Promoting Libraries as Learning Centers

The Starved Rock Region is focused on promoting libraries as learning centers to support their 60 by 25 goal. Three area libraries enhanced their collection thanks to a recent donation.

LaSalle Library: Opportunities for youth “citizen scientists” is the motivation of the LaSalle Public Library purchase of weather station equipment that qualifies for data collection with NASA’s GLOBE Program – Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment.  GLOBE is a worldwide program that promotes environmental science and learning by bringing together students, teachers, scientists and citizens. It is a hands-on approach to inquiry that includes five core areas of study; atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, soil (pedosphere), and Earth as a system. While students may access the data generated by the GLOBE protocols from citizen scientists around the world, GLOBE also allows and encourages youth citizen scientists to make local investigations, observations and measurements, and upload the data. This data is then shared freely around the globe. The weather station would allow study and data collection for the core field of “atmosphere.”  The vision of GLOBE is expressed as creation of “A worldwide community of students, teachers, scientists, and citizens working together to better understand, sustain, and improve Earth’s environment at local, regional, and global scales.” GLOBE sponsoring/partner organizations include NASA, NOAA, NSF, State Department, and Youth Learning as Citizen Environmental Scientists.

Peru Library will purchase several Playaway Launchpads for the youth section of the library. Each Launchpad comes pre-loaded with 8-10 books, games and activities that are age-appropriate for young children, teens, and/or adults. They will choose from early literacy, kindergarten readiness, eBooks and/or STEM/STEAM categories for young children. To see the selection of pre-loaded Playaway Launchpads, visit

Utica Library will offer iKid Code for children ages 5 and up. Two iPads will be available with multiple Osmo games for them to play with and learn from. Osmo specializes in changing the way children play and learn with and without technology. The Utica Public Library District’s mission is to support the informational, educational and recreational needs and interests of the community.  The library provides the community with convenient, creative and easily accessible materials and services that inform, inspire, enrich and amaze the growing community. iKid Code is one of the ways they will provide this kind of programming to the children of the library district.  There has been a surge in STEM/STEAM learning in libraries that the library has been unable to keep up with. iKid Code will allow them to provide programming and coding lessons with limited overhead, training and no sign-up required. This program will allow young patrons to use the equipment freely and will not be bound by day and time restrictions like a traditional library program would. The target audience of iKid Code is children ages 5 to 12, but is not  limited to them.

The Arts – Silo Pathways

Silo Pathways will install large public art on silos, barns, corn bins, walls, etc., in the Starved Rock Region. The goal is 15 installations in five years. The Heritage Park Vintage Wall (HPVW) multi-phased project is the first commissioned work in the Silo Pathways series. HPVW is a three- story art installation covering a deteriorating brick wall in downtown Streator. The city has commissioned the art installation to secure the wall, beautify the adjacent park, and, provide a highly visible, iconic piece of art by nationally recognized artist, Ray Paseka. These works of public art provide opportunities for mentoring new artists as well as location-based education. These include the “science” and process to devise, manufacture, assemble, install, and maintain the art. It also includes the study of the materials (paint, aluminum, steel, lighting), services used (masonry, electrical), and the variety of skills (welding, painting) involved to create and maintain the art.

Teacher Professional Development

Starved Rock is using some of the funds they received for implementation of transitional math to help educators identify ways to incorporate college and career readiness training into all classes. Professional Development Sessions in 2017 include the following:

Seeking Help in College

Date: September 26, 1 pm – 4 pm

Location: Illinois Valley Community College, CTC 125

Facilitator: Tina Hardy, Illinois Valley Community College

Description: This session will present educators with knowledge about the variety of supports students can seek out in college, including tutoring and disability services.  It will touch on note taking/how to study math, building confidence, and time management. Educators will be encouraged to use some learning styles inventories to help better assess student level/need.

Mathematics in the Real World

Date: October 17, 1 pm – 4 pm

Location: Illinois Valley Community College, CTC 124

Facilitator: Kathy Almy, Northern Illinois University

Description: This hands-on workshop will provide participants with strategies for connecting mathematics to the real world and will include information on the mathematical and financial realities of college decisions. This session will also provide background information on state-level initiatives including the PWR Act, Pathways, as well as updates on current legislation, and initiatives at other colleges to provide context for rethinking how math is taught in high school.

Habits of the Mind — Toward the Effective Systemization of College and Career Readiness Learning

Date: November 14, 1 pm – 4 pm

Location: Illinois Valley Community College, C325/C326

Facilitators: Diane Mahinda, Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University, teaching Habits of the Mind; President of the Illinois Business Education Association.

Susan Monroe, IVCC CTE Recruitment & Dual Credit/Dual Enrollment Coordinator

Description: As a classroom option, teachers will learn to “vocationalize” their mathematics and other curriculum by infusing and demonstrating connections to the use of mathematics and workplace success habits of the mind in multiple career pathways. Through examples and practice that illustrate the use of mathematical applications and career-ready skills in such diverse areas as the construction trades, business, graphic arts, culinary arts, and medical professions teachers can answer the proverbial question “what are we ever going to use this for?” This workshop will also provide specific areas of resource that teachers can tap into to gather information on how different professions use mathematics and seek out career-ready employees. Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops, iPads, or Chromebooks to access the Internet for some interactive training.

College 101

Date: December 12, 1 pm – 4 pm

Location: Illinois Valley Community College, CTC 124

Facilitator: ISAC

Description: This session will focus on how to teach students what to do to even begin thinking about obtaining a certification or some kind of industry credential, a two-year degree, or a four-year degree. Topics covered include Financial Aid, the College Application, scholarship possibilities, dual credit, and placement testing.

More Updates

Student Advisory Council: Winter 2023 Meeting

SAC members provided thoughtful insights on their course selection and advising experiences, plus shared their perspectives on high school graduation, college enrollment, and community college remediation data from the Illinois School Report Card.

2022 In Review

In 2022, the Success Network expanded its reach and impact through thoughtful convenings, engagement with students, new supports and funding opportunities for Leadership Communities, and the launch of a new policy committee.

Agriculture Career Expo Held in Vandalia

The Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapter in Vandalia hosted a Career Expo on November 10. They had 17 booths at the fair and discussed various career