Education & Schools
Braley Introduces End Radon in Schools Act PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Monday, 17 September 2012 07:33

Legislation would protect students and teachers from radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer 

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today introduced the End Radon in Schools Act, a bill that will protect students, teachers, and school employees from high levels of radon in schools. The bill has been endorsed by the American Cancer Society.  Braley worked with the American Cancer Society and the Radon Coalition, based in Iowa, to craft the legislation.

Radon is an invisible, tasteless, and odorless gas that is produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. It is a form of ionizing radiation, proven carcinogen, and it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The gas will often leak through cracks or holes in foundations or walls of buildings if not properly controlled.

All of Iowa’s 99 counties are considered at a “Zone 1” risk level by the government, which indicates they have the highest potential for radon exposure in schools, homes, and other buildings.  Iowa is one of only two states in the country that has a statewide “Zone 1” risk level.

“Today, I am very pleased to introduce the End Radon in Schools Act. We need to ensure that our schools are safe from unacceptable levels of this harmful gas,” said Braley. “You cannot see, taste, or smell radon, but it poses a real risk to Iowans. Iowa has one of the highest levels of radon radiation in the country, and I introduced this legislation to ensure that Iowa kids, teachers and employees are safe from harmful levels of radon when they go to school.”

The End Radon in Schools Act would give grants to states to work with school districts to test the radon levels in their school buildings. If the school building has an unhealthy radon level, the school would be given funding to mitigate or diminish the high radon levels. Schools awarded the grant funding would conduct the testing with the assistance of a licensed radon mitigation specialist.  The school would work with a specialist to determine the best way to mitigate the school building.

Today, Braley also met with Iowa members of the American Cancer Society, as well as University of Iowa Men’s Basketball Coach Fran McCaffery, to discuss his bill and other issues related to cancer research, care and prevention.  A photo from today’s meeting is below.


A link to the text of the End Radon in Schools Act can be found here: 

A link to the Cancer Society Endorsement of the bill can be found here:

Rahm Emanuel Should Go All Ronald Reagan On Chicago's Teachers Union PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Americans for Limited Government   
Friday, 14 September 2012 14:49

Rahm Emanuel Should Go All Ronald Reagan On Chicago's Teachers Union

In Illinois the unemployment rate stands at 8.9 percent. 26,000 new teachers could be recruited in short order from teachers desperate to find work and will not mind working longer days or being held accountable for student test scores.

Women In Chemistry Online Film Series Inspires Young Women to Pursue Careers in STEM PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Barbara Parassio   
Monday, 10 September 2012 14:07
The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) proudly announces the release of The Catalyst Film Series: Women in Chemistry funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and created by CHF. The documentary-style film series, accessible at, celebrates the catalytic effect that extraordinary women have had in chemistry and endeavors to encourage young women to pursue the study of STEM programs and the sciences in particular. You can view a trailer of the film series at

The women featured in these films have worn the hats of student, researcher, wife, professor, advisor, mother, pilot and marketer. They are:

•       Kathryn Hach-Darrow, cofounder of the Hach Chemical Company
•       Mary L. Good, former president of the American Chemical Society, undersecretary for technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce under President Bill Clinton, and recipient of the Priestley Medal
•       Uma Chowdhry, retired senior vice president and chief science and technology officer of DuPont
•       Nancy Chang, cofounder and former CEO of the biopharmaceutical firm Tanox
•       Mildred Cohn, first female president of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
•       Stephanie Kwolek, former research associate at DuPont and patent holder for Kevlar®
•       Paula Hammond, David H. Koch Professor in engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

First-year seminars teach big topics to small classes PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Hawkeye Caucus   
Sunday, 09 September 2012 13:08

Contemporary Topics in Finance.  Molecular Gastronomy.  The Energy Future.  What do these topics have in common?  They were all subjects of a first-year seminar.  


First year seminars are designed to help students make the transition to college-level learning through active participation in their own learning.  These classes are taught by faculty members to a small group (fewer than 20) of first-year students.  Faculty members choose the theme of the seminar because it’s related to their research, it’s something that’s always fascinated them, or it provides a glimpse into their academic area.

Students can learn about being a doctor, what it takes to be a math or science teacher, or the roots of terrorism.  On average, the classes meet one a week for 50 minutes, and grades are based on participation and short assignments. 


Students who have taken first-year seminars say that they’d recommend them to others because they got to meet students with similar interests and got to know a faculty member one-on-one. Here are comments from two of them:

  • “It is very nice to be in a small class with a teacher who is truly passionate about what they are teaching.”
  • “This class is by far my  favorite this semester.  Every class we learn about something new and very interesting … The assignments are very relevant and applicable to life outside of the class.  I wish it was more than once a week!”

Sport for the Mind: Robotics Program Expanding Globally & Locally PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Brittany Marietta   
Sunday, 09 September 2012 12:14

Students around the world are discovering it’s more fun to design a robot than it is to play with one – and having the hardest fun they’ve ever had!  FIRST Lego League (FLL), a national robotics program, has experienced dramatic growth since its inception in 1998.  In FLL, student teams design and program an autonomous robot using the Lego Mindstorms set and create a solution to a real-world scientific problem.  Teams compete in regional qualifiers by completing tasks with their robot on a thematic playing surface, then advance to state competitions and, if lucky, the World Festival (regions are selected by lottery for the World Festival). 

2011-12 Rivermont FLL Team - Putnam Competition.JPG

FLL helps young people discover the fun in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as they work to solve real-world problems using robotics.  FLL participants are 50 percent more likely to attend college and twice as likely to major in science or engineering.  More than that, FLL fosters teamwork and leadership – the program has even coined several terms.  Dr. Woodie Flowers,FIRST National Advisor, created the term “Gracious Professionalism” – a way of doing things that emphasizes respect and that competition and mutual gain are not separate notions.  Actually, FLL teams don’t “compete” – they participate in “Coopertition,” displaying respect in the face of fierce competition and cooperating with each other.  A parent testimonial puts it best, that “being bright is not the same as leadership.”

As the program grows, so does the impact.  FLL 2011 featured 19,800 teams from over 50 countries.  2011 regional qualifiers took place not only in the Quad Cities, but also Cedar Falls, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Ottumwa, Sioux City, Marshalltown, and Solon.  Rivermont Collegiate is eagerly jumping on board to expand the impact of FLL in the Quad Cities!  Due to success of the program in Rivermont 5th grade last year, it has been expanded to 5th - 8th grade for 2012-13.  A dedicated room has been equipped with 9 computers and devoted to the robotics teams.  Last year, two teams of Rivermont 5th graders competed at the regional qualifier at the Putnam, with one team bringing home the Core Values Inspiration Award.  Coaches Rachel Chamberlain and Leigh Ann Schroeder saw tremendous growth and maturity in the teams, not only learning new STEM skills, but demonstrating skills in teamwork, goal setting, compromise, and problem solving.  Due to huge student interest, students in 6th – 8th grade are now invited to join the fun – Rivermont will have four FLL teams this year.

“It’s one thing to see a kid in college doing it, but to see 13, 14, 15, 16-year olds writing code, building robots, enthusiastic about life, mathematics, science, and engineering…20 years from now, these kids are the leaders of industry.” –, Frontman, The Black Eyed Peas  


Note: FLL season officially kicked off August 28th.  The regional tournament in Davenport will be held Saturday, December 15th at the Putnam Museum.  This year’s theme is Senior Solutions – can FLL teams improve the quality of life for seniors by helping them continue to be independent, engaged, and connected in their communities?  For additional information on the FIRST LEGO League, visit

Rivermont Collegiate, located in Bettendorf, is the Quad Cities’ only private, independent college prep school for students in preschool through 12th grade. 

For additional information on Rivermont, contact Rachel Chamberlain at (563) 359-1366 ext. 302 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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