Education & Schools
IOWA FARM BUREAU OFFERS GRANTS TO IOWA TEACHERS TO BRING AGRICULTURE TO THE CLASSROOM IN A VARIETY OF WAYS PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Laurie Johns   
Monday, 26 November 2012 14:41

Nearly $120,000 awarded in last three years of program

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Nov. 21, 2012 – Agriculture is much more than a farmer driving a tractor across a field. It’s the scientist at the seed company, the sales person at the local implement store and even the veterinarian who cares for pets and livestock alike. Modern agriculture reaches people every day from the jobs they hold, the food they eat, the fuel in their cars and the clothes in their closets.

Farming is a diverse and dynamic industry and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) and the state’s county Farm Bureau offices continue to help teachers take that information to their students with an annual Teacher Supplement Grant program.

The program, established in 2003, awards $200 for use in classroom programs that promote agricultural literacy. With Iowans two to three generations removed from the family farm, IFBF’s program works to help today’s students learn about the diverse and dynamic nature of agriculture. The 2013 subject areas are health or wellness with an emphasis on nutrition, art, music, physical education or fitness.

“We’ve awarded nearly $120,000 to teachers in the last three years of the grant program and we’ve been so impressed with the creative ways teachers have devised to bring agriculture to their students,” said Barb Lykins, IFBF director of community resources. “It’s not just buying some books about farming. We’ve seen music teachers creating songs and nutrition classes incorporating information about raising food into their classes. With one of six Iowa jobs related, indirectly or directly, to agriculture, it’s a great opportunity to bring creative ag education to Iowa’s elementary schools and help them understand how farming is part of those students’ lives.”

The program is accepting applications until Feb. 8, 2013. To apply, go to www.iowafarmbureau.com/articles/73415/2012_-_2013_teacher_supplement_grant_program and fill out the online form. Grants will be awarded in March 2013. For more information, contact Lykins at 515-225-5460.

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About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the People, Progress and Pride of Iowa.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve farm and rural prosperity.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media center at www.iowafarmbureau.com.

 
Simon: Make affordable higher education a higher priority PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Annie Thompson   
Friday, 16 November 2012 11:30
Lt. Governor calls for transparency, tax credit, targeted state aid
DEKALB – November 16, 2012. After meeting with students at Northern Illinois University, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon called on federal, state and higher education officials to work together to keep college affordable so thousands of Illinois students can earn the credentials needed for good-paying jobs.
According to a College Board trends report published last month, costs at public and private universities nationwide increased more than 4 percent this school year, while the cost of community college increased more than 5 percent since last school year. Compounding the burden on students, federal aid declined for the first time in three years.
“In order to retain and attract high-wage and high-skill jobs in Illinois, we will need 60 percent of our working-age population to hold a college credential by 2025,” Simon said. “We cannot expect students to complete college if they cannot afford college. I urge our state, federal and higher education leaders to work together to ensure college is not only accessible to the privileged, when it will be a prerequisite for a good job in our state.”
Simon is visiting all 12 public universities in Illinois this fall to hold College Affordability Summits with students, faculty and administrators. While at Northern, Simon shadowed Noemi Rodriguez, a federal work study recipient, at the Latino Resource Center.
“College affordability is an issue that needs to be addressed. I’ve seen students who were honor and AP students in high school have to drop out because they can’t afford college,” said Rodriguez. “I have work study, which helps make everything affordable, but it’s still a struggle. I had to work all summer so that I could make it through this semester.”
Rodriguez, a Dean’s List student majoring in nursing, established the Latino Honor Society on campus and, despite taking a full course load, remains very active in her community. Over the past two academic years, Rodriguez has volunteered over 300 hours with the Huskie Service Scholar Program, and has also interned at Children’s Memorial Hospital.
Following her affordability summit, Simon outlined three ways stakeholders can work together to make college affordable for students like Rodriguez:
  • Consumer protections: Simon supports House Bill 5248, which would require all degree-granting institutions that operate in Illinois to publish online College Choice Reports. The reports would contain information such as net costs, average debt and completion rates in an easy-to-read and easy-to-find format. Unlike the federally proposed “shopping sheet” which provides cost information after a student applies to a school, the College Choice Report would be available to students online before they apply, to help them find a college or university that fits their needs and their budget.
  • Targeted assistance: To better use state resources, Simon wants to strengthen the Monetary Award Program and ensure MAP grants promote college attendance and completion, and reduce the achievement gap between low-income and higher-income students. MAP grants are currently awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students based on financial need, but that means state funding reaches only about half of eligible students. Simon currently serves on a MAP Eligibility Task Force that is evaluating ways to improve distributional equity and encourage timely degree completion. A task force report to the General Assembly is due Jan. 1, 2013.
  • Tax credits for tuition payments: More than 9 million students and families are taking advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, saving them up to $10,000 over four years of college. Simon supports making this federal tax credit permanent and preventing it from expiring at the end of this year.
“Cutting investments directly related to economic growth doesn’t make sense. We should work together on policies that prioritize education and employment, not shortchange Illinois students and quality employers,” Simon said."Together we could stabilize the cost for public universities and community colleges, following tuition and fee increases that have outpaced inflation, family incomes and available aid over the past 20 years."
Eric Zarnikow, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, cited recent MAP award activity as evidence that affordability should be a key issue for Illinois leaders. For every eligible student who received a MAP grant this school year, another was denied due to lack of state funds.
“MAP is one of the largest needs-based financial aid programs in the country. While approximately 150,000 students will receive an award this year, just as many will be left on the sidelines as a result of limited funding,” Zarnikow said.
Illinois ranks at the bottom of states when measuring the ability of low-income families to afford the net cost of an education at a public four-year institution in Illinois, and 46th in the net cost as a percent of income for middle-income families, according to the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.
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Maggie Brown Blues in the Schools Nov. 26-30--Updated PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by MVBS   
Friday, 16 November 2012 10:41

Maggie Brown Returns to the Quad Cities for Blues in the Schools November 26-30

Chicago singer and educator Maggie Brown will be the MVBS Blues in the Schools artist-in residence in Quad City area schools during the week of November 26-30. She will also appear at four open-to-the-public performances:

  • Monday Nov. 26, 6:30 p.m.—Davenport Public Library Eastern Ave. Branch, 6000 Eastern Ave., Davenport
  • Wednesday Nov. 28, 10:00-11:00 a.m.—CASI, 1035 W. Kimberly, Davenport
  • Thursday Nov. 29, 7:00-9:00 p.m.—River Music Experience Café , 2nd and Main, Davenport
  • Friday Nov. 30, 6:00-7:00 p.m.—Bucktown Center for the Arts, Studio 56 at suite 201-B, 225 E. 2nd Street, Davenport

The MVBS Education Committee was introduced to Maggie Brown originally when Nate Lawrence brought her to Davenport for the Polyrhythms Third Sunday Jazz program at the River Music Experience.  We were so impressed with her performance that we asked Maggie to come back to conduct three days of workshops for kids the week of the 2012 BluesFest, and then to bring those kids and her talent to BlueSKool at the festival.

Maggie Brown is a tremendously talented singer and performer using her gift to not only entertain, but educate as well. Maggie is the daughter of the late Oscar Brown, Jr. a world renowned composer, social activist, and legendary giant of the jazz music scene. Mr. Brown passed on his artistic integrity to his daughter, who now uses her own voice to create images that excite and inspire. For 20 years, Maggie has nationally toured her one-woman show, “LEGACY: Our Wealth of Music,” which follows the history and evolution of African American music and covers a wide range of musical forms.

Mother of three young boys, Maggie sees the need to work through the arts to make an impact on young lives. Her message fosters care and respect for words, music, history and life. Maggie describes what she does as “edutainment.”  She calls on all of her talents to demonstrate how black people courageously and virtuously responded to the horrors of slavery, segregation and disenfranchisement by creating inspiring and thriving art forms which have become part of our American cultural heritage.

Maggie is called upon by various arts organizations and schools to serve as artist-in-residence.  Maggie enjoys using those classroom opportunities to engage young minds with poetry and songs that help them recognize and hopefully value their place in the world. Tracing the history of African-American creativity, Maggie examines the roots of black musical culture and its greatest flowerings, from African chant to early ragtime, from blues to jazz.

Major funding for Maggie Brown’s Blues in the Schools residency comes from the Riverboat Development Authority.  Thanks also to our sponsors The Iowa Arts Council, The Moline Foundation, Alcoa, The Lodge, River Music Experience, and KALA radio.

 
Reynolds, Allen hold five additional STEM community conversations PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Friday, 16 November 2012 10:03

(DES MOINES) – Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen today announced a series of community conversations featuring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and economic development that will take place across the state in November and December.

 

This series of community conversations is the second installment. The pair held 14 town hall meetings in September and October seeking feedback on the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council priorities as the STEM initiative continues to build across Iowa.

 

The following STEM Community Conversation events are open to the public:

 

Friday, Nov. 16, 2012

 

1 p.m. Lt. Gov. Reynolds and President Allen hold Story County STEM Community Conversation

Reiman Gardens

1407 University Blvd.

Ames, IA

Friday,  Dec. 7, 2012

10 a.m. Lt. Gov. Reynolds and President Allen hold Scott County STEM Community Conversation

Eastern Iowa Community College’s Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (EICC ATTEC) - 1st Floor/Mississippi Plaza Building

201 N Harrison

Davenport, IA

1:30 p.m. Lt. Gov. Reynolds and President Allen hold Dubuque County STEM Community Conversation

Best Western Plus Dubuque Hotel – Symposium Room

3100 Dodge St.

Dubuque, IA

Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012

11 a.m. Lt. Gov. Reynolds and President Allen hold Cass County STEM Community Conversation

Rock Island Depot

102 Chestnut St.

Atlantic, IA

2:30 p.m. Lt. Gov. Reynolds and President Allen hold Pottawattamie County STEM Community Conversation

Iowa Western Community College – Looft Hall – Auditorium

2700 College Road

Council Bluffs, IA

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Loebsack Encourages Students to Apply for Spring Internships PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 11:26
Washington, D.C – Congressman Dave Loebsack today announced that his office is now accepting applications from Iowa college students to participate in a Congressional internship program in his Washington, D.C., or Iowa offices.  The internship program is open to undergraduate students and recent graduates, regardless of major.

“As a former teacher, I have seen the benefits that internships can provide by giving students a firsthand look into the government process,” said Loebsack.  “I encourage all hardworking, motivated students and recent graduates to apply.”

Interns in the Washington, D.C. office will have the opportunity to learn about the legislative process and the federal government by working closely with the legislative, communications and constituent services staff members.  Interns in the Iowa offices will have the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge about how a Congressional office provides constituent services and interacts with members of the community.

Interested candidates should email their cover letter, resume, a short writing sample and a letter of recommendation to LoebsackInternship@mail.house.gov.  Please indicate which location you are applying for in the subject line.

 

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