Dale Singer

Education Reporter

Dale Singer began his career in professional journalism in 1969 by talking his way into a summer vacation replacement job at the now-defunct United Press International bureau in St. Louis; he later joined UPI full-time in 1972. Eight years later, he moved to the Post-Dispatch, where for the next 28-plus years he was a business reporter and editor, a Metro reporter specializing in education, assistant editor of the Editorial Page for 10 years and finally news editor of the newspaper's website. In September of 2008, he joined the staff of the Beacon, where he reported primarily on education. In addition to practicing journalism, Dale has been an adjunct professor at University College at Washington U. He and his wife live in west St. Louis County with their spoiled Bichon, Teddy. They have two adult daughters who have followed them into the word business as a communications manager and a website editor, and three grandchildren.

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This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: This time last year, the St. Louis Public Schools were pushing for an upgrade in their accreditation classification, making the argument that the latest state evaluation gave them enough points to climb out of unaccredited territory.

Chris Nicastro, who heads the department of elementary and secondary education, originally said the district had shown improvement, but not enough to win provisional accreditation.

St. Louis Beacon graphic | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Besides hearing updated figures on Normandy High School's discipline incidents, the district's school board meeting Wednesday night also featured a lengthy presentation of Normandy’s scores in last week’s release of numbers from the first year’s evaluations under the fifth cycle of the Missouri School Improvement Plan, or MSIP5.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Normandy school superintendent Ty McNichols says the district has a secret legal strategy to address the student transfer situation, but in the meantime it needs to make sure that the 3,000 students who have stayed behind receive the best education possible.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: If Missouri educators were to use the first year of a new evaluation plan to classify school districts, St. Louis Public Schools would slide back into unaccredited territory, joining Normandy and Riverview Gardens, and other local districts would be downgraded to provisionally accredited.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Now that hundreds of students have started their long bus rides from Normandy and Riverview Gardens to accredited districts, can they expect to have greater academic success in their new schools?

Nothing is certain, of course, but educational research – and the long experience the St. Louis area has with the voluntary desegregation transfer plan – suggest that where students attend class can have a definite positive effect on how much they learn.

St. Louis Beacon graphic | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has been working for years to get authority to step in more quickly to help unaccredited school districts.

Now that a newly signed law gives it that power, the state board of education wants to make sure that it uses it in the right way.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: JEFFERSON CITY -- With more than 2,500 students in unaccredited school districts in St. Louis County transferring elsewhere this fall, and the possibility of more transferring out of Kansas City schools, Missouri education officials have hired an outside consultant to help failing districts improve and prevent others from losing accreditation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Members of the Missouri state board of education voted unanimously Tuesday to grant provisional accreditation to the St. Louis Public Schools, accepting a recommendation from Commissioner Chris Nicastro.

The Rev. Lawrence Biondi, who had announced he would be leaving the presidency of Saint Louis University after faculty and student votes of no-confidence in his leadership, will retire Sept. 1 to become president emeritus, the head of the university’s board of trustees said Friday.

Mayor Francis Slay and Fr. Lawrence Biondi share a light-hearted moment before the ribbon cutting at the new SLU law building.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The formal opening of Saint Louis University’s new law school building at 100 N. Tucker was hailed Friday morning as transformative for the school and for downtown, but the real essence of what it’s all about was captured in the invocation by the Rev. Chris Pinne, law school chaplain.

In his remarks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by faculty, staff, alumni and more, Pinne said the school is dedicated to the integrity of truth and justice, to helping people with any issue, “whether it be intellectual property or just how do I get out of this jam.”

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When two buses from Riverview Gardens rolled up to Oakville High School after an hour-long trip south Thursday morning, the first person students met wasn’t the school’s principal or the Mehlville school superintendent.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Rather than divert attention and money to vouchers and charter schools, the president of the American Federation of Teachers says the district-teacher collaboration in St. Louis should become a model to help strengthen public school districts nationwide.

Citing grants for innovation and programs that help new teachers and veterans alike, Randi Weingarten told a news conference at Gateway Elementary School Tuesday that the survival of public education is at a pivotal moment.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Even though classes start Monday for the Riverview Gardens School District, as of Friday morning Micah Pope hadn’t gotten in to any of the districts where she wanted to transfer. So her mother planned to keep the eighth-grader home rather than have her go back to a school she thinks is inadequate.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Threatened lawsuits against the Mehlville School District because of limits it placed on the number of transfer students it would accept are on hold, at least for now, as talks on the issue continue.

As a deadline set by the Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri passed, the group – which earlier had announced the pending lawsuits – said in a statement:

Principal Sonny Arnel
Dale Singer | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As bright yellow school buses pulled into the parking lot of Francis Howell Central High School on Thursday’s first day of class, the sentiment from students, parent and the principal was the same:

Principal Sonny Arnel said of the transfer students, “You're Spartans, but you're coming from a different situation. What can we do to help you?”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: After a rough stretch of negative news – a highly critical audit, the resignation of one board member and ouster of two others by voters, defeat of a bond issue and departure of a superintendent – the Rockwood School District was more than ready to hear state Auditor Tom Schweich’s message Wednesday:

“I’ve got good news today.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Three parents in Riverview Gardens say they will file suit against the Mehlville School District Thursday afternoon unless Mehlville drops its limits on how many transfer students it will accept.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri has advised the superintendents of the Kirkwood and Mehlville schools that they have no legal basis to turn away any transfer students on the basis of class size or available space.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: To avoid the challenges associated with the current school transfer law, and to give parents a better idea of how their children’s school is doing, the elected board of the St. Louis Public Schools wants the state to begin accrediting individual schools rather than entire school districts.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Mehlville School District has room to accept only one out of three of the 450 students from Riverview Gardens who have said – so far – that they want to transfer there, Mehlville Superintendent Eric Knost told a school board meeting Thursday night.

The chairman of the Saint Louis University board of trustees has dismissed a call for an interim president to take the place of the Rev. Lawrence Biondi in the wake of reduced salary increases for faculty members who protested against Biondi’s administration.

J. Joe Adorjan, who began his third stint as the head of the SLU board in May, was responding to a suggestion by Ken Parker, a professor of theological studies at the university.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Louise Losos, the former principal of Clayton High School whose job as principal of Grand Center Arts Academy was rescinded amid parent protests, was designated Friday as curriculum resource director for Confluence charter schools.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: An official with the American Association of University Professors has expressed concern over reports that Saint Louis University may have reduced the salary increases for faculty members active in recent protests against the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, outgoing SLU president.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Just one week after nearly three hours of emotional statements on both sides of the Francis Howell-Normandy transfer issue, the talk at the Howell school board meeting Thursday night turned to calmer, more reflective expressions of cooperation, collaboration – and how the district was going to get paid.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Addressing one of the issues that prompted strife between faculty at Saint Louis University and its president, the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, the university says it will set aside $13.4 million for salary increases for faculty and staff in the upcoming school year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The new superintendent of Normandy schools had a lot of positive things he wanted to talk about Wednesday night, but much of the district’s board meeting was spent trying to counteract something negative – Normandy’s reputation for being unsafe.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For nearly an hour, Kate Casas and others from the Children's Education Alliance of Missouri had answered nuts-and-bolts questions from residents of the Riverview Gardens school district about how students can transfer to accredited schools:

What happens to students who are homeless, or in transition? Is this by lottery, or will our requests for certain district be filled first-come, first-served? How will students who can’t keep up academically get the help they need?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: If parents who are caught up in the current swirl of controversy over student transfers are looking for someone to blame, Kathleen Brown Sullivan at the University of Missouri-St. Louis says there are plenty of places where fingers should be pointed.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The superintendent of the Francis Howell school district expects to have 600 students transfer there from the unaccredited Normandy district – and if the audience at a packed public forum Thursday night is any indication, those transfers won’t always receive a warm welcome.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Eric Knost, superintendent of schools in Mehlville, remembers clearly the three words he heard Tuesday evening that could bring big changes to his south St. Louis County district.

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