‘We’re doing something that is bold’: School district lays out new approach to uplift underserved students

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– A new early intervention program is set to begin along with the school year in the Champaign Unit 4 School District.

We last told you about the LIFT program in May when it was unanimously approved by the Champaign City Council.

Since then, Katina Wilcher was brought on as the Director of the program, which is run in partnership with the City. She said despite a number of past efforts, an unprecedented number of African American students are struggling.

It’s not just in school. Wilcher said marginalization has affected kids’ social and emotional health too.

We asked her what differentiates LIFT from past programs, and why she thinks this one will work.

“I think we’re taking a different approach,” Wilcher responded.

“We’re doing something that is bold, we’re doing something that is non-traditional, in that we’re not only working with students, but we’re wrapping around the entire family.”

Wilcher said each family will have a unique plan to tackle academics, behavior, and overall outcomes.

So how will the program measure success?

University of Illinois researchers are tracking the program’s success by following the data, according to Wilcher. They’ll also offer suggestions.

The program officially launches at the start of the school year.

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