QUINCY — Quincy Junior High School teacher Hanlynn Cruthis led a study guide review last week in advance of an upcoming test for her seventh-grade science students.
The guide is one of several popular features of the new Glencoe iScience curriculum, provided with help from the Quincy Public Schools Foundation.
Without that help, “we would still be using old outdated textbooks. I’d still be trying to find different resources online and making hundreds of copies,” Cruthis said. “When we got the call we were able to get our books, I was so thankful and so happy because I knew that it would allow not only myself but the team of teachers I work with, to enrich these kids and make them enjoy science.”
Science and math already are seventh-grader Aika Mushi’s favorite subjects, and the new textbooks, complete with an online edition, only help build her interest especially through the labs “because you get to experience the stuff, the chemicals,” she said.
“I like them a lot. They’re like really fun,” her classmate Kayleb Bush said. “I like to read (the textbook). It’s very interesting.”
Buying the junior high textbooks and related materials cost a little over $140,000 — and followed the purchase the year before of new science curriculum for K-5 students at a cost of some $300,000.
“The foundation is becoming more and more involved in areas like curriculum and technology because the needs are rising, and sometimes there’s shortfalls in those areas of the district budget,” QPS Foundation Executive Director Kent Embree said.
“Part of our vision is to maintain quality and excellence in Quincy Public Schools. This fits right in with what we want to maintain in terms of quality.”
Originally established to supplement areas of need within classrooms, the foundation now plays a more significant role “in making sure that donors are able to give to really critical areas within the district, areas that if they go unfunded really could affect the quality of education in Quincy,” Embree said. “Numbers show a pretty steady increase in what’s being required from the foundation to maintain status quo, not even improvement, but to maintain status quo.”
That spurred a larger fundraising effort, the foundation’s Dream Big Annual Campaign, with a goal of raising $150,000 by Dec. 31 for curriculum, technology, fine arts, athletics and endowment needs.
“The campaign is going very well. We’ve included donations to endowment as well as unrestricted donations in the campaign,” Embree said. “It’s still not too late to make a donation.”
All donations postmarked by Dec. 31 will be credited to the campaign.
“I’m very thankful to the community for stepping up, thankful to the campaign chairs, Ned and Reaugh Broemmel, and our board for helping get the word out,” Embree said.
The foundation office at Quincy High School is closed this week, but staff will be checking voicemails and emails to work with anyone interested in donating.
Back in the junior high classroom, students worked their way through questions on inheritance and mutations on the practice test, which was “harder than the real test,” Cruthis said, and could target their studying based on what questions they missed.
“The way it’s written, the kids enjoy reading it with the real-life examples,” Cruthis said. “We all got class sets of textbooks, and we all got online access. We’re getting more and more use of the online material — lots of extra labs, extra practice. You can always find something that you want to fill the last 10 minutes with. I really, really enjoy that.”
Cruthis also enjoys the different opportunities the textbooks provide to students.
“I can have labs appropriate for the ability levels of all kids, from my approaching level kids to my beyond level kids,” she said. “They’re doing the same types of skills, building that confidence and doing it at their own page in a way that’s meaningful for them.”
More information about the Quincy Public Schools Foundation Dream Big Annual Campaign and how to donate is available by calling 217-228-7112 and leaving a message at extension 101 and by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.