The Continuum of Services Offered in Unit 4

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 12:00am

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending two events on that truly exemplify the continuum of services we provide here in Champaign Schools. The first event was the dedication of the College and Career Center at Central High School. Both high schools have dedicated space and personnel to support the post-secondary plans of our students. This initiative is part of the work being done at our high schools to provide direction and support to all students so that when they graduate they have a plan for the next stage in their lives.

At the dedication, Central High School students shared how the Center has helped them. Their stories varied greatly: one student is taking dual credit classes in automotive technology at Parkland College; another is taking classes to earn her CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and plans to attend SIU for biological sciences after graduation; another student has narrowed her search from twelve to three universities and plans on majoring in a pre-medical area. The students shared how having a place and person (the College & Career Counselor) solely dedicated to helping them explore their interests and look at options put them on a path for post-secondary success.

There were a number of key individuals who made the Center and this work possible. Two of those individuals are Marc Changnon, District Coordinator for Career Programs and community member Ginny Holder. Ginny’s undying resolve to see improvements for college and career services for all students is unmatched. She helped with the vision and provided ongoing support and encouragement, even when faced with obstacles. Marc Changnon’s passion for career education and commitment to our students has allowed more of our students to realize their goals. He is unwavering in his resolve to ensure that Unit 4 students are provided the chance to explore all career pathways, from dual credit classes in automotive technology, to participating in summer internships at the University of Illinois in engineering. Our community and District are fortunate to have this high level of commitment.

The second event that evening was at the Early Childhood Center. We currently have 165 children on the waiting list for early childhood services. To help support children and their families, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Susan Zola and Early Childhood Center Principal Amy Hayden, along with support from Altrusa, Amdocs, Champaign Public Library, Noodles & Co, Project READ, United Way, and WILL, held an event for nearly 50 families on the early childhood waitlist to provide learning materials and school readiness activities. Quotes from the volunteers present that night included:

“It was so inspiring to see Unit 4 reaching out to the children in the community making certain they get a great start at a life-long education”—Amdocs volunteer

“It was exciting to see the kids’ enthusiasm and the parents’ cooperation”—Altrusa Volunteer

All children deserve access to early learning activities and I am very proud of the work done that evening to help support this. From our own District staff, to the invaluable support of community volunteers, we all should be proud to be part of a community that values a continuum of learning.

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