Teacher and preacher
3:32 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

The Rev. Sean Martin Will Be The First Non-Dominican To Head Aquinas Institute

The Rev. Sean Martin
Credit Provided by Aquinas

Today, for the first time in the 88 years since the Dominican friars founded Aquinas Institute of Theology, a scholar and priest who is not a Dominican becomes its president.

Father Seán Charles Martin is the new Aquinas president.

“It is a big step for us because in our long history we have always had a Dominican,” the Very Rev Charles Bouchard said. He's the Dominican provincial, its elected leader, over 14 states from Michigan to New Mexico, who made today’s announcement in Chicago.

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Academic Achievement
6:43 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Normandy Schools Have Ambitious Goals, Strong Spotlight

Normandy Superintendent Ty McNichols
Credit Dale Singer/St. Louis Public Radio

The detailed form used by Normandy school administrators when they visit a classroom to observe district teachers starts out by saying: “It was a joy to be in your room today.”

How widespread that joy will be as the school year progresses is hard to judge.

One month after classes started, the state-appointed board running what is now the Normandy Schools Collaborative has adopted an ambitious agenda from Missouri education officials that calls for steep, steady improvement by students in the next three years.

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6:40 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Washington University Libraries Builds Ferguson Digital Archives

Protesters chanting on an electrical box on W. Florissant.
Credit Mark Regester courtesy of the Documenting Ferguson archive

The library at Washington University in St. Louis is building a digital repository called “Documenting Ferguson.” The collection will provide the community with a space to save the media they’ve captured since the death of Michael Brown.

The online collection is open for anyone to contribute material.The archive will accept photos, audio, video, and written stories.

Shannon Davis is the Digital Projects Librarian at Washington University. She says it’s important to capture this material now before it disappears.

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Settlement Reached
6:26 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Highland Teacher Strike Ends, School Back In Session Friday

Credit (via Flickr/evmaiden)

The Highland, Illinois teachers’ union reached a settlement with the district’s board of education late Thursday afternoon, ending a week-long teacher strike.  Students will be back in class Friday after missing six days of school.

In a press release, Highland Superintendent Mike Sutton said the new teacher contract is good for three years and includes a provision to make up the missed school days. With school back in session Friday, school-sanctioned activities are now back on the weekend schedule, including the high school football game.

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Beyond Ferguson
4:46 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Bernice King Brings Message Of Nonviolence To Riverview Gardens

Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., speaks with students at Riverview Gardens High School.
Credit Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Bernice King began her second visit to Riverview Gardens High School by telling students about her own anger. Her father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was gunned down in his prime. Her uncle, Alfred Daniel Williams King, died amid suspicious circumstances.

King told them about that anger boiling over. She told them about striking a friend in the head with a bottle after an argument. Anxiety filled King while waiting for her friend to wake up after being knocked unconscious.

King told students anger can consume them.

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Centennial Celebration
3:25 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

After 100 Years, Webster U. Continues To Change With The Times

Beth Stroble
Credit Webster U. website

Elizabeth Robb recalls that when she arrived as a freshman at Webster College from Hopkinsville, Ky., in 1961, if she wanted to leave her dorm room in the evening, a proctor had to sign her out.

When bedtime came – around 10 or 10:30 p.m., as she remembers it, “the proctor came around and made sure you were still in your room and turned off the lights in the hall and your lights went off as well.”

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Teacher Evaluation
10:59 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

The Seven Principles That All Missouri Teacher Evaluations Must Have In Common

Sixth-grade math teacher Melissa Schut prepares students for a classroom assignment at Westview Middle School in the Riverview Gardens School District.
Credit Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

In November, voters in Missouri will decide whether to change the way teachers are evaluated and retained by school districts.

Under Amendment 3, teachers would be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using student data. It also would put a three-year limit on teacher contracts and prevent teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining on the design of teacher evaluations or how they’re used.  

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Education Commissioner
4:41 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Nicastro Gets Mixed Grades For Education Tenure

Chris Nicastro
Credit DESE website

Now that she has announced her retirement at the end of the year, how should Chris Nicastro’s tenure as Missouri’s commissioner of education be graded?

Using the guarded tone of academia, Alex Cuenca, an assistant professor of education at Saint Louis University, gave this assessment Tuesday:

“I think she did the best she could with the circumstances she was given and the cards she was dealt.”

The response from state Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, who himself is about to leave public service after a long career in the General Assembly, was pithier.

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Education Commissioner
12:18 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Nicastro To Retire As Head Of Missouri Schools

Chris Nicastro
Credit DESE website

Updated 5:01 p.m. with reaction, more details.

Chris Nicastro, whose sometimes controversial tenure as Missouri’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education has been marked by efforts to improve urban schools and the transfer program out of Normandy and Riverview Gardens, announced Monday she will retire at the end of the year.

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Student Transfers
9:17 am
Sun September 14, 2014

Restrictions Eased For Normandy School Transfers

Credit Stephanie Zimmerman

As legal efforts continue to open the Francis Howell school district to students who want to transfer from Normandy, a new policy shift has increased the pool of students able to transfer to any local accredited district.

The move raises new concerns about the financial survival of Normandy, which was taken over by the state after transfer costs drove it to the brink of bankruptcy last school year.

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