Education & Schools
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Stephanie Johannes-Thomer   
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 15:50
August 28, 2012

Rock Island, Illinois – With the current school year underway Johannes Bus Service, Inc. (JBS) would like to remind everyone to be watching out for the yellow bus and the children that are ever present when a school bus is around. “A study done by the U.S. Department of Transportation states that children are safer riding the school bus to and from school than being driven in a  car by an adult”, says Stephanie Johannes-Thomer, JBS Marketing Director. “But, that doesn’t mean we should relax when we see a yellow school bus approaching; here are some quick and easy lessons to remember when around a school bus.”

Never pass a school bus on the right side, not only is it illegal, but it is extremely dangerous; students exit from the right and buses are not always able to move over to the curb.

Yellow means caution and SLOW DOWN; when you see a bus turn on their yellow flashers it means they will be stopping very soon to pick up or drop off a child, so be on ALERT.

Red means STOP; when the red flashers come and the stop arm comes out, a child will be entering or exiting the bus. And as a driver of a car, you need to be alert as to where that child is going. If a child is going to cross, they normally do so immediately after exiting, BUT please be aware where that child is at all times. You never know when a child is going to dart back out into  traffic. And a friendly reminder to those who try to pass while the red flashers are on and the stop arm is out; it is ILLEGAL and you could be ticketed, even if a police officer isn’t present. Let’s try to reduce those numbers and keep our children safe from harm.

Railroad crossings are also tricky; school buses MUST also stop and open their door to look and listen for on coming trains. Please pay attention so as not to rear end a bus that is stopped at the tracks.

The Danger Zone should be something all children and adults know, if you are within 10 giant steps of the school bus, the driver can not see you. So, it is important all children know this.

In general just be aware of school bus routes in your area; be patient when driving during the morning and afternoon hours when buses are running their routes. Most routes in the Rock Island/Milan and Moline areas are door to door, so there are a lot of stops that are taking place. And for our outlying areas in Mercer County, please be aware of school bus stops along the highways! We do have many of those stops as well. Just know when you see YELLOW (the school bus) slow down!

Other important items:

• National School Bus Safety Week is: October 22-26, 2012 hosted by National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), National School Transportation Association (NSTA), National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) and the American School Bus Council

• February is “Love the Bus” Month – a month dedicated to raise awareness and appreciation for the hundreds of thousands of school bus drivers who safely transport children to school and from school sponsored by the American School Bus Council

• School Bus Safety Coloring Pages – click on the Bus Safety Tab

Simon highlights ‘College Essentials’ math class PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Kara Beach   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 15:22

Launches survey of innovative math program and course ideas

CARBONDALE – August 28, 2012. Continuing her effort to improve student achievement and math preparedness, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon visited Carbondale Community High School today to learn about its Essentials for College Algebra course. The course, available only to high school seniors, aims to bridge the gap between the three years of math currently required to graduate high school, and a student’s future college plans.

“Too many students arrive at college unprepared for college-level math,” Simon said. “We need to find new, innovative and engaging programs that will better prepare our students for college and career, and Essentials for College Algebra might be one piece to that curriculum puzzle.”

The Essentials for College Algebra course at Carbondale Community High School was designed to help close the gap between a third year of required math and the student’s math needs upon graduation. The course reinforces high school math skills that college-bound students need to qualify for credit-bearing, post-secondary math courses. Ideally, students who complete the course will not need to take remedial math courses at college that expend financial aid but offer no credit.

"Preparing students for College and Career Readiness goes beyond meeting the minimum requirements for graduation,” said Daniel Booth, Carbondale Community High School Principal. “It means ensuring students have the skills to effectively transition to post-secondary education. It's difficult for anyone to take a year off of math and come right back at the same skill level. The Essentials for College Algebra class is designed to help students hit the ground running after high school and pursue their college and career goals while reducing the need for remediation."

Essentials for College Algebra is just one of many innovative ideas that Simon hopes to discover through a statewide math survey she launched today. Students, parents, teachers and administrators are invited to submit math curriculum and program ideas that could be considered for statewide implementation. Programs could be geared toward higher math achievement in college, career or technical preparation, middle school enrichment, or collaboration between grade levels on math curricula.

Simon will compile the survey results and present them to an Illinois Board of Education group that is tasked with developing statewide math curricula models. The curricula models could be implemented at middle and high schools statewide to help districts and teachers ensure that students graduate prepared for college and career.

“We have a great opportunity here to gather effective ideas from across the state that could boost math achievement and strengthen our students to better compete in college classrooms and for high-paying jobs,” Simon said.

To participate in the survey, please click here.


Rural school districts receive grants of up to $25,000 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Paul Spooner   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 14:58

Winners announced for America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education℠

BOONE, IOWA (Aug. 28, 2012) – Rural schools help grow the next generation by planting seeds of knowledge, passion and imagination in the youth of rural America. Now, local farmers and America’s Farmers Grow Rural EducationSM are helping to prepare the next generation of industry leaders to meet the challenges that come with feeding an ever increasing population.
America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, gives farmers the opportunity to nominate a public school district in their community to compete for a merit based grant of either $10,000 or $25,000 to enhance education in the areas of math and/or science. More than 1,000 nominated school districts submitted applications. The Monsanto Fund will invest $2.3 million in 176 rural schools through this program.
“School districts were innovative and creative in their applications,” said Deborah Patterson, the Monsanto Fund president. “We are really looking forward to seeing the proposals come to fruition and learning how the students benefit from them.”
After being nominated by local farmers, school districts completed an online application and finalists were chosen by math and science teachers from ineligible school districts. The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, a group of 26 prominent farmers from across the country, then reviewed the finalists’ applications and selected the winners.
“Who better to judge the practical content and quality of these applications from rural school districts than experienced, working farmers?” said Jim Andrew of Jefferson, Iowa, America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Farmer Advisory Council member. “We devoted many hours at home evaluating and scoring the applications and then met as a group in St. Louis for two days to discuss and select the schools we recommended to the Monsanto Fund for grants. It was personally very rewarding to read the creative and practical grant applications that were eventually selected by our advisory group to receive the grants.”
There were 176 school districts in 35 states that received grants of up to $25,000. Winners are posted at and below. America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education started with a successful pilot in Illinois and Minnesota in 2011, in which farmers were given the opportunity to nominate public school districts in 165 eligible counties in those two states. The Monsanto Fund awarded more than $266,000 to local schools in sixteen communities. Now, the program has expanded to 1,245 eligible counties in 39 states. 
America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund to help farmers positively impact their communities and support local rural school districts. This program is part of the Monsanto Fund’s overall effort to support rural education and communities. Another program that is part of this effort is America’s Farmers Grow Communities, which gives farmers the opportunity to direct a $2,500 donation to their favorite community nonprofit organization in their county. Farmers can participate in this program through Nov. 30, 2012 by visiting


About Monsanto Fund
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the farm communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work.  Visit the Monsanto Fund at


Alabama- Geneva City, Madison County

Arkansas-Des Arc School District, Estem Elementary Charter, Monticello School District, Southside High School, Texarkana School District, Valley View School District

Arizona-Buckeye Union High School District

California-Brawley Elementary, Esparto Unified School District, Farmersville Unified, Hilmar Unified School District

Colorado-Frenchman School District Re-3, Limon School District, No. Re 4J, Re-1 Valley School District, Walsh School District No. Re-1

Delaware-Smyrna School District

Georgia-Burke County, Terrell County, Wilcox County School System

Iowa-George Little Rock Community Schools, Hampton-Dumont Community School District, Lamoni Community School District, Logan-Magnolia School District, Mormon Trail Community School District, New Hampton, New London Community School District, North Tama County Community School District, Northeast Community School District, Riceville Community School District, Schleswig Community School District, Sidney Community School District

Idaho-Caldwell School District No. 132, Filer School District

Illinois-Allendale CC School District 17, Brussels CUSD 42, Farmington Central CUSD 265, Indian Creek CUSD 425, Morrisonville CUSD #1, North Greene CUSD 3, Olympia CUSD 16, Oregon Community Unit School District 220, Red Hill CUSD10, Tolono CUSD 7, Willow Grove SD 46

Indiana-Clay Community Schools, Delaware Community School Corporation, Fairfield Community Schools, Flatrock Hawcreek School Co, Jennings County Schools, Oregon-Davis School Corp, Pike County School Corp, Salem Community Schools, South Central Com School Corp, Southwest Parke Com School Corp

Kansas-Bucklin, Girard USD 248, Hoxie Community Schools USD 412, Royal Valley, Scott County Schools, Sedgwick Public Schools, Sterling USD376, Wamego, Washington County Schools, Wellsville-USD 289

Kentucky-Calloway County, Daviess County Public Schools, Logan County, Nelson County School District

Louisiana-Pointe Coupee Parish

Maryland-Harford County Public Schools, Talbot County Public Schools

Michigan-Breckenridge Community Schools, Frankenmuth School District, Fremont Public Schools, Ida Public School District, Lowell Area Schools, North Huron School District, Springport Public Schools, St. Louis Public Schools

Minnesota-Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Schools, Farmington Area Public Schools, Glacial Hills Elementary, Greenbush-Middle River School District, Lakeview Public Schools, Lancaster Public School District, N.R.H.E.G. School District, United South Central Independent School District 2134

Missouri-Community R-VI School District, Johnson Co. R-VII, Liberal R-II, Lone Jack C-6, Miami R-I School District, Monroe City R-I, Northeast Nodaway Co. R-V, Oak Ridge R-VI, Orrick, Pleasant View R-VI, Strain-Japan R-XVI

Mississippi-Pontotoc Co School District

North Carolina-Craven County Schools, Perquimans County Schools, Rowan-Salisbury Schools

North Dakota-Carrington School District, Dakota Prairie, Hatton Public School 7, Richland 44, Wishek 19

Nebraska-Cambridge Public Schools, Falls City Public Schools, Hayes Center Public Schools, Lyons-Decatur Northeast Schools, Mitchell Public Schools, Northwest Public Schools, Osceola Public Schools, Rock County Public Schools, Thayer Central Community Schools

New Jersey-Chesterfield Township

New York-Albion Central School District, Argyle Central School District, Arkport Central School District, Canton Central School District, Greece Central School District, Tully Central School District

Ohio-Clinton-Massie Local, Crestview Local Schools, Eastern Local Schools, Garaway Local, Northeastern Local, Ridgedale Community, West Liberty-Salem Local, Westfall Local

Oklahoma- Garber Public School , Navajo Public School

Oregon-Vale SD 84

Pennsylvania-Danville Area SD, Greensburg Salem SD, Manheim Central SD, Northwestern School District, Seneca Valley SD, Tyrone Area School District, Upper Adams SD

South Carolina-Calhoun 01, Dillon 02

South Dakota-Dell Rapids School District 49-3, Milbank High School-01, Parker School District, Wolsey-Wessington School District 20-6

Tennessee-Franklin County School District, Obion County School System, Robertson County, South Carroll County Special School District

Texas-Brownsville ISD, Dalhart ISD, Edna ISD, Hillsboro ISD, Ira ISD, Levelland ISD, Memphis ISD, Southland ISD, Wall ISD

Virginia-Southampton Co Public Schools

Washington-Warden School District

Wisconsin-Cadott Community School District, Chilton School District, Cornell School District, Gillett School District, Lake Geneva-Genoa City UHS School District, Lancaster Community School District, Marathon City School District,  Monticello School District, School District Of New London, Sparta Area School District, Tri-County Area School District, Wrightstown Community School District

In Iowa`s Interest: Rebuilding Our Middle Class this Labor Day PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 14:46
By Senator Tom Harkin

On Labor Day, as we honor the contributions that generations of workers have made to the strength and prosperity of our great country, I am reminded of the struggles facing families in Iowa and around the country. America’s middle class is the backbone of our economy, and yet, these families have not shared in the prosperity of the last thirty years. Today, they are not feeling the effects of the economic recovery that is in full swing on Wall Street. I have always believed that to grow our economy, we must strengthen the middle class by promoting the creation of good jobs, helping workers save for a secure retirement, making college affordable, and doing what we can to help families balance their budgets.

For these reasons, I introduced the Rebuild America Act earlier this year. This sweeping piece of legislation lays out what I believe our priorities must be in order to grow our economy and help more families achieve the American Dream. These proposals are not radical or revolutionary – they are the bold, forward-thinking policies of the mid-20th century, when America experienced an unprecedented expansion of the middle class. In fact, some of the investments made during that time were so forward-thinking that we still rely on their results today: the interstate highway system, Social Security, and federal student aid for higher education are some examples of investments that are critical to our lives today.

With this history in mind, I included many provisions in the Rebuild America Act that will return these priorities to the forefront. Firstly, we must invest in America to create good jobs and lasting growth. Targeted investments to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and outdated schools; investments in teaching, manufacturing, and job training; improved trade policies; and funds for local governments to hire critical personnel like teachers, police, and firefighters will provide near-term stability and growth in our economy, and pay lasting dividends for future generations.

While economic recovery will undoubtedly help families’ budgets, my plan also calls for new policies that will help families achieve financial stability. It would make child care more affordable, protect overtime pay, give workers the chance to earn paid sick days, update the minimum wage, and increase job opportunities for Americans with disabilities.  It would also protect the right to form and join a union – historically one of the most important paths for working Americans to join the middle class.  Additionally, the Rebuild America Act strengthens Social Security and the private pension system, to help workers save enough to enjoy their Golden Years in retirement.

All of these changes are important, but until we restore some fundamental fairness to our tax code, middle class families will continue to lose out. The Rebuild America Act would institute a rule to ensure that the very wealthiest Americans pay at least as much in taxes as middle class families.  It would also impose a transaction tax on Wall Street speculators and end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, among other things.  Combined, these measures would fully fund all of the other policies included in the Rebuild America Act, making it deficit-neutral.

I know that this plan sounds ambitious. But Americans have never been content to sit idly by.  Throughout our history, we have risen to every challenge that our great nation has faced. Our current challenges may be a little harder to define, but Iowa families feel them every day. This Labor Day, it is time to prioritize the middle class. It is time to put workers and their families first. It is time to Rebuild America.

A PDF version of the column is available by clicking here

Governor Quinn Signs Law to Increase School Safety PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Erin Wilson   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 14:32

ELGIN – August 27, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law to keep both students and faculty safe as they head back to school.  House Bill 5602 allows juvenile criminal records to be shared with school officials when there is an imminent threat to individuals at the school and certain offenses have been committed by a student. Today's action is the latest by Governor Quinn to improve safety in Illinois schools.

“Our children and their teachers deserve to go to school everyday feeling safe,” Governor Quinn said. “This new law will help ensure that schools are safe learning environments where the bright young minds of our future can be nurtured without fear."

Sponsored by Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) and Sen. John Millner (R-Carol Stream), HB 5602 arose from an incident at School District U-46 in Elgin where a teacher was attacked by a student who was under investigation at the time for two other violent attacks. The new law, which is designed to strengthen safety in schools, provides that information from these law enforcement records may only be shared orally and may not become part of the student’s official school record or public record. This bill will require law enforcement and the school district to provide support services to an at-risk student when appropriate. The law is effective Jan. 1, 2013.

Also today, Governor Quinn signed two new laws that benefit community colleges in Illinois.

Senate Bill 3428, sponsored by Sen. Edward Maloney (D-Chicago) and Rep. Daniel Beiser (D-Alton), requires that one of the 12 members on the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) must be a public community college president, the Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago or the CEO of Illinois Eastern Community Colleges. The law, which is designed to improve community college representation, is effective immediately.

Senate Bill 2929, sponsored by Sen. Michael Noland (D-Elgin) and Rep. Keith Farnham (D-Elgin), allows community colleges seeking bids for projects to utilize the Procurement of Domestic Products Act, which requires the promotion and use of goods manufactured in the United States. However, in cases when available domestic products are too expensive, of low quality or when foreign purchases better serve the public interest, the use of domestic products is not required. The law is effective immediately.


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