Education | St. Louis Public Radio


Iris Jackson works with first-graders at Patrick Henry Downtown Academy in St. Louis on a reading comprehension assignment. Jackson is a resident teacher at the school.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

A group of middle-aged adults is back in school this fall. This time, though, they’re at the front of the classroom learning how to be teachers.

St. Louis Teacher Residency, launched over the summer, is recruiting adults to change careers to work in education, hoping their life experience and maturity will lead to less burnout and longer tenures among urban educators.

Students cross Grand Boulevard on St. Louis University's campus Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7 p.m. with additional details and comments — St. Louis University is implementing more cost-cutting measures as fiscal problems persist, even after trimming its workforce last year.

The private, Catholic university is facing a double blow of fewer students and less revenue from its doctors, resulting in a projected $30 million deficit by 2023.

University President Fred Pestello outlined the monetary challenge in an email to faculty and staff Monday afternoon, and additional details were shared with employees during a Faculty Senate meeting today.

SIU Trustees Move Forward With Leadership Searches

Nov 12, 2018

Southern Illinois University will begin its search for a permanent president soon, and at the same time leaders say they're working to find an interim chancellor for the Carbondale campus.

World War II veteran Ralph Goldsticker at his home in Creve Coeur.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ralph Goldsticker doesn't consider himself a hero.

The 97-year-old World War II veteran says he was just a guy was doing his job like everyone else at the height of the war in 1944.

But his story, which he continues to share as Veterans' Day approaches, is the stuff of which heroes are made.

The Creve Coeur resident was flying bombing missions over Europe when he was 22. Goldsticker was the bombardier in a B-17 bomber. That's the person who sat in the plexiglass bubble in the nose of the plane, to get the best view of the targets.

Bill Haas speaks during a St. Louis Board of Education candidate forum Oct. 24, 2018. Haas said several fellow board members are "sheep" doing the teacher's union bidding and they shouldn't be given control of the district back.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis school board member Bill Haas doesn't think the board is ready to retake control of the district from the state.

Haas, who is seeking re-election to the board, said several members are "sheep," doing the teachers' union bidding.

St. Louis city students ride a Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation, VICC, school bus on May 11, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Applications for the St. Louis school desegregation program are decreasing, yet there’s still more demand than open slots.

At its height in the early 1990s, the program that started in 1982 as the result of lawsuit bused more than 13,000 black St. Louis students to predominantly white schools in St. Louis County. A smaller number of white students came into the city to attend St. Louis Public magnet schools.

The Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation — or as it’s more commonly know, VICC — has been winding down since a settlement in 1999, but it’s lived on through extensions.

Undergraduate Deja Lawson (at left), adjunct instructor Jessica Bellomo (center) and emeritus communications professor Art Silverblatt shared strategies for navigating an age of information overload and polarization.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Jessica Bellomo has long made a point to instruct her Webster University students on the importance of media literacy. But in recent semesters, she’s found it necessary to flip the emphasis of those lessons.

“A few years ago … they’d start off believing everything – believing too much, and I’d have to teach them not to do that,” the adjunct instructor and Gateway Media Literacy Partners treasurer said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “Now it’s kind of the reverse … my students start off like, ‘Nothing is real. I believe in nothing. All of it’s fake. Everything’s fake news.’ And each one is equally dangerous.”

Bellomo joined host Don Marsh for the conversation just a few days before the start of Media Literacy Week 2018, which coincides with election week. Also participating in the discussion were Webster student Deja Lawson and emeritus communications professor Art Silverblatt.

Bill Haas, center, speaks during a candidate forum for the St. Louis Board of Education Oct. 24, 2018. Haas has served 16 years on the board. He's flanked by Adam Layne and Jared Opsal.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Elections for the St. Louis Board of Education have been largely meaningless over the last decade.

A special administrative board has run St. Louis Public Schools since 2007, leaving the seven-member elected board with almost no power.

That’s about to change.

Interim Education Commissioner Roger Dorson listens to a student presentation during a tour of The College School in Webster Groves Oct. 24, 2018. Dorson is a contender to run the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education permanently.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri State Board of Education plans to interview four people for the state’s next education commissioner, a position that’s been empty nearly a year.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has been run by an interim commissioner since last December when former Gov. Eric Greitens orchestrated the firing of then-Commissioner Margie Vandeven by stacking the school board with loyalists.

Avery Elementary School in Webster Groves is at 102 percent capacity, even with a modular classroom. The district is looking for ways to increase space, as four of five elementary schools are at or over capacity.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Enrollment increased so much this summer at Edgar Road Elementary in Webster Groves, the school had to add a second temporary classroom behind the school to accommodate all the new students. A third will probably have to be added next summer.

Because of a growing student population, portable temporary classrooms have been added to two other Webster Groves elementary schools as well. Webster Groves has 4,435 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, about 200 more than in 2010. The district expects to enroll another 226 elementary students by 2022.

(L-R) Elaine Brune, LadyAshley Gregory and Jay-Marie Hill expressed concern over the Trump administration's potential decision to limit the definition of gender.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Over the weekend, the Trump administration drafted a memo that would narrowly define gender as “a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth,” according to the New York Times.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about various efforts by local organizations that are bringing awareness to the rights and presence of trans and gender non-conforming (TGNC) individuals. According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, there are around 25,000 transgender or gender non-conforming people in the state. 

Joining the conversation were Jay-Marie Hill, Transgender Education and Advocacy program coordinator for the ACLU of Missouri, Elaine Brune, board chair of Metro Trans Umbrella Group, and LadyAshley Gregory, board member and lead organizer of Queer and Trans People of Color at Metro Trans Umbrella Group.

Pattonville School District implemented peer mediation at two elementary schools this year, where students work out conflicts with fellow classmates, rather than adults.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

That fear of waiting outside the principal’s office to be punished after a disagreement between students is being replaced, in part, by a less intimidating environment at two Pattonville elementary schools.

Now, when students are having trouble getting along, they can gather around a table in the guidance counselor’s office with fellow students who have been trained as peer mediators.

A former Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville student is suing the college for its handling of her on-campus sexual assault claim while she was a senior in October 2017.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

A recent graduate of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville is suing the school over the way it handled her allegation that another student sexually assaulted her.

In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, Bailey Reed claims the university mismanaged the investigation, intimidated her and obstructed her access to a quality education. SIUE has not filed a response to the lawsuit.

As Missouri school districts await state test scores they should have received months ago, some administrators said they're getting frustrated with the delay.

“I don’t have the data right now for math and reading to even make a determination as to whether the things we invested in last year are making a difference,” Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell said.

Ferguson-Florissant Board of Education President Courtney Graves wipes tears Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, while discussing options for closing schools in the district.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

All three high schools in the Ferguson-Florissant School District will remain open but a number of other buildings will close.

The Ferguson-Florissant Board of Education approved one of three proposed redistricting plans Wednesday night, opting for one that preserves its high schools but shutters other buildings, including the historic Vogt school.

Students walk down a hallway of Lift for Life Academy, which includes an old bank vault door Life Academy. The charter school opened in the former Manufacturer's Bank and Trust Company building in Kosciusko in 2000.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

When St. Elizabeth Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school closed in 2013, some of the alumnae and former staff wanted to keep the educational tradition alive with a charter school.

But that building wasn't available and no matter how hard they looked they just couldn't find the right space, said Jane Keuss, who wanted to co-found the planned Tessera Hall Academy.

University of Missouri-St. Louis Provost Kristin Sobolik and Chancellor Tom George joined host Don Marsh. | 10/3/18
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The University of Missouri-St. Louis is embarking on a five-year strategic plan.

“It reflects where we want to be and what we want to focus on,” explained Kristin Sobolik, the university’s provost and executive vice chancellor, who joined UMSL in May 2017.

The five areas of focus are: student success, research and creative works, community engagement and economic development, inclusive excellence, and planning, operations and stewardship.

St. Louis Public Radio education reporter Ryan Delaney joined Friday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh went behind the headlines to talk with St. Louis Public Radio education reporter Ryan Delaney about charter schools in the St. Louis area.

The conversation is a follow up to last week’s segment on how charter schools in the area became successful. And while some thrive, others struggle.

Richard Gaines, center, of the Special Administrative Board, speaks during  a joint meeting with the St. Louis Elected School Board Tuesday, March 13, 2018.
File | Wiley Price | St. Louis American

St. Louis Public Schools’ budgeting process is too insular for parents and teachers to understand and contribute to, a group of north St. Louis residents claim.

That group, under the banner Better Budgets, Better Schools, will launch a letter writing and advocacy campaign this weekend to call for more transparency in how SLPS spends its money.

Lift for Life Academy's Brooke Johnson reacts after scoring a point in a high school girls' volleyball game Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. It was Lift for Life's first home sporting event in its 18-year history.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

After nearly two decades of practices in borrowed space and games far away, Lift for Life Academy held its first home sporting event Wednesday.

“This is a huge deal for us. We’ve been waiting — gosh, since we opened we’ve wanted a gym,” said the high school girls’ volleyball coach Tommy Devitt.