Education | St. Louis Public Radio

Education

Jesse Drapekin smiles in front of his final Power Point presentation.
Jo Seltzer | Beacon file photo

Lots of young people are into social networking these days. But another kind of networking has been going on for two decades in laboratories across the St. Louis area.

Each summer dozens of students participate in STARS (Students and Teachers as Research Scientists), a program sponsored by the University of Missouri-St. Louis. This year, more than 60 students spent their summer doing original research in top labs of academia and industry.

"These kids are the scientists and engineers of tomorrow," said Michael Anch of the Saint Louis University department of psychology.

Richard Gaines
Drew Canning | 2010 | St. Louis Beacon

Responding to the message that a $155 million bond issue for the St. Louis Public Schools would require no tax increase,  city voters gave the proposal an overwhelming victory Tuesday.

With 100 percent of the city’s precincts reporting, Proposition S, won with 76 per cent of the vote, and school officials declared victory. It needed a four-sevenths majority for passage, or 57.1 percent..

Rep will take 'Macbeth' to school

Aug 2, 2010

St. Louis middle and high school students will learn modern day lessons via an age-old tale this school year. A tale told not by an idiot, and one signifying much more than sound and fury.

The Missouri Supreme Court recently ruled that students in unaccredited school districts have the right to transfer to, and must be accepted by, an accredited school at the cost of the unaccredited district. The law upheld by the court also allows the transfer to be to a school "in another district of the same or an adjoining county." This ruling should serve as a wake-up call that serious statewide education reforms must be passed in the 2011 legislative session.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: During an interview with the Beacon last summer, noted civil rights lawyer Frankie Freeman said she was ready to wind down, take life easy after more than a half century of civil rights work and public and private appointments. But duty has called once again, and she couldn't say no. She seldom can when the issue involves education and city schools.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 22, 2008 - Raishelle Scott did her share of work in the trenches of child abuse and neglect agencies before landing her dream job in the Hazelwood school district more than a decade ago.

"I thought I was in heaven," she says, remembering the low-stress atmosphere she came to associate with being a school social worker in Hazelwood. Even so, her duties have grown more complex because she now has to address social problems that were once rare among students in suburbia. Homelessness, for example.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 16, 2008 - Choosing Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Arne Duncan to run the U.S. Department of Education sends a strong signal that under an Obama administration, kids will be at least as important as politics.

eMINTS: Sounds sweet, makes teaching cool

Nov 29, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 29, 2008 - eMINTS sounds like something sweet: candy ordered over the Internet perhaps. The term actually means Enhancing Missouri's Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies, a rather long-winded description of a highly regarded program for boosting student achievement.

This post first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 10, 2008 - What is going on with "like-and-you-know-itis"?

In recent years, an enormous percentage of our populace has begun sprinkling each spoken sentence with several "likes" and "you know's." For example: "Like, my name, like, you know, is, like, Mike, you know?"

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 28, 2008 - CNN's special report on being Black in America raised a host of issues, but the one that stood out to me most is education.

The achievement gap is not a new problem. Black children continue to under-perform and we continue to be unsure how to remedy the situation. The special raised the question of whether students should receive monetary incentives for good grades.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 17, 2008 -  To many elementary school students, the crackle of pushing a shiny fresh pencil on clean paper can blunt the negative back-to-school feelings associated with September.

According to KidSmart St. Louis, a group that runs a free school-supply store, 80,000 children in the region cannot afford school supplies annually. To ensure that September 2008 has enough excitement to temper the anxiety for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, Family Support Network -- a nonprofit group that works to combat child abuse and provides support to at-risk families -- is conducting a supply drive that starts July 21 and ends Aug. 31.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 29, 2008 - How about this for our schools? One day each year every high school senior in the state should sit down for an hour and write a two or three page essay.

Then, that very day, each school should put each essay on the internet.

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.

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.

Charter schools

Apr 2, 2008

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. The spirited and at times mean-spirited debate growing out of this question is as constant and as predictable as Meramec River flooding following heavy spring rains.

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