Education

James Byard/WUSTL Photos

Updated 7:21 a.m. Tuesday to change number of people involved:

Monday marked not only the first day of classes at Washington University and Saint Louis University but also a collaborative effort to take note of the death of Michael Brown and the issues it has raised.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

 Updated on Monday, Aug. 25.

After a being delayed for more than a week, about 11,000 students in the Ferguson-Florissant School District started their school year today.  

As kids filed into Ferguson Middle School – which is located about two miles from where protesters violently clashed with police – a stream of students, parents and teachers said they were happy to be back in the classroom. 

Among them was math teacher Gerry Glenn, who distributed high fives and pats-on-the-back to students.

St. Louis Public Radio

Teachers are using Twitter to gather material and talk about Ferguson.

Marcia Chatelain, a history professor at Georgetown University and a University of Missouri–Columbia alumna, created the hashtag #FergusonSyllabus this week to gather that material.

UMSL website

What do you say to a third grader in north St. Louis County who worries about getting shot when she grows up?

As violence simmers down in Ferguson, those kinds of questions are likely to linger, so counseling agencies held two training sessions Thursday – at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Harris-Stowe State University – to help teachers and other school personnel learn how to calm students' fears.

Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

What lessons can be learned from the killing of Michael Brown and its aftermath in Ferguson?

For three hours Wednesday night, several panels discussed that question and more at “A community in turmoil,” a symposium at Harris-Stowe State University. Not surprisingly, given the setting, a lot of the answers had to do with education, on campus and on the streets.

And in many cases, speakers said it will be the young teaching the old, not the other way around.

Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio

After a hearing in St. Louis County Circuit Court Wednesday, Judge Michael Burton cleared the way for 13 more students to transfer out of the Normandy school district.

Burton had ruled last week that the Missouri state school board had acted improperly when it made changes that exempted students who live in Normandy from the benefits of Missouri’s school transfer law. As a result, he said, Normandy’s status should remain as unaccredited, and students should have the right to transfer to nearby accredited schools.

File photo

A lawyer who won the right for five students who live in Normandy to transfer again to an accredited school went to court Tuesday to force the Francis Howell school district to accept all Normandy transfers who want to return.

It also asks that two students who attended Ferguson-Florissant last year be allowed to return.

Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 6:54 a.m. Tuesday with cancellations in Ferguson-Florissant, Riverview Gardens and Jennings.

Bobby Lee Brown, no relation to Michael Brown, walked along Canfield Drive on Monday morning. The tall man with a full beard has his hand on the back of his son Donovan. Brown’s off of work Monday and planned on taking Donovan to his first day as a fifth grader at Robinwood Elementary School. 

“This morning he didn’t understand why there wasn’t any school,” Brown said. "So I had to sit him down in front of the TV and tell him to look at the news.”

Even though the school transfer issue aroused passionate debate last year, the issue still isn't resolved.
Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 9:19 p.m. Monday with latest cancellation in Ferguson-Florissant)

With adults cheering them on and the aftermath of violent protest just a few miles away, students began classes Monday in the new Normandy Schools Collaborative, hoping to put drama behind them and keep their sights on success.

“It’s nice to have a welcome back party for Normandy,” senior Breonia Gregory said as she walked through the parking lot toward the high school. “We’ve been through a lot. It’s nice to have something like this positive feedback from the community.”

Courtesy Parents for Peace

Updated 9:21 p.m. Monday with cancellation of classes in Ferguson-Florissant all week

The Ferguson-Florissant school district has postponed opening yet again, now saying school would not be in session all week and would begin next Monday, Aug. 25.

Earlier, the first day, which had been scheduled for Monday, was postponed for one day because of concern about students walking to school in a community disrupted by protest.

Jennings and Riverview Gardens had canceled classes for Monday as well.

File photo

A St. Louis County Circuit judge ruled Friday that students from three families living in the Normandy school district have the right to transfer to nearby accredited districts.

Those districts – Pattonville, Ritenour and Ferguson-Florissant – had denied the students access in the new school year, even though they had transferred to schools in those districts in the last school year. But the families argued successfully that the state had improperly given the new Normandy Schools Collaborative a status that freed it from the requirements of the Missouri transfer law.

Dean Benjamin Akande and Michelle Tucker
Provided by Webster University

As an aspiring English teacher during her undergraduate studies more than 20 years ago, Michelle Tucker’s ambition was to become a key leader within corporate America. Michelle’s aspirations led her to Webster University to pursue her graduate degree, which she completed in 2000. Michelle’s encounters with nurturing, farsighted professors at Webster University played a key role in refining her talents and maximizing her strengths in strategic planning, people management and employee development.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Figures released today Tuesday by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) show an overall drop in standardized test scores for the state's public school students.

Fewer students during the past school year achieved "proficient" scores for English, math and science sections of the Missouri Assessment Program, or MAP, tests.  Social studies was the only subject that saw overall scores rise.  

Credit Cast a Line / Flickr

Updated 8:44 p.m. with statement from Normandy schools:

As the school year begins around the area, some districts in north St. Louis County are particularly wary following unrest in Ferguson over the weekend.

In Jennings, where students walk to school, the opening of classes Monday was postponed to Tuesday, to ensure student safety.

In a letter to families and staff released early Monday morning, signed by Superintendent Tiffany Anderson, the district said:

Courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis

Paul Sorenson was working his way toward a master’s degree from Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work when he kept bumping into the same questions over and over again.  

As an intern for the nonprofit health-care provider Grace Hill, Sorenson was supposed to connect poor families with resources that could help get them caught up on rent and utility bills. But what if one of these agencies  had its funding reduced, moved its offices or was no longer open?  

Entrance to Normandy High School campus
(via Google Maps screen capture)

As a St. Louis County circuit judge weighs whether four families who live in Normandy have the right to send their children to nearby accredited districts in the upcoming school year, Missouri education officials are trying to clarify action they took recently that is central to the case.

Emanuele Berry

A white van travels though the Spanish Cove apartment complex in North St. Louis County. On top of the vehicle a loud speaker blasts classic ice cream truck tunes. The van pulls over on the side of the road. The driver flings open the doors to reveal a wide selection of … books.

The St. Louis County Library’s Sweet Reads program provides a traveling collection books to Spanish Lake residents during the summer. This is the program’s second year.

Starting this fall, however, the program will run year long.

Stephanie Zimmerman

The end of summer is coming for most area students, if it hasn’t already arrived, but the uncertainty over transfers out of Normandy remains.

The attorney for parents suing to allow their students to transfer out of Normandy accused state education officials Wednesday of using “linguistical magic” to change the rules by saying that the new Normandy district is accredited and Missouri’s transfer statute does not apply.

Field of students at a graduation
(via Flickr/j.o.h.n. walker)

Online education seems to be the wave of the future. Today's college students should have no problem finding courses online — whether at a local college or university, or through an accredited online college.

Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:15 p.m. with information about discussion of Kansas City schools:

Jennings Superintendent Tiffany Anderson wasn’t 100 percent sure that her schools had made enough progress to reach full accreditation, but she had a pretty good hunch.

So she went out anyway and had a banner made celebrating what she hoped would be the long-sought results. Then she got the word Monday night from state education officials: Jennings’ preliminary 2014 scores were high enough to be in the full accreditation category.

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