Education is a vital part of a growing, productive community and in Jefferson County education is woven into the fabric of everyday life. Represented by a variety of school districts, Jefferson County schools include three pre-K-12 unit districts, one 9-12 high school, eight K-8 grade school districts, one parochial pre-K-6, one parochial pre-K-8 and two K-12 parochial schools.
Mt. Vernon, the largest city in the county, features a recently constructed state-of-the-art high school with a campus boasting quality use of technology, up-to-date science labs, a fully programmed Career and Technical Educational department, a professional level performance theater and expansive athletic facilities. Students from nine grade schools feed into Mt. Vernon Township High School.
One of those feeder schools, Mt. Vernon City Schools, provides a challenging educational program by serving students at the Dr. Andy Hall Early Childhood Center, the Dr. Nick Osborne Primary Center, the J. L. Buford Intermediate Education Center and the Zadok Casey Middle School. Mt. Vernon City Schools have become technology leaders in education by assigning computers to every third- through eighth-grade student.
Several other K-8 grade feeder schools cover the Jefferson County countryside, and each school is strongly supported by its community. The schools’ athletic programs, music programs and parent-teacher organizations help support a strong academic environment and keep the members of the community involved in school events.
The villages of Bluford, Waltonville and Woodlawn are pre-K-12 districts. These communities boast of their challenging academic programs, and they thrive in the high involvement of the parents and community members in their schools. These schools highlight a unique learning experience with small class sizes and increased student-teacher relationships.
Webber High School, the high school portion of Bluford Unit Schools, has just built a new high school building attached to the east end of the grade school that is slated to open for students for the 2019-2020 school year. A new science lab, shop area complete with welding bays and a gym that fits requirements to host regionals and other tournaments are among the assets of the new school.
Parochial schools in Jefferson County include Coram Deo Classical School, St. Mary’s Parochial School, Victory Christian Academy and Mt. Vernon Christian School.
All Jefferson County high schools are heavily supported by the local junior college, Rend Lake College. Students may receive dual-credit (high school and college credit) for some classes at their high school to aid in college preparations and cost savings. Rend Lake offers more than 100 distinct associate degrees as well as occupational certificate programs. The programs provide high-quality instruction at a fraction of the cost of a four-year university. Rend Lake College has been recognized for outstanding service to its community.
Jefferson County is served by the Clinton-Jefferson-Marion-Washington Counties Regional Office of Education. For more information on area schools, visit www.roe13.org.
Rend Lake College
Rend Lake College, the number one ranked community college in Illinois, sits in Jefferson County. The college has received max accreditation of 10 years from the Higher Learning Commission, and was also recognized as the best return on educational investment in the country by the financial website WalletHub.
In 2018, RLC teamed up with the U.S. Department of Labor to offer four apprenticeship programs, created two new Information Technology programs and added options for distance learners in the Office Systems Technology programs. They also established eight articulation agreements with four-year universities to help their students.
For additional information about Rend Lake College visit their website at www.rlc.edu or call them at (618) 437-5321.