Education & Schools
FREE Presentation on Financial Aid for College! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Brittany Marietta   
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 09:57

What: Free Presentation on Financial Aid for College presented by ICAN (Iowa College Access Network)

When: Wednesday, 11/9 - 7:00 p.m.

Where: Rivermont Collegiate - Becherer Hall Auditorium - 1821 Sunset Drive, Bettendorf, IA 52722

Open to the public!  Bring your questions!

To spend LESS on college... spend an evening with us!

A college education is one of the most important investments you will make in a lifetime. Educate yourself on the resources available to you!

What: Free Presentation on Financial Aid for College presented by the Iowa College Access Network (ICAN).  This presentation is open to the public! Join us!

When: Wednesday, November 9th - 7:00 p.m.

Where: RIVERMONT COLLEGIATE - Becherer Hall Auditorium, 1821 Sunset Drive - Bettendorf, IA 52722 (located directly off 18th Street, behind K&K Hardware)

• Completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
• Important deadlines
• Types of financial assistance available
• Scholarships & scams

Bring your questions!

This presentation is very helpful for high school students and parents who are unsure exactly what is involved in the financial aid process & filing the FAFSA. It can be confusing and discouraging! Make the process clear, ensure accuracy, and smooth the way - join us!

Contact: Bonnie Campbell - (563) 359-1366 ext. 304 - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

RIVERMONT COLLEGIATE is the Quad Cities’ only private, independent, nonsectarian college prep school, serving preschool through grade 12.  For more information on RIVERMONT COLLEGIATE, please contact Brittany Marietta - Director of Admission
(563) 359-1366 ext. 302 - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Area Residents Enroll in DePaul University's Freshman Class PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by readMedia   
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 09:56

CHICAGO, IL (10/27/2011)(readMedia)-- The following area students have enrolled this fall as freshman at DePaul University in Chicago:

Alyssa Phelan of Bettendorf

Catherine Bush of Davenport

Elizabeth Knowlton of Port Byron

About DePaul

With more than 25,000 students, DePaul University is the largest Catholic university in the United States and the largest private, non-profit university in the Midwest. The university offers approximately 275 graduate and undergraduate programs of study on three Chicago and three suburban campuses. Founded in 1898, DePaul remains committed to providing a quality education through personal attention to students from a wide range of backgrounds.

Simon to host Classrooms First hearing in Central Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Kathryn Phillips   
Tuesday, 25 October 2011 14:16

Local technology director to discuss potential cost-savings of IlliniCloud

NORMAL – October 24, 2011. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon’s Classrooms First Commission will hold a public hearing at a Central Illinois community college this evening to solicit testimony from parents, taxpayers and educators on how K-12 school districts can improve learning and efficiency.

Among those expected to speak is Bloomington School District 87 Technology Director Jim Peterson. Peterson was invited to present about IlliniCloud, a non-profit cloud computing consortium he developed with other districts and technology leaders throughout the state that provides virtual servers, online storage and software for 150 school districts statewide.

The public hearing at Heartland Community College, which begins at 4:30 p.m., is the second of four such hearings scheduled this fall by the Classrooms First Commission, a statewide group tasked with finding ways to improve learning and efficiency at the more than 870 school districts in Illinois. The commission’s report is due to the Governor and General Assembly next summer.

“We are here to listen, discover efficiencies and promote what’s best for students,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Simon, chair of the Classrooms First Commission and the Governor’s point person on education reform. “Our goal is to work with local communities to find savings in backrooms, so that more money can be used to support classrooms.”

IlliniCloud was launched two years ago and offers its services to school districts in Illinois for a small annual fee. Use of IlliniCloud could save districts 30 to 60 percent on information technology costs according to Peterson. This is particularly useful for small districts that often lack the resources necessary to develop adequate information technology infrastructure.

"Despite the economic burdens that Illinois school districts face, they still have to provide the same services for millions of students, staff and parents each day,” Peterson said. “The IlliniCloud was created by districts for districts to provide and extend those services in a more efficient way."

IlliniCloud hopes to launch a statewide data collection and warehousing system that would allow districts to quickly generate reports to track student performance and analyze other data such as food service and transportation costs.

Dr. Joseph Pacha, an associate professor at the Illinois State University College of Education, is also scheduled to present research he conducted on what factors lead to school closure among elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools. These factors include changes in education funding, school enrollment, per-pupil operating expenditures and equalized assessed valuation.  Pacha’s research also found that among elementary schools, higher math scores decrease the likelihood a school will close.

“Most people believe that school closures come about as a result of lack of money and students,” Pacha said. “But there are many other factors involved that if communities knew about them and worked to address them, they might have a very positive impact on the future of a school. Being able to identify those factors is what the study was all about.”

The Classrooms First Commission members represent various stakeholder groups including teachers, school boards, principals, superintendents, parents and urban, suburban and rural areas. In its first phase of study, the commission will collect public input and review local and national research on educational efficiency and student performance.

“This is an important process for our education systems, and regional superintendents greatly appreciate the opportunity to participate and hear from those who really matter: the local voices,” said Larry Pfeiffer, a central Illinois regional superintendent representing the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools on the commission. “Regional superintendents are integral to these discussions and the process schools pursue to reorganize and consolidate. We're committed to ensure everyone is heard and these challenges are debated and resolved in the right way.”

Additional public hearings have been scheduled in Moline and Des Plaines.

To view the hearing schedule, watch streaming live video of the hearings, or to fill out an online survey regarding district efficiency, visit


With bipartisan support, charter schools are on the march PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Ben Velderman   
Tuesday, 25 October 2011 13:05

WASHINGTON D.C. -- There’s no question that 2011 has been good for charter schools.

And if lawmakers in Michigan, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania can get pro-charter school legislation across the finish line in the next few weeks, 2011 could be a banner year for the taxpayer-funded public schools that are generally operated by independent organizations.

The reason for the banner year? President Barack Obama’s “Race to the Top” education reform initiative and the Tea Party-fueled 2010 midterm elections that resulted in pro-charter school legislative majorities in a number of states.

That’s according to Todd Ziebarth, the vice president of state advocacy and support for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

In an interview with Education Action Group, Ziebarth said that a number of cash-strapped states implemented policies favorable to charter schools, in hopes of winning “Race to the Top” education reform dollars.

Those commitments to charter schools were acted upon when a record number of reform-minded, Tea Party-friendly candidates were voted into state offices nearly a year ago. Since then, 16 states have passed nearly 30 laws to either expand or preserve the role of charter schools.

“This year, we made pretty good progress in a number of states,” Ziebarth said. “Hopefully, there will be more good news in the weeks and months ahead.”

Ziebarth believes the year’s biggest charter school victory occurred in Maine, which became the 41st state to allow the creation of charter schools.

North Carolina families won big when lawmakers repealed the cap that limited the number of charter schools allowed in the state.

Illinois passed a law that allows a state-appointed commission to authorize charter schools, instead of leaving that decision to self-interested school districts.

Expanding access to charter schools was part of Indiana's historic education overhaul.

But not all the charter school victories were glamorous and headline-grabbing, as Ziebarth points out.

For instance, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio all passed laws allowing charter schools to use a school district’s surplus buildings, a move that allows charters to spend their resources on students instead of rent.

Teachers unions in several cities, including Boston and Toledo, have recently fought efforts to allow charters to use vacant public school buildings. Those were obvious attempts to stymie the competition.

“Shrinking state budgets makes funding charter schools a challenge,” Ziebarth said. “Having access to public buildings really helps. And it makes sense because taxpayers have already paid for these buildings, many of which have been designated for educational purposes.”

In New Mexico, charter advocates played good defense and staved off an attempt to impose a moratorium on charters.

Looking ahead, Ziebarth is “optimistic that we can finally break through in Alabama next year.” He also expects charter schools will be allowed to expand in Missouri, and may be allowed to form in Montana – though that will have to wait until the state legislature reconvenes in 2013.

Ziebarth acknowledged that charters have “made pretty good progress in a number of states,” but have suffered a few disappointments, too.

Several politically conservative states such as Texas, Idaho, Alabama and Mississippifailed to pass charter school measures in 2011. While Republicans run the show in those states, and typically favor school choice and charter schools, Ziebarth thinks there is a misperception among some that charters only benefit urban areas, and not rural and suburban communities.

Teacher unions also present a problem for charter schools. Ziebarth said the unions employ a three-pronged approach to stopping the spread of charter schools: legislation, litigation and organization.

If charter laws survive the legislative and legal hurdles, unions will often try to organize the charter school teachers. If the union succeeds in forcing charter schools to collectively bargain with employees, the schools lose their flexibility and innovation, and become virtually indistinguishable from their traditional public school counterparts.

Without a doubt, teacher unions will try to roll back the gains charter school supporters have made over the past year, Ziebarth said.

“Teacher unions are still fighting hard in statehouses across the country,” he said.

The unions will continue to fight their charter school competitors, likely because charters have become so popular with families all across the country. reports that "six school districts now have more than 30 percent of their public school students enrolled in public charter schools: New Orleans, Washington D.C., Detroit, Kansas City (Missouri), Flint, MI and Gary, IN."

The site also reports that the Los Angeles district has 79,385 students enrolled in charter schools, the highest  number in the nation.

Ziebarth believes the best way to inoculate charter schools from the volatility of politics is to make the movement as bipartisan as possible.

“But that’s easier said than done,” he said.

- Ben Velderman can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or by phone at (231) 733-4202.

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News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Jane Kettering   
Tuesday, 25 October 2011 11:47
DAVENPORT, Iowa—St. Ambrose University officials are reporting positive trends this fall, in the form of top rankings from national publications, more students preparing for health care careers, and managed enrollment growth.

Two national ranking publications, The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report, have rated St. Ambrose University among the top universities in the region.

This is the seventh year in a row St. Ambrose has been selected by the Princeton Review as one of the best universities in the Midwest. In addition, St. Ambrose has maintained an average placement in the top 40 among peer institutions as determined by the U.S. News & World Report.

The Princeton Review, which uses student opinion data to determine their rankings. selected the university as one of 153 institutions of higher education it recommends for its "Best in the Midwest" designation.

Colleges named "regional bests" represent only about 25 percent of the nation's four-year colleges. Student opinion data, which led to the “best” designation, referenced small class sizes and accessible professors. "One of Ambrose’s best features is the caring faculty and staff,” said one student. An elementary education major reported that “coming to Ambrose was one of the best choices I have ever made."

U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Ambrose University 40th—and in the top tier—among “Best Regional Universities - Midwest.” The region includes 12 states.

Among university strengths related to high rankings are nationally accredited academic programs in Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. St. Ambrose offers one of only 41 post-doctoral orthopedic PT clinical residencies nationwide, the only master’s level occupational therapy program in the state of Iowa, and a growing Master of Speech-Language Pathology degree program. A new $11.5 million health sciences education center offers students state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories.

"The growth in number of students seeking degrees in health sciences reflects both a response to community need for highly qualified health care professionals, and the strength of our programs,” says John Cooper, vice president for enrollment management at St. Ambrose. “Our fall enrollment report is also showing the results of managed growth, while focusing on building strong neighborhood relations and providing appropriate facilities to meet the needs of current students.”

A total of 2,752 undergraduate students are enrolled this fall, along with 815 graduate students. This fall, the most popular undergraduate degree programs include Business and Accounting, Education, Nursing, Psychology and Exercise Science. The most popular graduate programs include the MBA, Master of Organizational Leadership, Master of Social Work, Master of Occupational Therapy, Master of Speech-Language Pathology and Doctor of Physical Therapy. A new Mechanical Engineering degree program has been added this fall, the only one of its kind offered in the Quad Cities.

Founded in 1882, St. Ambrose is a coeducational, Roman Catholic liberal arts university with more than 3,600 students. It maintains an 11-to-1 student-faculty ratio while offering more than 75 areas of study, as well as master’s and doctoral programs.

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