Education | St. Louis Public Radio

Education

Mya Petty poses for a portrait before graduation last week.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Since second grade, Mya Petty has taken an hour-long bus ride from Baden, her mostly-black north St. Louis neighborhood, to Chesterfield – where most of her classmates were white.

The recently graduated 18-year-old is one of thousands of students in St. Louis’ long-running school desegregation program, Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation. Last year, administrators voted to bring the decades-long program to a close.

Stephen Zwolak and Tamar Jacobson joined "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh to talk about early childhood education.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio; Provided | Tamar Jacobson

The importance of a child’s early years cannot be overstated. 

“According to all the research of brain development, the earliest years are the most important in terms of laying down the social/emotional wellbeing of children,” said Tamar Jacobson, a professor of Early Childhood Education at Rider University in New Jersey. 

Students at the Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls on May 12, 2017, a St. Louis charter school that opened in 2015.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The pace of new charter schools seeking to open in St. Louis has slowed, according to the universities that act as sponsors and receive formal applications.

While the reasons vary, charter sponsors say they’ve learned more about what it takes to successfully open and sustain a school both financially and academically, which is helping them weed out weak applications.

Scott Leahy speaks in favor of the Best Choice sex ed curriculum during a meeting of the St. Charles Board of Education on Monday, May 22, 2017.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Charles Board of Education voted Monday night to keep a sex education curriculum tied to an anti-abortion group, breaking with recent decisions by a few other St. Louis-area public school districts. 

Students at Collegiate School of Medicine & Bioscience take two science classes a year.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time in more than a decade, the St. Louis public school district is celebrating the first graduating class of a new high school.

The Collegiate School of Medicine & Bioscience gave diplomas to 44 seniors Sunday.

While still too new to have much of a track record, Collegiate’s high standardized test scores help the highly selective magnet school stand out from a crowded field of science-themed schools in the city.

A student walks through the University of Missouri-St. Louis' campus Friday afternoon, May 19, 2017.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The University of Missouri-St. Louis will reduce its spending by another 2.5 percent, campus leaders announced Friday, meeting a deadline that is part of a budget cutting process across the University of Missouri System.

A group of Hazelwood West students protest their suspensions Thursday May 18, 2017 outside the district's administration offices.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Hazelwood school officials lifted the suspensions of nearly 200 high school students Thursday after several days of pressure from fellow students, parents and civil rights groups.

The students had been given five-day suspensions and were banned from participating in the graduation ceremony at Hazelwood West High School after they walked out of classes Monday to protest on behalf of the teachers. The teachers had been hoping to negotiate raises with the district. 

Parents and alumni wave signs welcoming students back to Normandy High School for the 2013 school year.
File photo: Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

Normandy’s schools will remain under the control of a state-appointed board for three more years, education officials said Tuesday, adding that they are optimistic about students’ academic progress in the state’s only unaccredited school district.

Jared Leppert, a graduate student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, conducts a learning test with a student at St. Louis College Prep on Monday, May 8, 2017. The charter school hired Leppert as an intern.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers assigned higher education institutions primary oversight of charter schools when authorizing them 20 years ago. Universities know a thing or two about schools, after all.

It’s not the norm when it comes to charter schools in the United States, though, as a majority of the 42 states (and Washington, D.C.) put the independent schools’ governance in the hands of a local school board.

Provided | Southwestern Illinois College

Eight full-time and 39 part-time employees of Southwestern Illinois College will lose their jobs in July after its board of trustees approved the cuts Wednesday.

Another 19 administrative positions at the Metro East community college are also being eliminated in July, in a plan trustees approved in March.

Hanna Woods Principal Patrick Shelton, Parkway Superintendent Keith Marty and St. Louis Children's Hospital emergency medicine director Dr. Kimberly Quayle brief members of the media on the condition of the children involved in a bus crash May 11, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Thirteen St. Louis elementary school students received minor injuries Thursday when their school bus crashed through a guardrail and ran down an embankment on Interstate 44. The bus driver, who police said swerved to avoid a car, was hospitalized but not seriously injured.

 

All but one of the students had been discharged from St. Louis Children’s Hospital by early afternoon. They live in St. Louis and were headed to a Parkway district school, where they are enrolled through the region’s voluntary desegregation program.

SIU System president Randy Dunn
File photo | Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated May 11 with approval — The trustees of Southern Illinois University have approved a loan of up to $35 million from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville to support its Carbondale campus.

The board of the university system approved the plan Wednesday after delaying a vote last month.

File photo | U.S. Department of Education

A report released Wednesday singles out Missouri for being the only state in the nation that requires science and social studies teachers to pass tests in all of the subject matters in which they are certified.

Trish Nguyen works on a graph in a second-grade class at Confluence Academy South City on April 28, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Gateway Science Academy wants families to be satisfied. City Garden Montessori is aiming for racial equity. Neither are unique goals for charter schools in St. Louis.

 

Most of the city’s 17 public charter school systems have their own definition of success, including academic growth, family involvement and personal development. But they’re also required by Missouri law to take the state’s academic standards into account.

 

And without a definitive way to measure success, parents have to trust that the schools are doing right by their children.

Students working in a classroom of Gateway Science Academy in April 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been nearly 20 years since charter schools took root in Missouri, bringing independently operated but publicly funded education to St. Louis and Kansas City.

Often touted as a means of allowing parents flexibility when it comes to their kids’ education, “school choice” expansion is growing in favor among Republican politicians, including U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.

In the coming months, St. Louis Public Radio will detail the world of charter schools. But, as any teacher would tell you, an introductory lesson is the first place to start.

Washington University's Brookings Hall
(via Flickr/Washington University/with permission)

Updated, 7:40 p.m. with statement from Washington University —

About 120 full-time faculty members who aren’t eligible for tenure at Washington University will be able to decide whether to unionize before the end of the school year.

Courtesy of the University of Missouri-St. Louis

Updated at 5 p.m. with UM System tuition proposal — The University of Missouri-St. Louis is on pace to close its $15 million dollar budget deficit ahead of schedule.

UMSL’s top financial officer told administrators this week that the school should finish the fiscal year, which ends June 30, about $500,000 in the black instead of being $3.6 million over budget.

Collinsville pitcher Ryan Siverly tries to apply a tag on O'Fallon's Jacob Dryer in a high school baseball game Tuesday, April 25, 2017 in Collinsville, Illinois. Players at both schools have to pay a fee to play sports.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Several Metro East school superintendents are among the 413 public school leaders who are calling on Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-majority legislature to pass a budget after nearly two years of disagreements, and fully fund public education.

The downtown headquarters building for the St. Louis Public Schools
File photo | Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ Metro Academic and Classical High School is again among the nation’s 500 best in making its students ready for college.

U.S. News and World Report issued its annual rankings Tuesday, looking at more than 22,000 public high schools in the country, based on math and reading test scores, graduation rates and college preparedness.

Students from Jefferson Elementary School cheer for the Normandy school board Thursday night, Jan. 28, 2016
File photo | Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s standardized test time for third-graders through eighth-graders in Missouri’s public schools.

For the first time in three years, Missouri’s standardized MAP tests, which must be completed by May 26, are in the same format and based on the same standards as the year before. The tests will change again next year to match state standards approved by legislators in 2016

A hand distributing cash with a dialogue box.
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Four school districts in Madison County are on Illinois State Board of Education’s financial watch list for having low cash reserves and a high debt ratio.

The Alton, Bethalto, Edwardsville and Triad  districts earned the state’s lowest financial ranking based on their spending in fiscal year 2016.

Ryan Delaney / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Community College will offer nearly 40 percent of its full-time workforce an early retirement package due to fewer students on its campuses and fewer dollars coming from the Missouri Capitol.

The four-campus network’s Board of Curators approved the plan Thursday night, which college leadership said will allow the school to offer programs and services that boost enrollment and ultimately revenue.

via Flickr | frankjuarez

Parents in the Hazelwood School District who were concerned that administrators are being too well compensated while other areas of the school system get cut successfully prompted a state audit of the district’s finances.

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway announced the audit Tuesday, but said it’s too early to say what her office is looking for.

Andy Sminds / Flickr

Missouri education officials decided Tuesday to no longer aim for its public schools to be ranked among the nation’s 10 best by 2020.

The Missouri State Board of Education’s course correction comes amid changing federal education policies.

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth / St. Louis Public Radio

Many high-achieving and low-income high school students bound for college get an assist from the state of Missouri in the form of modest scholarships.

The trouble is that budget constraints have left programs that help both groups of students underfunded and unable to keep up with rising tuition. That’s bad news for high school seniors who’ll be choosing where to go to school in the coming weeks.

Mallinckrodt Academy for Gifted Instruction on Hampton Ave. in south St. Louis fished tranistioning into a gifted elementary in the 2015-2016 school year.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

As St. Louis Public Schools prepares to add a first grade gifted classroom in north St. Louis in the fall, the overwhelming majority of students eligible for gifted instruction in the district continue to be white.

According to a program update presented to the district’s state-appointed board in March, 81 white students tested this school year qualify compared to 29 black students, 9 Hispanic students and 24 Asian students.

St. Louis Public Schools elected board president Susan Jones speaks during a meeting on Tuesday, April 11, 2017.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of St. Louis’ elected school board waited until after this month’s election to start clamoring to resume talks over regaining control of the city’s public schools. They’ll have to wait a bit longer, though, the state says.

Elected board President Susan Jones said the election of two new members is a proof enough that its reputation of dysfunction and mismanagement, which led to losing control a decade ago, is a thing of the past.

Cedric Deshay and Jeavon Gill walk into the mayor's office to receive their high school diplomas on April 13, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Just four months after the launch of a new, 24-hour high school for students in danger of dropping out, two young men from St. Louis received their diplomas Thursday.

Updated 11:55 a.m. April 14 with comments from MassResistance — Parents and students say an organization identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center is involving itself in a school district in west St. Louis County.

MassResistance Missouri opposes the Parkway School Districts’ sex-education curriculum, which includes lessons about contraception, sexual orientation and gender identity.

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