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Education

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dear Beaconites --

Typically, the fate of an interim dean at Saint Louis University would be of little interest to anyone beyond the campus. But these are not typical times for SLU, and Tom Keefe is not your typical law school dean. As a result, events that might have played out as a quiet kerfuffle turned into a public circus this week.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Moving quickly to lay this week's controversies to rest, the new dean of the Saint Louis University law school has asked students to help him move "into the next phase of this great law school’s life."

In a note distributed to the student body on Thursday, former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Michael Wolff acknowledged the bad publicity raised by the resignation earlier this week of interim dean Tom Keefe amid allegations he had made comments that were politically incorrect -- or worse.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Two photos that grace the yearbook for the 1970 graduating class of University City High School show competing groups.

One depicts members of student government, while the other features a group of students who want to overthrow student government. Mary Beth Tinker is in the second photo.

Tinker’s name – and her activism for causes she believes in -- became a lot more familiar when it was attached to a landmark case that grew out of the decision by her and her brother in 1965 to wear armbands to school protesting the Vietnam War.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: At the front of the auditorium of Carr Lane Middle School the other night, for a forum featuring candidates for the elected board of the St. Louis Public Schools, stood five microphone stands.

No mikes, just stands.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Rather than remain at Saint Louis University law school and accept an offer to share his post as dean with Michael Wolff, Tom Keefe says he decided to resign so that the dust-up over his remarks to students and faculty would fade away.

But Keefe insisted in an wide-ranging interview with the Beacon that though his comments may have been ill-considered and politically incorrect, they did not cross the line into sexual harassment.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Even though the St. Louis Public Schools have regained provisional accreditation, lawyers told the Missouri Supreme Court Tuesday that a case involving a law letting students who live in unaccredited districts transfer to nearby schools still needs to be decided.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Michael Wolff, former chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court and now a professor at the Saint Louis University law school, will be the school's new dean, succeeding Tom Keefe, the school announced today.

The word came in a letter to university students and faculty from Ellen Harshman, acting vice president for academic affairs. It was issued a day after Keefe's resignation as interim dean became public following reports he had been criticized for comments that had angered some at the school.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: With its newly gained provisional accreditation, the St. Louis Public Schools needs to cut spending and build up a fund balance, and Superintendent Kelvin Adams says one way to save money is to close four schools and trim other programs.

But students at one of the schools targeted for closing, Cleveland Naval Junior ROTC, made what Adams called “passionate” comments at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Special Administrative Board, calling their school a successful, special place that should stay open.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Destiny Esper says she never watched "Welcome Back, Kotter." Now, she’s living the sequel.

Four years ago, Esper was the valedictorian at Normandy High School. After graduating from Franklin College in Indiana, where she studied journalism and public relations, then going through intensive training with Teach for America, she began her classroom career this week as an English teacher at Normandy Middle School, where she once was a student.

(Flickr Creative Commons User aka Kath)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –

UPDATED 4:20 p.m. Dec. 14:

In a press release, the Illinois State Police announced that they have been asked by the Springfield Police Department to conduct an investigation into Davlin's death. The Illinois State Police will also be performing the autopsy on Dec. 15.

UPDATED 3:54 p.m. Dec. 14: From the Associated Press:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Assistant Principal Romona Miller and walking counselor Donald Smith are the two African-American authority figures at Kirkwood High School with the most contact with black students. Miller, the only black administrator at the high school, heads the Black Achievement and Culture Club, while Smith mentors a group of African-American boys called My Brothers' Keeper.

Both Miller and Smith have proud accomplishments. This spring, Miller led about 40 students on the annual college trip, this one focusing on traditionally black colleges in the South. Meanwhile, Smith's decision to mentor one student led to requests for help from others. Now more than 70 students, including many of the school's top athletes, are in the peer mentoring group that he has organized.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Patrick Jackson stood alone on the stage of the packed Keating Theater at Kirkwood High School last Dec. 22, with just his double bass in his arms, playing an idiosyncratic and difficult solo called "Failing."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The first news of the big quake came to me on my mobile phone. My wife called me, cell-to-cell, and told me: Earthquake! She was evacuating with her Shanghai office mates at Accenture, the U.S. company. They had gone down the stairs, avoiding the elevators, just like 911. Outside, police tried to swish them away, thinking they were some sort of demonstration.

Andy Struckhoff Father Martin Hagan, 1919-2008, passed away the morning of April 28, at St. Louis University Hospital. Fr. Hagan began his tenure at SLUH in 1950, having joined the Society of Jesus in 1937. (300 pxels)
Andy Struckhoff | Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When I met Fr. Hagan, it was 1991. He wasn’t teaching anymore. He still ran the rifle room and Rifle Club, and he still knew everyone’s name.

In the fall of 1991, I was a freshman at SLUH. I had come from a small parochial school on the city’s south side with a graduating class of 15. Upon finding myself in a class of 250, well, let’s just say it took some adjustment: That many guys in a class wasn’t quite intimidating; it was exciting, though it was way beyond comfortable.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In the weeks since the Feb. 7 assault on the Kirkwood City Hall, a sizeable group of citizens has gathered regularly to discuss issues of race and to search for understanding and healing.  In contrast to the larger community, no groups have formed at Kirkwood High School to specifically address these issues, although the Black Achievement and Cultural Club, the Social Justice Committee and students enrolled in the alternative education program, Atlas, have discussed them.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise is on a mission. He wants to see every high school student graduate, ready to succeed. The author of "Raising the Grade: How High School Reform Can Save Our Youth and Our Nation," Wise is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Excellent Education, which pushes for reforms in secondary education. We caught up with him at Webster University where he spoke Tuesday.

KIPP students in Kansas City work quietly at tables.
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: KANSAS CITY — Across the street from the forward-looking kids at KIPP Endeavor Academy in Kansas City sits the other side of the coin — down-on-their-luck men who sit on a crumbling rock fence, drink wine or beer from brown paper bags, listen to a booming hip-hop beat on a car radio and watch the world pass them by. The scene is hardly uplifting for children trying to hold fast to a KIPP-inspired dream of making it out of this neighborhood and into college. But sights like these do not discourage KIPP officials.

Teacher Ricky Presberry works with a student at the KIPP Kansas City school
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: KANSAS CITY -- When he was a teacher in Kansas City public schools, Jon Richard felt frustration because the academic gains made by his fifth graders would disappear in middle school. Now Richard (pronounced ri-SHARD) is in a position to help reverse this pattern. He is a school leader for KIPP, a charter school system that has a track record for helping kids retain knowledge and attend college.

Kristi Meyer,KIPP KC math teacher, demonstrates how 5th graders use small marshmallows and toothpicks to understand vertices, ends and geometric shapes.
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: KANSAS CITY  -- One recent Monday morning at the KIPP charter school here, some fifth-graders were walking single-file down a corridor when a visitor introduced himself. Like little soldiers, they all stopped as if on cue, but one kid, apparently forgetting an unwritten rule, rested one arm against a bulletin board covered with Grade-A student essays while he listened to the visitor. At the risk of creating a fuss, friction or conflict, another student gently touched the kid’s arm and moved it away from the prized essays. The two students exchanged smiles as if to say, “this is the KIPP way,” then gave the visitor their full attention.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Following weeks of English and math drills, tens of thousands of public school students are sweating through another season of Missouri Assessment Program testing. The scores are supposed to help the public figure out, among other things, whether charter schools are as good an investment as traditional public schools.

2008 graphic
St. Louis Beacon

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: On the morning of Aug. 25, 1983, about 300 St. Louis children boarded buses for trips lasting as long as 45 minutes to schools in the Ritenour District. In some cities, the sight of black children headed for predominantly white schools in the suburbs had triggered anti-busing rallies and, in some instances, violence. But the 300 kids who rode to Ritenour schools that morning enjoyed a quiet and peaceful trip, which set the tone for the start of perhaps the largest and certainly one of the longest running school desegregation initiatives in the nation.

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