Education

Adrian Clark | Flickr / Flickr

This story is part four of Accounted For, an ongoing project of St. Louis Public Radio that explores the connection between chronic absenteeism — defined as missing three and a half weeks or more of school — and classroom success. As educators in Missouri  shift their focus from big picture attendance data to individual students, they are looking at how school clinics can help keep kids in school. 

(via Flickr/lowjumpingfrog)

Updated at 8:30 a.m., Wed., April 9.

School board elections brought little change to Normandy and Ferguson-Florissant. In Normandy, three incumbents were facing four challengers for spots on the seven-person board. The winners were current board members Jeanette Pulliam with 19.07 percent and William Humphrey with 16 percent of the vote. A challenger, Gwendolyn Buggs, earned a seat on the board with a little more than 15 percent of the vote.

Dale Singer/St. Louis Public Radio

The charter school operator is opening a new location for kindergarten and first grade in north St. Louis this fall and plans to have six schools in St. Louis five years from now.

On her cell phone, Tiara Abu has a short video showing her and 5-year-old Jawon, sitting on his bed, giving a cheer and doing their best version of jazz hands.

What was the occasion?

“He had just counted to 100 for me,” explained Abu, adding: I hadn’t asked him to.”

Washington University's Brookings Hall
(via Flickr/Washington University/with permission)

After failing to make the grade with professors at Washington University, Semester Online is going offline for good.

The consortium was designed to let students at Washington U. and other schools in the group — universities such as Emory, Northwestern and Notre Dame — take online courses in areas that their home school does not offer. It began this school year, and the universities and Semester Online’s parent company, 2U, had high hopes that it could be a pioneer for online learning.

St. Louis Public Radio

School board elections often prompt little more than a ripple of public interest, but they are stirring up quite a bit more in at least two north St. Louis County districts this spring.

In Normandy, three incumbents are facing four challengers for seats on a board that may not even exist after the end of this school year. In Ferguson-Florissant, two incumbents are facing a slate that was moved to join the field after Superintendent Art McCoy was placed on administrative leave, plus other candidates who entered the race as well. McCoy has since resigned his post.

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

On Tuesday, April 8, voters will take to the polls to elect board members for their local school districts. April elections, with their focus on local issues such as schools and municipalities, traditionally have a low turnout. However, the results of these elections have a big impact on people’s day-to-day lives, including the policies implemented in their children’s schools.

DESE website

The Normandy School District isn’t going broke at the beginning of April, as some education officials had forecast in recent months. But that doesn’t mean that the district’s future is secure.

At Monday night’s meeting of the state task force formed to recommend the future direction of the district, officials from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said that Normandy’s future depends in large part on what bills the General Assembly may pass before it adjourns in mid-May.

(Kimberly Ney/Riverview Gardens School District)

Once a week, our team of education reporters would like to share stories that look at trends in education here and across the country. In particular, we want to focus on people, research and even gizmos that may help make kids learn better.

Improve or implode?

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sat., March 29, at 2:09 p.m.

A proposal to bring in nonprofits to run low-performing St. Louis City schools continued to draw criticism during a public hearing at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School on Saturday.

With comments similar to those made at a forum on Thursday night, members of the elected school board reiterated their opposition to the idea.  

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

Residents of the 24 communities that make up the Normandy School District are rallying behind the schools as their fate is being decided in Jefferson City, a task force studying the district’s future was told Thursday.

Chris Krehmeyer, president and CEO of the group Beyond Housing, said that just as its 24:1 initiative has helped revitalize the area in general, with more options for basic services such as banking and groceries, it also has generated more support for the schools.

Credit Cast a Line / Flickr

Statistic after statistic, ranking after ranking shows American students lagging behind their counterparts across the globe. Missouri’s schools are no exception. Missouri is a perfect example of our country’s diseased public education system. Three districts are currently unaccredited by the state — Kansas City, Riverview Gardens and Normandy — and the St. Louis Public School  system is on the brink, sitting in “provisional accreditation” purgatory.

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

As a task force continues its work on how the Normandy School District will operate next school year, lawmakers are moving ahead on appropriating money to help the district finish the current year without going broke.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

This story is part four of Accounted For, an ongoing project of St. Louis Public Radio that explores the connection between chronic absenteeism -- defined as missing three and a half weeks or more of school -- and classroom success.

Melissa Schut drew out a problem on the white board at the front of her sixth-grade math class.  

Like she often does, Schut started with three questions.

“Where are you starting?” Schut asked.  “Where are you going? How are you going to get there?”

Washington University's Brookings Hall
(via Flickr/Washington University/with permission)

Depending on who is telling the story, Washington University dropped its sociology department in 1991 because it was filled with radical thinkers or because it was not strong enough academically.

Or maybe it was a little of both.

Either way, the university announced this week that it will be bringing the department back, with some classes in the field possibly offered as early as this fall.

Mehlville website

Eric Knost, whose job as the superintendent of the Mehlville School District thrust him into the middle of this school year’s student transfer drama, has resigned that job and is in line to become superintendent of the Rockwood schools.

In a notice posted on Mehlville's Facebook page, Knost said he was released from his superintendent’s position, effective June 30, during a closed meeting of that district’s school board Monday night.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

This story is the third part of Accounted For, an ongoing project of St. Louis Public Radio that explores the connection between chronic absenteeism — defined as missing three and a half weeks or more of school — and classroom success.

Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon roamed the halls of Glasgow Elementary School.  On a recent morning the former minor league baseball player turned educator greets students like players entering a dugout.

Dale Singer

Harris-Stowe State University is looking for a new president, and its professors are working under a new contract that was imposed on them by the school's governing board. The labor issues are just one indication that Harris-Stowe faces many long-simmering problems that raise questions about the institution's future.

To outsiders, the atmosphere on the venerable midtown campus was calm. But long-simmering disputes between the faculty and top officials were about to go public.

Harris-Stowe’s journey to the university it is today began in 1857, when the St. Louis Public Schools founded a teacher-training institution for white students only – the first such teacher education institution west of the Mississippi River.

It later became known as Harris Teachers College, which in 1920 grew into a four-year undergraduate institution, offering a bachelor’s degree.

An empty desk
Bubbles | sxc.hu

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri state Board of Education voted Friday to approve a plan to intervene in struggling school districts. It also sent the message that it will become more active in making sure districts adopt policies that will result in success.

The plan, revised from a draft version presented to the board last month, spells out various avenues of support that would be provided to or required of school districts depending on how well they score on their annual performance review.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 1:41 p.m., Fri., March 21.

Saint Louis University has a new president, its first non-Jesuit president, to succeed the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, who stepped down amid controversy last year.

The university’s Board of Trustees unanimously elected Fred Pestello during a special meeting Thursday evening, according to a news release. He will begin his new position on July 1.

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