Tenth-annual Business-Education conference honors 15 outstanding partnerships, education and business leaders

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January 8, 2001                                                                                                            (217) 782-4648

Chicago - The Illinois State Board of Education will honor 15 of the state’s top business-education partnerships at the tenth annual Business-Education Partnership Conference January 8-9 at the Fairmont Hotel, 200 N. Columbia Drive.

Edward B. Rust Jr., chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the State Farm Mutual Insurance Company in Bloomington will receive the Lou Mervis Award for distinguished service to education. This award will be presented at a special dinner from 6-8 p.m. tonight, January 8.

State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee tonight will also honor groundbreaking television journalist Bill Kurtis with a special Superintendent’s Award for his longtime support of and work for education.

Finally seven Illinois educators and business leaders were honored earlier today with 2001 Education to Careers Governor’s Awards for their work to support and promote education.

“The education community recognizes and relies on the important link between the business community and us,” McGee said. “We are proud to publicly demonstrate our gratitude to our business partners for their support and to show how business is helping us to deliver an education that is Second to None for all of our students.”

Hazel Loucks, Deputy Governor for Education and Workforce tonight will also present Exemplary Partnership Awards to 15 business-education partnerships. These collaborations represent small, medium and large schools, districts and businesses from rural, suburban and urban areas statewide.

Rust is the second-ever recipient of the prestigious Mervis award, named for former two-time State Board Chairman Lou Mervis, a nationally recognized and respected advocate for education and prominent Danville businessman. Former State Sen. Arthur Berman received the award last year.

Rust is being lauded for his significant contributions to education at every level. He chairs the Illinois Business Roundtable and the national Business Roundtable’s Education Task Force, and is vice chair of the Business Higher Education Forum.

He is also a member of the board of directors of Achieve, Inc., and the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century.

In 1996 Rust led the “Superintendent’s External Review Team” which was formed to find agreement on the Illinois Learning Standards. That group’s work, and the Illinois Business Roundtable’s public endorsement of the Learning Standards were important components of the Standards’ approval and adoption in 1997. Standards outline the knowledge and skills students need for success in life.

Locally, Rust’s leadership and support have helped five Bloomington-area school districts get involved in the College Board’s Equity 2000 program. The program provides teacher development and creates safety nets for struggling students.

Kurtis, known worldwide for his work on such television journalism programs s “Investigative Reports,” “American Justice” and “The New Explorers,” long ago recognized the impact his journalistic work could have on education. He created “eld!n” - the Electronic Long Distance Learning Network - a science curriculum based on the “New Explorers” program and the Learning Standards for science.

Eld!n was developed with top educators, media and communications professionals across the country. It lets teachers and students use state-of-the-art technology, science and problem-solving skills. Now Kurtis is donating the curriculum to over 200 Illinois schools, including all middle schools in which more than 50 percent of students are not meeting science standards.

Among the 2001 Education-to-Careers Governor’s Awards winners, Carol Touissant, a teacher at Thomas Middle School in Arlington Heights, was named the Educational Champion of the Year.

Among many other accomplishments, Touissant has been nominated for a Golden Apple Award and has prepared and delivered numerous workshops and presentations on the importance of career development and relevant education.

Sharon Potacki, a teacher at Conrady Junior High School in Hickory Hills, received honorable mention.

The Private Sector Champion of the Year award went to Blouke Carus, chief executive officer of the Carus Corporation in Peru.

Carus is president of the Illinois Valley Education-to-Careers Partnership. He has supported education and business partnerships in many ways, including hiring numerous students for summer internships in his company.

James H. Collins, director of community relations at Deere and Co., Moline, earned honorable mention.

Finally, State Sen. Debbie Halvorson, D-Chicago Heights, is the Elected Official of the Year. Halvorson has shown her commitment to the education-to-careers philosophy in many ways including working with two education-to-careers partnerships and two large chambers of commerce.

Honorable mentions go to Joseph Vermeire, the Rock Island County Regional Superintendent of Schools, and Irene H. Brodie, mayor of the Village of Robbins.


2001 Exemplary Business-Education Partnerships

Cherry Corporation, Automotive Division, and Waukegan High School Business Partnership
Ed. partners: Waukegan High School [Waukegan CUSD #60), and Lake County ETCBus. partner: Cherry Automotive, a division of Cherry Corporation, Waukegan

The Chicago Public Schools, Education-to-Careers and Shell Youth Training Academy Partnership
Ed. partner: Chicago Public Schools #299
Bus. partner: Shell Oil Company (Shell Youth Training Academy), Chicago

Cisco Networking Academy/Whiteside Area Career Center
Ed. partners: Sauk Valley Area ETC Partnership, Sterling; Whiteside Area Career Center, Sterling
Bus. partner: Cisco Systems, Inc., Fergus Falls, MN

CNH and Gower District #62,Burr Ridge/Martha Harms’ 8th grade Science Students
Ed. partner: Gower Middle School [Gower SD #62, Burr Ridge]
Bus. partner: CNH, Burr Ridge

The Danville Area Metals Cluster
Ed. partners: Danville CCSD #118 and the East Central Illinois Partnership
Bus. partner: Danville Area Economic Development Corporation

Education to Careers for Special Populations - DuPage High Schools and College of DuPage
Ed. partners: Glenbard Township HSD #87 and DuPage Area Education to Careers, Glen Ellyn
Bus. partner: Doubletree Guest Suites Hotel, Downers Grove

Fox Valley General Contractors Association/Valley Education-to-Careers Partnership/Waubonsee Community College
Ed. partner: Valley Education-to-Careers Partnership at Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove
Bus. partner: Fox Valley General Contractors Association, Geneva

I Sing the Body Electric Partners and The Regional Office of Education #11
Ed. partner: Regional Office of Education #11 (Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie and Shelby Counties)
Bus. partner: Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Foundation, Mattoon

Junior Achievement of Rock River Valley, Inc. and Harlem High School
Ed. partner: Harlem High School, Machesney Park [Harlem Unit District #122]
Bus. partner: Junior Achievement of Rock River Valley, Inc., Rockford

Kankakee Area Career Center and Scanlon Collision Specialists
Ed. partner: Kankakee Area Career Center, Bourbonnais
Bus. partner: Scanlon Collision Specialists, Herscher

Martinsville High School/Pap-R-Products Printing
Print Technology Partnership
Ed. partner: Martinsville High School [Martinsville CUSD #3C, Martinsville]
Bus. partner: Pap-R-Products Printing Company, Martinsville

McHenry County Association of Plastics Partners
Ed. partner: McHenry County College, Crystal Lake, along with district high schools
Bus. partner: SeaquistPerfect Dispensing, Cary, along with more than 12 other plastics companies

Naperville Community Unit School District 203/Edward Cardiovascular Institute Partnership
Ed. partners: Naperville CUSD #203 and DuPage Area Education to Careers System, Naperville
Bus. partners: Edward Cardiovascular Institute and the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce

The Rotary Club of Peoria/Tyng Primary School/Tyng SUCCESS FOR ALL Readers
Ed. partner: Tyng Primary School, Peoria [Peoria SD #150]
Bus. partner: Rotary Club of Peoria

Sherman Hospital - McKinley Elementary School Partnership
Ed. partner: McKinley Elementary School, Elgin [School District #46]
Bus. partner: Sherman Hospital, Elgin