music and artwork from the civil rights movement.  As part of the study, several special guests came to King school, including Scott Schwartz and Marten Stromberg, who helped teach songs, Ryan Groff who helped the students learn guitar and Gladys Pope who gave a moving speech about what it was like to live during the civil rights era.  It was a moving assembly and great tribute to the work of Martin Luther King Jr. Read the rest of this story »

UMS NAAPID Activities

February 19th, 2014

On Monday, February 10, 2014, schools across the Urbana #116 school district celebrated National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID). At Urbana Middle School, parents were invited to special student presentations, meetings with administrators and staff, and lunch with their students.  Events occurred through-out the day into early evening.

Below is a gallery of pictures from the UMS events. Read the rest of this story »

African American Read-In

February 13th, 2014

African American Read-In
African American Authors, Playwrights, & Poets
Come on Out, Grab a Book, and READ-In! 

Saturday, February 15, 2014
Barnes & Noble Bookstore
65 E Market View Drive · Champaign, IL
2:00 pm

In an effort to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month, Barnes & Noble and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) would like to invite you to participate in this community-based African American Read-In.

The African American Read-In will feature works written by African American authors and playwrights who reside in Central Illinois, and recitations of selected pieces composed by African American poets. Audience members will also have an opportunity to share poetry.

Featured speakers, poets, and presentations will be provided by:

Dr. Donald D. Owen, Superintendent – Urbana School District #116; Dr. Mila Thomas-Fuller, NCTE Deputy Executive Director; Dr. Judy Wiegand, Superintendent – Champaign Unit 4; Mr. Michael J. LaDue, Champaign City Council Member, District 2; Tristan J. Banks, Poet and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign alumnus; British D’Ni Nanton, Poet and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student; Franklin Knight Steppers; and students from the Champaign Unit 4 and Urbana School District #116.

Featured guest authors include: Dr. Nicole Anderson Cobb and Dr. Nancy Tolson

This year NCTE and the Black Caucus of NCTE will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the National African American Read-In. To find out how you can organize or host a read-in, please visithttp://www.ncte.org/action/aari.

See you Saturday!
Come on Out, Grab a Book, and READ-In!
Refreshments will be served.
Special Thanks to Barnes & Noble Bookstore

← Older District 116 News

Urbana School District 116
205 N. Race Street - P.O. Box 3039
Urbana, Illinois 61803-3039 U.S.A.
217-384-3600 (voice)
217-337-4973 (fax)