Education & Schools
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Chris Diebel   
Thursday, 29 January 2015 10:10

Literacy Initiative Showcases Statewide Efforts and New Online Resources

DES MOINES, IA – The Iowa Reading Research Center (IRRC) leadership team will visit the State Capitol on Wednesday, January 28th to highlight the extensive work being done to combat literacy issues faced by one-out-of-four children in Iowa. Legislators and members of their staff are invited to learn more about the statewide initiative and the newly launched collection of free literacy resources available at The breakfast will be held from 7:30-9:30am in the Legislative Dining Room (G15).

In 2012, Iowa lawmakers adopted an early literacy initiative to help ensure children read by the end of the third grade. That included the formation of the Iowa Reading Research Center. The IRRC collaborates across educational systems to support universal screening assessments to identify children who need help in reading, progress monitoring assessments to ensure they stay on track, and evidenced based interventions and strategies to assist with instruction. With the help of national experts, Iowa’s Early Warning System has been created. In collaboration with the Department of Education and Iowa AEAs, the IRRC has been training current and future educators on the system. Over 90% of Iowa’s elementary schools use the Formative Assessment System for Teachers (FAST), Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs) and the Iowa TIER data system. 

Every college and university that has an elementary program has attended statewide trainings – including Iowa’s three regent universities. Until now, there has never been this level of cohesive partnership between colleges and universities. The record-setting 100% involvement will go a long way towards fully training Iowa’s future educators on the new standards and tools being put into place to improve reading levels amongst our state’s pre-kindergarten through elementary students.

IRRC staff will discuss these accomplishments with legislators and outline their collaborative efforts that fall under the following categories:

IOWA’S EARLY WARNING SYSTEM FOR LITERACY – Promoting Best Practices in Literacy
The IRRC promotes best practices in literacy by collaborating across educational systems to support universal screening, progress monitoring and evidence-based interventions and strategies.

The IRRC collaborates with statewide and national experts to develop criteria and guidelines educators will use to assist students in becoming proficient readers.

HIGH QUALITY LITERACY RESOURCES – Supporting Students, Families And Educators offers free online literacy resources available to the public for classroom learning and at-home for children ranging in age from birth to 6th grade.

In February, the IRRC will mail an informational package to elementary schools highlighting the organization’s efforts and free online offerings. It will include descriptive collateral for PTAs and take-home book marks for children and their families.

IRRC was formed during the 2012 legislative session through an appropriation to build a virtual repository of literacy resources for Iowa. Parent and teacher resources in Iowa were fragmented, inconsistent and not always screened for relevancy and accuracy. The newly unveiled IRRC website utilizes a team of educators, education-based IT staff and literacy staff to lead the collection effort and screening process for this repository. Learn more at

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Rivermont Collegiate Receives Hubbell-Waterman Foundation Grant PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Jill Weitzel   
Thursday, 29 January 2015 10:07
The Hubbell-Waterman Foundation has awarded a capital grant in the amount of $25,000 to Rivermont Collegiate for masonry preservation, maintenance, and repairs to the historic Joseph Bettendorf Mansion. The grant will be used to begin essential repairs to exterior bricks, mortar, and joints on the 100-year old structure.

Built in 1815, the Bettendorf Mansion is one of only two remaining structures within the city of Bettendorf listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is of significant historical value to the entire community and region.

Rivermont Collegiate moved to the Bettendorf estate from the original campus in Davenport in 1973. The Mansion houses the Middle and Upper school classrooms, a science lab, a computer lab, and administrative offices. The Bettendorf Mansion also hosts numerous weddings and community events throughout the year.


UW-Stevens Point undergraduates honored for scholastic achievement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Carrie Heibler   
Thursday, 29 January 2015 08:55

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (January 27, 2015) - The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point honored more than 2,740 undergraduate students for attaining high grade point averages during the fall semester of the 2014-2015 academic year.

Austin Paytash of Moline has received Highest Honors!

Full-time undergraduates who earned grade points of 3.90 to 4.0 (4.0 equals straight A) are given the highest honors designation. High honor citations go to those with grade point averages from 3.75 to 3.89 and honor recognition is accorded to those with grade point averages from 3.50 to 3.74.

Personalized certificates of scholastic achievement are being sent to those who earned highest honors distinction.


Treasurer Fitzgerald Offers Free Materials for Kindergarten Round-Up PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Karen Austin   
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 16:07

Schools across the state are invited to participate in Prepare for the Basics.

DES MOINES, IA (01/27/2015)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald is offering free pencils to schools across Iowa for use in Kindergarten Round-Up through the Prepare for the Basics program. "Our schools know inviting families to visit their school before a new school year begins will help kindergarteners prepare for their big transition," Fitzgerald said. "We offer the pencils as a small gesture of support for our schools." In addition to the pencil, this free program will provide information about College Savings Iowa, the state-sponsored 529 plan created to help Iowa families meet the increasing costs of higher education.

College Savings Iowa lets anyone – parents, grandparents, friends and relatives – invest for college. Iowa taxpayers can deduct up to $3,163 in contributions per beneficiary account from their adjusted gross income in 2015.* Investors can withdraw their investment tax-free to pay for qualified higher education expenses including tuition, books, supplies and room and board at any eligible college, university, community college or accredited technical training school in the United States or abroad.** For more information about College Savings Iowa, visit or call 888-672-9116.

Elementary Principals interested in taking part in the Prepare for the Basics program are urged to register online by visiting To guarantee timely arrival, materials should be requested at least two weeks in advance. They will be delivered directly to the participating schools. Supplies are limited, so early registration is advised.

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

**The earnings portion of nonqualified 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 the 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.

For more information about the College Savings Iowa 529 Plan, call 888-672-9116, or visit to obtain a Program Description. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses and other important information are included in the Program Description; read and consider it carefully before investing. Vanguard Marketing Corporation, Distributor.

College Savings Iowa is an Iowa trust sponsored by the Iowa state treasurer's office. The treasurer of the state of Iowa sponsors and is responsible for overseeing the administration of the College Savings Iowa 529 Plan. The Vanguard Group, Inc., serves as Investment Manager and Vanguard Marketing Corporation, an affiliate of The Vanguard Group, Inc., assists the treasurer with marketing and distributing the plan. Ascensus Investment Advisors, LLC, provides records administration services. The plan's portfolios, although they invest in Vanguard mutual funds, are not mutual funds.

Local students named to Central College dean's list PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Laura Billingsley   
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 15:54

PELLA, IA (01/26/2015)(readMedia)-- The following students were named to the fall 2014 Central College dean's list:

Angela Allgood of Muscatine is the daughter of Jeff and Janet Allgood.

Daniel Dankert of Davenport is the son of Larry and Diane Dankert.

Miranda Ebeling of Muscatine is the daughter of Scott and Carol Ebeling.

Joseph Heath of Taylor Ridge is the son of Ronald and Lynn Heath.

Alicia Huegel of Bettendorf is the daughter of Tony and Debra Huegel.

Melissa Ketcham of Muscatine is the daughter of Raymond Ketcham.

Sydney Lunardi of Bettendorf is the daughter of Bruce and Marlene Lunardi.

Sarah Montgomery of Bettendorf is the daughter of Patrick and Jill Montgomery.

Lauren Parsons of Davenport is the daughter of Jerry Parsons and Lynn Welzenbach.

The honor is awarded to full-time students who achieve a 3.5 grade point average or higher on a 4.0 scale while taking 12 or more graded credit hours for the semester.

Founded in 1853, Central College of Pella, Iowa, is a private, residential four-year liberal arts college known for its academic rigor and strength in global experiential learning, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), sustainability education, athletics success and tradition, and leadership and service. Central continues to value its long-standing relationship with the Reformed Church in America that began in 1916. The college participates in NCAA Division III athletics and is a member of the Iowa Conference. Central is an active part of the Greater Des Moines region and just two minutes from Lake Red Rock, Iowa's largest lake.

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