Regional Office of Education in Macomb receives more than $630,000 in grants

Pella grant

Front row from left, Josh Alden, Pella plant manager; Emma Luzadder, Western Illinois University practicum student; Abby Beck, Attendance and Family support specialist; and Mandy Kreps, director of Family Support Services and School Attendance. Back row from left, John Meixner, Regional Superintendent of Schools; Madison Benson, Pella first shift production manager; Lori Bilbrey, program administrator for Royals Alternative School; and Armando Reyes, Pella human resources manager. | Photo courtesy of Regional Office of Education No. 26

MACOMB, Ill. — The Regional Office of Education No. 26 recently learned it will receive more than $630,000 from three different grant awards.

“I am proud of our team,” ROE 26 Regional Superintendent John Meixner said in a press release. “These recent awards highlight the hard work and creativity of our staff. These awards are proof of their excellence and show their tenacity to get the most resources possible for the students and school districts we serve.”

The Pella Rollscreen Foundation, which provides grants and invests in youth education, awarded ROE 26 a $10,000 grant to complete a teenage resource closet. Mandy Kreps, director of Family Support Services and School Attendance, emphasized the need for this investment.

“At ROE 26, we provide alternative education programs for students who, for a variety of reasons, cannot continue to school in their home district,” she said. “Our staff often notice that these students are in need of basic items such as hygiene products, winter clothing and healthy snacks. With this grant funding, we will be able to establish a resource closet to meet some of the needs of our students and allow them to focus on their learning.”

Parents as Teachers, the nation’s premier home-visiting program, announced ROE 26 received its 2024 Challenge Grant for $25,000 for program quality and improvement. This grant comes after the program at ROE 26 was recognized in 2023 as a Blue Ribbon Affiliate.

This grant will fund tuition and expenses for Early Beginnings program director Christine Nicholson to attend the Erikson Infant Mental Health Certificate Program. This program will provide best practices on how to better support infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their families and support their social, emotional and relational development.

“Becoming certified in infant and early childhood mental health has been a long-time goal of mine,” Nicholson said. “When Parents as Teachers provided an opportunity to write for their Challenge Grant to improve program quality, it felt like stars aligning. I am excited to be able to attain this program quality standard as well as better support the families we serve.”

Finally, Rep. Eric Sorenson’s office announced that ROE 26 is the recipient of a $602,799 grant from the USDA to strengthen distance learning services in rural communities.

“Our office is always looking for better ways to serve the schools and students in our area. This funding provides our office and the schools we serve with another tool to combat the ever-growing teacher shortage. We will also be able to harness these dollars to expand our remote counseling services and our professional development training for school personnel,” Meixner said.

The Regional Office of Education No. 26 serves Fulton, Hancock, McDonough and Schuyler counties. 

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