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Education

Students take an algebra quiz TuesStudents take an algebra quiz Tuesday at Lutheran HIgh  School North in north St. Louis day at Luthern Middle School North in north St. Louis County. The parochial school is planning to add middle school grades next fall.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Lutheran High School North will add middle grades onto its campus in north St. Louis County next year, even as nearby Lutheran elementary schools struggle to attract enough students to stay open.

There are families looking for a more structured, Christian-based environment for middle school levels, school leaders said.

Cast a Line | Flickr

Funding for running school buses in Missouri could return to state funding goals within five years if the state education department’s request to the legislature is fulfilled.

Missouri education officials outlined a $6.3 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year to the state Board of Education Tuesday, which asks state lawmakers for more transportation aid and per-student funding as part of a $140 million increase in its budget.

(L-R) Engin Blackstone, Christie Huck and Stella Erondu are leaders of St. Louis area charter schools. They joined St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh to talk about the success of their schools in the region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For students in underserved school districts, charter schools can prove to be an important educational option. Some charter schools fail, but others thrive.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with leaders of three St. Louis charter schools about how they have sought to achieve success and what charter schools have to offer local communities.

Peter Herschend listens to a presentation Thursday, June 14, 2018. He was appointed back to the Missouri State Board of Education this week after first serving from 1991 to 2017.
File photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sept. 17 at 11:30 a.m. with comments from State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed — State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed objected to one of the governor’s four appointments to the Missouri State Board of Education, leaving Peter Herschend off the board after just three meetings.

Nasheed, D-St. Louis, held up a vote on Herschend Friday during a flurry of board appointments as part of a joint-veto and special session of the legislature. Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, eventually withdrew the nomination.

File photo I Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

During a statewide tour on Tuesday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said he wants work with lawmakers to fix two bills during next week’s special session.

Parson vetoed a bill to increase STEM education in high school and another to expand alternative prosecution for drug abusers, known as drug courts. Despite the vetoes, Parson is making it clear he still supports the spirit of the laws and would rather see them reshaped than overridden by lawmakers as currently written.

Julie Dubray, co-author of the children's book "Goodnight St. Louis," reads to students at Koch Elementary Schools on March 2, 2017.
File photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Kelli Unnerstall’s son showed signs of dyslexia in kindergarten but was not formally diagnosed until fourth grade. In the meantime, “his frustration with school was growing every year,” she said.

“He hated reading. We were worried about him focusing. And unfortunately for my son, he was exhibiting all the characteristics of dyslexia back in kindergarten,” said Unnerstall, who is a co-founder of Decoding Dyslexia Missouri, a parent-advocacy group that pushed for the law.

Starting this school year, kindergarten through third graders in all Missouri public schools will go through a brief screening for warning signs of dyslexia. It’s part of a 2016 law that advocates say will give students the help they need sooner.

Sally Gacheru, center, tosses a ball to a child in Sakutiek, Kenya. Gacheru, who was born in Kenya but moved to St. Louis four years ago, was part of a service trip back home for fellow immigrant teens this month.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

It hit them that they were back home as soon as they were off they off the plane and in the crowded Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

“And there was a long queue [at customs], a long, long queue. And I just knew I was in Kenya right there,” Victor Rotich said, days later and hours away from the capital, in the small village of Sakutiek.

Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield donated $50 million to Saint Louis University to improve the school's standing as a top tier research institution. The gift is the largest in the university's 200-year history.
Steve Dolan | Saint Louis University

Local philanthropists Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield are donating $50 million to Saint Louis University to help bolster the school’s research efforts.

The gift announced Tuesday is the largest in the school’s 200-year history.

LA Johnson | NPR

Like many states, Illinois is facing a teacher shortage.

The Illinois State Board of Education estimates more than 2,000 positions remained vacant during the 2016-17 school year, including teaching, administrative and support staff.

Earlier this month, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law a slew of legislation intended to alleviate the state’s teacher shortage. But some teachers and union leaders doubt the measures are enough.

House Republicans talk during the last day of the legislative session. May 17, 2017
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri public school teachers educate their students on civics and the workings of government, but those same teachers aren’t allowed to participate in governing the state.

Missouri is one of four states where active public school teachers cannot also serve in their state legislature, according to a review of National Conference of State Legislatures data by Education Week.

Marcus Wilson, the executive director for the Monsanto YMCA, gathers with players in their prayer circle. On Saturdays, Wilson allows players to play basketball for free to allow the players a safe space away from violence.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

College basketball coaches from across Missouri are coming together to discuss the importance of leadership and how they recruit incoming student athletes, just in time for the new school year.

These issues are among several topics that will be discussed at the first annual Coaches Luncheon on Aug. 27, where regional NCAA Division I basketball coaches will  discuss the issues and strengths they see in both students and coaches.

Tenele Griffon waits Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, to have fingerprints taken for a background check in order to start a new job driving school buses in Hazelwood. Griffon and other educators waited more than six hours to have the mandatory checks completed.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Tenele Griffon rested his head on an umbrella as he sat on a wooden bench at the end of a line of people in DuBourg Hall at Saint Louis University. He was supposed to start his new job as a bus driver in Hazelwood Monday. Instead, he spent the first half of the week trying to complete his mandatory background check.

Last week Griffon went to the places that used to record fingerprints, only to learn they no longer had a state contract. He arrived at the only location in St. Louis fingerprinting people for background checks shortly after 10 a.m., only to find dozens of people ahead of him in line.

Several Missouri school districts arm their employees to prevent mass shootings. More schools in the state are considering it following a school shooting last month.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri law adopted four years ago to arm school staff was used for the first time this summer. It’s a step one school district took to increase security after a debate on protecting students flared this year.

The school massacre in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead in February kicked off a nationwide debate over arming teachers to protect against future attacks. This summer one Missouri school sent two employees through a certified police academy training program to become authorized School Protection Officers, allowing them to carry concealed firearms on school grounds, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Stephanie Regagnon, far right, poses for a photo in 2014 with some of the Ava's Grace scholarship recipients.
Stephanie Regagnon

When Stephanie Regagnon of Kirkwood was in her 20s, a jury found her mother guilty of a federal crime and sent her to prison for four years. The family maintains that she is innocent.

The first time Regagnon visited her mom, she noticed small children stocking up on vending-machine snacks for their parents to enjoy when they came out to see them.

“It seemed like they were trying so hard to create a nice environment,” Regagnon said. “It was pretty soul crushing.”

Regagnon imagined the children waiting to see their parents would likely have a hard time getting to college. In 2010, she started a scholarship fund called Ava’s Grace to help young people whose fate brushed so closely against her own.

Queen D. Fowler
Fowler family

Queen Dunlop Fowler, a renowned educator who became the first black woman to serve as a superintendent of schools in Missouri, died on Friday, July 20 of Alzheimer’s disease at her home in University City. She was 84.

Services will be Friday, Aug. 3 at St. Alphonsus “Rock” Liguori Church.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 4, 2011 - Last week, a St. Louis Public School principal was reported to have orchestrated systematic fraud in her attendance reporting, inflating the numbers to increase the money she'd get from the state in accordance with the federal mandate, No Child Left Behind.

Natalia Cantu stimulates the neurons in a cockroach leg at a lab session on July 25, 2018, while fellow program participant Ryan Evans observes.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Natalia Cantu attaches electrodes to a cockroach leg and taps its spiky hairs with a paintbrush.

The neurons in the leg fire rapidly in response, appearing as sharp peaks and valleys on her smartphone.

Cantu, who teaches ninth-grade biology in Edinburg, Texas, is in her second year of Washington University’s Master of Science in Biology for Science Teachers program. As part of the program, high school teachers from across the country do hands-on lab work to improve their own knowledge of science, in the hopes that they can help spark an interest in their students.

Preclarus Mastery Academy, which was housed inside Third Baptist Church, has 200 students enrolled in the 2017-2018 school year.
Provided | Preclarus Mastery Academy

St. Louis parents will have one less charter school to choose from in the coming school  year. Preclarus Mastery Academy officially closed its doors June 30. That’s seven years after the charter school opened in the Grand Center Arts District at 620 N. Grand Blvd.

The school’s sponsor, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said continued poor academic performance and several shake ups in leadership led to the closing. Bill Mendelsohn, the executive director of UMSL’s Charter School Office, said Preclarus had been on the path to closure for some time.

UMSL’s Title IX coordinator and chief equity officer, Dana Beteet Daniels (at left), and local attorney Nicole Gorovsky, an advocate for victims of sexual abuse, participated in Wednesday’s discussion.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

While the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IX statute has been around since 1972, there’s renewed societal focus on issues related to sexual assault and discrimination – and evolving guidance at the federal level when it comes to addressing them.

“Colleges are kind of on edge right now with respect to these issues,” Chronicle of Higher Education senior reporter Sarah Brown said on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Geoffrey Soyiantet, Sally Gacheru and Gracemary Nganga compare their Kenyan beed bracelets. Gacheru and Nganga, both 17 year olds from Florissant, will return to Kenya on a service trip through Soyiantet's Vitendo4Africa organization.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Sally Gacheru is wearing a black t-shirt with the Kenyan flag embroidered on it: red, black and green, with a shield in the middle.

“My pride being a Kenyan is so high,” she said, "so I try to wear a lot of clothes and represent myself.”

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