Education & Schools
Local Students Earn Degrees from University of Northern Colorado PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by TheLink Delivery Service   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 15:23

GREELEY - The following local student was among 786 undergraduate and graduate students who received degrees from the University of Northern Colorado during fall 2012 graduation ceremonies Dec. 14-15.

Lindsey McCalla of Moline, Master of Science in Sport and Exercise Science

For more information about spring commencement ceremonies and a profile of the class of 2012 (spring), visit


Rivermont Collegiate Welcomes New Director of Development PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Brittany Marietta   
Monday, 17 December 2012 15:54

The Rivermont Collegiate Board of Trustees has selected Rod Ossowski as the school’s new Director of Development.  Mr. Ossowski will manage Rivermont’s advancement endeavors, including the annual fund, endowment, planned giving, auction, and alumni relations.  Rivermont has been educating students in the Quad Cities since 1884.  At Rivermont, tuition alone does not cover the cost of the education provided, nor does it take into account the school’s long term needs or address capital improvements.  We are excited to welcome Mr. Ossowksi aboard to help raise the funds that make Rivermont’s mission possible!

Ossowski, a resident of East Moline, is a graduate of Alleman High School and Northern Illinois University with over twenty five years of development experience.  He returned to the Quad Cities seven years ago after time spent in Arizona, where he served as Director of Development for the West Valley Symphony and the Challenger Space & Science Education Center in Phoenix, as well as a Major Gifts Officer at the University of Arizona and Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations at Prescott College.  Ossowski spent the past six years as Director of Development at Family Resources, where he started the first annual fund campaign and helped lead a $1.1 million campaign to complete the historic Wittenmyer gymnasium restoration and renovation project.

Rivermont Collegiate, located in Bettendorf, is the Quad Cities’ only private, independent college prep school for preschool through 12th grade, with students from throughout the Quad City area.  Each year, students come to grow, to learn, and to experience an education designed to make a difference in their lives.  Founded in 1884, the school was originally organized as St. Katharine’s School, an Episcopal school for girls located at 10th and Tremont Streets in Davenport.  In 1968, St. Katharine’s dropped its boarding program, became co-educational, and added St. Mark’s to its name.  In 1973, St. Katharine’s – St. Mark’s moved to its present location in Bettendorf and the name was changed to Rivermont Collegiate in 2001, following an amicable break with the Episcopal Church.

Rod Ossowski - Rivermont Collegiate Director of Development.jpg

Branstad, Reynolds, Iowa HSEMD Share Guidance for Developing School Safety Readiness Plan PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Monday, 17 December 2012 15:50

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds were joined today at a press conference by Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD) Administrator Mark Schouten to share guidance for developing a school safety readiness plan in wake of the senseless tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.

“The thoughts and prayers of all Iowans are with the families and friends of the innocent victims of this senseless tragedy,” said Branstad. “While it is difficult to understand such an evil act, we do know our children and grandchildren remain our most precious gifts and ensuring their safety in our communities is absolutely critical.”

Earlier this year, Iowa HSEMD put in place a new school safety guide to assist schools in making plans and establishing procedures to make their facilities, students and staff safer.  This guide covers a variety of emergencies, including how to respond to an intruder with a gun who enters their school intending to do harm.


“Schools serve as society’s pathway to upward mobility and growth,” said Reynolds.  “It is our responsibility to keep students, teachers and school administrators safe. We applaud all those whose quick action saved children, including those teachers and school administrators and staff who acted as first responders and preformed heroic deeds.”

The school safety-planning guide covers a number of threating events and helps schools plan how to respond.  The planning guide was prepared by HSEMD in conjunction with the following:

§  The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence Fusion Center

§  Iowa Department of Education

§  School Administrators of Iowa

§  The Iowa Association of School Boards

§  The Iowa State Education Association

§  Heartland Area Education Agency

§  State of Iowa Fire Marshal’s Office

§  Des Moines Police, School Resource Officers


“The State of Iowa through its Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has worked with Iowa schools over the past ten years to ensure the safety of their students,” said Iowa HSEMD Administrator Mark Schouten. “Our office oversees a program through which we work to increase the security and safety of our state’s critical infrastructure and facilities. One of the areas we have done a work in great deal of is in educational facilities.”


HSEMD has also worked closely with the Iowa Central Community College’s Homeland Security Training Center to offer active shooter classes to law enforcement and other first responders for the past three years.  The training center has taught some 41,000 first responders through their active shooter and other classes over the past nine years and is currently the recipient of an HSEMD grant to continue active shooter training for smaller law enforcement agencies.

Some 500 copies of the school safety planning guide have been distributed to school administrators, school nurses, emergency management coordinators, and first responders over the last few months.  Electronic versions are available at the HSEMD website: or can be obtained from your local emergency management coordinator.


Simon - Make affordable higher education a higher priority PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Kara Beach   
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 13:56

Colleges call for a vote on Choice Reports bill

CHICAGO – December 12, 2012. Calling for a vote on a key college affordability and transparency bill, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon marked her 12th and final College Affordability Summit today with a visit to Northeastern Illinois University.

Simon said that transparency is one of three basic tenets that will help students afford and complete college. She is backing legislation requiring all degree-granting institutions to publish an annual College Choice Report. The report would help students compare information, such as total costs and completion rates, across all degree-granting institutions in the state and make more informed decisions about where to spend their college dollars.

All 12 public university presidents and the Illinois Community College Board presidents' council submitted letters recently to the House calling for Senate Bill 5248 to be released for a vote before this session ends.

“College Choice Reports will be easy to access and easy to use, helping students find the facts they need to make an informed decision about an institution that will best fit their needs,” said Simon. “I appreciate the great support we have received for Senate Bill 5248, and I look forward to working with Speaker Madigan to bring this bill to the House floor for a vote.”

While increased transparency will help students discover more information about the state’s higher education institutions, Simon has outlined two additional ways stakeholders can work together to make college affordable:

·         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 that means 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 task force report to the General Assembly is due Jan. 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."

According to a College Board trends report published in October, costs at public and private universities nationwide increased more than 4 percent this school year, while the cost of community college increased more than 5 percent since last school year. Compounding the burden on students, federal aid declined for the first time in three years.

“In order to retain and attract high-wage and high-skill jobs in Illinois, we will need 60 percent of our working-age population to hold a college credential by 2025,” Simon said. “We cannot expect students to complete college if they cannot afford college. I urge our state, federal and higher education leaders to work together to ensure college is not only accessible to the privileged, when it will be a prerequisite for a good job in our state.”


Governor Quinn, College Students Discuss Impact of Pension Squeeze on Financial Aid for Higher Education PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Erin Wilson   
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 13:53

Higher Education, MAP Grant Funding at Risk without

Immediate Pension Reform

CHICAGO – December 12, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by Illinois college students to discuss how inaction on pension reform is threatening Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois. One after one, the students made clear how access to higher education changed their lives and prepared them for a job and career. Today’s event is part of the governor’s ongoing effort to educate and activate the people of Illinois to push for pension reform as he continues to work with legislators on the issue.

“A college degree gives students the foundation they need to launch a successful career,” Governor Quinn said. “Nobody has more at stake in pension reform than the students of Illinois. We must make sure every student has the chance to pursue their dreams and the degree of their choosing, and that’s why we must work together to enact comprehensive pension reform by January 9.”

MAP grants are need-based college scholarships that provide students with merit who are in need across Illinois with the opportunity to attend a higher education institution. These grants help cover tuition and fee costs at approved universities and colleges in Illinois, and do not need to be repaid by the student. 18,000 students lost their MAP grant scholarships this year because of budget reductions to education. Currently, only half of eligible MAP grant applicants are able to receive the aid they need to attend college.

According to the Pew Center for the States, Illinois has the worst-funded pension systems in the nation. As Illinois’ $96 billion unfunded pension liability grows, it squeezes out more and more funding for crucial services such as health care, road repair and MAP college scholarships from the state budget. Unless comprehensive pension reform is enacted, taxpayer dollars that would otherwise be spent on ensuring that deserving students have the opportunity to pursue a degree will instead continue to cover ballooning pension costs.

In April, Governor Quinn proposed a plan that would rescue Illinois’ public pension systems, ensure employees have access to benefits and prevent skyrocketing pension costs from squeezing out core services such as education, health care and public safety. The governor’s plan would fully fund the pension system by 2042. The governor also launched an Internet campaign-Thanks in Advance- to boost public awareness about the “squeeze” caused by soaring pension costs and the urgent need for pension reform. Since launching, more than 34,000 unique visitors have gone to and a video featuring “Squeezy the Pension Python” has been viewed almost 25,000 times.

The legislature is scheduled to work January 3 - 8.


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