Education and Family | WGLT

Education and Family

Children dig with shovels
Emily Bollinger / WGLT

The Bloomington-Normal YMCA is breaking ground on a new facility it will share with Easterseals Central Illinois.

Sarah Nardi/WGLT

Unit 5 Superintendent Kristen Weikle announced Wednesday night a planned return to in-person learning, saying the district hopes to bring students back to the classroom beginning in October “assuming that the metrics are such that we’ll be able to do so.”

Heartland Head Start

Heartland Head Start has welcomed some children back into classrooms for the first time since mid-March.

Watterson Towers residence hall at ISU

Illinois State University admissions officials said pandemic-related fears of a precipitous decline in enrollment did not materialize, with total enrollment falling by less than 1% from the previous year.

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.

Kristen Weikle

Wednesday's Unit 5 school board meeting got off to an emotional start when some parents expressed their frustration with remote learning. 

Kindergarten Readiness Improves For Second Straight Year

Aug 24, 2020
Illinois State Board of Education

The number of Illinois children entering kindergarten who are fully prepared to start school grew for the second consecutive year in 2019, a possible indication that the state’s increased spending on early childhood education is paying off.

Kids running on playground

Child care programs for Bloomington-Normal students are filling up, with less than a week until the start of the fall semester.

Kids on their laptops
Jessica Hill / AP

Remote learning is not the same thing as online learning.

That’s one piece of advice for parents from Anna Smith, an assistant professor of teaching and learning at Illinois State University’s College of Education. She teaches education-and-technology courses.

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.

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.

Exterior of Unit 5 offices
WGLT file photo

At Wednesday night’s school board meeting, Unit 5 officials appeared to brace for a barrage of public comment.

John Minchillo / AP

As teachers prepare for the start of remote learning this fall, those who teach American history and civics are deciding how they'll talk to students about the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor—and the social justice movement that developed over the summer.

YWCA signage
Ashley Binkowski / WGLT

The Bloomington-Normal YMCA and YWCA of McLean County are two of the organizations that have developed plans to offer child care for families when schools resume virtual learning later this month. 

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.

Samina Yousuf
OSF HealthCare

Parenting during the pandemic isn’t easy. But here’s a sliver of good news: You’ve got about the perfect amount of time left to get your kiddos comfortable with wearing a mask before they go to school.

Corn Crib
Eric Stock / WGLT

Unit 5 canceled Saturday's long-delayed high school graduation ceremonies at the Corn Crib, citing inclement weather.

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.

Outside of Irving Elementary School in Bloomington
WGLT file photo

A Bloomington grade school teacher has produced a children's book that she feels will better serve a more diverse student population.

Students, faculty and alumni join a march
Breanna Grow / WGLT

Few rallies include performances by a brass ensemble. 

Kids run on playground
Elise Amendola / AP

McLean County school districts have a lot of decisions to make now that the state has released its guidelines for reopening. But one thing they agree on: Requiring kids to wear a mask all day every day at school is going to be a challenge.

Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP, Pool

Students will be allowed to return to K-12 schools for in-person instruction in August, state officials said Tuesday as they released guidelines for how that will work.

Unit 5

The Unit 5 school district will buy nearly 8,000 tablets, laptops and Chromebook computers and try to get them into the hands of students and teachers for the new school year.

Mark Jontry
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Peoria Public TV and regional offices of education in central Illinois are starting a distance learning television channel. 

Staff hand out meals
District 87 / Facebook

Unit 5 and District 87 students, parents, and teachers will shift into a new phase of remote learning this week that could be in place until the end of the school year.

Custodian cleans schools
Tony Dejak / AP

Bloomington-Normal students and teachers got their first taste of their new reality Monday as schools began what will be at least a two-week shutdown because of the coronavirus.

Cindy Hernandez

Ryan Abbott's dream of creating a mobile museum for children with autism and special needs has become a reality.

First Student bus
Ryan Denham / WGLT

The Unit 5 school board is sticking with its sometimes-frustrating bus service for one more year. The board Wednesday approved retaining First Student in a short contract.

Eugenia Cheng with Colbert

While playing a game of superheroes with her best friend at 7 years old, Eugenia Cheng had one of her first introductions to gender roles.