State Journal-Register: “Report Sheds Light on Local School Changes”

(Springfield, IL – November 25, 2017) “Every school district in the area saw its low-income population rise, and in the case of some communities, more than double.  The rise in low-income students has been especially stark in Riverton. Enrollment has been relatively flat, but the percentage of low-income students has skyrocketed from 28 percent to 58 percent.  Superintendent Lance Thurman, who was hired four years ago, said the jump can be explained, in part, because Riverton has seven mobile home parks, some of which have expanded in recent years, and a number of apartment buildings.  “The rentals encourage more of short-term stay than in other communities I’ve been associated with,” he said.

Ball-Chatham also saw its low-income population more than double as the community has expanded, as has Rochester. Jacksonville, Taylorville, Pawnee and Springfield also have seen significant jumps.  Out of all the districts, Waverly has remained the most level, only inching up from 35.2 percent to 35.4 percent.” Continue reading at

State Journal-Register: “District 186’s PARCC performance improves slightly”

(Springfield, IL – October 31, 2017) “Springfield Public Schools inched closer, but still has a ways to go to close the gap with other Illinois schools on state testing, newly released data shows. Test scores from the PARCC exam taken by elementary and middle school students for the 2016-17 school year show 26.8 percent of Springfield students met or exceeded state standards in reading and math. That was up from 25.6 percent of students in the 2015-16 school year.” Continue reading at

UIS offers first on campus dual credit class to high school students as part of a pilot program

(Springfield, IL – October 12, 2017) “The University of Illinois Springfield is offering its first on campus dual credit class for high school students as part of a pilot program. The class marks the first time UIS has offered high school students college credit for a class taught by a university faculty member.  The pilot course, CHE 199A: General, Organic, and Biochemistry, is being offered to 18 seniors from Springfield’s Sacred Heart-Griffin High School (SHG). The students earn both college and high school credit for the course. If the program is successful, the university hopes to expand course selection and offer classes to students at other high schools in central Illinois.”  Continue reading at

Press Release: SIU Medicine Launches Nurse-Family Partnership in Sangamon County

“In the past, health care has been about taking care of those who knock on our door. We know now that is not good enough,” said Dean and Provost Jerry Kruse, MD, MSPH. A new alliance will launch more SIU Family and Community Medicine (FCM) providers into the community in support of Southern Illinois University Medicine’s priority of providing evidence-based population health.

The school’s FCM is now a part of the national Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), an evidence-based community health program that helps low-income, first-time pregnant women and their babies. FCM nurses will provide home visits and support to 100 women in Sangamon County. Bringing the NFP into Sangamon County was also the number-one recommendation of Sangamon Success, a report released by the Sangamon County Continuum of Learning Coordinating Council in 2015. Providers will work with a variety of community organizations to help the families improve their health, education and economic self-sufficiency. Continue reading at

Brain Architecture Game Case Study: Innovate Springfield

“DIY Game moderator Nadia Gronkowski recently documented how she has used The Brain Architecture Game to improve her organizational mission.

Nadia’s background is in early childhood education, environmental education, and environmental policy.  She is the Social Innovation Program Coordinator for Innovate Springfield in Springfield, Illinois.

Her organization is implementing a locally-written report — the Sangamon Success Report — which recommends that we teach more adults in our community about executive functions and children’s brain development.”  Continue reading at