Decatur Public Schools leaders approve new programs for coming school year

Decatur Public Schools SD 61, Decatur, IL – Board members previously supported the addition of before- and after-school programs that will start in the upcoming school year. On Tuesday evening, they approved a formal contract that outlines the details of the program. 

Hours for the programs will begin at 6 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m. on all weekdays when school is in session. Care will also be available during early release, heat and snow days, Grayned said. 

The contract also outlined staffing for the program, which will include at least one supervisory employee at each of the schools for every 15 students and one employee in a teaching role for every 12 students. Grayned said the district is looking to hire current teachers and community members to fill the roles. Candidates will go through an extensive background check, Grayned said.

While an exact estimate of how many employees will be hired is not available, Grayned said district leaders are hoping 500 or more students will enroll in the before- and after-school care.

Innovation Learning is known as a leader in next-generation before and after school programs, combining some of the features of traditional before and after school programs such as a focus on child safety, program licensing, snack and the inclusion of a play-based curriculum with academic support. Innovation Learning also offers a wide array of enrichment offerings and their use of licensed educators to operate their programs. Licensed teachers also offer homework support so that homework is completed and checked before students are picked up by their parents each evening.

About  Innovation Learning – Founded in 2015 by former teachers, principals and school district administrators who also happen to be parents, Innovation Learning is known for developing programs that are individualized and tailored to each of the communities they work with. While most schools opt for their popular Innovation Stations as part of their program, Innovation Learning also offers a menu of enrichment activities, academic support, physical fitness and play-based opportunities that communities can select from when designing their schedules. The company’s mission is to, “create tomorrow’s innovators today.” All of their programs are based upon the premise that Innovation as a “set of skills” can be nurtured, taught and practiced. Skills which include curiosity, collaboration, associative and integrative thinking and a bias toward action and experimentation are deliberately woven into all programs for the purpose of fostering an “innovative mindset” for the children they work with. Innovation Learning currently serves over 70 schools in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri and Oregon metropolitan areas. For more information about Innovation Learning, visit its website at

About Decatur SD 61 – Decatur SD 61 was established in 1865 and is in the state of Illinois, serving approximately 8,900 students. Their buildings consist of one pre-kindergarten/early learning center, eleven K-6 elementary schools, four K-8 schools, two middle schools, two high schools, and two alternative education programs. Five of their facilities are magnet schools, including a Pre-K to 8th-grade Montessori school. Families have the option to apply to schools of choice: STEM Academy, a candidate International Baccalaureate school and a fine arts program. The District is also the administrative agent for the Macon-Piatt Special Education District.