Education & Schools
Chief Administrator Retiring PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Whitney Smith   
Monday, 22 October 2012 15:37
On Wednesday, October 10, 2012, at the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency Board of Directors Organizational Meeting, Regular Board Meeting and Board Retreat, Dr. Glenn Pelecky, who has served successfully as Chief Administrator for the past 25 years, was released from his current contract at the end of 2012-2013 for the sole purpose of retirement.

Dr. Glenn Pelecky has served as Chief Administrator since 1988, retiring with a 43 year career that has demonstrated a high level of commitment, trust and mutual respect.

In reflection, Dr. Pelecky stated that although he will be leaving an organization to which he has dedicated the majority of his professional life, he is looking forward to being able to pursue several lifelong professional and personal goals that full time work has not allowed him to take on and move to the next chapter of his life.

The Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency is one of nine area education agencies in the state of Iowa. The Agency area includes all of Clinton, Muscatine and Scott counties, as well as part of Cedar, Louisa and Jackson, serving more than 50,000 students in public and approved non-public schools in 153 buildings and 5500 administrators and teachers.

In 2007, Dr. Pelecky was notified by SAI that he had been nominated by his peers and selected as the 2007-2008 Iowa Superintendent of the year for consistently providing innovative and visionary leadership to the educators and students in the area. In reply, Dr. Pelecky stated, “I am comfortable accepting this honor as recognition of the work of the staff and board of the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, not an individual effort on my part.” We have accomplished a great deal together.

The Mission of the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency is to improve teaching and learning for all students through active partnerships and assertive leadership in a climate of mutual respect.

The Board of Directors will be reviewing search firm applicants and make a selection that represents the level of integrity, professionalism and custom-designed service required to select a Chief Administrator for the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency.

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Simon to SIUE students: Affordability matters PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Monday, 22 October 2012 13:22

Lt. Governor calls for reforms to stabilize college costs

EDWARDSVILLE – October 19, 2012. While speaking about college affordability today, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon said she vehemently disagrees with a nationwide survey sponsored and released this week by TIME Magazine and the Carnegie Foundation that shows 80 percent of adults believe higher education is not worth the cost.

Simon made her remarks while working alongside Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students in the dining hall. Her visit was part of a College Affordability Summit at SIUE Simon hosted to call on federal, state and higher education leaders to work together to make college more affordable for Illinois students.

"We cannot lose sight of our students who must work and borrow to bridge the gap between financial aid and rising college costs," Simon said. "To keep our state competitive in the national and global economy, we need more students to complete college than ever before. The only way we can achieve that goal is if college is affordable. We must work together to rein in costs."

Illinois ranks at the bottom of states when measuring the ability of low-income families to afford the net cost of an education at a public four-year institution in Illinois, and 46th in the net cost as a percent of income for middle-income families, according to the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

Data expected to be released by the College Board next week confirms that the cost of college has outpaced other goods and services for the past 30 years, even as family incomes have declined in the past decade. To pay the bills, students racked up an average of $26,682 in student loans in 2010, up 14.3 percent from three years earlier and more than double what they owed in 1995, according to a Pew Research Center report released in early October.

Teagan Smith, a sophomore studying communications, is one of many students at SIU Edwardsville and across the state who is patching together work study and scholarships to pay for tuition and school expenses. The third of ten children, Smith said her family relies on financial aid so higher education is affordable for her and her siblings.

“I would not be in college if it weren’t for work study and scholarships,” Smith said. “Scholarships help me pay for tuition and work study covers other expenses, so together college can be affordable.”

Simon is visiting all 12 public universities in Illinois this fall to hold College Affordability Summits with students and emphasize that higher education funding must be a higher priority for state, federal and school leaders. During her visit she outlined three ways stakeholders could work together to keep college affordable:

  • Consumer protections: Simon supports House Bill 5248, which would require all degree-granting institutions that operate in Illinois to publish online College Choice Reports. The reports would contain information such as net costs, average debt and completion rates in an easy-to-read and easy-to-find format. Unlike the federally proposed “shopping sheet” which provides cost information after a student applies to a school, the College Choice Report would be available to students online before they apply, to help them find a college or university that fits their needs and their budget.
  • Targeted assistance: To better use state resources, Simon wants to strengthen the Monetary Award Program and insure MAP grants promote college attendance and completion and reduce the achievement gap between low-income and higher-income students. MAP grants are currently awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students based on financial need, but state funding reaches only about half of eligible students. Simon currently serves on a MAP Eligibility Task Force that is evaluating ways to improve distributional equity and encourage timely degree completion. A report to the General Assembly is due January 1, 2013.
  • Tax credits for tuition payments: More than 9 million students and families are taking advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, saving them up to $10,000 over four years of college. Simon supports making this federal tax credit permanent and preventing it from expiring at the end of this year.

“Cutting investments directly related to economic growth doesn’t make sense. We should work together on policies that prioritize education and employment, not shortchange Illinois students and quality employers,” Simon said."Together we could stabilize the cost for public universities and community colleges, following tuition and fee increases that have outpaced inflation, family incomes and available aid over the past 20 years."

Eric Zarnikow, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, cited recent MAP award activity as evidence that affordability should be a key issue for Illinois leaders. For every eligible student who received a MAP grant this school year, another was denied due to lack of state funds.

“MAP is one of the largest needs-based financial aid programs in the country. While approximately 150,000 students will receive an award this year, just as many will be left on the sidelines as a result of limited funding,” Zarnikow said.

“The higher education community looks forward to working with Lt. Governor Simon and state leaders to maintain and restore funding and support policies that will help more students graduate with a quality college education in a timely and cost-effective manner,” said George Reid, executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

SIU Edwardsville was the fifth of Simon’s affordability summits. She will visit the University of Illinois Springfield on Tuesday, October 23.

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Simon to ISU students: Affordability matters PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Friday, 19 October 2012 07:01

Lt. Governor calls for reforms to stabilize college costs

 

NORMAL -- October 18, 2012. After working alongside Illinois State University students in the dining hall today, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon called on federal, state and higher education leaders to work together to make college more affordable for Illinois students.

Simon, who serves as the Governor's point person on education reform, cited national debate over higher education funding as she urged stakeholders to ensure the next generation of students is not priced out of a college credential they need to land a good-paying job.

"We cannot lose sight of our students who must work and borrow to bridge the gap between financial aid and rising college costs," Simon said. "To keep our state competitive in the national and global economy, we need more students to complete college than ever before. The only way we can achieve that goal is if college is affordable. We must work together to rein in costs."

Illinois ranks at the bottom of states when measuring the ability of low-income families to afford the net cost of an education at a public four-year institution in Illinois, and 46th in the net cost as a percent of income for middle-income families, according to the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

Data expected to be released by the College Board next week confirms that the cost of college has outpaced other goods and services for the past 30 years, even as family incomes have declined in the past decade. To pay the bills, students racked up an average of $26,682 in student loans in 2010, up 14.3 percent from three years earlier and more than double what they owed in 1995, according to a Pew Research Center report released in early October.

Shayla Dennis, a senior studying food industry management, is one of many students at ISU and across the state feeling the cost crunch. Dennis was able to save money by earning an associates degree from Illinois Central College, but she still needs to patch together grants, loans and work study to make college possible.

“I live off-campus and don’t have a residence hall meal plan, so my job helps pay for other expenses that quickly add up,” Dennis said. “Pell and Perkins funds help, but working allows me to take out less in loans.”

Simon is visiting all 12 public universities in Illinois this fall to hold College Affordability Summits with students and emphasize that higher education funding must be a higher priority for state, federal and school leaders. After meeting with work study students and shadowing them at the Watterson Commons Dining Center, she outlined three ways stakeholders could work together to keep college affordable:

Consumer protections: Simon supports House Bill 5248, which would require all degree-granting institutions that operate in Illinois to publish online College Choice Reports. The reports would contain information such as net costs, average debt and completion rates in an easy-to-read and easy-to-find format. Unlike the federally proposed “shopping sheet” which provides cost information after a student applies to a school, the College Choice Report would be available to students online before they apply, to help them find a college or university that fits their needs and their budget.

Targeted assistance: To better use state resources, Simon wants to strengthen the Monetary Award Program and insure MAP grants promote college attendance and completion and reduce the achievement gap between low-income and higher-income students. MAP grants are currently awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students based on financial need, but state funding reaches only about half of eligible students. Simon currently serves on a MAP Eligibility Task Force that is evaluating ways to improve distributional equity and encourage timely degree completion. A report to the General Assembly is due January 1, 2013.

Tax relief for middle class families: More than 9 million students and families are taking advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, saving them up to $10,000 over four years of college. Simon supports making this federal tax credit permanent and preventing it from expiring at the end of this year.

“Cutting investments directly related to economic growth doesn’t make sense. We should work together on policies that prioritize education and employment, not shortchange Illinois students and quality employers,” Simon said."Together we could stabilize the cost for public universities and community colleges, following tuition and fee increases that have outpaced inflation, family incomes and available aid over the past 20 years."

Eric Zarnikow, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, cited recent MAP award activity as evidence that affordability should be a key issue for Illinois leaders. For every eligible student who received a MAP grant this school year, another was denied due to lack of state funds.

“MAP is one of the largest needs-based financial aid programs in the country. While approximately 150,000 students will receive an award this year, just as many will be left on the sidelines as a result of limited funding,” Zarnikow said.

“The higher education community looks forward to working with Lt. Governor Simon and state leaders to maintain and restore funding and support policies that will help more students graduate with a quality college education in a timely and cost-effective manner,” said George Reid, executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Illinois State University was the third stop on Simon's affordability circuit. She will visit Western Illinois University Thursday afternoon and SIU Edwardsville Friday.

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FREE Lecture Series Open to QC Parents: The Future of STEM & Student Robotics Across Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Brittany Marietta   
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 13:52

What:  Parent Talk – a recurring FREE lecture series open to QC community

When:  Wednesday, 10/24 – 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Where:  Auditorium – Rivermont Collegiate, 1821 Sunset Drive, Bettendorf, IA  (directly off 18th St. behind K&K Hardware)

Topic:  The Future of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) & Student Robotics Across Iowa

Operate on your next chicken or turkey dinner, taking a moment to examine the vertebrae of the neck or hinge joints of the wings.  Discuss oil-eating bacteria in the Gulf on the way to swim practice.  After the big game, calculate how much the university football coach earns per game or per hour.  Sound like weird family activities?  Reconsider!  Future careers, as well as daily life decisions, will increasingly depend on a firm grounding in math and science.  Set your kids on course for a bright future by helping them prepare for their STEM-based world!

Rivermont Collegiate is excited to present Parent Talk, featuring industry experts on education topics.  The October session will feature guest speaker Pat Barnes, Program Director for John Deere’s new STEM initiative, John Deere Inspire.

Join us to explore why STEM is critical to our community, what STEM initiatives are happening in the Quad Cities, and how to get involved and spark your child’s interest in STEM.

Rivermont Collegiate is the Quad Cities’ only private, independent college prep school for students in preschool through 12th grade.  For additional information, contact Rachel Chamberlain, Director of Admissions and Marketing, at 563-359-1366 x302 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Visit us on the web at www.rvmt.org

-END-

 
Simon: College is a prerequisite, not a privilege PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 09:39

Calls for reforms to keep higher education affordable

CARBONDALE – October 15, 2012. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon visited Southern Illinois University Carbondale today to urge state, federal and higher education leaders to work together to keep college affordable so thousands of Illinois students can earn the credentials needed for good-paying jobs. This is Simon’s second stop as she holds college affordability summits with students at all 12 public universities this fall.

“To keep pace with the global economy, Illinois needs 60 percent of working-age adults to hold college credentials by 2025. To complete college, students must be able to afford college,” Simon said. “Higher education affordability must be a higher priority. College cannot be accessible only to the privileged when it is a prerequisite for a good-paying job.”

Simon supports College Choice Reports, a standardized report for all degree-granting institutions that would help students analyze real cost, debt and graduation rates across institutions. She is also serving on a state task force that could change the way need-based state grants are awarded to students as early as next school year.

The goal is to stabilize the cost for public universities and community colleges, following tuition and fee increases that have outpaced inflation, family incomes and available aid over the past 20 years. To pay the bills, students racked up an average of $26,682 in student loans in 2010, up 14.3 percent from three years earlier and more than double what they owed in 1995, according to a Pew Research Center report released in early October.

Simon emphasized the need for cooperation among state, federal and higher education leaders to prioritize the investment in higher education and the state’s future. She outlined three ways stakeholders could work together to keep college affordable:

·         Consumer protections: Simon supports House Bill 5248, which would require all degree-granting institutions that operate in Illinois to publish online College Choice Reports. The reports would contain information such as net costs, average debt and completion rates in an easy-to-read and easy-to-find format. Unlike the federally proposed “shopping sheet” which provides cost information after a student applies to a school, the College Choice Report would be available to students online before they apply, to help them find a college or university that fits their needs and their budget.

·         Targeted assistance: To better use state resources, Simon wants to strengthen the Monetary Award Program and insure MAP grants promote college attendance and completion and reduce the achievement gap between low-income and higher-income students. MAP grants are currently awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students based on financial need, but state funding reaches only about half of eligible students. A MAP Eligibility Task Force is evaluating ways to improve distributional equity and encourage timely degree completion.

·         Tax relief for middle class families: Over 9 million students and families are taking advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, saving them up to $10,000 over four years of college. Simon supports making this federal tax credit permanent and preventing it from expiring at the end of this year.

“Cutting investments directly related to economic growth doesn’t make sense. We should work together on policies that prioritize education and employment, not shortchange Illinois students and quality employers,” Simon said.

During her visit, Simon shadowed Christophe Freeman, a federal work-study recipient who works in the Trueblood Dining Hall to help pay for college expenses. Freeman, a junior majoring in cinema production, says that without financial aid, he would not be able to attend school.

“With the financial aid I receive, I can pay for tuition and some other expenses, too.” Freeman said. “My schedule is flexible, I get to work with my peers and I can walk between work and classes, so work for me really is worry-free.”

 

Eric Zarnikow, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, cited recent MAP award activity as evidence that affordability should be a key issue for Illinois leaders. For every eligible student who received a MAP grant this school year, another was denied due to lack of state funds.

 

“MAP is one of the largest needs-based financial aid programs in the country. While approximately 150,000 students will receive an award this year, just as many will be left on the sidelines as a result of limited funding,” Zarnikow said.

“The higher education community looks forward to working with Lt. Governor Simon and state leaders to maintain and restore funding and support policies that will help more students graduate with a quality college education in a timely and cost-effective manner,” said George Reid, executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Simon’s summit at SIU Carbondale is the first of four such visits this week. Upcoming Affordability Summits include Thursday, Oct. 18 at Illinois State University and Western Illinois University and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville on Friday, Oct. 19.

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