Excellence in education, a tradition in the Illinois Valley area, is reflected in extensive public and private school systems, skilled teaching staffs, and diverse curriculums.

Set among some 4,000 acres of oaks, walnut, and prime forest, Illinois Valley Community College's picturesque campus overlooks the Illinois River Valley south of Peru. Illinois Valley Community College's picturesque campus overlooks the Illinois River Valley south of Peru.

IVCC is a comprehensive two-year institution with a reputation for producing graduates who excel academically and on the job. Pride in student success is so strong that the college has adopted a marketing slogan that reads: "No place so close can take you so far.".

Year after year, grade point average reports provide IVCC graduates are flourishing at Illinois" senior universities. Part of the reason for IVCC's academic success is a commitment that puts student interests first. Each of the 4,000 full and 3,000 part-time students has easy access to instructors and to academic advising. Additionally, the reason for alumni achievement is a highly qualified and experienced faculty whose primary mission is teaching - not research or publishing. And, FVCC has a sterling reputation for offering courses that transfer to senior universities.

IVCC offers two-year Associate in Art and Associate in Science programs. Arts degrees range from the visual arts to computer science; Science degrees span from engineering to nursing. RVCC also offers 13 career programs which award Associate in Applied Science degrees, and 24 certificate programs. Each is designed for employment after two years or less.

Customized training for area businesses and industries is available through the college's office of Business and Industrial Services. Long a recognized leader in high technology training, IVCC boasts a state-of-the-art Automated Manufacturing Center.

The college remains affordable and accessible to residents of its 17,000-square-mile district. It has at least a half dozen extension sites, plus a modern distance learning studio which transmits courses to area high schools.

Up to 4,000 area residents take advantage of noncredit enrichment courses conducted through the college's Continuing Education Office.

Vocational Education
The LaSalle-Peru Area Vocational Center serves 18 high school districts. It occupies a modern two-story, 18,600-square-foot building and has an enrollment of some 400 students. The Center gives students employment training in such areas as commercial art, electronics, welding, woods and construction, health occupations, auto mechanics, beauty culture, drafting, graphic production, food service, simulated office, data processing, and AG mechanics. The Vocational Center coordinates its curriculum with Illinois Valley Community College and offers adult training several areas.

Elementary Education
There are 24 public and five parochial elementary and junior high schools in the Illinois Valley. These schools are all located within residential neighborhoods and make it convenient for children to walk to school. Youngsters living beyond walking distance are transported by bus.

The Illinois Valley's public school systems strive to provide each child with the opportunity to learn and the desire to learn, as well. Elementary schools stress basic-reading and math skills and provides excellent musical, athletic, and other programs. In all facets of the educational system, the support of involved parents and an interested community is evident. There is excellent parent and community support of school functions; funding for athletic equipment, travel, and other expenses. Loyal volunteer workers assist in many educational programs and committees.

The Illinois Valley has numerous preschool and day care centers where children learn to socialize, play, and work with other children to effectively prepare them for entrance into kindergarten.

Alternative Education
Horizon House of Illinois Valley, Inc., is a private, not for profit corporation serving people with disabilities. It is the mission of the organization to provide or access services and supports for people with disabilities that seek to enable each individual to achieve his or her maximum mental, physical, and social development in accordingly dance with the individual's preferences and needs. Programs and activities consist of community vocational and residential supports; sheltered employment; respite supports; developmental training; and 24-hour residential care. Horizon House offers people with disabilities opportunities to live productive lives and to take pride in themselves through their accomplishments.

The Lighted Way Association serves developmentally delayed and multiple disabled children ranging from infancy to 21 years. Approved by the State Board of Education and licensed by the state, the not-for-profit center operates as a day-school- -from September to June. A qualified, professional staff offer physical, occupational, and speech therapy as well as classes in self-help and motor skill development, music, academics, and physical education. Over 25 dedicated volunteer assistants provide each child with individual attention and personal care.

Three years ago, the Hall administration implemented a "non-shadowing program in which a student(usually a junior or senior) is allowed to spend time "shadowing" a person who works in their chose field of interest. This has met with a highly favorable response from students.

Hall places great emphasis on "Core" classes, such as English, mathematics, sciences and social studies, providing a solid background and foundation for students by aiding them in the transition to college or employment. Hall High School remains a progressive institution where a quality education and continuous improvement are the priorities of the staff, administration, and Board of Education.

Putnam County High School, in Granville, offers a strong academic and broad vocational program to students in Putnam County. Its campus includes a commons/student center, music room, auditorium, academic classrooms, science suites, industrial arts facility, and a gymnasium.

Putnam County High School boasts a strong academic program as well as offering its students a wide variety of extracurricular activities. The school has set records in both basketball and baseball at state tournaments, and has captured the state track championship. Putnam County has established a reputation as a state leader in the School-to-Work Initiative, Integrated Curriculum, and Cooperative Work Experience. Approximately 50 percent of its graduates go on to a college or university. DePue High School is consolidated in unit district with its grade school system and has a combined enrollment of about 440.

DePue High School, situated overlooking Lake DePue, has a curriculum designed to give students skills in using computers, as well as tech-prep and vocational training.

Fieldcrest High School, in Minonk, was created in 1992, with the consolidation of Minonk- Dana-Rutland, Toluca, and Wenona school districts. It is a fully accredited four-year high school. The school's broad curriculum offers several educational opportunities for the approximately 400 students enrolled. Four-year college preparation, two-year college preparation, vocational training, and work study are emphasized.

LaMoille High School is situated in northeastern Bureau County, eight miles west of Mendota. It has a student population of about 150 and covers grades eight through 12.

The school emphasizes both academic and career training and offers a full roster of extracurricular activities and competitive sports. St. Bede Academy, set on a 100-acre campus in Peru, is an outstanding coeducational Catholic high school. College preparatory programs are emphasized for its 300-plus students. The Academy's family atmosphere and small class size insure individual attention and academic success. Each year, 96 percent of the graduates go on to post-secondary institutions. The Academy has a tri-level program and students are placed with students of similar ability. Elementary School, indicates community All levels are college preparatory. A wide range of extracurricular activities are also offered and 99 percent of the students are involved in these activities. Integral to the life of the Academy is its Christian Formation Program. A dedicated faculty, 90 percent of whom have masters degrees, and involved parents heighten student achievement.

LaSalle-Peru Christian School is a ministry of the First Baptist Church of LaSalle. The high school was organized in 1979 and has about 40 students enrolled in ninth through twelfth grades. The school offers a full range of classes for both college prep-and general studies students. All courses are taught from a Christian point of view. The school's interscholastic sports program includes soccer and basketball for boys and Volleyball, basketball, and cheerleading for girls. There are also interscholastic tournaments in fine arts and academics. All these programs are organized through the Illinois Association of Christian Schools and the American Association of Christian Schools.