Photo of Tom Hockman

New law allows Illinois schools access to students’ social media passwords

Teenage cyberbullies across Illinois might want to think twice before posting anything mean or reckless on social media ever again.

Illinois public school administrators now have the authority to demand a student’s social media account password if the school suspects the student of violating a disciplinary rule or policy, thanks to a new law implemented earlier this year.

Photo of Head Start director Cameron Moore

Head Start, Early Head Start struggle with funding

The Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Champaign County spent about $6.8 million last year to prepare young children from low-income families for kindergarten.

But it is not enough.

Although the programs serve nearly 600 children, there are still 230 on the waiting list.

Second Chances at Urbana Adult Education

By Luke Ray/For — The Urbana Adult Education Center (UAEC) offers free high school, GED, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), and other courses to adults ages 16 or older. When I learned what UAEC offered, I was intrigued by the unique opportunity students have to obtain an Urbana High School Diploma. They earn it through the Accelerated Performance Learning (APL) Program, allowing students to work at their own pace. Watch the video below to find out what Jackie Mills plans on doing with her diploma. This project is the culmination of University of Illinois students’ work during spring 2014 as part of the multimedia reporting course taught by Professor Charles “Stretch” Ledford.

Wanted: Your favorite social media place

CHAMPAIGN – Nearly 70 percent of U.S. residents over the age of 12 are using social media, according to this recent analysis. Overall, Twitter has an estimated 200+ million monthly users. Facebook has well over 1 billion. Instagram has 200 million users. (Source:

Here in #chambana, there are thousands – and that’s a lot of conversations.

Teacher still dedicated despite struggles with cutbacks

By Sal Nudo/For —  Mother and daughter enter the brightly lit Biggby Coffee shop on Mattis Avenue in Champaign. It’s a brisk October evening, 7 p.m., dark outside. Forty-year-old Darla Frye is a sixth-grade teacher at Urbana Middle School who’s taught in the same place for 15 years and has seen her share of discouraging trends in the school system: fewer counselors to assist students in need; shrinking budgets and cut programs; and parents who are indifferent to their kids missing too much school. Darla has a master’s degree from the University of Illinois, her laptop in a bag and, at the moment, a slightly strained look on her tan face. Her sandy hair is pulled back tight.

Weekly RoundUp: Back to School

Whether you walk your child to school or wave to him through the bus window, you’re in good company. Parents across the country are frantically buying that last wide-ruled notebook and package of glue sticks and sending their kids back to school. 

We’ve shared articles highlighting several different aspects of heading back to school. Read this week’s roundup for news about school safety, student hunger and tips on starting off the year on the right foot.  

Students headed back to school this week – The News-Gazette

“This week marks the start of school for many local students, which has local police reminding motorists to watch out for students and mind local school zones.”


More Than Half Of Teachers Report Buying Hungry Students Food With Their Own Money – The Huffington Post

“We often hear about U.S. teachers being paid poorly for all the work they do to educate children. But did you know that 63 percent of teachers report buying food for the classroom each month with their own money?

Weekly RoundUp: Student Loans

Fixed interest rates for student loans will soon be a thing of the past. Last week the House joined the Senate in passing a proposal that would link student loan interest rates to the financial market. According to a recent Bloomberg news article, this means “9 million undergraduates will pay 3.86 percent on their next loan.”

The passage of this bill means that the “380,000 Illinois undergrads getting ready to take out federal loans will see their interest rates drop by 3 percent as a result,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said in a July 26th press release, after the Senate approved the measure. The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama this month. While student savings could begin as early as this fall, not everyone is lauding the student loan deal.