Education

Ferguson resident Shirlissa Pruitt asks about keeping more resources in her part of the school district  at a town hall meeting on Thursday. Sept. 22, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sept. 29 with the plaintiff’s choice — The American Civil Liberties Union and the Missouri NAACP are asking the judge in their ongoing voting rights case to consider changing Ferguson-Florissant School Board elections to a cumulative voting system.

Cumulative voting allows a voter to cast multiple votes for the same candidate. For instance, if three slots on the school board are open but a voter only likes one candidate, he or she can cast up to three votes for the same candidate.

Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon
Kimberly Ney | Riverview Gardens School District

Updated at 12:30 p.m. Sept. 30 with information on charters and standout districts — Superintendents of Missouri’s only two unaccredited school districts say the latest standardized test scores show their students are improving.

But state school officials caution that because the tests taken in the spring were from a different source from those taken the year before, year-to-year comparisons aren’t really valid, so there is no good way to truly gauge how much progress students have made.

Still, the superintendents in Normandy and Riverview Gardens are pleased.

University of Missouri students protest a series of racist incidents on the Columbia campus in this photo from Nov. 9, 2015.
Bram Sable-Smith | KBIA

The University of Missouri is investigating a report by two black female students who said other students yelled racial slurs at them on its Columbia campus.

Darnetta Clinkscale, left, joins Rick Sullivan and Richard Gaines (right) on the SAB board for her first meeting Sept. 26, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

​Updated 9 p.m. Sept. 26 with comment from Clinkscale  Darnetta Clinkscale, a former member of the elected board for the St. Louis Public Schools, is now a member of the three-member appointed board that has run the district since 2007.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay on Monday named Clinkscale to the post on the Special Administrative Board. She replaces Melanie Adams,  who resigned because she has accepted a job in St. Paul, Minn. 

University of Missouri-St. Louis | Provided

The effort to unionize faculty at the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus has generated a lively online discussion on both sides of the issue.

After success in its drives to organize part-time faculty members at Washington University, Saint Louis University, St. Louis Community College and St. Charles Community College, the Service Employees International Union is taking the move one step further and trying to enlist all members of the UMSL faculty.

SLU's new version of its Billiken mascot
Bill Barrett/provided by SLU

Saint Louis University wanted its new Billiken mascot to be a little edgier, but based on reaction after it was introduced earlier this week, the school may have fallen over the edge.

Comments on Facebook, numbering more than 600 by Thursday morning, were overwhelmingly negative, starting with a mild “This is not ok” and going swiftly downhill from there. Signatures on an online petition calling on SLU President Fred Pestello to bring back the older, cuddlier version rose quickly past 1,500.

An "out of order" sign hangs from the pipes of a water fountain at Patrick Henry Elementary School in St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

University City School District spokeswoman Pat Washington said Wednesday that after testing every drinking source in every district building, two water fountains at University City High School and one sink each at Brittany Woods Middle School, Flynn Park Elementary Barbara C. Jordan Elementary and the McNair Administration Center have been shut off because they tested higher for lead than the Environmental Protection Agency’s benchmark of 15 parts per billion.

A person filling in a standardized test bubble sheet with a pencil.
Flickr | Alberto G.

Students from low-income students in Missouri and Illinois will be getting money from Washington to help pay for taking Advanced Placement tests.

Under a program announced Tuesday by the federal Department of Education,  a total of $28.4 million will go to 41 states and the District of Columbia to help defray the costs of taking tests that can lead to students getting college credit for high school courses.

Doug and Drew Patchin mix paint to match Drew's skin tone before making a handprint at Temple Israel Sunday, Sept. 18 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A Jewish preschool in Creve Coeur is taking a proactive approach to talking about diversity.

Over the past few months teachers and parents with Temple Israel’s Deutsch Early Childhood Center have taken part in anti-bias workshops taught by the Anti-Defamation League.

The latest on Sunday brought the preschoolers into the mix.

Benjamin Yates, right, works on a puzzle with his mother, Tracy Yates, and his brother, Nicholas, at their Webster Groves home.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

On a late summer morning, when most 6-year-olds have returned to the classroom, Benjamin Yates knelt on a blue mat in the living room of his family's home in Webster Groves.

He was working on a human body puzzle with his mother and his 3-year-old brother, Nicholas. And he was clearly having a good time, which echoed in his response to the simple question: What do you like about learning at home?

“I get to choose what I learn about, so it's more fun.”

Scott Ranft, Stephen Mausshardt and Brandon Weinrich work at Ranken Technical College's Programmable Logic Controllers Lab.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis area ITT Tech students have a decision to make if they want to continue their education now that their school has closed its doors.

The U.S. Department of Education is offering the students forgiveness on their federal loans, but if the students accept the offer they can’t transfer credits.

That means Missouri's estimated 700 ITT Tech students are most likely out either time or money, if not both.

The St. Louis Public Schools elected board discusses business during its June meeting as state board of education member Vic Lenz looks on.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Updated Sept. 14 with comments from Bill Monroe — The vice-president of the Missouri Board of Education warned the elected board of St. Louis Public Schools Tuesday night that if the elected board can’t work together then talks to transition district authority back could be put on hold until after the April election.

“We went around the room (during the state board meeting) and it was pretty clear that if we can’t have a working together meeting to make things happen, then we’re wasting our time,” state board vice president Vic Lenz told the elected board during their regularly scheduled board meeting.

L-r: UM System Board of Curators chair Pam Hendrickson, UM System interim president Mike Middleton, Mizzou interim chancellor Hank Foley, and chief diversity officer Kevin McDonald.
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

The four current leaders of the University of Missouri System have announced new efforts to boost diversity on the system's flagship campus in Columbia.

They've set a goal to increase the percentage of minority faculty members at Mizzou to 13.4 percent in four years' time.

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

The state board of education will discuss the stalled transition talks for the St. Louis Public Schools at its meeting Tuesday and could decide whether the on-again, off-again talks will resume or will be off for quite a while.

“We’re not going to continue to try to hold meetings as they were planned if, every time, we have to suspend the meeting or call it off,” said Vic Lenz of south St. Louis County, one of two state board members who has been involved in the discussion of when and whether an elected board will resume control over the city schools. “We’re not going to waste people’s time like that.”

An archway entrance to Saint Louis University
chuteme | Flickr | Creative Commons

Georgetown University made headlines last week when it announced it would make amends for selling 272 slaves in 1838, a transaction worth $3 million in today’s economy.

The slaves were shipped from Jesuit plantations in Maryland to Louisiana — and some accompanied Jesuits in 1823 to a small school in St. Louis that would become Saint Louis University. There, according to an account, they helped build what would grow into the university.

Donnie Harris, principal, Nahed Chapman New American Academy.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Donnie Harris is the principal of Nahed Chapman New American Academy, located at 1530 S. Grand in the City of St. Louis. The school opened in 2009 as an “International Welcome School,” which provides a safe environment for immigrants and refugee students who have low formal education and struggle with limited English and, for some, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The school has 300 students from 24 different countries.

A person filling in a standardized test bubble sheet with a pencil.
Flickr | Alberto G.

Fewer than half of the students in grades five through eight who were tested in Missouri in the spring scored proficient or advanced in math, according to new numbers from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

In English, scores were better, with the percentage of students scoring in the top two categories hovering around 60 percent in grades three through eight.

State education officials say the latest numbers shouldn’t be compared with those from previous years because the English and math tests were new.

An archway entrance to Saint Louis University
chuteme | Flickr | Creative Commons

As it approaches its 200th anniversary, Saint Louis University is mobilizing to combat shrinking enrollment, a reduction in federal grants and contracts and a rising amount of scholarship aid paid to its students.

A new report looking at issues raised by the university’s strategic plan cautions that in a changing higher education landscape, SLU must change as well.

kevindooley via Flickr

Public campuses and universities in Missouri, hampered by a legal limit on tuition increases and dwindling state support, are resorting to increasing fees to raise money, a state audit found.

The audit, released Tuesday, emphasized what the schools have been highlighting for some time: Students and their families are being forced to shoulder a greater share of the cost of higher education in Missouri.

Madison Jones sits with her grandmother, elected school board member Donna Jones, before Monday night's meeting. Madison's mother, Susan Jones, is president of the board.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 9:30 p.m. Monday: After the most recent meeting broke up after just five minutes, talks about when, how and whether the elected board might regain power over the St. Louis Public Schools are on hold until state officials discuss how they might proceed.

Based on discussions at the elected board’s meeting Monday night, infighting may not be ending any time soon.

Children play as festival organizers chat with the handful of college students at the Regional Chamber's new festival Saturday morning, Aug. 27, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A college outreach event organized by the St. Louis Regional Chamber got off to a slow start Saturday.

The business association held a new festival downtown to introduce college students to what St. Louis has to offer off campus. The hope is that more of them will stay in the area after they graduate if they get to know the region.

An archway entrance to Saint Louis University
chuteme | Flickr | Creative Commons

Even before the National Labor Relations Board ruled this week that graduate student assistants at private universities have the right to form unions, Elizabeth Eikmann and her colleagues at Saint Louis University were talking about organizing.

Now, their campaign has begun.

An "out of order" sign hangs from the pipes of a water fountain at Patrick Henry Elementary School in St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Updated after board meeting with test results — St. Louis Public Schools has found elevated lead levels in 88 district water fountains and sinks, with almost a dozen water sources testing at 10 to 20 times the level requiring correction.

A water fountain at Fanning Middle School in the Tower Grove South neighborhood had the highest lead concentration at 280 parts per billion.

A person filling in a standardized test bubble sheet with a pencil.
Flickr | Alberto G.

The latest statewide averages for ACT scores are out, and for the first time both Missouri and Illinois have a complete picture of how well their students did.

With 100 percent of 2016 graduating seniors participating, Missouri students scored an average of 20.2 and Illinois students scored an average of 20.8 out of 36.

District website

A Ladue high school student who filed suit saying he was harassed by classmates who called him names like “faggot” will receive $75,000 from the district under a settlement unsealed Wednesday.

The settlement also calls on the district to conduct training in bullying and harassment and for parents of students subjected to such behavior to be notified as soon as possible.

Mizzou's Columns
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The committee searching for a new president for the University of Missouri system is working to narrow the list of candidates from a few dozen before starting interviews.

Committee co-chair Jim Whitaker of Kansas City said Wednesday the group made up of the system’s curators plus representatives of all four campuses still hopes to have a successor to Tim Wolfe chosen by the end of the year.

Karen Levin Coburn first wrote "Letting Go: A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years" in 1988. It has has been rereleased four times since.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s that time of year again: kids are heading back to school … unless they aren’t and are instead breaking new ground on a college campus. While this time in a young adult’s life can be scary, it also holds significant fears on the part of the parent.

Melanie Adams
Missouri History Museum

Updated at 4:45 p.m. with comments from Adams: Melanie Adams, one of the three original members of the Special Administrative Board that has run the St. Louis Public Schools since 2007, is leaving her job at the Missouri History Museum and her spot on the SAB.

Her successor on the board will be named by Mayor Francis Slay; his spokeswoman, Maggie Crane, said the search process is underway and will be completed as soon as possible.

Ferguson-Florissant parent Redditt Hudson, attorney Dale Ho, and past school candidate Willis Johnson at a press conference announcing a lawsuit against the Ferguson-Florissant schools on December 18.
Diane Balogh | ACLU of Missouri

Updated Aug. 22 with Sippel's ruling. — A federal judge has ruled that at-large elections for seats on the board for the Ferguson-Florissant School District violate the rights of African-American voters in the district.

Flickr

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, says a new government study shows changes are needed in the way federal agencies track and report cases of sexual assault.

The report by the Government Accountability Office, released last week, found that four separate federal agencies – the departments of Education, Defense, Justice and Health and Human Services – keep track of data on sexual violence.

Those departments have at least 10 programs to collect the information, and they use 23 different terms to describe sexual violence, the GAO found.

Pages