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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2002

Exemplary Business-Education Partnerships
Receive State Awards

Seventeen business-education partnerships have been recognized as 'exemplary" by the State Board of Education.

The awards were presented at the annual Business-Education Partnership Awards Dinner, held this year at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago February 1.

In addition to the partnership awards, the dinner included the presentation of four Education-to-Career Champion of the Year awards to Debbie Ahlden of West Aurora for Educational Champion, Sharon Slover of Lockport for Educational Champion Serving All Learners, Michael L. Nylen of South Holland for Private Sector Champion and Regional Superintendent of Schools Joe Vermiere from Rock Island County for Elected Official of the Year.

Ahlden is with the West Aurora School District and Valley Education-to-Careers partnership in Sugar Grove. As professional development director, she was recognized for activities in the partnership, including serving as the District-wide Career Exploration Coordinator, Chair of the Jefferson Jr. High School E.T.C. Curriculum Committee, and Coordinator of the elementary schools "Careers on Wheels" program.

Slover is Coordinator of the Education and Career Department and E.T.C. facilitator for the Lockport Area Special Education Cooperative. She was recognized for expanding career opportunities for students with disabilities. With E.T.C. support, Slover created a new program, Pathways to the Future, and provides career assessment and exploration, job shadowing opportunities and actual work experiences for more than 120 students with disabilities in grades 7 through 12 from 15 schools.

Nylen is Vice-president and Trust Officer for the South Holland Trust and Savings Bank and chair of the Southland E.T.C. Partnership in Harvey. He was recognized as an outstanding advocate for the success that can be achieved through private-sector partnerships. Specific recognition was given for the instrumental role he played in providing a CEO/Superintendent Swap, an Employer Expectations Panel and the Business/Education Symposium I and II.

Vermiere is Regional Superintendent of Schools for Rock Island County and was recognized with the Elected Official of the Year Award. He has been instrumental in involving schools in E.T.C. activities by working with local superintendents, principals and other school staff. He helped establish the E.T.C. Partnership in 1994 and served on more than 45 boards and committees, either directly or as an advisor, to ensure that the goals of E.T.C. are integrated into educational policies and procedures.

Business-Education partnerships recognized with "exemplary" awards were:

Gage Park High School, Associated Equipment Distributors' Foundation, Daley College
Education Contact: Katherine O. Smith (773) 535-9230
Business Contact: Frank P. Giannelli (630) 574-0650

This partnership has established the Equipment and Technology Institute. The focus is to prepare students for a variety of career paths in the high-tech construction equipment industry by replicating the tripartite partnerships prevalent in other industrialized countries.

The institute includes honors level classes, a Certificate of Initial Mastery and the opportunity for high school students to complete up to 30 hours of college credit in manufacturing technology. The program integrates academic and vocational-technical curriculum with computer and manufacturing technology courses at Daley College.

Work-based learning includes field trips to business and manufacturing facilities, presentations from various business and technical schools, mentoring and job shadowing opportunities.

The institute graduated its first class in 2000, with 12 of the top 20 Gage Park High School graduates being institute students. One student was awarded a Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship. This year there are 55 seniors, 56 juniors and 54 sophomores in the program.

Little Company of Mary Hospital and Evergreen Park Community High School
Education Contact: Ray Schellenberger (708) 424-7400
Business Contact: Karen Sus (708) 229-5063

This partnership seeks to provide students with career exploration activities in the health care field to aid in the career decision-making process. The emphasis is to increase students' awareness of the many careers available in this high demand field.

Evergreen Park High School District 231 has partnered with Little Company of Mary Hospital for the past four years. Last year, 200 students participated in the health care program. Career day alone served 100 students interested in the health field, with five to ten guest speakers from the hospital on hand to assist students in developing a career plan.

Activities sponsored by the partnership include an annual tour of Little Company of Mary Hospital and job shadowing at the hospital. Students are also able to meet one-on-one with professionals at the hospital to discuss questions they may have about career options in the health care field.

Prairie State Waste Services, Casey-Westfield School District #C-4, Workforce Opportunities Resource Consortium
Education Contact: Debra Sherrik (217) 932-2175
Business Contact: Rich Galloway (217) 345-7414

Business partners Workforce Opportunities Resource Consortium and Coles County Landfill/Prairie State Waste joined with Casey-Westfield CUSD #C-4 to develop the Virtual Teacher Trek program. The program's objective is to demonstrate to other educators how to develop effective lesson plans that incorporate real-world concepts learned through visits to local businesses.

The program is based on the experiences of the Casey-Westfield teachers' participation in their local Teacher Trek's activity. Teachers toured the landfill and incorporated some facet of the information into a lesson plan to apply real-world concepts in the classroom. From these experiences, business partners and educators joined to develop the Virtual Teacher Trek program that is being presented at various workshops and conferences.

High school students involved in the program also toured the landfill, took notes and used digital images to design a PowerPoint presentation about the construction and environmental aspects of the facility. Participating 6th grade students studied recycling and constructed a landfill. Over 1,300 students, 50 educators, 60 community members and 20 workers have been served through the program.

Valley View Business and Education Partnership
Education Contact: David B. VanWinkle (815) 886-2700
Business Contact: Joseph D. Taylor (630) 679-3730

The goal of this partnership is to create a lifelong learning experience that provides encouragement and support for continual improvement and innovation of education in schools, business and the community.

The partners include Joliet Junior College, Lewis University, McDonald's Innovation Center, Sprint PCS Customer Care, Tellabs and Valley View District 365U. One of the key success factors for the partners is to understand the relationship between business and education quality processes, including the Baldridge criteria, Higher Learning Commission (NCA) Academic Quality Improvement Project and the NCA Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. They hope to increase their effectiveness by sharing knowledge, expertise, innovation and best practices for continuous improvement of education. This will be measured by events, surveys and interviews.

Achievements thus far include:

  • Exchanged information among all partners on quality improvement practices
  • Developed a Balanced Score Card
  • Established a common vocabulary using quality principles and frameworks
  • Developed a future vision
  • Expanded the nature of collaboration and systemic improvement across organizations

Potential for involvement includes 5,600 employees in partner organizations, 30,000 students and 150,000 extended community members.

Health Science Academy
Education Contact: Linda Mitchelle (217) 525-3019
Business Contact: Various Health Care Facilities

The Health Science Academy, part of the Springfield Public School District, is committed to providing students with the skills and educational background employers and postsecondary education require while allowing students to explore careers in the health care field.

The academy is made up of area health care business partners and the academy teaching team. Examples of partnership activities are many. Memorial Hospital produced an academy recruiting video that aired on the local access channel and placed an article in a local magazine. Many long-term care facilities offer training positions to juniors completing their Certified Nursing Assistant Certification. St. John's Hospital's four-year mentoring program hosts a monthly breakfast for 9th and 10th graders. Team mentors representing various health care fields meet with students monthly to help them clarify career interests. Juniors spend one day each month with a second-year medical student at the Southern Illinois University Medical School campus.

Each year academy students teach district 5th graders about the body systems, volunteer for fund drives and local health screening efforts and actively participate in the Health Occupations Students of America organization.

Eighty students are enrolled in the academy this school year, with 580 enrolled since the academy's inception.

Three Rivers Partnership for Science Education Consortium
Education Contact: Susan K. Dowse (815) 577-6760
Business Contact: Jerry Caamano (815) 727-4609

The purpose of the Hands-On-Science Program is to ensure that students are prepared to function successfully in the marketplace of the future.

The partnership includes Troy CCSD-30C and the ETC Partnership for the Joliet Junior College Region, which is made up of 13 local businesses and five school districts: Channahon School District 17, Elwood Community Consolidated School District 203, Minooka Community Consolidated School District 201, Morris School District 54 and Troy Community Consolidated School District 30-C.

The Hands-On-Science Program strives to capture students' curiosity, stimulate their interest, cultivate critical thinking and foster scientific problem solving in the classroom. Developed under the direction of the National Science Research Center, the program encourages students to understand scientific concepts by "doing" science in the same manner in which scientists conduct experiments and analyze data through the use of science kits and curriculum materials.

The partnership believes that quality science instruction provides a strong foundation for building a community of thinkers and learners. Last year, 77% of 4th graders and 82% of 7th graders tested on the ISAT met or exceeded the Illinois Learning Standards in science.

The program began in 1996 with 1,025 students at four participating school districts and has grown to serve 4,122 students in five districts. The number of participating teachers has grown from 32 to 161.

Law and Public Safety Academy
Education Contact: Heather Jackson (773) 553-2469
Business Contact: Paul Chester (312) 745-5803

The goal of the partnership is to establish a four-year Law & Public Safety Academy at four high schools to increase student exposure to careers in the fields of law and law enforcement.

The partnership includes the Chicago Police Department; Chicago City Council Committee on Education; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; judges, attorneys and community organizations in the city; and the four participating high schools in Chicago Public School District 299.

The academy assists students by allowing them to see police officers as mentors and positive role models in their communities, improving students' sense of civic responsibility and understanding their rights and responsibilities in the legal system.

Academy achievements include freshman students participating in mock trial competitions, students participating in the Groundhog Job Shadow Day with law enforcement organizations, summer internships with the Illinois Trial Lawyers' Association and vacation internships/job shadowing with the Board of Education's Law Department.

Four full-time Chicago Police Department officers serve the academy, teaching law enforcement and organizing guest speakers and field trips. Two hundred students are currently participating with a goal of 400 when the program is fully implemented.

The Collins Law Firm and Naperville North High School
Education Contact: Mary Ann Babosky (630) 420-6815
Business Contact: Jennie Gates (630) 355-4141

The partnership's objective is to educate high school students enrolled in business law classes about the practical expectations of a law career through hands-on experience.

Participating students receive original cases from the Collins Law Firm to research, study and present in mock trials. Attorneys visit the school to speak to classes and help students understand and prepare cases. In addition, they spend lunch hours discussing everything from the LSAT to the skills required to be a lawyer.

Working with lawyers has improved students' attitudes, ambition and confidence. The students' sincere enthusiasm and interest have impressed both teachers and parents. The program has also helped some students to realize that law is not for them, while others have reinforced their intent to pursue a career in law. Many students report that the business law class and the mock trials have offered the most valuable experiences of their education.

More than 230 students have worked with attorneys on mock cases and at least 400 additional students have heard the attorneys speak about the prospects of a career in law.

Science and Math Excellence Network
Education Contact: Michael Sailes (773) 553-2460
Business Contact: Reginald "Hats" Adams (312) 942-5961

The Science and Math Excellence Network (SAME) was formed to encourage high school students to pursue careers in the fields of math, science and technology by providing hands-on experiences that help them make better informed career choices. SAME is coordinated by Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in conjunction with Chicago Public Schools.

SAME is a cohesive four-year program that coordinates an annual science fair that allows students to showcase their knowledge and skills; facilitates teacher enrichment programs in science and math; provides up to 60 work-based experiences for students; coordinates periodic student workshops in job readiness, test-taking and college preparation; and provides at least five field trips per year. Students are exposed to knowledge of careers in the health care field and are connected with mentors who follow them throughout the program.

Other business and industry partners are joining the program and providing training and curriculum development, uniforms, supplies, equipment, instructional materials and scholarships. Twelve students have been hired at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center and neighboring health care institutions.

The program serves 60 students each year, based on a competitive entrance process from schools on the west side of Chicago and in close proximity to the hospital facility. Eleven schools are participating in SAME, with 140 students served since 1997.

Elk Grove High School/Convergys
Education Contact: Frank E. DeRosa (847) 718-4414
Business Contact: Patricia E. Robinson (630) 775-8820

Convergys, a local billing service corporation, and Elk Grove High School Township District 214 joined together to provide at-risk students in the Freshmen Integrated Team (FIT) with opportunities and activities that foster adult mentoring, increase community ties and promote career and life planning skills.

The mission of the FIT program is to provide integrated and experiential instruction in English, reading, social studies, biology and information processing to at-risk freshmen as a way to keep these students from failing classes and dropping out of school.

  • Achievements of students in the FIT program include:
  • FIT students scored above the average growth in reading from the Explore to Plan (ACT)
  • 30% of students moved to the average ability group for sophomore English
  • 12 failing students met weekly with Convergys staff; all but one passed
  • FIT students earned passing grades at a rate of 94.2%, higher than the student body average
  • FIT students earned .5 additional credit in Career and Life Planning through participation in Convergys partnership activities

This year over 100 students and 54 Convergys staff participated in the partnership with 150 senior citizens and veterans assisting through service projects.

Monee Friendship Garden
Education Contact: Mardie Tuttle (708) 672-2885
Business Contact: Holly Milburn (708) 672-9520

The objective of the Monee Friendship Garden is to help students learn about horticulture while building meaningful relationships among Monee 4th graders, Crete high school students and community businesses.

Crete-Monee School District 201U is made up of five very different villages. The owners of the Finishing Touch Florist wanted to help students feel a part of the community and to also share their business and floral expertise.

Partners include the Finishing Touch Florist, Dutch Valley Landscaping, Crete Custom Cuts and Crete-Monee School District.

In August of 2000, 4th graders planted bulbs in a renovated school flower bed. Then in December, they decorated holiday plants with the high school horticulture students. The 4th graders then held a contest estimating when the bulbs would emerge and planned and implemented a Mother's Day flower sale.

The program has allowed students to apply academic concepts to the real world and increase performance related to the Illinois Learning Standards. During this second year of the program, involvement of horticulture students has increased, additional bulb gardens are being planted and one high school student is working at the Finishing Touch, creating the possibility of future internships.

IVVC Community-Based Fire Science Program
Education Contact: Philip Colgan (815) 786-9873
Business Contact: Richard Kell (815) 786-9241

The Fire Science program began as a means to educate, recruit and train students in firefighting in a geographic area that relies on a volunteer fire department.

The Indian Valley Vocational Center (IVVC) started the program in 1997 for juniors and seniors in IVVC's 11 feeder school districts. It was created in collaboration with the Sandwich Community Fire Protection District and Waubonsee Community College. The Fire Science class is taught by state-certified firefighters from communities located within the Sandwich Fire Protection District. The program is located at the Sandwich Fire Department.

In addition to lectures and videos, students receive hands-on training in fire suppression techniques, firefighting apparatus and equipment and basic emergency medical procedures. Students also learn skills such as advancing and connecting hose lines, setting up ladders, using different fire streams and extricating autos. The "Ride Along" program allows students to observe an actual emergency.

Fire Science students receive 450 hours of training during the school year, with some becoming cadets at local fire departments. After completing two years of the course, students can take the State Firefighter exams. The program is articulated to Waubonsee Community College, where students can receive credit for their high school training. Since 1997, 65 students have taken the course. This year 17 students are enrolled, the highest number to date.

Joliet Region Business/Education Summit
Education Contact: Paul Swanstrom (815) 727-6972
Business Contact: Jerry Caamano (815) 727-4609

In 1999, a summit was held to determine and clarify skills important in the workplace. As a result, Joliet Township High School began a collaborative effort with the Three Rivers Education Patnership and the Will County Center for Economic Development to identify opportunities and challenges to developing those skills, to create new business and education partnerships and to coordinate existing efforts to develop a prepared area workforce.

The primary objective of the summit was to bring business and education representatives together to enhance communication between schools and businesses while identifying strategies for workforce development. Over 75 members of the business community and 75 members of elementary, secondary and postsecondary institutions participated. Students also participated as an integral part of the summit. Attendees prioritized competencies and skills in the Illinois Learning Standards and selected communicating on the job, problem-solving, critical thinking and demonstrating workplace behavior and ethics as objectives that best aligned with previously identified needs. Three action teams have designed, developed and implemented staff and student activities into all curricular areas. A second summit was held a year later, with plans made to host a 2002 county-wide institute with a potential of 2,000 to 3,000 educators and business/community members attending.

Achievements include integrating workplace skills and career competencies into many classrooms through resource lists, sample lesson plans, classroom activities and professional exchange opportunities. The partnership has established a regional forum for an ongoing exchange of ideas.

Leadership Development Partnership
Education Contact: Pat McMahon (815) 626-5050
Business Contact: Joseph L. Bittorf (815) 622-9195

The objectives of this program are to develop in students lifelong qualities of leadership, goal setting, interpersonal communication and stress management skills; extend classroom learning; help students compete for opportunities; and foster community-wide relationships.

The Leadership Development Program consists of eight weekly sessions of two and a half hours each. A facilitator from the corporate world and student mentors lead the sessions, using Dale Carnegie Generation Next program materials. Sessions are held outside the regular school day and require a time and financial commitment from students and parents. Scholarships are available based on need.

The partnership includes Sterling High School, Newman Central Catholic High School, National Manufacturing Foundation, Dillon Foundation and the Dale Carnegie Organization. During the past three years, 53 students have received training and scholarships totaling $26,500 with an additional $20,000 in scholarships anticipated for 2002.

Parent evaluations of the program show students have increased self-confidence; improved leadership, communication, interpersonal and stress management skills; and a more positive attitude. Students have developed new relationships which have led to collaboration between the public and private schools on projects of mutual interest.

Provena St. Joseph Hospital and School District U-46
Education Contact: Karen Fox (847) 888-5000
Business Contact: Julie Lichtenberg (847) 622-8289

This partnership strives to promote physical and mental health and wellness for students, their families and staff and encourage collaboration within schools and throughout the community.

Local needs being met by the partnership include:

  • providing the most current course content and expertise related to health education to improve both teaching and learning
  • responding to the Elgin area's growing at-risk population of children and families in need of medical resources
  • providing real-world opportunities and career exploration
  • creating community collaborations designed to enhance instruction and inspire young people to acquire a foundation for lifelong learning, health and wellness

The partnership began with Larkin High School, then was joined by Sheridan Elementary and Highland Elementary. Two years ago, Elgin School District U-46 and Provena staff established a Touchpoints program in the Elgin area to train 150 English and Spanish-speaking professionals from all agencies working with parents of children birth to three.

Provena has provided funding at two elementary schools for Project FIT, a nationally recognized state-of-the-art fitness playground which includes fitness games and lessons.

Other activities include providing clinical sites for the U-46 CNA program, assisting with service learning for the Larkin High School Healthy Snack Shop, hosting trips to the Provena Wellness Center for three elementary schools and providing career opportunities such as speakers, health and career fairs and job shadowing. The Illinois Learning Standards provide focus for partnership activities.

Anderson's Bookshop and Hill Middle School
Education Contact: Mike Raczak (630) 428-6200
Business Contact: Jill Brooks (630) 355-2665

The goal of this partnership, which began four years ago, is to foster literacy and promote a lifelong love of reading, not only in school, but also in the community. In the process, students are improving their reading skills and are meeting the Illinois Learning Standards in reading.

Students are encouraged to read through enjoyable activities. Anderson's Bookshop conducts "Book Gossips" where students discuss their favorite book. Students receive summer reading lists along with book discount coupons. The "Book Angels" program brings students to the store at Christmas to gift-wrap books for needy children. Students participate in a "Mock Newberry Award" where they select a newly published book for the award. In addition, various authors visit the school and meet with students.

Anderson's offers the community discounted books for breakfast and evening book discussions, conducts workshops for parents that outline ways to encourage students to read, publishes student book reviews in the company newsletter and displays student show board presentations in store windows. A new community-wide program, "Naperville Reads Gary Paulsen," is bringing people together to read one of the author's books and participate in a community event relating to the selection. The Naperville Public Library and School District 203 have joined in the planning.

Hill Middle School's enrollment averages 950 students, with literacy activities also serving parents, siblings, teachers and the community-at-large.

Hella Regional Training Academy
Education Contact: Kathleen A. Pampe (618) 393-2982
Business Contact: Mike Knapp (618) 662-4402

Partners in the Hella Regional Training Academy include Hella Electronics in Flora, five area high schools (North Wayne, Clay City, North Clay, Flora and West Richland) and Illinois Eastern Community Colleges/Olney Central College. The intent of the academy is to provide area high school students innovative, highly technical occupational programs in Industrial Maintenance Technology and Robotics. Both programs are taught on-site at Hella, with students having the opportunity, through dual credit, to obtain the first level certificate for the Olney Central College Industrial Maintenance Program prior to their graduation from high school. In addition, students learn workplace skills and have the opportunity for job shadowing on a day-to-day, school-year basis.

Achievements include building a robot for entry in a national robotics competition, in which participating students learned a great deal about design and construction. Two of last year's students completed the first level certificate for Industrial Maintenance Technology and are now attending Olney Central College. The academy and program have become models for both industry and education and have received recognition throughout the southeastern Illinois area.

Currently 20 high school students are enrolled in the Hella Regional Training Academy.

"Honorable Mention" awards were also presented to the following business-education partnerships:

  • Bradley-Bourbonnais Chamber of Commerce Business-Education Partnership, Bradley
  • DuPage County Airport and Thompson Middle School Business and Education Partnership, St. Charles
  • FACETS at Harper/Buffets Incorporated Job Training Program and Harper High School, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago
  • Highland Business/Education Alliance, Highland
  • Kankakee County State's Attorney's Office and Kankakee Area Career Center Business/Education Partnership, Bourbonnais
  • Mt. Carroll High School and Law Excavating, Mt. Carroll
  • N.E. Finch Co./Washington Gifted School, Peoria
  • Nicholson Elementary and Willamette Industries School Business Partnership, Montgomery
  • Protective Services Education and Training: A Community Partnership, Oswego
  • WSEC-TV and Glenwood High School High-Technology School-to-Work Partnership, Chatham

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777