QPSF Participates in Write-a-Will Event

QPS to Break Ground on Final K-5 Elementary School

Work Begins on QPS Harrison Site

Quincy, IL, February 27, 2018– On Monday, March 19th at 10:00 a.m. at the Harrison Site located at 4100 Harrison, Quincy Public Schools will mark the start of construction on their 5th new K-5 Elementary School. This celebrates the final phase of the construction of five new elementary schools following the overwhelming passing of the Quincy Schools Bond Referendum in November of 2014.

Work began on the first K-5 Elementary at the Monroe Site in December of 2015; the school was opened as K-3 in August of 2017 as Lincoln-Douglas Elementary. In March of 2017 work began at Rooney Elementary (4900 Columbus Rd.) and Iles Elementary (3111 N. 12th St.); they will open their doors as  K-5 elementary schools in the fall of 2018. Work continues at Baldwin Elementary (3000 Maine St.), which will close to students following the 2017-2018 school year and re-open in the fall of 2019 as a K-5 Elementary. Slated completion for the Harrison Site is also Fall 2019. Maas Construction was awarded the bid for the Harrison Site.

If you would like to attend the groundbreaking, the school district asks that you park on Harrison or one of the side streets to be mindful of other residents and property owners.

For more information on the new K-5 boundaries, please see the QPS website:  https://www.qps.org/about-the-district/k-5-buildings/

If you would like more information, please contact Raquel Piazza at (217) 228-7158 ext. 2224 or email at piazzara@qps.org.

Former Adams School students thrilled to see their children’s book being distributed to preschoolers

What started as a fun assignment for 30 Adams School third-graders last year has blossomed into a powerful educational tool that may impact local preschoolers for years to come.


The assignment involved the creation of a children’s book designed to help youngsters learn how to read and recite their ABCs. Under the supervision of Sarah Guilford, the school’s music teacher, the students wrote, illustrated, colored and self-published a book based on a popular folk song about a dog named Bingo.

Each verse crafted by students requires the reader to sing and spell the names of 26 animals, each beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. Guilford believed it was important to incorporate music into the book, because research shows music can be an effective learning aid for young children.

The book was completed, and 50 copies were printed and distributed to disadvantaged preschoolers in Quincy.

However, that wasn’t the end of the story.

Some people liked the book so much that they decided it should have an even wider audience. That’s when the Quincy Medical Group’s Health Care Foundation agreed to pay to have 500 copies of the book professionally published.

Starting next week, family practitioners and pediatricians associated with QMG will start distributing a copy of the book to every mother who brings in a child for a 2-year-old wellness checkup. The goal is to encourage those parents to read to their children on a regular basis.

Once the 500 copies run out, more will be printed, according to Dr. Tanya Mero, an obstetrician/gynecologist who led the effort to have the book published. Mero knew about the Bingo book because her daughter, Lexi, was a third-grader at Adams School last year and served as project manager.

Mero, a member of the QMG Health Care Foundation’s governing board, attended meetings with pediatricians and family practitioners to ask if they would be interested in distributing the books to the parents of 2-year-olds.

“They thought that would be awesome, because reading to a child is so, so important in their development — not only in learning to read but to speak,” Mero said. “This book, especially, you can read to a baby because you can sing to a baby, and the Bingo song is so catchy. Anybody can read it, and anybody can sing it.”

Guilford initially conceived the book project after she heard about the “Ready, Set, Grow” initiative being launched in Adams County through the cooperative efforts of several community organizations.

This educational initiative — sponsored by the United Way and the Regional Office of Education — strives to get preschool-age children better prepared to enter school by encouraging adults to read and talk to them from the earliest points in their lives.

This effort was driven by statistics that showed 78 percent of the 3-year-olds entering Quincy’s Early Childhood and Family Center in 2012 did not recognize any letters, and 80 percent didn’t recognize any numbers. What’s more, many of those children came from homes with few, if any, books.

Guilford felt Adams School students could help by collecting hundreds of used children’s books and passing them along to low-income families, but she also wanted students to use their creativity to develop a new children’s book that could serve as fun learning tool for preschoolers.

That’s how the Bingo book came about.

As part of the book’s publication celebration, the Regional Office of Education paid to have some hard-cover copies donated to all local libraries in Adams County. Paperback copies also were presented Friday to all 30 students who played a role in creating the book — most of them now fourth-graders at Baldwin Intermediate School.

“I am really, really, really excited about this, because it’s just wonderful to see how much this book will be making a difference in every little kid’s life,” Lexi Mero said. “It’s just awesome to me. I never thought it would go this far.”

Guilford is leading another effort at Adams School this year to have third-graders create a second children’s book emphasizing the alphabet. This one will be based on the song, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”

Adams School third-graders also are hoping to collect 1,000 gently used books geared for preschoolers during April. The books, in turn, will be cleaned and turned over to the Adams County Health Department for distribution to families with preschoolers.

Karli Hagerbaumer, the 9-year-old project manager, said the aim of the book-collection campaign is “so we can help the kids get ready for kindergarten.”


Staff Writer | 217-221-3378
ehusar@whig.com | @EHusarWHIG

Quincy Early Childhood Elementary celebrates 50 years of Head Start

Head Start programs around the country are celebrating Head Starts 50th anniversary.HeadStart

This is a national program that was apart of president Johnson’s war on poverty and gives every vulnerable child an opportunity to succeed.

The national Association for the advancement of young child celebrates this week each year to honor those who work within the profession.

This also marks the 50th year that Quincy Public schools has had the program.

Those at the early childhood education center kicked of their celebration by having students and staff dress up in different themes each day.

Today the children and staff came dressed up as different characters from the movie “Frozen”.

Doing this incorporates the students into the celebration and makes them apart of the week.

Other themes this week has included: Sports day, pajama day and rockstar/popstar day.

Next week they will be celebrating the 50 years as a program prior to the board meeting.

All past staff is invited to come in for the reception that will take you down memory lane with a display of pictures, and memorabilia.

Several members that started with the program in 1965 will be there.

Talk about the future of the early childhood program will also be had.


Story from KHQA.

Quincy teacher honored with WGEM Golden Apple

Originally published by WGEM on January 22, 2015

QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) – Students at Monroe Elementary in Quincy serenaded Mrs. Emily Pool when we surprised her with a WGEM Golden Apple Award this week.  The third grade teacher was speechless as the school sang a song about how much they appreciate her.

It was clear to see how Mrs. Pool is making a big impact on her 21 students and colleagues.  Her hard work, passion and dedication make her this month’s WGEM Golden Apple recipient.

In the classroom, you won’t see textbooks on the desks for Mrs. Pool’s math lesson.  Her third graders use white dry erase boards every day.  It’s just one technique the third grade teacher uses to keep her kids engaged in the classroom and to make the sometimes tough subject more fun.

“Lots of interactive activities whenever possible,” Mrs. Pool said.  “Encouraging them to talk to each other and make it fun.  Weaving that golden thread of fun through everything gives them that passion and desire to want to do more.”

Mrs. Pool has been teaching in Quincy for 10 years. After nine years at Baldwin South, Pool made the move to teach third grade at Monroe.  And in just her first year at the elementary school, her co-workers say she’s made a big impact on her students.

Donna Boster is the paraprofessional at Monroe Elementary in Mrs. Pool’s class.

“I was blown out of the water working with her and watching the style that she uses,” Boster said.   “She is extremely knowledgeable and technologically savvy.  But it’s really the way that she loves the kids and how she views their ability and potential.”

But our Golden Apple isn’t the first she’s been given.  One of her past students had already given her a smaller version, because he felt she was so deserving.  Now, she has two.  And while she says she’s honored to be recognized, being in the classroom every day with her students and leaving a lasting impression on her kids is what she loves most about her job.

“To inspire someone to find the love of learning,” Mrs. Pool said.  “It’s not necessarily about the day-to-day stuff, but can I light a fire in them that’s going to want them to learn and be better people.  Every year I’ve been in Quincy, I’ve had the best class. And it’s never just one class.  They’re all great and they all have a special place in my heart and they all just roll around in there and stay.”

You can nominate a teacher you feel is deserving by filling out the nomination form.  We honor a Tri-States teacher every month.


School Referendum Supporters Get A Chance To Celebrate Early

Supporters of the Quincy School District’s $89 million bond issue were able to start their victory celebration early Tuesday night — even before the final votes were tallied at the county clerk’s office in the Adams County Courthouse.

This is because the supporters got some early insight into how enormously successful the vote was turning out — thanks to some extra legwork, good organization and a provision in the Illinois election code.

The election law spells out several things election judges must do after shutting down polling places where optical scan ballot-counting machines are used.

According to Adams County Clerk Georgia Volm, once the polls close at 7 p.m., election officials must use the optical scanners to print out several “results tapes,” which resemble long cash-register receipts.

The tapes show the vote count for every race and ballot issue logged that day by the scanners, which read ballots fed into them by voters from multiple precincts.

“Those results tapes are kind of important,” Volm said.

One tape, for example, must be brought back to the courthouse with the optical scanner so county officials can ensure the numbers reported on the tape match the machine’s memory card, which is used to help tally the election results that get reported on the county’s website.

On top of that, Volm said, the election judges are required to attach a copy of the tape to the polling place’s door as they walk out.

Knowing this, the school supporters stationed volunteers outside every polling place where Quincy School District votes were cast on Tuesday — approximately 13 in all.

Once the results tapes were posted for all the world to see, the volunteers made note of the yes and no votes for the Quincy bond issue. Then they telephoned the results to Brandy Blickhan, who was waiting at a computer in the Town & Country Inn and Suites ballroom, where supporters were gathering for a post-election party.

Blickhan entered the results into a spreadsheet, thereby producing a running total that was frequently updated.

Blickhan said the first results were called in at 7:05 p.m. — just five minutes after the polling places closed and well before election judges began arriving at the courthouse with the “official” votes in hand.

Armed with their unofficial data, the school supporters were able to announce just after 8 p.m. that the referendum was passing by a margin of 66 percent to 34 percent and that it had passed in every precinct.

Those preliminary results, however, did not take into account the 2,766 “early votes” still to be reported by the county clerk’s office. With those numbers added in, the clerk’s office released the final results at 8:47 p.m. showing the bond issue passed 11,001 (66.2 percent) to 5,620 (33.8 percent).

Volm said results tapes have been posted on polling place doors ever since she introduced optical scanners into Adams County’s elections nearly 12 years ago. She said the organized reporting of votes by groups “hasn’t been a super-widespread practice” over the years.

“They have every right to do that,” she said. “But this is probably the biggest practice of it that I’ve seen.”

Years ago — before the onset of optical scans — election enthusiasts would gather at the courthouse on election night and simply wait for results to be posted on a wall for all to see. Now those folks just stay home and get the results online.

John Frankenhoff, the county’s information technology guru, said he couldn’t provide any statistics on how many hits the county’s website got on election night, but he knows it’s a lot.

“It’s more interesting for the people sitting at home” he said. “They can get the results a lot quicker.”

But not as quick as some folks.


Rallying Around The Coach


Herald Whig Sports Editor

Andy Douglas wasn’t expecting a sendoff quite like this.

Set to coach his first game as the Quincy High School boys basketball team’s head coach, Douglas was treated Wednesday to a pep rally at Washington Elementary School, where he is the physical education instructor. The school staff, with help from the high school, organized the assembly and had the QHS pep band on hand to play the school fight song and wish Douglas well in his new endeavor.

Below are pictures Herald-Whig Photographer Steve Bohnstedt took and above is the video he shot at the event.

The Blue Devils face University City from St. Louis at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the 44th annual QHS Thanksgiving Tournament.

Matt Schuckman, Quincy  Herald-Whig Sports Editor

November 27, 2014

Digital Piano Lab Giving 8th-graders a Chance to Flex Their Musical Wings

Students practice C and G scales on digital pianos in Kim Bingham's piano lab at Quincy Junior High School. The school recently acquired 24 digital pianos for the lab. (H-W Photo/Steve Bohnstedt)By EDWARD HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Eighth graders at Quincy Junior High School are getting a new opportunity to explore the magic of making music.

A state-of-the-art digital piano lab went into operation this fall on the school’s fourth floor. The lab — featuring 24 digital pianos bought with donations — is being used as part of the school’s exploratory arts class for eighth graders. Students spend equal amounts of time over the course of the school year learning about playing the piano, the Seven Habits, computers and art.

Kathi Dooley, the Quincy School District’s director of music, said she was especially pleased to see the piano section come to life because it helped fill a musical void for students in that age group.

“Over the years we’ve been able to provide incredible performance opportunities for students who are into music performance. And in the K-6 level, the general music teachers have done an outstanding job providing general music,” she said.

But for students in grades 7-12 who aren’t in a performance group such as band, orchestra and choir, the school district hasn’t offered much music education because of budgetary constraints. Dooley has been seeking to change that for years.

The seed for the piano lab was planted 15 years ago after the death of Mary M. Knapheide of Quincy, who had a deep affection for music and insisted that all of her children take piano lessons.

After Mrs. Knapheide died Nov. 1, 1999, at age 85, her family made a sizeable donation to the Quincy School District’s music department in her memory.

“Their only request was that it might have something to do with a piano,” Dooley said.

Dooley waited for the right opportunity to use the donation. She often thought about creating a piano lab, but something always interfered with her plans.

“I’ve been holding that money in an account over the years and adding to it from other people’s memorials that have been graciously given to the music department,” she said.

Finally, with approval from Principal Dan Sparrow and an extra donation of $10,000 from the Quincy Public Schools Foundation, Dooley took steps to get a digital piano lab set up by the time school started in August. Teacher Kim Bingham was hired to instruct the piano phase of the exploratory arts program.

The lab isn’t yet completely finished. Dooley said that once a 25th piano and few more “bells and whistles” are added, the total cost for the project will be about $55,000.

A ceremony recognizing the Knapheide family’s donation is planned for December.

“This has been many, many years in the making,” Dooley said.

The advanced digital pianos are all computerized, and they have a sophisticated accompaniment system built in.

“So literally the fourth time a kid has been in the room, they can just play with one finger and press the accompaniment, and it will make it sound like you’re a symphony orchestra,” she said.

Students have taken to the pianos with enthusiasm. Sparrow said many students told them him they had always wanted to learn how to play but never got the chance to take lessons.

“From everything we’re hearing, the students are highly engaged,” Sparrow said. “Parents have been very appreciative, too. One parent said his child is now inspired to come to school because of the piano lab and the opportunity it provided him. We’ve had multiple stories like that from parents who were impressed with what their children were coming home with.”

Dooley said one father told her how his family had been planning to sell a piano “because no one had touched it” for years.

“Then all of a sudden one day he was up in the shower, and he heard someone playing the piano,” Dooley said.

Upon coming downstairs, the dad realized his eighth-grade child was playing.

“Where did you learn this?” the dad inquired.

“In school,” came the reply.

Sparrow said he hopes the piano lab will help open the door to a lifetime of music appreciation and enjoyment for students who continue to play the instrument on their own.

“We’re giving kids opportunities that they might not normally have and exposing them to this great big world that’s out there,” he said.

Dooley agreed, saying music is “the universal language” that speaks to all people. She hopes a zest for learning more will rub off on the eighth graders coming through the piano lab.

“They’re still young enough to realize there are many things they can do — and areas they can explore — to be the whole person they’re going to be,” she said.


gram enrichment, quality enhancement and extended learning opportunities in Quincy’s public schools.


Couple’s donation brings new life to QJHS band room


Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Quincy native John Lynn Lubker developed a love for music in the mid-1940s when he was a high school student while practicing the trombone in the fourth-floor band room what is now Quincy Junior High School.

After he graduated in 1947, Lubker went on to a distinguished career in psychology as a practitioner and educator while he continued to play music in various bands and orchestras.

But he never forgot his hometown roots.

A couple of years ago, Lubker and his wife, Bobbie Boyd Lubker, decided to give back to his alma mater. They made a significant donation to the Quincy Public Schools Foundation’s “Dream Big” campaign to recognize the music education he received while attending school in Quincy.

The Lubkers specified that the donation be used to help revitalize the band room, which had fallen into disrepair over the years. A leaky roof had caused considerable damage to the room’s ceiling and wall, and then the asbestos floor tiles started to break up. Other parts of the room had also deteriorated with age, including the curtains covering the tall windows on the room’s east-facing side.

The Lubkers’ donation triggered a rebirth of the band room. The Quincy School District initially used life-safety money to repair the roof, fix the ceiling, plaster the walls, apply paint, remove the asbestos floor tiles and install new flooring — all of which helped restore the room to a safe and solid environment for students.

But the life-safety money could only be used for structural repairs — not for aesthetic enhancements.

That’s where the Lubker donation came in. It’s being used to restore the room to its original grandeur and usefulness. For example, funds were spent replacing the dilapidated curtains on the east-facing windows with remote-controlled shades that block the morning sun’s glare.

Other funds were used to install new instrument-storage cabinets, refurbish the wooden podium and buy new chairs and music stands. The school also will be updating the room’s sound system, and there are “additional upgrades to come,” according to assistant principal Rick Owsley.

A dedication ceremony was held Thursday afternoon for the revitalized band room. The Lubkers traveled from their home in Chapel Hill, N.C., to be part of the festivities and were feted as guests of honor.

John Lubker said he was pleased to see all the improvements made to the band room over the past two years.

“I am truly impressed with what’s been done here,” he said. “I spent a lot of time in this room, and I enjoyed every minute of it.”

During the dedication ceremony, Superintendent Steve Cobb thanked the Lubkers for their donation on behalf of the district and the music students who will use the band room for years to come. Cobb said the aesthetic improvements being carried out with the couple’s donation are “one of those things that, as a tax-funded school district, we can’t provide.”

QJHS Band Director Debbie Johnson said the band room is vastly improved compared to just a few years ago when the ceiling and floor were literally crumbling.

“It’s just beautiful,” she said. “It turned out wonderfully, and we couldn’t have done it without their help.”

Owsley agreed the renovations wouldn’t have been possible without the Lubkers’ generosity.

“With dwindling public funds available for these types of projects, the Lubkers’ donation was absolutely essential to making this happen,” he said.

Owsley said quite a few QJHS music students took it upon themselves to send thank-you notes to the Lubkers for helping to restore the band room.

“This is now a much more effective room for music instruction,” he said.

— ehusar@whig.com/221-3378