Education & Schools
Augustana students studied abroad in Cambodia PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Keri Rursch   
Friday, 31 May 2013 12:17

ROCK ISLAND, IL (05/30/2013)(readMedia)-- Thirty Augustana College students spent five weeks in Cambodia this past January and February. While in Cambodia, the students visited the temples of Angkor Wat and the cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The students also taught English at a school.

Students who traveled to Cambodia include:

Angela Cummins, a senior from Rock Island, Ill., majoring in communication sciences and disorders and psychology.

Jessica Roche, a senior from Moline, Ill., majoring in biology.

Moselle Singh, a senior from LeClaire, Iowa, majoring in anthropology.

About Augustana: Founded in 1860, Augustana College is a selective four-year residential college of the liberal arts and sciences. Augustana is recognized for the innovative program Augie Choice, which provides each student up to $2,000 to pursue a high-impact learning experience such as study abroad, an internship or research with a professor. Alumni include 140 Academic All-Americans, a Nobel laureate, 14 college presidents and other distinguished leaders. The college enrolls 2,500 students and is located along one of the world's most important waterways, the Mississippi River, in a community that reflects the diversity of the United States.

Gov. Branstad to sign education reform bill into law Monday PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Tim Albrecht   
Friday, 31 May 2013 12:10

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad today announced he will sign House File 215, the education reform bill, Monday, June 3, 2013 at 9 a.m. The bill signing will take place at North High School in Des Moines.

Media outlets may arrive for setup beginning at 7:30 a.m. Media is asked to enter through the main doors and check-in as a guest in the main office prior to entering the auditorium. Due to technological restraints, a live stream of the press conference and bill signing will not be available.

The following events are open to the media:

Monday, June 3, 2013

9 a.m. Gov. Branstad signs education reform into law

Des Moines North High School


501 Holcomb Avenue

Des Moines, IA

9:20 a.m. Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds hold weekly media availability

Des Moines North High School


501 Holcomb Avenue

Des Moines, IA

House File 215: An Act relating to and providing for education reform involving student, teacher, and administrator programs and activities under the purview of the department of education, the state board of education, the college student aid commission, school districts, and accredited nonpublic schools; providing for independent private instruction for students; providing for private instruction for students; concerning driver education by a teaching parent; making appropriations and providing for the establishment and retention of certain fees; and including effective date provisions.


Can the U.S. Meet Its 2014 Goal for Students? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 13:09
Education Researcher Says Boosting Graduation Rates is Possible with Existing Tools

We’re fast approaching 2014, the year federal law calls for all students to be 100 percent proficient in reading and math.

Are we there yet?

“No, but to be fair, that goal was unattainable,” says Dr. Mariam Azin, president of Mazin Education, (, which develops software solutions to help schools better assess, identify and serve at-risk students.

“What concerns me more is that the No Child Left Behind Act is also intended to dramatically reduce dropout rates. That’s very attainable, and yet we still have one in five students failing to graduate from high school!”

A core tenet of the 2001 federal law is 100 percent student proficiency in reading and math by next year. It also requires all secondary schools to show yearly progress on the number of freshmen who graduate with diplomas after four years.

However, two years ago, states were offered waivers on meeting some of the law’s requirements if they implemented certain policies, such as linking teacher evaluations to students’ test scores. As of April, 34 states and the District of Columbia had been granted waivers and 10 more applications were pending.

“Most of the states with waivers are now circumventing the accountability rules intended to increase the graduation rate, which is now 78 percent nationally,” says Azin, citing an Alliance for Excellent Education report released in February. “That sounds good until you realize 22 out of every 100 students – the dropouts – are more likely to earn less money, be less healthy, and spend time in jail. Five states have dropout rates of more than 40 percent!”

Azin, who holds a doctorate in applied social psychology and has more than 20 years’ experience in educational research and evaluation, says there are clear indicators that a student is at risk for dropping out.

“By monitoring each student’s risk factors and intervening early, we can keep more kids in school,” she says. “And that doesn’t have to be a labor-intensive exercise – we have computers!”

Some risk factors can be monitored just by collating the student information already recorded, she notes.

While research has identified many potential predictors, these have proven consistently reliable, Azin says.

• Attendance: Being absent 10 percent of school days (first 30 days per grading period annually).

• Behavior: One or more major behavior incidents per grading period1.

• Course performance: An inability to read at grade level by the end of third grade; failure In courses (e.g., including core subject areas such as English or math) in sixth through 12th grades; a GPA of less than 2.0; and failure to earn enough credits for promotion to the next grade.

“Once a student has been identified, it is critical that he or she be connected with someone who’s able to further evaluate him or provide services,” Azin says. “Unfortunately, research shows that this often fails to happen.”

That’s why it’s essential to have a system in place that monitors when and how students connect with services, and the progress they’re making, Azin says.

“Again, this can be automated, with alerts going to the appropriate interventionist when necessary,” she says.

Boosting high school graduation rates to near 100 percent is both essential and attainable with the information now available, Azin says.

“No child should be left behind, and it’s within our means to identify students at risk of dropping out and take steps to prevent that.”

About Dr. Mariam Azin

Dr. Mariam Azin is president and CEO of Mazin Education, an educational company focused on software solutions that help schools to better assess, identify and serve at-risk students. Dr. Azin holds a doctorate in applied social psychology and has more than 20 years’ experience in educational research and evaluation. She has been the principal investigator on numerous large-scale evaluation efforts related to students, currently serving as joint principal investigator on three federal Safe Schools/Healthy Students evaluations.

Local students graduate from Central College PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Rachel Vogel   
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 12:46

PELLA, (05/28/2013)(readMedia)-- The following local students graduated from Central College Saturday, May 11. The ceremony was held at H.S. Kuyper Fieldhouse in Pella, Iowa. There were 348 graduates from 15 states and one foreign country.

Patricia Braun, of Davenport, graduated summa cum laude with a major in biology, Spanish and international studies-Latin American.

Erik Grunder, of Wilton, graduated with a major in social science.

Stephanie Hasken, of Davenport, graduated with a major in exercise science.

Nancy Huddleston, of Muscatine, graduated magna cum laude with a major in mathematics.

Emily Huegel, of Bettendorf, graduated magna cum laude with a major in elementary education.

Justine Jackovich, of Eldridge, graduated magna cum laude with a major in biology.

Maaike Mielenhausen, of Davenport, graduated magna cum laude with a major in elementary education.

Gregory Oldsen, of De Witt, graduated with a major in environmental studies.

Rachel Pashon, of Sterling, graduated with a major in business management.

Allison Redman, of Davenport, graduated magna cum laude with a major in elementary education.

Samantha Scheckel, of Long Grove, graduated cum laude with a major in art.

Shannon Skalla, of New Boston, graduated with a major in theatre.

Kelly Spavin, of Bettendorf, graduated summa cum laude with a major in English.

Kevin Templeton, of Muscatine, graduated magna cum laude with a major in music education-vocal.

Andrew Weaks, of Fulton, graduated cum laude with a major in accounting and actuarial science.

Treaver Willis, of Muscatine, graduated with a major in athletic training.

Central College is a residential liberal arts college dedicated to the education of 1,500 undergraduate students. Guided by its ecumenical Christian tradition, the college community engages in vigorous, free, open inquiry in pursuit of academic excellence. Founded in 1853, the college is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America and NCAA Division III athletics.

Central is a recognized leader in study abroad as a result of its international, residential programs. Central College is located in Pella, Iowa, a thriving community of 10,000 two minutes from the state's largest lake and 40 minutes southwest of Des Moines. Please visit the college website at

Concordia University, Nebraska Holds Commencement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Jenny Hammond   
Tuesday, 28 May 2013 14:33

SEWARD, NEB. (05/28/2013)(readMedia)-- More than 450 undergraduate and graduate degrees, diplomas and certificates were awarded at Concordia University, Nebraska during its 2013 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11.

Commencement speaker Dr. Douglas Tewes used Concordia's theme Bible verse for 2012-13 -- "You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of His household." – to explain a Christian's obligation to serve.

"I think that as citizens of God's kingdom, we have responsibility in our citizenship here in America," Tewes said. In addition to delivering the commencement address, Tewes also received the honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Concordia.

Undergraduates earning degrees from Concordia were eligible for distinction or high distinction honors. Up to 10 percent of those who earned, at minimum, a 3.75 GPA were designated as graduating with high distinction. An additional 15 percent of those who earned degrees with a minimum 3.5 GPA were graduated with distinction. Departmental awards were also announced.

The following are Concordia University, Nebraska graduates from your area:

Caleb Davison, Davenport, Iowa, Bachelor of Arts;

Lee Johanson, Davenport, Iowa, Bachelor of Arts;

Concordia University, Nebraska, founded in 1894, is a fully accredited, coeducational university located in Seward, Neb. Concordia currently has over 2,200 students. Concordia offers more than 50 professional and liberal arts programs in an excellent academic and Christ-centered community that equips men and women for lives of learning, service and leadership. For more information, visit

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