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The Hawkeye Caucus Weekly PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Hawkeye Caucus   
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 11:01

Growing strong STEM students

University of Iowa College of Education Assistant Professor Cory Forbes is helping teachers use existing curricular materials to promote inquiry-based science education. His research will help teachers improve their students’ learning in the critical fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).


Forbes is working with elementary teachers in Davenport, one of Iowa’s largest high-needs districts. The project, “Promoting Inquiry-Based Elementary Science through Collaborative Curriculum Co-construction,” or PIESC3, helps educators adapt their current curricular resources to meet National Science Education Standards and the Iowa Core Curriculum.


Forbes works with teachers to evaluate videos of their own teaching to identify examples of inquiry-based instruction, that is, teaching structured around questions concerning scientific concepts and processes. Teachers involved in the project also participate in professional development courses to improve their science teaching.


Lori Bates-Heithoff, a first grade teacher at McKinley Elementary, said the process has made her a better teacher and made her students better scientists.  “They are much more enthusiastic about science when their curiosity drives the lesson,” she said.


UI College of Education faculty members are involved in STEM-related research and projects statewide. For example, Brian Hand and Bill Therrien are helping 7,000 Iowa students in grades 4-6 in 48 elementary schools located in Loess Hills (southwest Iowa) and Keystone (northeast Iowa) AEAs to improve their science literacy.


Reese Saunders, a fourth grade teacher at Wilson Elementary School in Davenport and PIESC3 participant: “One of the big things we’re focusing on is 21st century skills. Students need to be able to adapt, to problem solve, and to have critical-thinking skills. I think that comes from inquiry-based learning.”


Education Grads Inspire Iowans, Improve Iowa Communities

When Alison Provin (BA ’84, MA’92) saw her community struggling and students labeled as “troubled,” she created an opportunity for both to shine and grow through service.


Provin, chair of the foreign language department at Newton High School, created an annual Community Service Day, when students and community volunteers work together to improve their town.


“Newton has gone through tough times,” she said, noting that when Maytag, the town’s largest employer left, many of the students’ parents lost their jobs. “Not only does Community Service Day benefit the community in the obvious ways, but it also gives a visual boost of morale to the citizens of Newton.”


“It is an excellent model for students in terms of cooperation, involvement, and practical application of skills,” said Chris Noel (MA ’74), Newton High visual arts teacher. “I’m always glad to be a part of the day.”


Provin said that each year the project grows and the sense of pride and service builds at her school. “There is no greater gift to give than to inspire and create something that outlives you,” she said. “I hope that is what we are doing.”



Almost 400 UI students annually complete the required course work for certification and teacher licensure with almost 4,500 teachers graduating from the UI in the past 10 years.



Susan Lagos Lavenz, associate dean for Teacher Education, said there’s no doubt College of Education students serve as area role models and provide leadership. “By providing our students with a cutting-edge preparation program with certification in the core competencies of assessment, technology, and school community, our graduates generate new ideas and create opportunities that bring communities together.”

Braley Announces Effort to Renew, Expand Adoption Tax Credit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 09:21

Braley joins family who benefited from tax credit in Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines 


Washington, DC – On Monday in Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) will announce a legislative effort he’s launching to renew and expand a tax credit for families that choose to adopt children.


Braley will introduce the Making Adoption Affordable Act, a bill to permanently extend a federal tax credit for qualified adoption expenses.  The legislation also expands the tax credit to $13,360 and makes refundable, allowing more families to take full advantage of it.


Braley will be joined at the stops by Jonathan and Kayla Craig and their son Joseph, a Des Moines-area family who appealed to Braley’s office for help when the adoption of Joseph nearly fell through because of bureaucratic red tape.  The Craigs are claiming the adoption tax credit on their 2011 federal tax return.  The deadline to file federal income taxes is April 16th.


Monday April 9th, 2012


9:00am                 Braley Joins Craig Family to Announce Adoption Tax Credit Bill

Home of Scott and Regina Porter (parents of Kayla Craig)

1033 Nancy Rd.

Waterloo, Iowa


11:15am               Braley Joins Craig Family to Announce Adoption Tax Credit Bill

Hillcrest Family Services

United Way Building, Suite 401

317 7th Ave. SE

Cedar Rapids, Iowa


3:00pm                 Braley Joins Craig Family to Announce Adoption Tax Credit Bill

Des Moines Central Public Library, Meeting Room #2

1000 Grand Ave.

Des Moines, Iowa

# # #

Shiloh Battle Turns 150 Years Old Illinois State Military Museum to Host April 21 Event and Display Shiloh Artifacts PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Adriana Schroeder, Illinois National Guard Command Historian   
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 09:10

SHILOH, TENN. (04/05/2012)(readMedia)-- "April 6th, [1862] began with a bright, beautiful morning. The trees were budding, the birds were singing, but none of us dreamed what a dark and bloody ending the day would have," wrote Maj. Thaddeus H. Capron, 55th Illinois Volunteer Infantry from Winnebago County.

Up and down the encampment, sleepy Illinois Soldiers stumbled out of tents cursing. Utensils from mess kits tossed in the air co-mingled and clinked against one another. The lucky ones who had already reassembled their rifles after cleaning grabbed the weapon and searched for officers, while others struggled to assemble their only hope of personal protection. Surprised and rattled officers struggled to get their men in formation. For the Union, the Battle of Shiloh began in mass chaos.

In the pre-dawn hour, Confederates ambushed the Illinoisans, while they prepared for inspection and the stereotypical day that lay ahead. The battle of Shiloh lasted two days. The Union victory claimed 23,746 casualties for both sides. Thirty-six Illinois units were engaged in the bloody battle.

Just days before, the boys enjoyed employing April Fools jokes on one another. Glad to be off the cramped steamboats where they spent weeks traveling to Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., content Soldiers wrote home praising the camp for its beauty. Within a few days time their letters and diary entries turned very dark.

"There is no time to lament for the enemy is right on us, pouring volley after volley into our lines. We return the fire with deadly effect but are forced back inch by inch, leaving our dead and wounded upon the field. Every foot of ground is stubbornly and closely contested. Many of the wounded lay on the field during the rainy, cold night," stated Charles F. Hubert, Adjutant General of the 50th Illinois Infantry Volunteers from Beverly in Adams County in his official report.

Pvt. Will Crummer of Pleasant Valley in Jo Daviess county served in the 45th Illinois Volunteers. He spoke of Soldiers using ramrods to prop themselves up while hobbling through the lines.

"Twice during the night I awoke and could hear the groans and cries of the wounded laying out there in that bloody field. Some cried for water, others for someone to come and help them...God heard them, for the heavens were opened and rain came," he wrote in his memoirs.

Previously under the jurisdiction of the United States War Department, the battlefields were transferred to the park service in 1933. Many Illinois monuments dot the site. In preparation of the 150th anniversary of the battle, the park will host several events including a grand illumination April 7 with 23,746 luminaries that will be placed on the battlefield; one for each casualty.

Closer to home, the Illinois State Military Museum will host an event April 21, 2 to 3 p.m. Betty Carlson Kay will give a 40-minute presentation of the three female characters from the Civil War, including Julia Dent Grant, Albert D.J. Cashier (Jennie Hodgers) and Mother Bickerdyke. Mother Bickerdyke of Galena, served as a nurse for the Army of the Tennessee.

In addition, the museum will have Shiloh artifacts on display, among them a forage cap worn by 2nd Lt. James Ballow of White Hall, with Company E, 61st Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He died of wounds received during the battle. Also on display, is a cartridge box that belonged to 1st Sgt. John Porter Wright of Morgan County, with Company H, 32nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry.

The Illinois State Military Museum is located at 1300 N. MacArthur Blvd in Springfield. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday 1 to 4:30 p.m. Questions regarding the artifacts may be directed to 217-761-3910.


Morthland’s FOID Card Program audit finds “significant deficiencies” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Rep. Rich Morthland   
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 09:07
Rep. Morthland: “Let’s use this audit as a tool to streamline bureaucracy…”

Moline, IL, April 5, 2012…Today, William Holland, Auditor General of the State of Illinois released the audit of the Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card Program pursuant to House Resolution 89, which was sponsored by State Representative Rich Morthland (R-Cordova). Rep. Morthland introduced this legislation as a companion to House Bill 3500 that gained statewide notoriety for protecting the privacy of FOID cardholders in Illinois.

The Office of the Auditor General found “significant deficiencies” in the reporting of potentially disqualifying mental health conditions by circuit court clerks through the state. Notably, “…only 3 of the 102 circuit court clerks submitted mental health court orders.”[1] The report identified shortcomings of the Illinois State Police’s Firearm Services Bureau to respond to phone calls and applications due to understaffing. It was also reported that the State Police spent over $200,000 in overtime pay for three employees over the period of three years.  In light of these facts, the Illinois FOID card program is found to be severely limited in promoting and protecting public safety.

“The audit notes the inefficiencies of the entire process,” Morthland stated. “Let’s use this audit as a tool in cooperation with the Illinois State Police to streamline the bureaucracies behind the FOID card process from the application, to the mailing, to the screening of potential applicants.”

Morthland added, “We are exploring legislative options to apply the recommendations by the Auditor General and apply the principles of fiscal conservatism to this understaffed and failing governmental program.”

To read the full report and the recommendations visit:


News Releases - General Info
Written by Amy Garringer   
Friday, 06 April 2012 12:53

DES MOINES, Iowa – A Davenport woman won a top prize of $10,000 playing the lottery’s “PAC-MAN™” instant-scratch game.

Rosemary Ocar claimed her prize Friday at the Iowa Lottery’s regional office in Cedar Rapids. She purchased her winning ticket at Big 10 Mart, 2480 E. 53rd Ave. in Bettendorf.

PAC-MAN™ is a $2 scratch game. Players scratch each play. If “PAC-MAN™” goes from start to finish without meeting a “ghost,” players win the prize shown. If they find a “cherry” symbol, they win $10 instantly. If they find the “strawberry” symbol, they win $50 instantly. The overall odds for winning a prize in the game are 1 in 3.94.

Six top prizes of $10,000 are still up for grabs in PAC-MAN™, as well as 545 prizes of $100.

Players can enter eligible nonwinning scratch tickets online to earn “Points For Prizes™” points. The point value will be revealed to the player on the website upon successful submission of each eligible valid ticket. There is a limit of 30 ticket entries per day. To participate in Points For Prizes™, a player must register for a free account at Registration is a one-time process. Merchandise that can be ordered by using points will be listed on the website in the Points For Prizes™ online store. Players can choose from items in categories such as apparel, automotive, jewelry, sporting, tools and more.

Since the lottery’s start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.8 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.3 billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans.

Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.





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