Education & Schools
Leanna Doyle Takes Part in Alternative Spring Break PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Jamie Kelly   
Friday, 15 March 2013 15:09

MOUNT VERNON, IA (03/15/2013)(readMedia)-- Leanna Doyle of Davenport is one of nearly 100 Cornell College students taking part in the college's annual Alternative Spring Break. This is the ninth year the college has sponsored a service trip that takes place during its 10-day Spring Break.

This year, students are going to Pine Ridge, S.D., Atlanta, Ga., Chicago, Austin, Texas, Elm Mott, Texas, Selma, Ala., and Tom's River, N.J.

Doyle is taking part in the trip to World Hunger Relief, Inc. in Elm Mott, Texas

You can find out more about the Alternative Spring Break program, including details about each trip, here.

One of the 40 "Colleges That Change Lives," Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, is a national liberal arts college with a distinctive One Course At A Time (OCAAT) academic calendar. The OCAAT schedule provides students with intellectual immersion, academic focus, and unique freedom to shed the confines of the traditional classroom to study off-campus, pursue research, or accept an internship-all without missing out on other classes. Founded in 1853, the college's entire hilltop campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

You can find out more at

Teachers in two Iowa school districts vote for teacher leadership roles to raise achievement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Friday, 15 March 2013 15:03

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced today that teachers in the Central Decatur and the Saydel school districts overwhelmingly voted to adopt a teacher leadership and compensation structure in partnership with the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET).

Last September, the districts and NIET won a grant from the U. S. Department of Education’s 2012 Teacher Incentive Fund to put the teacher leadership and compensation structure in place. The districts have been in the planning stage since then. Before finalizing the plan, which is tailored to meet local needs, NIET requires that teachers in each school building vote on whether to approve it.  In Central Decatur, 87 percent of teachers voted yes. In Saydel, 94 percent of teachers voted yes.

The goal of the project is to build on the expertise and growth potential of teachers in each school, providing them with support in boosting student achievement and meeting higher academic goals. This will be done by putting in place NIET’s System for Teacher and Student Advancement (TAP), which creates mentor and master teacher roles that provide more support for classroom teachers to help them improve instructional strategies.  These teacher leaders work with administrators to align professional support with school academic goals and with the needs of each student. As part of the project, the districts will make it possible for teachers who specialize in science, technology, engineering and math to seek more training at local universities. Helping principals become more effective also is a focus of the project.

The grant provides $2.3 million for the first two years, with the possibility of nearly $9.6 million total over five years depending upon annual congressional appropriations.

“Teachers are eager to better utilize the expertise of top teachers to improve instruction and raise student achievement,” said Reynolds “With higher expectations for all students today,  it’s critical to better support the more complex work we are asking teachers to do.”

“We modeled the teacher leadership and compensation structure in our 2013 education reform package in large part on NIET’s successful Teacher Advancement Program,” said Reynolds.  “I would like to thank NIET and the Central Decatur and Saydel school districts for working together to move forward with this grant. Teachers will have new career options in these two districts because they recognize that the traditional one-size-fits-all approach in the teaching profession limits professional opportunities.”

The Central Decatur and Saydel superintendents said the grant will better support work already under way in their districts.

"As our staff learned about the TAP system, we were most excited by the constant theme of structured and strategic support for teachers that resulted in improved student achievement," said Central Decatur Superintendent Chris Coffelt.  "Staff support and willingness to implement this system will not just positively impact our students and staff, but will ultimately transform our school culture and the work we do as professionals."

For Saydel, Superintendent Brad Buck expects education to be transformed in terms of student learning and teachers’ careers: “I am so proud of our teachers for providing us with a vote percentage akin to a mandate for improvement. They are working hard and believe this model, through a variety of proven supports, will better translate their hard work into increases in student success.”


The grant won by Central Decatur and Saydel was one of 35 grants announced last fall by the U.S. Department of Education to “improve teacher pay structures, reward great teachers and principals, and provide greater professional opportunities to teachers in high-poverty schools.” For more information:




"Cool history" tour for UT students on spring break PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by M. McNeil   
Thursday, 14 March 2013 15:40
Some United Township high schoolers are spending one of their spring break days on a bus learning about the “cool” history of the Quad Cities

(East Moline, IL)  While on spring intersession, approximately 65 United Township students will be on a Quad Cities tour of “cool and historic” places led by their history teacher, Heather Monson.

The Lights ON for Learning students will board a bus Friday (March 15th) morning and tour such local landmarks as the Deere/ Wieman house, Lagomarcinos,  Ross’s restaurant, Campbell’s Island, the Looney House, etc.  Monson says she wants the students to realize the cultural history of the area and develop an interest in local history.  “As a history teacher, I find history dazzling and think when people know the background of their area they can appreciate it more and become more interested in the current events of our area”.

***The media is invited to visit with Monson and the students at any of their stops along the tour—see schedule below***

The Rock Island County Regional Office of Education and the 21st CCLC grant funds the “Lights ON For Learning” program at UT.


Itinerary for 2013 Cool QC History Tour

8:50 am  Meeting the UTHS parking lot
9:00am Load the bus/take lunch orders/Call Ross’s
9:10am Head out/first stop Campbell’s Island
9:20am  Arrive at Campbell’s Island Monument
9:30am Debrief about Battle/Monument/Resort discuss the prison
9:40am  Load Bus Head to Deere/Wieman House
10am Arrive at Deere Wieman House for 1 hour tour
11am  Head to Ross’s Restaurant for lunch
11:20am Arrive at Ross’s for Lunch
12:3pm0 Finish Lunch Head to Arsenal Bridge/Bucktown/LeClaire Park Bix
12:45pm Bucktown area/ On bus begin background of Bucktown and the start of Citadal of Sin
1:10pm  Head to Rock Island for driving House tour
Downtown: Market Square/Argus Building
Begin with Looney House on Hill/20th then to 16th then Bel Air
Business tour: Van Dale and her businesses/Barber shop
2:20pm Lagomarcinos for drinks/green river and history of Lagos (tentative)
3:00pm head to school Wrap up with other historical events and places for next time
3:30pm arrive back at UTHS

News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Tami Seitz   
Thursday, 14 March 2013 15:29
MOLINE, IL -- The Western Illinois University-Quad Cities Graduate Studies Program will host an open house for interested students, their families and business professionals from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, March 19 at the WIU-QC 60th Street Campus, room 102A. 

"The open house is an excellent opportunity for current students and business professionals to meet and network while learning about the our graduate programs," said Antoinette Murphy, assistant director of admissions for Graduate Studies. "There will be a variety of campus representatives available to discuss resources, career developm ent and financial aid assistance." 

The event will include guest speakers from financial aid and career services, as well as individual program and break-out sessions about program requirements and graduate assistant opportunities. The event will also feature student panel discussions, faculty question-and-answer sessions and a tour. 

For more information, contact Murphy at (309) 762-9481 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Learn more about WIU-QC Graduate Studies at

Classrooms First legislation passes House committee PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Kara Beach   
Thursday, 14 March 2013 15:22

SPRINGFIELD – March 13, 2013. After hearing testimony from Lt. Governor Sheila Simon on Wednesday morning, the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee unanimously passed Classrooms First Commission legislation that will make it easier for school districts to voluntarily consolidate. House Bill 2267, sponsored by Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria), now moves to the full House for consideration.

Simon, the state’s point person on education reform, served as the chairperson of the bipartisan Classrooms First Commission, which examined ways school districts could reduce duplicative spending and improve educational offerings. Based on the Commission’s findings, legislation approved by committee would allow non-contiguous school districts to consolidate, small schools to dissolve voluntarily without referenda and high school districts to tie consolidation dates to capital funding.

“We want Illinois to lead the nation in education performance, not bureaucracy,” said Simon. “This legislation will make it easier for school districts to put their students first by dedicating resources to expanding classroom opportunities, and I would like to thank Rep. Gordon-Booth for her continued work to move this bill though the House.”

The Classrooms First Commission was comprised of P-20 stakeholders including teachers, administrators and parents and it held public hearings across the state on school district consolidation last year. You can learn more about the commission’s recommendations here.


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