Education & Schools
Acceptance of Special Ed Students PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 29 October 2012 12:54

Special Ed Students, Diversity & the Benefits of Inclusion
Friendship, Learning are a Two-Way Street, Says Doctor

For orthopedic surgeon Sean Adelman – a father of three, including Dev, a high-school age daughter with Down syndrome – life lessons are not the exclusive province of the young.

“As a dad, I have often been reminded of the poet William Wordsworth and his line, ‘The child is father of the man,’ ” says Adelman, author of Sam’s Top Secret Journal (, the first in a the first in a Nancy Drew-style children’s book series featuring a protagonist with Down syndrome.

“I think most parents have this experience that, while it’s our job to teach our children how to grow up and function in a society, we are constantly learning ourselves. They force us to rethink the basics as we help mold them into mature human beings.”

Of course, much of a child’s development is out of the hands of parents, he says. School and other social functions provide many first worldly experiences that are so important to developing students. And that makes diversity so important.

Various studies have shown that not only do those with learning challenges benefit from “inclusive education” – a movement that integrates special-ed students with non-special-ed students – but also the rest of the student body.

Adelman explores how inclusion benefits the entire student body:

• Empathic development: To a significant extent, society is a social contract among citizens. That means, at the very least, good behavior is required of individuals. At best, however, citizens recognize that we are social creatures who need each other, and the best way to a better society is to have empathy for our fellow human beings. During the 1990s, inclusion of special-ed students jumped from 48 percent to 70 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Despite concerns at the time about teachers’ ability to attend to the needs of all their students in such classes, a Zigmond and Baker study showed teachers did not lose their effectiveness. The famous study also showed that the students treated each other better in general. Children learn that everyone needs help from time to time, and it’s as gratifying to provide it as to receive it.

• Diversity and the real world: Children who attend inclusive schools, where all children are mainstreamed, are better able to navigate the complexities of our diverse adult society. Students with and without special needs benefit from exposure to classmates who face different life circumstances. Studies from the National Center for Special Education Research, among others from throughout the world, support claims of mutual benefit from special-ed and non-special-ed students with integration. For a well-rounded character and personality, young people need to be exposed to the many faces of humanity in terms of race, economic background and those with special needs. In addition to this personal edification, a professional career demands social grace and comfort in a diverse work environment.

• The meaning of friendship: Children need to develop social skills and to know how to create and sustain meaningful friendships for a healthy adult life. We may lose wealth, youth, health, and spouses. Friends, however, are often the most reliable emotional resource in life. Friends must learn to accept one another’s limitations and flaws, and to complement one another’s weaknesses by contributing their strengths. Friends also quickly learn that superficial differences are far less important than shared values, trust and humor.

About Sean Adelman

Sean Adelman is a practicing orthopedic surgeon and advocate for exceptional kids in Seattle. He and his wife, Susan, have three children. Adelman wrote the “Sam’s Top Secret Journal” series to show the similarities the protagonist shares with other children, and to explore how differently-abled individuals benefit society.

News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Barb McBreen   
Tuesday, 23 October 2012 12:49

Students Awarded Scholarships from Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

AMES, Iowa - The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University recently recognized its scholarship recipients for the current academic year, 2012-2013.

The college and its departments award more than $2 million in scholarships each year. Students interested in enrolling in the college and applying for scholarships should go to

Along with scholarship support for students, the college continues to increase its enrollment and maintain high placement rates for graduates.

This fall the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences reached a record enrollment number of 3,900 undergraduate students, which surpassed a previous record set in 1977 when enrollment totaled 3,623.

The latest survey of graduates found that nearly 98 percent were employed, furthering their education or serving in the military six months after graduation. Employers nationwide are attracted to the largest annual Ag Career Day in the nation, which was held Oct. 16 with more than 2,000 students and 200 employers attending.

Scholarship awards for this academic year were presented to:

Catherine Mullen of Bettendorf, Future of Agriculture Scholarship Program
Amrinder Singh of Bettendorf, Future of Agriculture Scholarship Program
Brianka Morgan of Davenport, Agriculture General Scholarship

Rivermont Collegiate Highest Ranking College Prep School on Iowa AP Index PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Brittany Marietta   
Tuesday, 23 October 2012 12:39

The University of Iowa’s Belin-Blank Center annually releases the Iowa AP Index to recognize the Top 50 Iowa accredited high schools (public and nonpublic) for providing Advanced Placement opportunities.  Magnet Schools, Specially Accredited College Preparatory Schools, non-accredited schools, and home schools are not included in the Top 50 ranking.  Rivermont, being considered a Specially Accredited College Preparatory School, is not included in the Top 50 list.  However, all schools are scored using the same formula, so numerical scores provide a clear comparison.

Based on a 2012 Iowa AP Index score of 2.73, Rivermont Collegiate ranks 4th in the state overall, behind Des Moines Central Campus High School (7.62 – Magnet School), George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids (3.08), and Regina Junior/Senior High School in Iowa City (2.93).

We are extremely proud of our record of excellence with AP!  Rivermont students are encouraged to customize their education with a wide variety of both AP and Independent Study options.  The following list is only a sampling of AP courses offered at Rivermont:

ü  English Literature and Composition

ü  English Language and Composition

ü  French Language and Civilization

ü  Spanish Language and Civilization

ü  Calculus AB

ü  Calculus BC

ü  Statistics

ü  Physics

ü  Biology

ü  Chemistry

ü  Environmental Science

ü  United States Government & Politics

ü  United States History

ü  Psychology

ü  Microeconomics

Rivermont Collegiate, located in Bettendorf, is the Quad Cities’ only private, independent college prep school for preschool through twelfth grade.  For additional information on Rivermont, contact Rachel Chamberlain, Director of Admissions, at (563) 359-1366 ext. 302 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Visit Rivermont online at!

Chief Administrator Retiring PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Whitney Smith   
Monday, 22 October 2012 15:37
On Wednesday, October 10, 2012, at the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency Board of Directors Organizational Meeting, Regular Board Meeting and Board Retreat, Dr. Glenn Pelecky, who has served successfully as Chief Administrator for the past 25 years, was released from his current contract at the end of 2012-2013 for the sole purpose of retirement.

Dr. Glenn Pelecky has served as Chief Administrator since 1988, retiring with a 43 year career that has demonstrated a high level of commitment, trust and mutual respect.

In reflection, Dr. Pelecky stated that although he will be leaving an organization to which he has dedicated the majority of his professional life, he is looking forward to being able to pursue several lifelong professional and personal goals that full time work has not allowed him to take on and move to the next chapter of his life.

The Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency is one of nine area education agencies in the state of Iowa. The Agency area includes all of Clinton, Muscatine and Scott counties, as well as part of Cedar, Louisa and Jackson, serving more than 50,000 students in public and approved non-public schools in 153 buildings and 5500 administrators and teachers.

In 2007, Dr. Pelecky was notified by SAI that he had been nominated by his peers and selected as the 2007-2008 Iowa Superintendent of the year for consistently providing innovative and visionary leadership to the educators and students in the area. In reply, Dr. Pelecky stated, “I am comfortable accepting this honor as recognition of the work of the staff and board of the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, not an individual effort on my part.” We have accomplished a great deal together.

The Mission of the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency is to improve teaching and learning for all students through active partnerships and assertive leadership in a climate of mutual respect.

The Board of Directors will be reviewing search firm applicants and make a selection that represents the level of integrity, professionalism and custom-designed service required to select a Chief Administrator for the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency.


Simon to SIUE students: Affordability matters PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Monday, 22 October 2012 13:22

Lt. Governor calls for reforms to stabilize college costs

EDWARDSVILLE – October 19, 2012. While speaking about college affordability today, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon said she vehemently disagrees with a nationwide survey sponsored and released this week by TIME Magazine and the Carnegie Foundation that shows 80 percent of adults believe higher education is not worth the cost.

Simon made her remarks while working alongside Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students in the dining hall. Her visit was part of a College Affordability Summit at SIUE Simon hosted to call on federal, state and higher education leaders to work together to make college more affordable for Illinois students.

"We cannot lose sight of our students who must work and borrow to bridge the gap between financial aid and rising college costs," Simon said. "To keep our state competitive in the national and global economy, we need more students to complete college than ever before. The only way we can achieve that goal is if college is affordable. We must work together to rein in costs."

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.

Data expected to be released by the College Board next week confirms that the cost of college has outpaced other goods and services for the past 30 years, even as family incomes have declined in the past decade. To pay the bills, students racked up an average of $26,682 in student loans in 2010, up 14.3 percent from three years earlier and more than double what they owed in 1995, according to a Pew Research Center report released in early October.

Teagan Smith, a sophomore studying communications, is one of many students at SIU Edwardsville and across the state who is patching together work study and scholarships to pay for tuition and school expenses. The third of ten children, Smith said her family relies on financial aid so higher education is affordable for her and her siblings.

“I would not be in college if it weren’t for work study and scholarships,” Smith said. “Scholarships help me pay for tuition and work study covers other expenses, so together college can be affordable.”

Simon is visiting all 12 public universities in Illinois this fall to hold College Affordability Summits with students and emphasize that higher education funding must be a higher priority for state, federal and school leaders. During her visit she outlined three ways stakeholders could work together to keep college affordable:

  • 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 insure 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 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 report to the General Assembly is due January 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.

“The higher education community looks forward to working with Lt. Governor Simon and state leaders to maintain and restore funding and support policies that will help more students graduate with a quality college education in a timely and cost-effective manner,” said George Reid, executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

SIU Edwardsville was the fifth of Simon’s affordability summits. She will visit the University of Illinois Springfield on Tuesday, October 23.


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