TOP TEACHER: Congratulations to Jane Schmidt, eighth-grade literacy and language arts teacher at Maquoketa Middle School. She is Iowa’s 2014 Teacher of the Year, as determined by several education organizations throughout the state. Schmidt has taught at Maquoketa since 1997 and overall for 33 years. She’s also in her first year as a teacher mentor for colleagues — their good fortune.
POSITIVELY PUNCHY: A partnership between Iowa City’s alternative high school, Elizabeth Tate, and the Title Boxing Club is making a positive difference in the classroom. About 25 students from the school spend an hour twice a week at
the club with professional trainers, learning, doing exercises and blowing off steam in a constructive way. The school principal reports better student attendance and grades.
BAG ’EM: The Cedar Rapids City Manager’s 1-Bag Challenge to get more residents tidying up neighborhoods won a second-place award in a national competition. The program invites every citizen to collect one bag of litter every year, with kits available at Hy-Vee stores and community organizations. This year, nearly 1,700 bags of litter have been collected. Info at www.CleanUpCR.com.