“Innovation is an idea that turns into a practical reality,” says John Monson, chief mission and marketing officer at Compeer Financial, “By awarding the top innovations with funding, we’re ensuring longevity for these programs and promoting new ways of thinking.”
Javier Reyes is a dual-language science teacher at Central Intermediate School in Monmouth, Illinois, just a short, two-block walk away from RSC’s offices at Monmouth College. Although a district of only a couple thousand students, over 16 different languages are actively spoken in the school halls, which poses a distinct challenge in trying to connect families and students with largely English speaking teachers and classroom content.
Shortly before the pandemic began, Javier and his colleagues spearheaded a groundbreaking curriculum with his multilingual students focused on using technology to connect students with their community and each other. These skills proved invaluable in the new digital environment these past two years, and the district sought Javier’s help in facilitating meaningful and engaging e-learning.
This early success inspired Javier and Amy Freitag, the district’s Director of Multilingual Learning and Grants, to apply for the Rural Schools Innovation Grants, a new partnership with RSC and Compeer Financial, in hopes of bolstering their efforts into a full-fledged, student-led broadcasting program.
Since receiving the grant, Javier and his students were able to build a designated recording space and purchase state-of-the-art equipment. They even launched a digital magazine celebrating culture, spotlighting academic growth, and advocating for student wellness. Moving forward, Javier hopes to have students conduct live broadcasts and interviews in the school and out in the community.
This production was a collaborative effort put together by Javier Reyes, his students, and the Rural Schools Collaborative team to thank Compeer Financial!
This project was made possible through the Rural Schools Innovation Grants program, a new partnership between RSC and Compeer Financial Fund for Rural America. This program awarded the innovative ideas necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant honored the hard work of teachers and schools in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota by providing up to $10,000 to continue their visionary projects. Thanks to Compeer Financial and the Fund for Rural America for their generous support!