Belleville West is semifinalist in national contest

News-DemocratApril 22, 2014 

Belleville West High School has been named a national semifinalist in the $200,000 Follett Challenge, which for the third consecutive year has provided a forum for schools to share inspiring stories of how their innovative programs are preparing students for the demands of the 21st century.

From the four semifinalists, a grand-prize winner will be selected and announced May 16. The overall winner will earn a $60,000 prize in Follett products and services, while the other three semifinalists each will earn $30,000 in products and services. One of the largest education solution providers in the United States, Follett is based in McHenry.

Part of Belleville School District 201, Belleville West won the contest's high school category for its "A Community of Readers" submission, which included a video that already has been viewed on the Follett Challenge more than 1,700 times.

A total of 103 entrants completed an online application and uploaded a three- to five-minute video describing their program. The judges scored entries based on critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration between students and among teachers and staff members. For more information on the Follett Challenge, visit


Students, parents and teachers are being asked to provide feedback on a statewide survey in an effort to improve student learning. All public schools are administering the Illinois 5Essentials Survey through Friday. The 15-minute research-based survey will help identify strengths and weaknesses in a school's climate and learning conditions. For more information visit:


Belleville East High School students will perform the production "The Drowsy Chaperone" at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the school's Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and children.


East St. Louis School District 189 students in the Work Experience and Career Exploration Program will help hold, in partnership with the YMCA of Southwest Illinois Healthy Kids Day, a free community event open to kids and families that will be filled with fun, active play and educational opportunities. There will be giveaways, an Urban-N-Step class, dental services, organized games and a special celebrity guest speaker. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Parson Place Park, 1060 N. 18th St. in East St. Louis.


Belle Valley School in Belleville is hosting kindergarten registration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28 through May 2. For more information, contact the school office at 236-5200.


William Holliday Elementary School in Fairview Heights will hold its kindergarten registration from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. April 30. For more information, contact the school office at 233-7588 or visit


Edwardsville Township and Edwardsville High School is hosting a logo design competition, which is open to students, clubs and organizations at Edwardsville High School. The designer of the winning logo will receive a cash prize.

The winning logo will best represent the function of Edwardsville Township and the geographic area served by the township. A panel of local design professionals will select the winning design.

Those interested may contact the Edwardsville Township office at 656-0292 and request an application packet. The deadline for submission is 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 2.


Local schools were among those honored by the St. Clair County Environmental Program during the annual Earth Day awards ceremony April 14. 2014 award winners included Jefferson School Ecology Club (Belleville), Marie Schaefer Elementary School in O'Fallon, Althoff Science Club (Belleville), Belleville East Ecology Club and Belle Valley School.


Belleville East High School student Emily Furlow won first place in the State of Illinois in the National Institute of Peace Essay Contest. East student Gabrielle Thro received honorable mention in Illinois in the same contest. Only three students were recognized in Illinois for this achievement and two of them are seniors at East.


The Governor French Academy in Belleville won third-place in the Green Schools Quest, a challenge issued by the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter to public and private schools within the chapter's territory -- Missouri and southern Illinois. Schools were invited to submit a proposal targeting no or low cost sustainable projects and practices for their schools. The focus of the Green Schools Quest is to provide a volunteer green mentor to projects that result in energy and water savings, cleaner air, and healthier learning environments for students and teachers. Governor French's project focused on water conservation.

The winners receive a recognition plaque and certificate as well as cash prizes. USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter is currently seeking schools and mentors to participate in the 2014 - 15 Green Schools Quest. For more information, visit

Do you have an item for Education Matters or an education-related story tip? We want to know about it. Send your ideas to Jamie Forsythe at or call 618-239-2562. Follow her on Twitter at @BND_JForsythe.

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