Education

Jacob and Jahede Parker picked out almost identical gray camo coats at the Back-to-School Store. Jacob's had a bright yellow lining, while Jahede's lining was white.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Eight-year-old Jahede Parker has brand new red sneakers and a gray camo coat to start his new school year at Patrick Henry Downtown Academy in St. Louis.

His twin brother Jacob picked out an almost identical coat Sunday, when the two joined more than a thousand other local elementary kids shopping at the free back-to-school fair sponsored by the St. Louis chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women.

Danielle Washington of the Wyman Center walks Ozzie Furlow through financial aid literacy training at St. Louis Graduates' High School to College Center. Furlow plans to enroll as a freshman at Arkansas Baptist in August 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

When Ozzie Furlow graduated from Hazelwood East High School in June, he planned to attend Missouri Western State University in the fall.

But there was a problem.

“They wanted me to be part time, and I have nobody to stay (with) down there,” Furlow said.

University of Missouri-Columbia

If a candidate for the presidency of the University of Missouri asks interviewers about their priorities for the system and the themes that are part of the school’s vision, what should the answers be?

That was the topic of a meeting of the university’s Board of Curators in Kansas City on Friday. For anyone who has been following the up-and-down fortunes of the university in recent months, the list they came up with will look familiar:

Family, friends and colleagues gathered outside Dunbar Elementary School to remember Jacara Sproaps.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Yellow and green balloons floated above a crowd gathered outside Dunbar Elementary School Wednesday as family, friends and colleagues clutched candles, held hands and remembered Jacara Sproaps.

Missouri Department of Higher Education

When it comes to education, Missouri has no shortage of goals.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education wants the state to be in, as its slogan says, in the Top 10 by 20 – among the leaders in a variety of school measures by the year 2020.

Not to be outdone, the state’s Department of Higher Education has its sights set a little further out, on 2025. Nine years from now, it wants Missouri to have 60 percent of its working-age adults with postsecondary credentials, to be in the top 10 for investment in academic research and to rank among the 10 most affordable states in which to obtain a postsecondary degree or certificate.

Edmund Lee
provided by family

Updated July 19 with response to judge's ruling— A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against St. Louis’ voluntary desegregation program.

La’Shieka White sued the program because her son, who is black, is barred from attending a city charter school now that her family has moved to Maryland Heights. Her suit called the program’s race-based restrictions unconstitutional.

Third-grader Michael Scott launches his straw rocket at Boeing's free science and technology camp Saturday, July 16, 2016 at McClure South-Berkley High School.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

More than 300 students from age eight to 18 spent Saturday doing hands-on activities like building straw rockets and trying out a flight simulator at McClure South-Berkley High School in the Ferguson-Florissant School District.

The one-day, free summer camp sponsored by Boeing let kids explore science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, known as STEAM.

This was the second year Boeing held the event in north St. Louis County. The company has been offering a similar one-day camp in the city of St. Louis since 2011.

Jacara Sproaps became principal of Dunbar Elementary School in July 2013.
Provided | St. Louis Public Schools

Updated July 15 with suspect’s name, charges — St. Louis Public Schools has lost a second educator to violence in less than a year. Dunbar Elementary School Principal Jacara Sproaps was killed Wednesday night in south St. Louis.

Police said Thursday Sproaps, 38, was shot and killed outside her home in the Gravois Park neighborhood by a man angry with her over their past relationship.

Her boyfriend, Maurice Partlow, was also killed, and her 18-year-old son is in critical but stable condition at an area hospital.One of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers who responded to the scene was grazed in the shin by a bullet.

comedy nose | Flickr

Eligibility requirements and classes geared for special interests and abilities apparently are not enough of an attraction for some parents with other options at their disposal when faced with St. Louis Public Schools’ overall tarnished reputation.

The district has more than 1,400 open slots for students to enroll in its choice and magnet high schools for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year.

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

Would you pay a few thousand bucks to sit on the bench during a Saint Louis University basketball game as an honorary coach? Or be willing to round all your university purchases up to the next dollar and turn the difference into a donation instead of pocket change?

Those are just a couple of the hundreds of ideas submitted to a program called GrowingSLU, an effort to bolster the university through programs, academic or not, that contribute to both its mission and its bottom line.

How do you talk about policing with your children? Gregory Carr, Sr., and Gregory Carr, Jr., discuss the impact policing has had on their lives.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Gregory Carr Jr. is fourteen years old, a rising sophomore, and about to have a birthday that means he’ll be able to get his driver’s permit. That coming-of-age ritual has taken an ominous tone in recent days after the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Castile was shot to death by a police officer in St. Paul, Minn., while in his car.

When St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh asked what the world looks like to him right now, Carr Jr. replied:

Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Joseph Hill wanted to join his twin brother in the accounting program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis this fall, but he didn’t quite have his act together.

That’s why he was glad to hear about the campus’ Quick Admit Day on Wednesday. He was able to get admitted, talk to an adviser, look at possible courses and even take part in orientation if he chose, all in one day.

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 at 9:40 p.m. Tuesday with comments after the meeting - Nine years after a three-member appointed board took over a dysfunctional, poorly performing St. Louis Public Schools system, talks have begun on how an elected board can regain authority over a calmer, much-improved district.

Three members of the current elected board, along with two members of the state school board and the president of the appointed Special Administrative Board, gathered at the district’s downtown headquarters Tuesday evening.

Rick Sullivan (left), president of the city schools' Special Administrative Board, and Superintendent Kelvin Adams attend the campaign kickoff for Proposition 1
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis School Superintendent Kelvin Adams has signed a contract to stay on the job for another three years.

The new contract calls for his base salary to remain at $225,000 a year – the same salary he has had since he became head of the school district in 2008. But his automobile allowance rises to $800 a month from the $300 a month payment included in the old contract that expired last week. The $800 figure had been part of earlier contracts that Adams signed with the district.

teaching
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

After 25 years as a gym teacher, Annalee Zweig knows a lot of different exercises. But she had never encountered the hoops she had to jump through to get jobs as a substitute teacher.

Zweig subs in Parkway, where she taught at four elementary schools before retiring five years ago. This past year, Parkway — along with Normandy and Maplewood Richmond Heights — contracted with a division of Kelly Services, the temporary help company, to recruit, place and employ substitute teachers.

Paul Sableman | Flickr | http://bit.ly/28QjQfu

Ever wondered about that Optimist International building on Lindell across from the Basilica?

If you have, you’re not alone. Although many St. Louisans may be unfamiliar with the non-profit organization, Optimist International has over 2,500 clubs in 35 different countries. Its mission is serving youth, and its headquarters are located here in St. Louis.

Melissa Click
KBIA - Provided by Melissa Click

The American Association of University Professors voted Saturday to censure the University of Missouri-Columbia over its treatment of Melissa Click, who was fired after her actions during racial protests last fall.

Interim President Mike Middleton addresses the University of Missouri Board of Curators
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

The interim president of the University of Missouri system said that even as memories of last fall’s racial protests in Columbia persist, the school continues to perform valuable services for the state.

But the only African-American member of the university’s Board of Curators wants to make sure that the system’s new emphasis on diversity results in action, not just talk.

school buses
Flickr

School officials could extend the life of St. Louis’ interdistrict desegregation program indefinitely by switching from racial to economic transfer criteria. 

That is the consensus of education and legal experts here and around the country. 

University of Missouri-Columbia

As the search for a president of the University of Missouri system accelerates, more people are interested in the job than expected.

That was the word Thursday from John Isaacson, a consultant hired by the search committee that is leading the hunt for a successor to Tim Wolfe, the system president who resigned in November, following  racial protests in Columbia.

St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams watches as early results come in showing strong support for Proposition 1.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Updated June 16, 2016 with more information from the Education Department — It appears St. Louis Public Schools will face no immediate financial consequences for failing to submit its 2013-2014 civil rights data to the U.S. Department of Education in time for it to be included in a national civil rights survey. But that could change if the school district doesn’t comply with future requirements from the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights.

Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation requiring high school students in Missouri to receive basic CPR training before graduating.

Senate Bill 711 doesn't require students to become CPR certified, but it does require them to attend a 30-minute presentation on how to perform hands-only CPR, along with the Heimlich maneuver "or other first aid for choking."

Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon (center) talks with state board member John Martin (left) and deputy education commissioner Ron Lankford at the state school board meeting in October 2015.
File photo |Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the Missouri state school board praised progress made by Riverview Gardens in recent years Tuesday but postponed any vote that could upgrade its status from unaccredited.

Because the board put off until at least this fall any consideration of making the district provisionally accredited, students living in Riverview Gardens will remain eligible to transfer to nearby accredited schools in the coming school year.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaks in St. Louis on Thursday June 9. The governor appointed three new members to the University of Missouri Board of Curators on Wednesday.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon expects the three new members of the University of Missouri System Board of Curator to hit the ground running on an important task: choosing a new president.

Nixon appointed Mary Nelson, Thomas Voss and Jon Sundvold to the board last week. As St. Louis Public Radio’s Dale Singer reported, the interim appointees can take office immediately, without confirmation by the Missouri Senate and can serve until Nixon’s successor takes office next year.

school buses
Flickr

The end isn’t near for the area’s long-running school desegregation program, but it’s coming.

Area school superintendents in charge of the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corp. , which has run the program since a 1999 settlement established new rules the St. Louis-St. Louis County student transfers, are weighing one final five-year extension to the plan, taking it through the 2023-24 school year. They met Thursday to discuss the plan, with a final vote expected later this year.

Gov. Jay Nixon appointed three people to the University of Missouri Board of Curators, pictured from left: Mary Nelson, Jon Sundvold and Tom Voss
Provided by the governor's office

As the University of Missouri continues to search for a new system president, in the wake of racial protests, it will have a full nine-member Board of Curators to make the selection — and one of them will be the only African-American member.

Gov. Jay Nixon said Wednesday he was naming three new members to the board, plus a student representative from the Columbia campus. The interim appointees  can take office immediately, without confirmation by the Missouri Senate and serve until Nixon’s successor takes office next year.

Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon discusses the district's progress at a state hearing May 5, 2016
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Riverview Gardens has made solid gains over the past two years, but Missouri education officials will not recommend that the state board upgrade the district from unaccredited to provisionally accredited for the coming school year.

A better level of accreditation would mean that students who live in the district could no longer transfer to schools in other districts, as they have since the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the state’s transfer law in 2013.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In January, Jennings Superintendent, Dr. Tiffany Anderson, who is credited with turning around the district and helping it reach full accreditation, announced she was leaving to take the position of superintendent with Topeka Public Schools, effective July 1. 

Entrance to Normandy High School campus
Google Maps screen capture

Updated at 2:16 p.m. Wednesday with withdrawal of suit: The mother of a student at Normandy High School who filed suit in federal court challenging the suspension of her daughter after a fight at the school last month, which involved adults as well as students, has withdrawn her suit.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Jennifer Williams and her daughter, a freshman  identified only by the initials J.M., says she “was summarily barred from attendance at the school without notice of a hearing and for no substantive fault of her own” after the fight on May 23. But her lawyer, Robert Herman, said Wednesday that because alternative arrangements for her daughter's education have been made, the lawsuit has been withdrawn.

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

A Missouri appeals court has ruled that the the Missouri State Board of Education acted outside of its authority when it  changed the accreditation status of the new Normandy Schools Collaborative.

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