Ribbon Cutting at the Newly Renovated Bernard Long Elementary School in Madison


Members of Madison CUSD 12 Board, Administration , along with Soma Roy from Siemen’s Corp, Madison Mayor, John Hamm, Regional Superintendent, Dr. Bob Daiber and Assistant Regional Superintendent, Dr. Andrew Reinking cut the ribbon on the newly renovated Bernard Long Elementary School in Madison on Tuesday, February 6, 2018.


February Guest Blog: East Alton School District 13

If you drive through Madison County too quickly, you might miss the 5.5 square miles that make up East Alton. It’s easy to do, especially with the expansion of 255 and the larger communities around us. What you would be missing out on is the amazing, and forward thinking things that East Alton Elementary District #13 is doing. In the education world, we are marking our mark on the map and refuse to be passed by!

We are continually implementing new and wonderful things for our students, while not forgetting the tried and true programs or opportunities that make a major impact on our students, staff and community.

Foster Grandparents:

We are excited to continue our Foster Grandparent program at Eastwood Elementary.1
We have 4 grandparents who come help, and are eager and willing to do whatever our students need. Sometimes you can find Grandma or Grandpa working with students individually or in small groups on academic concepts they are struggling with. Other times you will find them eager to give a smile or a hug to any studnt, or staff member, that just needs a little extra love and attention! Still other times, there are the direct conversations about choices that child is making. It’s the talk that no one enjoys being called out for your choices, but the students know that the conversation is coming from a place of caring and compassion. Students walk away knowing that there’s one more person truly invested in them.

2nd Grade Morning Reading:

2As a district we strive to cultivate a passion for students’ love of reading! Research has also proven that to be a better reader, you have to read more. With a limited number of hours in a school day, we wanted to ensure that we are utilizing every moment our students are with us. Therefore, from 8:00 – 8:30 am, three days a week, you will find our 2nd graders reading with adult volunteers from the community. Our 2nd graders love the opportunity to have someone sit, one-on-one, with them and listen to them ready. 3

Our adult volunteers cherish the opportunity to interact, by asking questions about the child’s book and then wishing them a great day as they head off to class. The opportunity to have the East Alton Community invest in the children, whom are its future, is immense. The impact this program has had on our 2nd grade reading levels is undeniable and supported by the data of our assessments.

SIUE Education Student Interventions:

For many years we have had the pleasure of hosting SIUE students in our classrooms as they gather field experience and complete their student teaching for their Elementary Education programs. This year, we have expanded our partnership with SIUE School of Education. Several education students come in to work with students from 7:30 – 8:30 am. The SIUE students complete math and reading academic assessments with elementary students, identify their individual areas of need and then create lessons and activities to complete with that student. The SIUE students are given the opportunity to experience an area of education that a college classroom cannot provide – the complexity of authentic students. Our students are provided with more intervention time to increase their skills in the areas of math and reading, without the limitations of the traditional school day.4

Inquiry and Design Class:

5At East Alton Middle School, every 7th grade student will take a quarter course of Inquiry and Design. This is not your traditional middle school class by any stretch of the imagination. Speaking of imagination, that is exactly what these students need, along with critical thinking, problem solving and grit! After the initial two weeks in the course, where students are guided by their teacher through problem solving challenges, the students are challenged to design something they are passionate about, build a functioning version of that product and determine how to market it to the masses. It is not unusual to hear power tools, and hammering, as you walk pass this classroom, but the true power of this course is to hear the collaboration between students as they try to problem solve why their motor won’t turn over, or why their make-up is too think, or even why the robot is not hitting it’s target as programmed. The future looks bright with these inventors on the rise.

District 13 News Station:

6Last year, District 13 News started broadcasting to share important district information with students and parents, acknowledge some of our outstanding students and staff, and keep the community in the loop of what is happening in our district. This year, the news station has expanded to being completely student written, directed and produced. They have also starting including Public Service Announcements about things they believe are important and relevant to District 13 students. With the students’ knowledge of multiple technology applications, due to our district’s one-to-one iPad initiative, the production level of these broadcast has far exceeded the expectations of a middle school run news channel. You can catch the District 13 News on our EAMS Facebook page or by going to our district website www.easd13.org.

These are just a few of the amazing things are happening in the East Alton Elementary District #13! So, while East Alton, IL may only occupy a small area of Madison County, EASD #13 is making a huge impact on the community. There is no doubt that the future is bright for the students here and you will be hearing about our district a lot in the future!

Tech 2018 – There’s Still Time To Register!

I wanted to remind you that TECH 2018 Applications are still open. Please share with colleagues.
Each year, hundreds of students and teachers from across Illinois come together at the State Capitol Building in Springfield to speak with legislators about the innovative ways in which they use technology to enhance student learning. The resulting student technology showcase continues to impress upon our state legislators the importance of developing a plan to promote adequate, equalized and reliable funding to meet school technology needs. Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) invites you to be part of this year’s event – TECH 2018.
Applications must be submitted by Friday, March 9, 2018. All demonstrations are scheduled to take place from 9:30am-11:30am or 1:00pm-3:00pm on Thursday, May 10, 2018.
Tim McIlvain

Director, Learning Technology Centers
217-893-1431 | ltcillinois.org 

Madison County Illinois Teachers are “Mad about Math”

MadaboutMathpictureSecond and Third Grade teachers from school districts in Madison County participated in a “Mad about Math” workshop on January 23rd that provided the opportunity for them to focus on their math curriculum, their instructional materials, and the assessments that their districts use. These teachers also shared what worked best in their classrooms in an effort to help others become the best.
The teachers who attended this workshop will return to their districts and to their schools and share what they have learned about the most effective methods to teach math to their colleagues.
This workshop is one of several that are offered by the Regional Office of Education’s School Improvement division. Dr. Robert Daiber, Regional Superintendent of Schools for Madison County, said, “Although Madison County is the home of great teachers and great schools, we are constantly working to become better.”
Keep track of upcoming workshops here: http://bit.ly/ROE_SIP_REG

January Guest Blog – The Alton Educational Foundation: Guardians of Education

The Alton School District is fortunate to have support from many community partners, and the Alton Educational Foundation is an amazing organization in the spotlight this January.

The Alton Educational Foundation, AEF, was founded in 2001 to raise funds for innovative projects that provide enhanced educational opportunities, support academic excellence and encourage student achievement throughout the Alton School District. The AEF Board is currently comprised of twelve local advocates for public education, including business owners, parents and retired educators. (See the list of current Board Members attached.) Over the past seventeen years, volunteers have launched numerous fundraising efforts, including Redbird Raffles and memorial brick sales. In 2014, the AEF Board of Directors developed The Guardians of Educations membership program in hopes of raising more funds and retaining those funds for annual grants. The Guardians of Education program has raised over $24,000 annually for the past two years and those funds have been given back as grants to educators in the district. The application process is simple for teachers and the money is awarded at the January ACUSD Board Meeting. Since the inception of AEF, an astounding total of $187,000 has been awarded to teachers in the Alton School District due to the generosity of donors.

Local Guardians of Education include businesses and individuals who donate annually. See a list of Guardians here: http://www.altoned.org/html/guardians.html

Many of the individual donations are from the very teachers and educators who have witnessed the academic benefits of the grants provided.

In addition to teacher grants, this generous organization also provides scholarship opportunities to Alton High School Graduates. This year the AEF will award two $1,000 scholarships, each to a deserving student from the class of 2018.

Any educator would ask, how do students benefit from the work of the Alton Educational Foundation? The foundation annually funds grants that lead to improved technology, materials and equipment, as well as teaching aides that enhance student learning and engagement. As a small list of examples from 2017, students in Alton have hands on books, ipads, sewing machines, musical instruments, preserved biology specimens, 3D printers and robots, all thanks to the AEF. Read on to learn about some of the amazing opportunities these funds have provided. Visit the Alton Educational Foundation website here: http://www.altoned.org/index.html

Recent Projects made possible through Alton Educational Foundation Grants

Weather Bug” by Bridget Lyles and Jeff Alderman, Alton Middle School and Alton High School Thanks to the AEF, we now have an onsite weather camera and alert system. Using the technology provided by Earth Networks, we have constant on the spot weather reports and a live camera on campus. Click this link to take a peek: http://owc.enterprise.earthnetworks.com/OnlineWeatherCenter.aspx?aid=7102 This tool is used in our science classrooms coupled with a STEM curriculum to provide real data that students can analyze and interpret. In addition, our student athletes now have a warning system fueled by the latest technology to ensure safety during practices and competition. As a convenience factor for parents, this weather station is also linked directly to our district website at http://www.altonschools.org/.

Illuminating History” by Lexa Browning, Alton High School Advocates of The Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail are leading the charge to bring the history of this local sea captain to life in Alton. Part of the project included a children’s book about the life of Benjamin Godfrey, and the Alton High Graphic Arts class was invited to illustrate the book. http://advantagenews.com/news/authors-team-up-with-ahs-students-for-godfrey-book/ Bringing two community partners together, teacher Lexa Browning applied for and received a grant to access Blippar technology that was incorporated in the book illustrations. This feature allows readers to scan pages of the book and bring the story of Benjamin Godfrey to life. Take a look at the KSDK segment featuring the book: http://www.ksdk.com/article/mobile/news/local/alton-students-local-authors-publish-book-about-community-history/440222381

I’ve just GOT to read THAT book…and THAT book…and THAT book!” By Barbara Jacks & Carrie Schildroth, Alton Middle School The grant we received was used to purchase books for the Read 180 classrooms at AMS. The books are specifically designed to boost children’s reading levels at an accelerated rate and have high interest levels. The students have access to a range of complex texts in social studies, science and other disciplines, which has allowed them to build a foundation of knowledge and background that supports them across all content areas. Continued on page 2 Meet the AEF Board Ryan Bemis President Phil Trapani Vice President Nita Whitten Treasurer Angela McDowell Secretary Kim Haug Ellen Jackson Lisa Long Doug Mendenhall Rebecca Steiner Ginger Woodman District Representatives Mark Cappel Elaine Kane Bricks, Blocks, & Benches Bricks, blocks, and benches are available for purchase and will be placed at Alton High School. Proceeds from the sales are combined with the Guardians of Education funds. Click on the Brick Campaign tab at altoned.org for more information. This grant has enabled our classroom libraries to be expanded and given the students more choices of books to choose from. Words cannot adequately express how much they (and we) appreciate it!!!!! It’s so exciting to see students want to read, read, read! The students have been motivated to read more and dig deeper into research on the texts that have had a high level of interest to them. These things have resulted in comprehension and vocabulary skills being increased.

The ABCs of Music” By Thora Buis, East Elementary Thank you again for the grant money I received last year. I used the money to purchase more books for my classroom. The books cover all types of musical literature. Some of the books I use in direct teaching with my students. These books may contain factual stories about instrument families or composers. Other books contain songs that are collected and illustrated. We use these books as we sing songs or study lyrics together in the classroom. Sometimes the students are able to enjoy the books on their own or with a friend as seen in the attached pictures. Using books in the music classroom provides another opportunity to enrich student learning. It allows students to transfer skills from their core learning and apply them to areas of enrichment and personal enjoyment.

Hear Us ROAR” By Julie Gallivan & Lori Johnson, Gilson Brown The “Hear Us ROAR” grant funded by the Alton Educational Foundation allowed Gilson Brown School to purchase 201 books for our Reach Out And Read program. This grant expanded our selection of books for students to read with community members in our before-school reading program. Each student in 1st grade has a folder with appropriate leveled books to read and a reading log for the community volunteer to complete. Students are becoming better readers because they are excited to read the newly purchased books. The books are quality, high interest, and various leveled texts to engage all readers. The students love to read Elephant and Piggie, Pete the Cat, Fly Guy, or nonfiction texts about animals. Gilson Brown School would like to thank the Alton Educational Foundation for their support. Scroll down at www.altonschools.org to see a video about Reach Out and Read and access our ROAR Volunteer Information.

ROAR Volunteer Reverend David Crowley listens to a student read one of the new books provided by the AEF at ROAR.

Creating a Joyful Classroom Community” By Jordan Brannon, Lovejoy “Creating a Joyful Classroom Community” was the name of our project. In short, I needed books to help teach my class the social and emotional learning expectations for kindergarten. These skills are essential to build with young students. My school at the time, East Elementary, had time reserved weekly for social-emotional learning. Lesson plans were given to us, but we did not have any literature to support our teaching. I was able to purchase 49 books to support the Illinois social and emotional learning standards. By having resources to help my students cope with their feelings, I was able to increase the learning in my classroom and reduce the number of office discipline referrals. For young kids to be able to identify with characters who are resolving the same conflicts that they have is very beneficial. The books purchased addressed the following areas: making decisions at school, recognizing and labeling feelings and emotions, and recognizing others’ feelings and perspectives. I was able to use these books when problems would arise-sometimes reading the same stories multiple times. The kids LOVE the books and would even ask for them frequently.

Alton Middle School Teacher Rob Miller demonstrates a 3D printer provided by an AEF Grant at the Guardians of Education appreciation breakfast.


Students and teachers from North Elementary share their experiences with the reading materials provided by an AEF Grant at the Guardians of Education appreciation breakfast.


Plaques in each school acknowledge the contributions of the Alton Educational Foundation Guardians of Education.


Alton Educational Foundation Board Members





NEW! Madison County School District Employment Opportunities in Booklet Form

In an effort to make sure we can assist in getting the word out about school district employment opportunities, we are going to release known vacancies in a new booklet form. If you have openings that we haven’t listed or know about, please let us know and we will add them. Please let us know when the positions are filled. We will create a booklet for the non-public schools in the near future. Thanks!

Click HERE to view the booklet.