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District 87 expands social emotional learning to K-5 schools

David Mouser
Eric Stock
District 87 Superintendent David Mouser.

District 87 will expand its social emotional learning curriculum to its grade schools in next year.

Bloomington junior high and high school added the program this year.

Superintendent David Mouser said the program aims to help teachers address social and emotional needs to benefit a growing number of students.

“Coming out of COVID, it’s one of those things where we recognize the need to focus on social emotional learning. That’s part of what we do today. Having this curriculum that does (that) all the way through is important,” Mouser said in an interview on WGLT's Sound Ideas. He added the integrated curriculum provides activities and resources with consistent language to benefit students from kindergarten through high school.

The curriculum focuses on seven mindsets: everything is possible, the time is now, live to give, passion first, we are connected, 100% accountable, and attitude of gratitude. Mouser said the web-based curriculum will be integrated into advisory periods and will not interfere with classroom instruction.

The district received a state grant to pay for the curriculum.

School board change

District 87 expects to have an additional opening on its school board soon, weeks before voters go to the polls to elect three new members.

Board member Fitzgerald Samedy has told district officials he plans to resign. Samedy recently was sentenced to probation and veterans court after his fourth drunk driving conviction. Mouser said the district is waiting for his official resignation.

“We didn’t want to make any assumptions and certainly wanted to allow him the opportunity to go through the process, which he has done now,” Mouser said.

The school board would have 60 days to appoint a replacement from the day the resignation is submitted.

The appointment may come during a time when the district has an election for three open board seats. The consolidated election will be held April 4.

Mouser said the district also will work with its attorneys to determine the best time to make an appointment, adding the school board wants candidates who are want to serve kids.

“You look for people with diverse backgrounds. That’s always a positive,” he said.

Unit 5

Mouser, a Normal Community High School graduate, said he feels for what administrators in neighboring Unit 5 are going through after proposing a second tax referendum.

The Unit 5 school board has placed the referendum on the April ballot, months after voters in the district rejected the same proposal.

The school district has outlined cuts it plans to make without the additional revenue that would help plug a nearly $12 million deficit.

“I want what’s best for kids. I don’t think it’s best for kids to cut their programs and activities and extracurriculars. I recognize that’s the reason a lot of kids come to school and connect,” Mouser said.

Mouser said he encourages Unit 5 residents to research the district’s financial issues before they decide how to vote.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.