Education

Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Oct. 21 with email from principal on investigation into the incident Earlier this week, Kirkwood High School families and community members received an email from head principal Michael Havener, explaining the conclusion of an investigation into an apparent use of blackface on campus earlier that month. The letter challenges the students who called out the incident.

College of St. Louis community college meramec, umsl and washington university
St. Louis Public Radio file photos

As faculty members at the University of Missouri-St. Louis continue talking about forming a union, part-time teachers at Washington University are working under the first semester of their union contract.

And though some Washington U. adjuncts have questions about how much benefit the union will actually provide, organizers say the contract is working well, though they acknowledge that a period of adjustment is normal when conditions change.

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

Of the 88 drinking water sources shut off at St. Louis Public Schools due to elevated lead levels in August, 30 sinks and eight fountains have been repaired.

But the district is still trying to locate the source of the problem in 10 sinks, and custom-made fountains had to be ordered so that 40 water fountains could be replaced.

Voting booths
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

The Ferguson-Florissant School District wants a federal judge to approve an election system he ruled unconstitutional in August because it diluted the power of black voters.

Despite that ruling, Ferguson-Florissant attorney Cindy Ormsby said there’s still a possibility that the judge will decide the original at-large system is best.

students try out a voting machine in Jennings
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Just because they’re too young to vote doesn’t mean that students at Jennings Junior High lack strong opinions about the presidential candidates.

At an assembly held at the district’s high school Tuesday, the students got to take part in a town-hall style mock debate, then cast ballots at a real electronic voting machine — if their credentials weren’t turned away.

Parent educator MacKenzie Grayson gets acquainted with a mother and her daughter who live in the Normandy School District. (Oct. 16, 2016)
Provided | Parents as Teachers

Parents as Teachers is launching its national conference in St. Louis Monday with a forum on how to serve families who’ve experienced trauma.

Parent educators who work in communities where families are more likely to be traumatized by violence or stressed by living paycheck to paycheck are spending the day sharing best practices they’ve learned in the field.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the occurrence earlier this month of a white Kirkwood High School student who appeared in school with a black substance on his face.

derekGavey | Flickr

Missouri school districts need to tighten controls over student data and other information to help ensure they do not fall into the wrong hands for the wrong purpose, a state audit said Thursday.

Using information she gleaned earlier this year from audits on five districts, including Orchard Farm in St. Charles County, state Auditor Nicole Galloway said schools need to pay more attention to cybersecurity in several areas including who has access to the information and what needs to be done when a breach is discovered.

A high school sign.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

When a black student tells a white principal in a predominantly white school that another student’s behavior is racist, how should the principal respond?

That question came into focus at Kirkwood High School last week, when a white student left a chemistry class with charcoal covering his face.

Principal Michael Havener said the student meant to mimic a beard. But because the student had smeared his entire face, it looked more blackface to Kirkwood freshman Kiden Smith and her friends.

(via Flickr/Adam Procter)

After lengthy fly-in sessions in St. Louis and Kansas City to meet prospective candidates and narrow the list, the head of the University of Missouri Board of Curators will say only that the search for a new system president “is going well.”

Pam Henrickson refrained from giving any more specific information after the curators met at the university’s Kansas City campus on Friday.

FAFSA October graphic
Ashland CTC | Flickr

For the first time, high school seniors can apply for federal student aid at the same time they apply for college.

Instead of opening the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in January as usual, the U.S. Department of Education started accepting FAFSA Oct. 1 using last year’s tax returns.

Local organizations working to boost the number of first generation and low-income St. Louisans enrolled in college say the new timeline could be a game changer.

Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

As Washington University gets ready to host the second presidential debate on Sunday night, 18 of the school's freshmen are not only learning about how the face-offs affect who will win the White House. They’re also excited to cast their first presidential ballots.

In class, history Professor Peter Kastor and his students engage in lively debates themselves, about how the candidate sessions shape the election. And, Kastor said, they have many questions for him.

The new Billiken mascot introduced in September 2016.
Bill Barrett/provided by SLU

The new Saint Louis University mascot is turning out to be a lot like New Coke.

After the revamped Billiken was introduced last month to a barrage of criticism, with adjectives like “petrifying,” “terrifying” and “the laughing stock of the nation,” SLU President Fred Pestello took to Twitter Tuesday to hint broadly that the new Billiken is in for big changes.

Students at Adams Elementary in St. Louis Sept 2016
File photo, Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This a preview of an upcoming episode of St. Louis Public Radio’s We Live Here, a podcast that explores race, class, power and poverty in the St. Louis region and beyond. Listen to the full version here

Black students in Missouri and the rest of the country are far more likely to receive out of school suspensions. And this school year St. Louis Public Schools became one of the few districts in the nation to ban out-of-school suspensions for its youngest students. 

Officials say the move has pushed them to rethink student discipline. 

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 said he is optimistic the district will return to provisional accreditation, following a recommendation from the state department of elementary and secondary education board on Nov. 23, 2016.
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.
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

Pages