Category Archives: Broadlands

One Size Fits All Has No Place in Education

A major concern of many families in the Heritage school district is whether their children are being taught and challenged to their appropriate educational level, whether the children need extra assistance or extra stimulation.  A “one size fits all” philosophy has no place in education.  Our children are not a glove bought at a department store; they are unique and must be taught to their individual levels.

I should note that, for many reasons, I am a strong opponent of the “Common Core” curriculum; but that is not the focus of this article.  Common Core, and the standards it seeks to meet, are here – and must be met by the district that has implemented those standards.

The Heritage school district has failed to meet standardized “yearly adequate progress” for multiple years.  It appears that Heritage is not meeting the basic instructional needs of students who may need extra help in learning the basics.  By repeatedly failing to meet those standards, parents of Heritage students may be free to send their children to attend other school districts that are meeting the standards.

I also wonder what opportunities exist at Heritage for children who may excel beyond their expected grade level in various areas.  Teaching to those kids, in a one-size-fits-all philosophy, only bores them and stifles their creativity and love of learning.  Heritage obviously is not able to meet the minimum State standards, so how can the district meet the needs of its more advanced students?  Seeking State exemptions to let the school year out early, under the minimum number of instructional days, further undermines Heritage’s goal of providing “enough time” for kids to learn according to their needs.

The Heritage 2013-2014 budget includes $87,788 in spending for K-12 “remedial and supplemental programs.”  It also provides for $20,742 in “improvement of instruction services” and $87,700 in “educational media services.”  Sporting activities are not itemized, but “interscholastic programs” – whatever that means — were budgeted $125,900.  (See Heritage FY2014 Budget:  http://www.heritage.k12.il.us/about/SDB2014FORM.xls).  The salaries and benefits of the district’s three administrators amount to roughly $319,976.90 (see “Administrative Compensation Report” at http://www.heritage.k12.il.us/about/Administrator%20Salary%20Compensation%20Report%20fy14.pdf).

“Gifted programs” were allocated $0.00.  Not a single penny.

In its “Mission & Vision Statements,” Heritage states that its mission is to “inspire a passion for learning.”  It also recognizes that “students are unique in their needs, … and will be inspired in different ways.”  “When given a stimulating environment, enough time and the right opportunities, students will learn …”  “The best learning process occurs when students and staff are motivated to strive for excellence.”  (Summarized from the Mission & Vision statements, at http://www.heritage.k12.il.us/missionvision/default.html).

In 2006, at least 5.8% of children in Illinois schools were deemed to be “gifted.”  (See The National Center for Education Statistics report at http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/tables/dt10_049.asp).  The number of gifted children in the Heritage district may be more and it may be fewer.  Regardless of their number, their “unique” needs must be met, as promised by the Heritage district.  They must be provided with a “stimulating environment” and the “right opportunities” so that they can “learn” to the fullest of their potential.  With no funds allocated to such needs, it is hard to imagine that such needs are being met in any meaningful capacity.

Heritage allocated significant funds to remedial education, and even more funds to “interscholastic programs.”  Why is Heritage not allocating any funds to gifted programs? For a school that has recently constructed several new gymnasiums, the lack of funding for any gifted program is stunning.  It appears that Heritage values sporting abilities over education, despite its mission statement.

Before asking the students to live up to Heritage’s mission statement and related goals, the Heritage district needs to live up to those standards itself.  A one-size-fits-all educational philosophy does not meet those standards, and deprives our children of educational opportunities.  A “one size fits all” philosophy works for gloves or snow pants, but it does not work for students who need to learn.  The individual educational needs of all students must be met.

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Building Permit information added to site

In light of questions I have received about building permits, I added a page outlining the general situations in which a building permit is and isn’t required in the Village of Broadlands.  Also included is a link to a downloadable building permit application form, for your convenience. The permit page is accessible from the menu on the right-hand side of this page and entitled ‘Building Permits.’  A link to the Broadlands Zoning Ordinance is also included on that page, as well as on the Ordinances page.

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Past Minutes, Bills, and Financial Reports online

Where available, the monthly minutes of the Village of Broadlands meetings, bill listings, and financial reports have been posted here, spanning from 1993 to the present.  Links to those pages are in the menu on the right-hand side.  All items are downloadable Adobe pdf files.

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Two much-needed changes and a new Trustee for Broadlands

Several much-needed changes will be happening around town. 

First, the Village Board has agreed to install a water-bill drop box at the Village Hall.  This way, residents need not mail in water bill payments each month (and spend 44 cents, and risk mis-delivery).

Second, the park equipment should be updated by the July 4th holiday.  The Village has scheduled concrete work to be done the second week of June.  Assuming the concrete workers are on  schedule, the park should be finished shortly.  Just as a reminder, the update consists of removal of some older swings and other equipment, and installation of new play equipment and a water fountain.

Finally, electrician Dave Parsons was selected to fill the Trustee vacancy left by Matt Buffington when he became the Acting Mayor.

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An Official Website for Broadlands? Your input requested.

At the April Village meeting, I proposed the idea of an official Village of Broadlands website.  Ideally, this would be a site residents could visit to find whatever information they need about our village. Of course, all village minutes, ordinances, and financial information would be available.  I believe residents have a right to easy access to all of this information (which was my motivation in starting this small site). I also think that if the Village plans to enforce its rules, then the Village must ensure that residents have complete availability to all the relevant information.

Your input would really be appreciated.  Are there any features or information you would like to see presented on a village website?

I have several ideas.  First, the village should look into accepting water bill payments online.  I proposed installing a slot for in-person payments at the Village Hall, but due to security concerns, that idea has not been acted upon to date.  Second, there should definitely be an online comment/complaint/suggestion form, so residents can express their opinions (anonymously, if they wish) to the village. There could also be a page or section devoted to community events or organizations.

If anyone has any suggestions, or if anyone even thinks a website would be useful (or not), please feel free to contact me or post a comment here.  Thanks for your help.

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Filed under Broadlands, Information, Local Government

Nominate Broadlands for a Google fiber optic internet trial

I stumbled across an announcement from Google. The company is looking for communities in which to deploy trial runs of a new, extroardinarily-fast fiber optic internet network.  Although our community’s odds of winning are a probably a longshot, it never hurts to try.  A project like this not only would provide the best internet service available, but would also be a strong attraction for businesses, and I imagine would create some jobs.  Best of all, this project does not seem to require any significant expense on the part of the Village.

So go here to nominate our community for this project! And get others to do the same. Google stops accepting nominations by March 26th.

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Do you have reliable, affordable high-speed internet?

If you’re reading this, I bet you don’t.

If you live in Broadlands (or Allerton or Longview), your internet options are quite limited.  We just don’t have the land-based fast options, such as cable, DSL, or fiber-optic internet, available in larger communities.  Instead, our options are limited to the Continue reading

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