Education

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: After a rough stretch of negative news – a highly critical audit, the resignation of one board member and ouster of two others by voters, defeat of a bond issue and departure of a superintendent – the Rockwood School District was more than ready to hear state Auditor Tom Schweich’s message Wednesday:

“I’ve got good news today.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Three parents in Riverview Gardens say they will file suit against the Mehlville School District Thursday afternoon unless Mehlville drops its limits on how many transfer students it will accept.

Aligyah Adams and John Mullen
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Shante Buggs is a product of the Normandy District, and she intends to keep her two children enrolled there in spite of its loss of accreditation. But she concedes that the issue has caused a little friction in the family.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri has advised the superintendents of the Kirkwood and Mehlville schools that they have no legal basis to turn away any transfer students on the basis of class size or available space.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri Education Commissioner Chris L. Nicastro raised questions Friday about the financial survival of the Normandy School District in the wake of the decision by more than a quarter of its students to transfer to schools in accredited districts.

Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon Data is as of Tuesday, 7/30/13

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Mehlville School District is so far the first choice of more than 600 students seeking to transfer from the unaccredited Riverview Gardens School District.

Information from DESE, graphics by Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon

The article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: After the Mehlville School District said that it could accept only 150 transfer students from the unaccredited Riverview Gardens School District, Riverview Gardens added the Kirkwood School District as the second district for which it would pay transportation. Subsequently Kirkwood has said on its website that it could only accept 100 students.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The person who answered the phones for the Riverview Gardens School District was quite busy Wednesday morning. Phone calls are so plentiful that she cannot answer them all. Most of the calls apparently came from residents wanting confirmation that students could apply to Kirkwood School District this fall.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: To avoid the challenges associated with the current school transfer law, and to give parents a better idea of how their children’s school is doing, the elected board of the St. Louis Public Schools wants the state to begin accrediting individual schools rather than entire school districts.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Mehlville School District has room to accept only one out of three of the 450 students from Riverview Gardens who have said – so far – that they want to transfer there, Mehlville Superintendent Eric Knost told a school board meeting Thursday night.

Rosemary Ward Wellington
St. Joseph's Academy Alumnae Association

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Rosemary Ward Wellington, who was born at a time when it was widely accepted that women were too fragile for strenuous exercise, defied convention and played, taught or coached every sport offered at St. Joseph’s Academy for girls.

Jami Cox
Provided Jami Cox

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When you think of someone responsible for starting a community outreach program, public speak out sessions with fire fighters, police chiefs, city officials, superintendents and youth engagement events, a seasoned campaign worker with years of invaluable experience is likely to come to mind.

But in this case, the instigator is 17 years old.

The chairman of the Saint Louis University board of trustees has dismissed a call for an interim president to take the place of the Rev. Lawrence Biondi in the wake of reduced salary increases for faculty members who protested against Biondi’s administration.

J. Joe Adorjan, who began his third stint as the head of the SLU board in May, was responding to a suggestion by Ken Parker, a professor of theological studies at the university.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Louise Losos, the former principal of Clayton High School whose job as principal of Grand Center Arts Academy was rescinded amid parent protests, was designated Friday as curriculum resource director for Confluence charter schools.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: An official with the American Association of University Professors has expressed concern over reports that Saint Louis University may have reduced the salary increases for faculty members active in recent protests against the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, outgoing SLU president.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Just one week after nearly three hours of emotional statements on both sides of the Francis Howell-Normandy transfer issue, the talk at the Howell school board meeting Thursday night turned to calmer, more reflective expressions of cooperation, collaboration – and how the district was going to get paid.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Betty Robinson enlisted in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty nine years after the war began in 1964. She remained a foot soldier for nearly 40 years. Her battles were fought on behalf of children through the Head Start program.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Addressing one of the issues that prompted strife between faculty at Saint Louis University and its president, the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, the university says it will set aside $13.4 million for salary increases for faculty and staff in the upcoming school year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The new superintendent of Normandy schools had a lot of positive things he wanted to talk about Wednesday night, but much of the district’s board meeting was spent trying to counteract something negative – Normandy’s reputation for being unsafe.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Of the 521 school districts in Missouri with recorded accreditation status reported by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 97.4 percent are fully accredited. That’s all but 14. Of those, 11 have received provisional accreditation, and three are currently unaccredited. Those three – in the news for the last couple of weeks on account of the June Missouri Supreme Court ruling regarding student transfers from unaccredited districts – are Normandy and Riverview Gardens in the east, and Kansas City in the west.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For nearly an hour, Kate Casas and others from the Children's Education Alliance of Missouri had answered nuts-and-bolts questions from residents of the Riverview Gardens school district about how students can transfer to accredited schools:

What happens to students who are homeless, or in transition? Is this by lottery, or will our requests for certain district be filled first-come, first-served? How will students who can’t keep up academically get the help they need?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: If parents who are caught up in the current swirl of controversy over student transfers are looking for someone to blame, Kathleen Brown Sullivan at the University of Missouri-St. Louis says there are plenty of places where fingers should be pointed.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The superintendent of the Francis Howell school district expects to have 600 students transfer there from the unaccredited Normandy district – and if the audience at a packed public forum Thursday night is any indication, those transfers won’t always receive a warm welcome.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Under Missouri's school transfer law, students who live in unaccredited school districts may choose to attend a nearby, accredited district. The sending district must pay the students' tuition and must designate one district to which it will also pay transportation costs. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Eric Knost, superintendent of schools in Mehlville, remembers clearly the three words he heard Tuesday evening that could bring big changes to his south St. Louis County district.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Riverview Gardens school district has chosen Mehlville in south St. Louis County as the district to which it would pay transportation costs for students who want to transfer this fall.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: An online petition asking Missouri lawmakers to limit the law that allows students living in unaccredited school districts to transfer to accredited ones has attracted scores of signatures since it was created late last week.

The petition, on the website change.org, is addressed to Gov. Jay Nixon and members of the Missouri House and Senate, specifically state Sen. Tom Dempsey, president pro tem of the Senate, and House Speaker Tim Jones.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon As parents in Riverview Gardens and Normandy are looking around for the best accredited school district for their children to attend this fall, lawmakers are pondering what changes, if any, they might make to the school transfer law next year.

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

News that the Normandy school district will bus students to Francis Howell schools raised a storm of controversy this week. Unless cool heads prevail, it could evolve into a perfect storm -- an ugly convergence of our region's most emotional and intractable problems.

What problems?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: David Glaser wasn’t in St. Louis three decades ago during the height of public opposition to the region’s first interdistrict school desegregation program. He’s learning about some of the old outcry as emotions rise in St. Charles County where the Francis Howell District is preparing to take students wishing to transfer there from Normandy.

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