Education and Family | WGLT

Education and Family

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When a person is experiencing an emotionally difficult period, often the first stop in seeking help is with a pastor or another trusted spiritual adviser.

That's why churches and faith groups across denominations are increasingly focusing on the mental well-being of their congregation members, says Patricia Turner, outreach director for Center for Hope International Ministries, an independent, non-denominational Christian church in Bloomington.

"I'm glad that this is one of the stops people can make," Turner said on GLT's Sound Ideas.

Kingsley Jr. High Dress Code Conversation Grows

May 11, 2017
WGLT

Concerned parents want the Unit Five School Board to lighten up on the dress code and focus on what they view as more important issues. 

Kingsley Junior High's Principal recently told parents to curb female clothing, but did not mention male attire in the message.

A group told the school board being an adolescent is already a difficult time and that degrading actions by classmates can make the teenage years even worse.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

Students at Bloomington High School are helping children with special needs enjoy their time at the early childhood preschool unit in Sarah Raymond School.

The District 87 School Board is praising two freshman for remodeling small battery powered vehicles, so kids with disabilities can drive at a walking pace. Student Reed Shoemaker said the process was a challenge, but rewarding.

Gail Franklin / Western Avenue Community Center

Many social service workers burn out long before the quarter century mark. Not so Socorro Alvarez, the Hispanic Outreach director for the past 25 years at Bloomington's Western Avenue Community Center.

Judith Valente / GLT News

You don't normally expect to hear the words cancer and gift in the same sentence. But that is how Marcia O'Donnell, a Community Cancer Center patient, describes her life since her diagnosis of advanced breast cancer.

O'Donnell is a former mental health professional and mother of two small children.

She credits her positive outlook, in part, to being able to share her questions, fears and sometimes overwhelming emotions with Cancer Center chaplain Cheryl-Peterson Karlan.

Initially, though O'Donnell didn't even want to meet with the chaplain. 

Judith Valente / GLT News

Cheryl Peterson-Karlan, the chaplain at the Community Cancer Center in Normal, says her job is about listening to people, meeting them where they are, and if possible, helping them find hope.

Carlos R / Pexels

How much skin is too much skin to show at school?

That's a question swirling around Kingsley Junior High School in Normal after the principal sent out a dress code edict prohibiting clothing that reveals bare shoulders, bra straps, midriff or cleavage.

 

Hospice Chaplain Kerry Egan says she doesn't know if listening to people's life stories as the confront death can make a person wise.

"I do know it can heal your soul. I know this because the stories healed mine."

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The Unit Five School Board is starting a new journey without two long-term members.

The board is recognizing Gail Ann Briggs and John Puzauskas for a combined 65 years of service.

Baylee Steelman

The District 87 School Board will be under new leadership.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

The future of Planned Parenthood across Illinois is far from certain. But its services don't appear to be under immediate threat from a recent directive from President Trump.

That measure would allow state and local governments to withhold Title X family planning funds from health facilities that also provide abortion services.

McLean County's sole Planned Parenthood clinic would not be affected because it doesn't perform abortions. Additionally,  all Planned Parenthood clinics statewide receive Title X funds as a direct grantee of the federal government and not through the state, said Julie Lynn of Planned Parenthood of Illinois. 

However, women's reproductive services, especially for low income residents, remain a target of many federal and state officials, Lynn said.

Prairerth Farm

A farmer and an extension agent agree there are a number of issues hurting small organic farmers in Illinois and one of them is that a growing number of people don't know how to cook. 

Baylee Steelman

District 87 schools Superintendent Barry Reilly said he could not be more proud of the success stories from Bloomington High School students. 

Illinois State University

In an incident that shocked the nation, the apparent gang rape of a 15-year-old Chicago girl was broadcast live on Facebook  last month. Dozens viewed the assault before it was taken down. No one apparently notified authorities.

The incident is part of a growing phenomenon in which assailants brazenly post video or images of sexual assaults on social media sites. 

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

A local organization is working to add South Asians living in Bloomington-Normal to the conversation on equality and acceptance.

Evans Jr. High School

The new Principal at Evans Jr. High school is a familiar face around Unit 5 schools. 

Chris McGraw currently serves as the Associate Principal and Athletic Director at Evans.

District 87

Unit Five Schools are updating policies to deal with student concussions and head injuries. 

School Board Member Barry Hitchins said the new procedures will also cover injuries that happen during recess, P.E. courses, and after school activities such as marching band. 

McLean County Unit Five

Normal Community High School's new principal is a familiar face in Unit 5 schools.

The school board announced Trevor Chapman as the next principal during Wednesday night's meeting. Chapman has served as the head of Evans Junior High School since 2014.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

The Children's Home and Aid Regional Office in Bloomington received rare good news late last year when it received a $577,000 grant from the Illinois Board of Education. The money was targeted to expand the agency's "Preschool For All" and "Prevention Initiative" programs that combined serve children from birth to age 5. 

Korn Unews / Flickr via Creative Commons

Editors Note: Last spring during our interview series Stretched Thin, we reported on the impact of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies. There's still no budget. In our new series Stretched Thinner, we check back with those social social service agencies. 

Staff / WGLT

District 87 Schools in Bloomington say they will ask the city for money to improve the high school and junior high.

Superintendent Barry Reilly said both buildings are old enough to be considered for upgrades. Reilly said large improvements could be new roofs and HVAC units.

Baylee Steelman

Unit 5 Business Manager Marty Hickman said the state's ongoing budget impasse brings uncertainty to the school district. 

Twitter

Illinois State University students, faculty, and staff will have a new place to remember Ben Allison this spring.

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the naming of a bench at last week's meeting to honor Allison, who was the victim of a hit-and-run incident in January of 2015.

His parents, Tim and Melissa, were acknowledged by President Larry Dietz when he announced the naming of the bench that will be a part of Redbird Plaza.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Illinois State University's Board of Trustees recognized three outgoing long-term members during their quarterly meeting Friday.

Trustees Jay D. Bergman, Anne Davis, and Betty Kinser will leave the Board when their terms expire on January 16.

CASA of Peoria County

CASA of Peoria County is aiming to help a growing number of neglected children in 2017 with the "I Am For The Child" national campaign.

Court Appointed Special Advocates has been an active organization in the county since 2005. CASA is a not-for-profit, volunteer organization advocating for the best interests of abused children within the Juvenile Abuse and Neglect Court system. 

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

An Illinois State University scholar helped to conduct a study that shows gender doesn't have as big an impact in job performance evaluations.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The Unit Five School District in McLean County is the latest local taxing body to approve Rivian Automotive's tax incentive package.

Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe spoke to board members Wednesday night about the educational opportunities Unit Five students could have with his company's technology.

Bloomington-Normal Jaycees Christmas Parade

Dec 3, 2016
Emma Shores / WGLT

Early morning on December 3, Jaycees Christmas Parade made its way from Kingsley Jr. High in Normal, to W. Jefferson St. in Bloomington. The parade consisted of many community members supporting businesses, elected officials, non-profits, music and more. The Parade has been a tradition for 85 years and has had Santa ride with a local Bloomington or Normal fire truck as a long held tradition. 

Emma Shores / WGLT

Two not-for-profit organizations are hopeful a new fundraiser will get people on their feet to bid on chairs decorated by area artists. 

The auction on Nov. 4 will benefit Recycling Furniture For Families (RF4F) and the YWCA's Labyrinth Outreach Services for Women. RF4F has provided furniture to 15,000 people since 2003.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Transportation provider First Student has less than a week to fix the multiple busing issues affecting students in Unit 5 schools. The school board voted Wednesday night to give the company until November 1 to reach an agreement with concessions for the problems, including financial compensation.

Superintendent Mark Daniel said there can't be inconsistency on the definition of late buses between Unit 5 and First Student. 

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