Tuesday morning, I attended a legislative breakfast for the Champaign County Forest Preserve and the Champaign County Park Districts. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn about all the great projects around Champaign County that are enhancing economic development potential, conservation, and enhancing the quality of life in the area. I am excited about everything that is happening and look forward to helping with the process in any way I can!
A year ago, I was notified of a grant opportunity for area school districts to implement a parent mentorship program. I felt the program would fit well with several of our Districts in the 104th, so I contacted several school administrators. Michelle Ramage with the Rantoul City Schools took the opportunity and ran with it and the district was awarded the grant. On Thursday, I actually got a chance to visit Broadmeadow School and Eastlawn School to visit with the parent mentors and see the implemented program first hand.
Rantoul City Council member, Sam Hall, does work with the Rantoul DREAAM project, which is the entity that administers the mentorship program. Sam accompanied me to the schools as we visited with the parents making the program work. Under the program, parents with kids in the district go through a thorough training to start the program. They are then assigned to a classroom where they help the teachers with important projects, mentor and tutor the kids, and assist in an all-around way. The results have so far been significant.
Student engagement has increased and distractions that harm the learning process have decreased. The teachers love the assistance and the children have built a bond with caring parents that are there to help in anyway they can with the educational experience. Parent mentors are required to log two hours weekly to be compliant with the program’s rules. Most parent mentors are there almost all day every day, far exceeding the required time. After visiting with them, you understand how committed these parents are to improve the school experience and helping educate the kids of Rantoul. Thank you to Superintendent Ramage and the Rantoul City Schools for undertaking this worthwhile project!
I have always felt that no matter what kind of situation you find yourself in, it is always best to stay calm and levelheaded. Circumstances, no matter how dire, should be approached with calm, reasoned leadership. We cannot let ourselves be overrun with fear, panic, anger, and frustration, because those are the times we start making mistakes that will compound our problems. I think now is the time for some levelheaded leadership, regardless of the risks from COVID-19 because the issue is here and it is starting to affect our lives in real ways.
It is time to take an intelligent approach and utilize all of the information and knowledge on the situation that we can. My office will be a resource to people seeking information and you can find reliable information on my website and social media accounts. We have provided government websites linked to my website with information that can be helpful to the public. We will also assist constituents with any issues they have seeking state resources and navigating state agencies. Keep yourselves informed and appraise the situation in the best way you can for your families. You are your own best judge on making life decisions, but I stress to follow the government guidelines, stay informed, and stay level headed. I will help provide real time information to keep everyone in the 104th district informed and we will be there for support as this issue persists.