Superintendent Boozer

Dr. Boozer's Sept. 24 Letter to Families

Dear Unit 4 Families,

I want to thank you for entrusting your child with us for their educational journey. The first weeks of school have been filled with many victories and some challenges. I want to assure you that learning is happening! As I am visiting our school buildings, I witness the lightbulb flashing when students raise their hands with answers to questions. I see leadership in our students participating in AVID and other college and career programs. I hear the musical genius in our students playing various instruments. I share in the victories of our athletic teams and our students' academic commendations. As I stare and reflect on the magnificent artwork created by your children, I am reminded that all of our Unit 4 students are incredibly talented, unique and valued.

Although we face some difficulties and challenges, I’m confident that together we will overcome them all. Please know that I am committed to you and this amazing District. Therefore, I am constantly making adjustments to ensure that our learning environments are secure and filled with the support our students and staff need. I am visiting our schools and checking on our students’ and staff’s physical and mental well-being because they are a priority to me.

I am concerned about violence in the broader community that is seeping into our schools. My administrative team and I, along with various members of our school teams and community partners, are actively working to address these off- and on-campus concerns. I want to publicly thank the Champaign Police Department for all of their support as we navigate the challenges to create lasting and meaningful solutions.


I want to provide some clarification because many of you have asked about the social media post from Wednesday, September 22nd. Upon notification of the post, we immediately contacted the Champaign Police Department and they began an active investigation. Together, Unit 4 and CPD created a safety and security plan. Out of an abundance of caution, we agreed to take additional measures that included asking Centennial students and staff to exit immediately at the end of the school day yesterday in order to allow CPD and their dogs to conduct a thorough search of the building. We are aware of other rumors suggesting additional school threats have been made. At this time, those reports are unsubstantiated. We continue to work with CPD in taking precautionary measures at Centennial and the nearby areas. 


With all of the brilliance that is in the fabric of our District, we still face some challenges. Please know that I am committed to tackle them and make adjustments to ensure that our learning environments are secure and filled with support. Here are some notable proactive safety measures we have taken as a District for our campuses:

  • Increasing the number of security officers in all middle and high schools;
  • Adding security vehicles to patrol the perimeters of our school buildings;
  • Purchased and installed over 515 security cameras throughout the District for both interior and exterior spaces;
  • Providing security at sporting events in coordination with CPD; 
  • Using metal detectors at sporting events to prevent weapons from being brought into the event;
  • Using metal detectors in school buildings on random days to reinforce safety in our school buildings;
  • Established a “See Something, Say Something” tip line called Securly that includes an app and an 800 number for students to use. The app can be downloaded on your cell phone; tips may be reported by calling 833-800-STOP or submitted online at www.securly.com/tip;  
  • Establishing a common student and staff ID badge for all secondary campuses that will match the schools individual colors;
  • Hired additional student support advocates and hall monitors for all secondary buildings to provide an additional layer of safety and support for students and staff;
  • Continually refining our communications strategies, including exploring options for a text alert system that will allow us to provide real-time updates for staff, students, and families

Although we must utilize these strong safety measures, we can’t stop there. We are also implementing more trauma informed and restorative practices as we move towards a community of healing. A very knowledgeable teacher shared these words of wisdom with me: “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could turn the ‘paign’ in Champaign into love?” I’m grateful to her for reminding me that we can heal and move forward together.  

Many of you have reached out to me to ask what you can do. Please consider volunteering at your child’s school as a crossing guard, playground monitor, or lunchroom supervisor. Sign up to be a mentor or perhaps apply to be a substitute teacher. We need you. Our children need you. Check in on your child while they are in school. Monitor your child’s social media usage. Social media has grown to be one of the first places for students to begin confrontation with other students. If you notice these conflicts, address them with your child as soon as possible, and involve the school staff if necessary. You can further assist us by helping your child understand that spreading rumors creates a real-time hindrance for those involved in investigations from doing the important work to keep us safe. 

I am committed to Unit 4! My team and I will do what it takes for this District to be a top-notch system. As I’ve stated before, I refuse to let the one percent dictate the narrative of the remaining 99 percent of amazing things happening in our schools.

Thank you for your encouraging thoughts, prayers, calls and emails. Each action gives me a bit more energy! I am ALL IN and your actions show that you are, too. It’s a Great Day in Unit 4!

With hope and enthusiasm,

Dr. Shelia Boozer
Superintendent 



Dr. Shelia Boozer

Greetings Champaign Unit 4 Families and Patrons,

It was an honor to be named Superintendent of Champaign Unit 4 Schools earlier this year. Since that time, I have enjoyed meeting with many of you in preparation to transition into this role. Everyone has been so welcoming since my husband and I moved here. We look forward to being a part of the Champaign area community.


My name plate is now hung and the office door is wide open! It is my goal to serve our children with humility and a fierceness to ensure that Unit 4 shines as a District that is known for excellence. I will always lead from the place of what’s best for our children. 


The 2020-21 school year is a reflection of the resilience that students, families and staff showed when they faced a school year filled with pandemic-related obstacles. Learning still happened. Meals were distributed. Awards were won. Sports were played. Community partners assisted. Unit 4 Schools persevered!  


I am incredibly excited about the future of Unit 4 Schools. I know I can count on you on this journey as we ensure high quality, equitable educational experiences for all of our students.


Sincerely,


Dr. Shelia Boozer

Superintendent

boozersh@u4sd.org

 



Dr. Boozer Introduction

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