District 87 | WGLT

District 87

Barry Reilly wearing facemask at desk

After more than 30 years at District 87 schools, superintendent Barry Reilly can see the finish line.

A restorative justice dialog circle of people.
Project Oz

Two Twin City nonprofit agencies will expand services in areas of high need after being awarded state grants funded by marijuana tax money.

District 87 headquarters
Eric Stock / WGLT

About half of District 87 students plan to stay in remote learning when the district resumes in-person instruction next week.

Kingsley Junior High School
Google Maps

UPDATED 11:00 A.M. | Voters in the Unit 5 school district will have a lot of options when they decide who they want in charge of district policy next year.

Chiddix Junior High School front entrance
WGLT file photo

A number of newcomers are seeking more influence in education policy in Unit 5 schools amid a year in which the coronavirus has upended how children are trying to learn.

WGLT file photo

More than half of District 87’s teens have opted for remote learning through May, Superintendent Barry Reilly told the school board Wednesday night.

Child seated
Wilfredo Lee / AP

Remote learning has shaken up the way educators teach—and how teachers measure student growth.

Some worry students may fall behind without in-person instruction. The fear is greater for students already struggling in school. Educators say just because learning looks different during the COVID-19 pandemic, it doesn't mean students do worse. Some argue now is the time to reconsider how to assess students.

Unit 5 signage

Significant community spread of COVID-19 will keep Unit 5 students in all-remote learning through the holidays.

D-87 Returning To Remote Learning Nov. 23 To Dec. 4

Nov 11, 2020

District 87 will return to an all-remote schedule for the week of Thanksgiving, and the week after the holiday, the district announced during Wednesday’s school board meeting.

Besides that period of Nov. 23 to Dec. 4, a third all-remote week of Jan. 4 to 8 is planned after the winter break.  Officials also warned a local increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations, could even mean a switch to all-remote earlier than Thanksgiving week.

Performers on stage
University High School

Actors act, even in a pandemic. But what high school students are doing now is more subtle than the way they usually tread the boards.

Children getting onto a school bus
Staff / WGLT

Unit 5 and District 87 will soon start busing kids to school for the first time since the pandemic began in March. They are the last districts in McLean County to bring kids back to the classroom, and administrators believe they can keep them safe on the buses as long as students follow the rules.

Bent Elementary School entrance
Eric Stock / WGLT

A higher percentage of District 87 students in grades 3 through 6 will stay online this year than their younger schoolmates.

Bloomington Junior HIgh School
Eric Stock / WGLT

UPDATED 3:20 P.M. | Superintendent Barry Reilly has announced District 87 will resume in-school instruction in a hybrid format as an option for students in grades 7 through 12, starting in January.

Exterior of Unit 5 offices
Emily Bollinger / WGLT

Some Unit 5 and District 87 students going back to school in-person will have a different teacher than they’ve been learning with since August.

People holding protest signs
Eric Stock / WGLT

With District 87 planning a return to in-person learning for elementary students, some parents think keeping the remote learning option isn't enough. They say the hybrid format doesn't sufficiently reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and stunts progress kids are finally starting to make with virtual learning.

Barry Reilly seated at desk wearing a mask
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87 parents have said the remote learning experience has generally been good, except for those with young children.

Georgia Nugent
Breanna Grow / WGLT

Education has been deeply impacted by both the COVID-19 pandemic and rising pressure to end racism. 

Local education administrators detailed how they’re responding to the concurrent issues during a virtual Bloomington-Normal NAACP town hall Thursday night.

Karen with her students
Facebook / Irving Elementary School

Remote learning presents unique challenges for students from low-income families, though the principal at one such school in west Bloomington says so far they’ve managed quite well.

Boxed lunches
Facebook/Unit 5

Many Bloomington-Normal kids will no longer get the free school meals they've been getting since the start of the pandemic.

Heather's learning pod
Heather Roberts / Courtesy

Overwhelmed. Flustered. Outraged. Exhausted. That’s how Marti Stevens of Bloomington has felt over the past few weeks on the back-to-school rollercoaster.

Chiddix Junior High School front entrance
WGLT file photo

Educators in Bloomington-Normal public schools say they support the goals of racial justice and equality that embody the Black Lives Matter movement, but they are not on board with all of the group's demands.

Laptop is handed off to parent
Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Unit 5 says government trade restrictions will delay the arrival of Chromebooks and tablets it planned to distribute to elementary students to help with remote learning.

Brigette Beasley and Barry Reilly
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly told school board members Wednesday night he wants to see substantial progress in the region’s COVID-19 response and caseload before he would consider reopening schools for in-class instruction.

Picture of University High School
Staff / WGLT

The Illinois State University Lab Schools are following Unit 5 and District 87 in telling parents and families the fall term will start with online classes.

Barry Hitchins and Amy Roser at Unit 5 school board meeting
Izzy Carroll / WGLT

Now that Bloomington-Normal's public school districts have decided to begin the school year with remote learning, parents and educators have begun to scramble to arrange for child care for working parents.

District 87 sign outside Bloomington Junior High School.
Eric Stock / WGLT

Public schools in Bloomington-Normal will not open for in-person instruction this fall as planned.

Bloomington High School entrance
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87 has canceled its band camp at Bloomington High School after a student who attended the camp tested positive for the coronavirus.

School buses lined up
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Bloomington-Normal parents say they’re feeling anxious, guilty, and very uncertain as they begin to make decisions about whether to send their kids back to school or keep them home this fall.

Person cleans a classroom
Charlie Neibergall / AP

The union that represents Unit 5 teachers is calling on the district to revise its just-released pandemic reopening plan to address "hundreds of unanswered questions" and then "move forward in a way that reduces risk and keeps students and staff safe."

Bloomington High School
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly said he understands the hesitation teachers have about returning to the classroom next month in the midst of a pandemic.