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.

comedy nose | Flickr

(Updated 10:55 a.m., Tues., Aug. 5, with certification for the ballot)

As Missourians prepared to vote on a variety of issues at the August primary Tuesday, the secretary of state's office announced that a constitutional amendment changing how teachers are evaluated will be on the November ballot.

Secretary of State Jason Kander said petitions submitted in May by the organization known as Teach Great have been certified and the issue will appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot as Amendment 3.

Normandy superintendent Ty McNichols
Dale Singer/St. Louis Public Radio

The new Normandy Schools Collaborative kicked off the new school year Monday by spelling out for teachers and other staff members how its new approach will help it regain accreditation from the state.

Part pep rally to generate excitement, part orientation session to set expectations, the three-hour session at Viking Hall on the Normandy High School campus was designed to show how things will be different now that the state has taken over the district with an appointed board and close oversight.

How was the session received?

via Flickr/chuteme

A delegation of religious and education officials from the Central American country of Belize arrives in St. Louis Monday for a meeting of the minds with Saint Louis University faculty.

The purpose of the conference is to determine ways that SLU students and faculty can provide training and support for St. Martin’s de Porres, a Jesuit parish and grade school in Belize City.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

With just over a week before the first day of classes for St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS), the district partnered with the Urban League to host an annual back to school fair Saturday.

An estimated 10,000 people attended the Back to School and Community Empowerment Festival, lining up outside St. Louis University's Chaifetz Arena to get free school supplies and find out about area resources.

Urban League President and CEO Michael McMillan said the purpose of the fair is to make sure students—and their families—are ready for the school year.

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

As summer break winds down, East St. Louis School District 189 is gearing up to begin spending $10.5 million in federal money to kick start academic performance at its two middle schools.   

In the coming days the district will begin the hiring process for 20 new positions to focus on everything from professional development to community engagement. The grant will also pay for an extended school schedule.