Wednesday, October 24, 2018

UIS Cox Children’s Center receives Gold Circle of Quality designation from ExceleRate Illinois

The University of Illinois Springfield Cox Children’s Center has received the Gold Circle of Quality designation, the highest rating possible, from ExceleRate Illinois, the state’s quality rating and improvement system for early learning and development providers.

“Every early learning and development provider who participates in ExceleRate Illinois makes quality a priority,” said Cynthia L. Tate, executive director, Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development. “The higher the designation, the higher the program demonstrated quality and comprehensiveness in meeting children's early learning needs,” she said.

“We are proud to receive the Gold Circle of Quality,” said Stacey Gilmore, director of the UIS Cox Children's Center. “Providing quality in early learning and development will help our children be better prepared for success in school and in life.”

ExceleRate Illinois helps families make more informed choices about their children's early learning. It establishes standards to help infants, toddlers and preschoolers develop intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally. Additionally, it provides a framework for early learning and development professionals to identify opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills.

Research in science and brain development shows that children who are more meaningfully engaged in early learning experiences from infancy through the first five years of life are more likely to be successful in school and in life. With the right engagement, children can form a healthy foundation of neural pathways in the brain, which impact their ability to think, react, process and grow.

ExceleRate Illinois is a comprehensive system that includes Licensed Child Care Centers, Licensed Family Child Care, Preschool for All and Center-Based Prevention Initiative Programs, Head Start and Early Head Start Programs.

ExceleRate Illinois is administered through the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies under the joint direction of the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development, the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois State Board of Education.

The UIS Cox Children’s Center was established in 1970. The center is a resource for university students, faculty, staff, alumni and community clients. The programs are designed to provide early childhood care and education for children 6 weeks to 12 years of age. The center also serves as a site for practicum experiences for university students seeking hands-on learning in the field of early childhood education.

The center’s early childhood program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The UIS Cox Children’s Center has received the ExceleRate Gold Circle Quality Designation every year since the program began in 2014.

For more information contact Stacey Gilmore, director of the UIS Cox Children’s Center, at 217/206-6610 or

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

UIS Performing Arts Center awarded a $20,200 grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency

The University of Illinois Springfield Performing Arts Center, home of Sangamon Auditorium, has been awarded a $20,200 grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) for operational support.

The August 24, 2018 grant will be utilized to support the UIS Performing Arts Education Connections Program, in addition to providing support for artistic programming that may not be able to rely on ticket sales to cover costs.

According to IACA, the grant is designed to provide support to established not-for-profit organizations that make a significant local, regional or statewide impact on the quality of life in Illinois. Grants recognize arts programming of high quality that is appropriate to and reflective of the communities served and that broaden opportunities for the public to participate in the arts.

“It is a wonderful statement of support from the Illinois Arts Council,” said Bryan Rives, director of UIS performing arts services. “These prestigious grants are reviewed and awarded by a committee of peers in the field of arts presenting, so it is an affirmation of the work we are doing in our community.”

One of the educational components the grant will support is the Class Acts Program, a series of daytime performances for preK-12 grade students in central Illinois. Last season, nearly 15,000 students attended ten artistic, educational and high quality performances put on by national touring companies at Sangamon Auditorium.

Overall, more than 72,000 people attended UIS Performing Arts Center events during the 2017-2018 season in the 2,005 seat Sangamon Auditorium and 350 seat Studio Theatre. The Performing Arts Center hosts nearly 150 events each year, including Broadway shows, and is home to the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Springfield Ballet Company and the UIS Theatre and Music Programs.

The Illinois Arts Council Agency was created as a state agency by the Illinois General Assembly in 1965 through legislation sponsored by Senators Paul Simon, Thomas McGloon, and Alan Dixon. The agency is governed by up to twenty-one private citizens chosen for their demonstrated commitment to the arts and appointed by the Governor.

For more information, contact Jen Tibbs, UIS Performing Arts Center coordinator of public information and marketing, at 217/206-8284 or