Grant Award Presentation Scheduled for Charleston (IL) Middle School Cafeteria on Friday, September 11, at 8:15 a.m.

Eastern Illinois Men's Basketball Partners with Rural Schools Collaborative to Support Place-Based Education

September 8, 2015 |

Eastern Illinois University recognizes five senior team members at 2015 Senior Day.



CONTACT: Gary Funk, director, 417-848-9083;

Grant Award Presentation Scheduled for Charleston Middle School Cafeteria on Friday, September 11, at 8:15 a.m.

The Rural Schools Collaborative (RSC) is pleased to announce that three Charleston, Illinois teachers and their students have received place-based education grants from the organization’s inaugural Grants in Place program. Chris Bily, 8th grade social studies teacher , Kim Sherwood, 7th grade science teacher, and Jessica Cleeton, high school math teacher, were among 35 grant recipients representing 7 different states.

Bily’s class project will honor local war veterans; Sherwood’s students will do a school site analysis and re-planting effort; and Cleeton and her students are establishing a mathematics student-mentoring program.

Charleston residents Jay and Nicole Spoonhour and Rand and Molly Chappell provided matching funds for these grants. Their donations were made in honor of the Eastern Illinois University men’s basketball program—a perfect partner, considering that the team graduated five senior team members last spring. Building partnerships between higher education and local schools is at the core of the Rural Schools Collaborative mission, and the participation of EIU in our Grants in Place effort exemplifies this objective.

The 8:15 a.m. program will include grant project descriptions by the teachers and an award presentation by selected EIU players to teachers and their students. Media are invited to attend. Representatives from the Rural Schools Collaborative will also be in attendance.

The Rural Schools Collaborative was organized in 2014 and launched in April 2015. Its partners include Illinois organizations Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools, Galesburg Community Foundation, and the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation. RSC believes that community-based instruction, thoughtful collaboration, and targeted philanthropy strengthen the fabric of rural places. The organization is currently working in nine states with an administrative office in Cambridge, Wisconsin.
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