Education & Schools
Are the Arts Getting Snubbed During the 2013 Women’s History Month? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 15:16
3 Reasons Girls Need Music as Much as Math

One simple yet profound quote by Emily Dickinson might summarize the position of women throughout much of the history of the United States: “I dwell in possibility.”

Today, women have choices that most of their predecessors just a half century ago did not. Professions once dominated by men are open to them; they can have a successful career and a family -- or choose to remain independent throughout their lives.

“As we observe Women’s History Month in March, we need to take stock of our past but also look to the future,” says Elayne James, author of “Destiny’s Call,” the first installment of the young adult fantasy series “The LightBridge Legacy,” (

“This year’s emphasis during Women’s History Month is on the STEM fields – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. I understand that the United States is lagging in these disciplines, but I join my voice with the many who feel the arts and STEM education should not be mutually exclusive. Both are equally important, and actually very complementary fields of study, for both girls and boys.”

James reviews the many ways in which the arts can benefit a young woman’s education:

• Mentors and outside-the-box teaching: Young girls need to learn in many different ways and by using all their senses, including their innate creativity. “Parents and educators in the STEM disciplines often have a clear agenda for kids, but mentors in the arts teach students to tap into a more personal well," says James. "That kind of individual evolution supports girls heading into their teen years by instilling a level of confidence and sense of self that traditional education doesn't always provide. They will be better equipped for the emotional complexities and challenges of being young women.”

• Ample studies supporting academic improvement: Research throughout the past decade and earlier consistently show students who participate in arts perform higher on tests involving critical thinking, reading comprehension, oral examinations and various standardized tests. Studies from the Arts Education Partnership, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Rand Corp., Johns Hopkins University and several school districts reveal comprehensive benefits to arts education, including an improved ability to adjust to real-world circumstances.

• The STEM fields are not monolithic: Anyone who thinks the STEM disciplines do not require creative thought does not understand them, James says. As in the visual arts, music and literature, there are rules to follow in STEM, but advances in these fields come with inspiration and ingenuity. “What better way to illustrate creative genius than with the arts?” she says. “Women’s History Month is a reminder of the strides women have made in every field – a young girl is not an island unto herself, and neither are her interests.”

•  A reason to stay in school: James credits the arts for saving her academic career. “I'd fallen in with a bad group in high school my freshman year; kids who didn't care about school and thought it was ‘cool’ to defy authority,” she says. “I began ditching class every day. If it weren't for acceptance into one of the school's musical arts programs, my life would've been very different. Instead of becoming a high school dropout, I became an honor student, going from 'F's to 'A's, from hating school to loving it. Because of music, I graduated with a 4.0 GPA, and got into a good college. The arts literally transformed my life.”

“The arts programs keep kids interested and involved in school, keeps their cognitive skills sharp, and provides vital social interaction, fostering rich relationships that can last a lifetime,” says James. “Art teaches the perception of beauty. It is essential humankind. Without it we would surely perish.”

About Elayne James

Elayne G. James has been a lifelong advocate of the arts. In addition to being an author, she has been a recording artist, a Hollywood sound effects editor, a successfull playwright, a theatrical lighting designer, a graphic artist and a professional photographer. Through her series The LightBridge Legacy, she inspires young people to embrace their individuality and believe in themselves. She lives in Southern California.

Local Students Celebrate International Week PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Brittany Marietta   
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 15:14

What: International Week at Rivermont Collegiate


When: Monday, 2/25 - Friday, 3/1


Why: To celebrate the diversity of our school community!  This year, theme days will be celebrated by continent.


Mon. – South America

Tues. – Europe

Wed. – Asia

Thurs. – Africa

Fri. - Australia


Special Events with GREAT Photo Opportunities:


Zumba! - Monday, 2/25 (South America Day)

(with Rivermont parent and owner of local studio Salsa Touch Latin Dance, Bettinna Bolger)

Grades 6-12 – 1:45-2:30 p.m.

Grades K-5 – 2:45-3:15 p.m.


African Dance – Thursday, 2/28 (Africa Day)

(with Rivermont parent Karen Roebuck)

Grades K-12 – 8:20 a.m.


International Food Festival – Friday, 3/1

A Carnival of Continents – take your tummy around the world with cooking demonstrations, parade of nations, and more – see attached flier!

3:30 -5:00 p.m.

Governor Quinn Announces Major Capital Investment in Illinois State University PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Ryan C. Woods   
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 14:56

$54 Million Fine Arts Complex Will Create 775 Construction Jobs and Strengthen University’s Renowned Arts Programs

NORMAL – February 21, 2013. Governor Pat Quinn today announced a $54 million capital investment to build a new fine arts complex that will strengthen Illinois State University’s renowned arts programs and create 775 construction jobs. Funded through the governor’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, the project is part of his commitment to creating jobs and growing the Illinois economy.

“This investment means Illinois State University will be able to build on its excellent reputation in the fine arts while creating hundreds of good jobs in Normal,” Governor Quinn said. “Higher education is a powerful force for growth in Illinois. We all benefit when our universities have the facilities to engage and educate our young people, whether the field is art, accounting or engineering.”

The Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program will provide $54.25 million for the Fine Arts Complex, starting with $7.5 million for design and planning. The project includes renovation of existing buildings and construction of new, state-of-the-art space for instruction and performance. It will create more than 775 construction and related jobs, and spending by those workers will support an additional 775 jobs in the community.

“We are extremely grateful to Governor Quinn for his perseverance in bringing this project to Illinois State,” ISU President Al Bowman said. “The College of Fine Arts offers first-class programs with outstanding faculty, staff and students who deserve first-class facilities.”

The new complex will replace or renovate three buildings: Centennial East, Centennial West (both constructed in 1959) and the Center for Visual Arts (constructed in 1973). The College of Fine Arts includes departments in art, music, theater, dance and arts technology. It serves more than 1,100 students with 160 faculty and staff members, and 40 fields of study.

The next step toward a new complex is hiring an architectural and engineering firm to design it with input from faculty, staff members and students in conjunction with the state’s Capital Development Board.

“This project is a great example of what the Illinois Jobs Now! program can accomplish,” Jim Underwood, the Capital Development Board’s executive director said. “It will create good jobs while strengthening Illinois State University. With the leadership of Governor Quinn and the guidance of ISU administrators, we’re going to build a complex that will benefit students for years to come.”

Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! program includes $1.5 billion for higher education, including $788 million for public universities and $400 million for community colleges. The overall $31 billion program, which began in 2009, is expected to support an estimated 439,000 construction jobs over six years.


Bettendorf resident in the Spotlight at Mount Union College PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Mount Union   
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 14:46

Courtney Wachal of Bettendorf, Iowa, is the current student in the spotlight at Mount Union College.  Ms. Wachal, a sophomore, is majoring in French and International Studies.

Transplant Production Workshop Rescheduled for March 2 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Monday, 25 February 2013 09:20
Due to the Winter Storm Advisory issued by the National Weather Service, the Vegetable Transplant Production Workshop scheduled for Feb. 22 at the Scott County Extension Office has been rescheduled. The workshop will now be Saturday, March 2 from 1 - 5:30 p.m. There is no change in the location; the rescheduled workshop will be held at the Scott County Extension Office, 875 Tanglefoot Lane, Bettendorf.

Those interested in attending and not registered for the event can register by going to

For more information about the workshop, contact Ajay Nair at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 515-294-7080.


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