Education & Schools
Sport for the Mind: LEGOS Much More than Child’s Play for Rivermont 5th Grade PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Brittany Marietta   
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 11:26

The fifth grade class at Rivermont Collegiate is discovering it’s more fun to design and create a robot than it is to play with one – and having the hardest fun they’ve ever had!  Rivermont’s fifth graders have formed 2 teams to participate in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotics program!  Team Masterminds and Team Technical Difficulties are applying real-world math and science concepts to design, build, program, and test a fully autonomous robot capable of completing pre-assigned missions!  Teams will be competing at the FLL Regional Qualifier at the Putnam Museum on Saturday, December 10th.  Top performing teams at this local tournament will be invited to state and international tournaments.

FIRST LEGO League is a robotics program for children ages 9-16 designed to get children excited about science and technology, while teaching them valuable employment and life skills.  FIRST LEGO League 2011 features 19,800 teams from over 50 countries competing in 560 Qualifying Tournaments, which will be followed by 117 Championship Tournaments, 3 Open Championships, and 1 World Festival.  Teams, composed of up to ten children with at least one adult coach, program an autonomous robot using the Lego Mindstorms set to score points on a thematic playing surface.  Teams also create an innovative solution to a problem, which is different every year and based on a real-world scientific topic.  This year’s “problem” – also referred to as the Challenge – is titled “Food Factor – Keeping Food Safe” and challenges teams to identify points of contamination our food encounters and develop an innovative solution.

Rivermont fifth graders and their families and volunteer coaches have made a big commitment to this ambitious challenge, with scheduled weekly robotics practice and assignments, as well as a presentation to families in December before the regional competition at the Putnam.  In addition, the class is tracking lessons and progress, including photos and a blog, at – follow their exciting progress!

For additional information on the FIRST LEGO League, visit

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


For additional information on Rivermont Collegiate, contact Cindy Murray at (563) 359-1366 ext. 302 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and visit us on the web at!

Treasurer Fitzgerald Awards $1000 College Savings Iowa Account to Baby Born at Skiff Medical Center PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Michael Fitzgerald   
Monday, 19 September 2011 09:08

DES MOINES, IA (09/15/2011)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald's office has awarded another $1,000 College Savings Iowa account – this time to a lucky baby born in Newton. The award, courtesy of the College Savings Iowa Baby 529 Giveaway, is given once a month to put one baby on the right path toward saving for college. Baby Bentley, born at Skiff Medical Center, was this month's winner. The baby's parents, Jennifer Neleman and Bradley Willson, received information about the giveaway program before leaving the hospital after their child's birth.

"Little Bentley may not be able to study yet, but he's already got a jump start on his college savings, and it will continue to grow right along-side him," stated Fitzgerald, plan administrator. "I encourage families with young children like Bentley to put time on their side and start saving for college early. Anything they can put away today will offset what may need to be borrowed in the future."

Treasurer Fitzgerald thanks Skiff Medical Center for helping him spread the message about the importance of saving for college. By participating in the College Savings Iowa Baby 529 Giveaway, the hospital provides new parents with information about saving early and a chance to win a $1,000 College Savings Iowa account for their baby. "We are pleased to have you as part of our team working to increase public awareness about the benefits of saving for college from day one," stated Fitzgerald.

About the College Savings Iowa BABY 529 Giveaway

The Baby 529 Giveaway awards one $1,000 College Savings Iowa account each month to a randomly selected baby. All babies born in participating Iowa hospitals are eligible to win if they register for the monthly drawing. Seventy-two hospitals currently participate in the program and provide college savings materials to families before they leave the hospital. To learn more about the program, please visit

About College Savings Iowa

College Savings Iowa is a state-sponsored 529 plan designed to give families a tax-advantaged way to save money for college. Iowa taxpayers can deduct up to $2,865 in contributions per beneficiary account from their adjusted gross income in 2011,* and there are no income or residency restrictions. Withdrawals used to pay for qualified higher education expenses including tuition; books, supplies, and room and board are free of state and federal taxes. Funds can be used at any accredited college, university, community college or technical training school in the United States or abroad.** For more information on College Savings Iowa, visit or call 1-888-672-9116.

*Adjusted annually for inflation. If withdrawals are not qualified, the deductions must be added back to Iowa taxable income.

** The earnings portion of non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax, as well as state and local income taxes. The availability of tax or other benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements.

Investment returns are not guaranteed and you could lose money by investing in the plan. Participants assume all investment risks as well as responsibility for any federal and state tax consequences. If you are not an Iowa taxpayer, consider before investing whether your or the designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state's qualified tuition program.


In Iowa’s Interest: A Helpful Resource for a New School Year PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Friday, 16 September 2011 13:30
by Senator Tom Harkin

September marks the first full month of the new school year in Iowa, which means that around the state, kids are putting books in their bags, teachers are sketching out lesson plans and administrators are walking the halls, all excited for the school year ahead.

As I prepare for the start of fall here in Washington D.C., I would personally like to welcome back to school all the students in Iowa, from those headed to their very first day to the students attending our great colleges and universities. Education is essential to our state and Iowans know and value the importance our education system gives to our children.

September is also a time to remember that even as we grow older, learning never stops. And a valuable resource to continue learning is the Library of Congress, where tools are available to teachers, students and their families online at

The Library of Congress posts historical pictures, documents and many other resources for of all students, young and old. Pieces from the Civil War, works of art from the American Revolution, personal histories of those who experienced the Civil Rights Movement, along with maps, photographs and historical artifacts, are part of over 19 million primary sources available online. And the information is completely free of charge.

The Library also has a page dedicated to teachers. At, educators can access tutorials, webcasts, interactive activities and standard-based lesson plans based on grade level. In short, the Library of Congress has put together a great resource for students and faculty and I highly recommend taking a look at the website.

As Iowans start a new school year, I wish all of the administrators, students and teachers good luck and a successful year ahead.

A PDF version of the column is available by clicking here.

Nancy O'Rourke earns graduate degree Fort Hays State University PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by readMedia   
Tuesday, 13 September 2011 12:18

HAYS, KAN. (09/07/2011)(readMedia)-- Nancy Marie O'Rourke, Bettendorf, Iowa, has graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Master of Science in Education, reading specialist.

O'Rourke is one of 102 students who completed master's or education specialist degrees in the summer 2011 semester. Degrees were announced by Dr. Tim Crowley, dean of FHSU's Graduate School.

The student's home ZIP is 52722. The ZIP code is included for the convenience of those papers that use it as a guide to placement.

Fort Hays State University's announcement of degrees includes only graduates whose transcripts and records have been verified as meeting all requirements for the degrees listed. FHSU does not release the list until all the graduates have been verified, a process that takes two to three weeks after the end of the semester.

FHSU, a state supported institution with an enrollment of about 12,000, is one of six universities in the Kansas Board of Regents system.

News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Brittany Marietta   
Tuesday, 06 September 2011 11:06

Most adults recall a time when summer meant endless hours of outdoor play (and the start of school the confinement of a classroom) - but most American children today spend the majority of summer indoors.  Studies show the average American child between the ages of 8 and 18 spends nearly eight hours per day, year round, indoors with televisions, computers, and video games.  The costs of this “indoor childhood” run the gamut from health problems to a reduced ability to relate to peers and adults and inability to concentrate.  Solutions to this trend are fairly simple, such as including unstructured time outdoors in a child’s daily routine, as well as more outdoor education in schools.  The National Wildlife Federation campaign, Be Out There, aims to ensure that every child gets a daily “Green Hour” – 60 minutes of exposure to active outdoor play and/or nature.  Studies show academic performance in science, math, English, and social studies, as well as a sense of responsibility to their surroundings, increase when students have hands-on experiences with nature.  In addition, exposure to natural settings has shown to reduce symptoms of ADHD, anxiety, and depression in children.  Be Out There provides practical tools for families and schools to make being outdoors a fun, automatic part of everyday life and return to America’s children what they don’t even know they’ve lost: their connection to the natural world!

At Rivermont Collegiate, education goes well beyond the classroom!  Rivermont students are provided a solid foundation in quantitative knowledge and written expression, while also completing a series of requirements that challenge biases, encourage personal expression, promote tolerance, and help students discover courage and inspiration.  Rivermont is excited to announce the addition of a formal Outdoor Education Program to the Upper School for the 2011-12 school year!  Students in grades 9-12 will be traveling to Camp Manito-wish in upper Wisconsin this September, experiencing a week of supervised physical challenges and varied living conditions, while learning to work with each other in overcoming physical, mental, and emotional obstacles.  The Outdoor Education Program at Rivermont is designed to challenge students to grow in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with one another.  Furthermore, thanks to the generosity of individuals, groups, and foundations, Rivermont is able to offer this inaugural program at no additional charge to students!

Rivermont Collegiate, located in Bettendorf, is the Quad Cities’ only private, independent, multicultural college preparatory school for students in preschool through twelfth grade.  What are you waiting for?  Explore what Rivermont has to offer!  Drop in for Open Tours on Tuesday, September 6th from 8:30-10:00 a.m. No appointment necessary!  This casual event gives families the opportunity to tour campus and explore our philosophy and programs.

Rivermont Collegiate is located at 1821 Sunset Drive, directly off 18th Street behind K&K Hardware in Bettendorf.  Visit us online at!  For additional information on Rivermont Collegiate or Tuesday’s Open Tours, contact Cindy Murray at (563) 359-1366 ext. 302 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

For additional information on the National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There and Green Hour campaigns, visit  For additional information on Camp Manito-wish, visit



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