Education

(via St. Louis Public Schools)

More than 780 kindergarten through eighth-grade pupils in St. Louis Public Schools who have fallen behind in reading are being held back this school year. That’s double the number of pupils retained last fall, when 372 students did not move on to the next grade.     

Francis Howell website

The superintendent of the Francis Howell school district says that if court rulings continue to favor transfers from the new Normandy Schools Collaborative, as many as 350 students could end up returning to Francis Howell.

Last year, Howell ended the year with 430 students who had transferred under the law that says students living in an unaccredited school district can transfer to nearby accredited districts. Normandy had designated Francis Howell as the district to which it would pay tuition, so most students who left Normandy transferred there.

Art McCoy
File copy | Ferguson-Florissant website

Art McCoy may have a new job with an international focus, but the former superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant school district says he will still pay attention to the need for better learning in north St. Louis County.

Entrance to Normandy High School campus
(via Google Maps screen capture)

Missouri education officials now say they will pay whatever tuition a receiving district charges for transfer students from Normandy, rather than a lower amount imposed earlier, raising new concerns about the state-run district's ability to survive financially.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Read an analysis of the latest school report cards.

Normandy's annual performance score sank even lower than before, down to 7.1 percent of the possible points scored, lowest in the state.

State education officials have been working in the district for weeks, putting into place new techniques designed to improve academic achievement in the district, which was taken over by the state on July 1.

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

Take a look at a statewide map showing how districts performance has changed between the past two school years, as well as five takeaways from the report cards.

While St. Louis Public Schools and Riverview Gardens have made solid gains in their push toward accreditation, Normandy finds itself in a deeper hole, earning just 7.1 percent of the possible points in Missouri’s latest list of school report cards released Friday.

File photo

In a closed session Wednesday evening, the Ferguson-Florissant School Board voted to accept students from the new, state run Normandy Schools Collaborative (NSC).  The board had previously voted not to accept students from NSC, which began operations in July.

In order to return to the district, students must have submitted an “Intent to Return” form by Feb. 1 and already have completed the registration and enrollment requirements.          

James Byard/WUSTL Photos

Updated 7:21 a.m. Tuesday to change number of people involved:

Monday marked not only the first day of classes at Washington University and Saint Louis University but also a collaborative effort to take note of the death of Michael Brown and the issues it has raised.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

 Updated on Monday, Aug. 25.

After a being delayed for more than a week, about 11,000 students in the Ferguson-Florissant School District started their school year today.  

As kids filed into Ferguson Middle School – which is located about two miles from where protesters violently clashed with police – a stream of students, parents and teachers said they were happy to be back in the classroom. 

Among them was math teacher Gerry Glenn, who distributed high fives and pats-on-the-back to students.

A protester on Aug. 16 in Ferguson
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

Images from Ferguson are everywhere.

It’s difficult to avoid news of Michael Brown’s death and the community response. And with students returning to school, educators are likely to encounter the topics in the classroom and seek guidance on how to discuss them. As discussed on St. Louis on the Air, different approaches are required for different age groups.

The Response in Early Childhood Classrooms

St. Louis Public Radio

Teachers are using Twitter to gather material and talk about Ferguson.

Marcia Chatelain, a history professor at Georgetown University and a University of Missouri–Columbia alumna, created the hashtag #FergusonSyllabus this week to gather that material.

UMSL website

What do you say to a third grader in north St. Louis County who worries about getting shot when she grows up?

As violence simmers down in Ferguson, those kinds of questions are likely to linger, so counseling agencies held two training sessions Thursday – at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Harris-Stowe State University – to help teachers and other school personnel learn how to calm students' fears.

Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio

After a hearing in St. Louis County Circuit Court Wednesday, Judge Michael Burton cleared the way for 13 more students to transfer out of the Normandy school district.

Burton had ruled last week that the Missouri state school board had acted improperly when it made changes that exempted students who live in Normandy from the benefits of Missouri’s school transfer law. As a result, he said, Normandy’s status should remain as unaccredited, and students should have the right to transfer to nearby accredited schools.

File photo

A lawyer who won the right for five students who live in Normandy to transfer again to an accredited school went to court Tuesday to force the Francis Howell school district to accept all Normandy transfers who want to return.

It also asks that two students who attended Ferguson-Florissant last year be allowed to return.

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

(Updated at 9:19 p.m. Monday with latest cancellation in Ferguson-Florissant)

With adults cheering them on and the aftermath of violent protest just a few miles away, students began classes Monday in the new Normandy Schools Collaborative, hoping to put drama behind them and keep their sights on success.

“It’s nice to have a welcome back party for Normandy,” senior Breonia Gregory said as she walked through the parking lot toward the high school. “We’ve been through a lot. It’s nice to have something like this positive feedback from the community.”

Courtesy Parents for Peace

Updated 9:21 p.m. Monday with cancellation of classes in Ferguson-Florissant all week

The Ferguson-Florissant school district has postponed opening yet again, now saying school would not be in session all week and would begin next Monday, Aug. 25.

Earlier, the first day, which had been scheduled for Monday, was postponed for one day because of concern about students walking to school in a community disrupted by protest.

Jennings and Riverview Gardens had canceled classes for Monday as well.

File photo

A St. Louis County Circuit judge ruled Friday that students from three families living in the Normandy school district have the right to transfer to nearby accredited districts.

Those districts – Pattonville, Ritenour and Ferguson-Florissant – had denied the students access in the new school year, even though they had transferred to schools in those districts in the last school year. But the families argued successfully that the state had improperly given the new Normandy Schools Collaborative a status that freed it from the requirements of the Missouri transfer law.

Credit Cast a Line / Flickr

Updated 8:44 p.m. with statement from Normandy schools:

As the school year begins around the area, some districts in north St. Louis County are particularly wary following unrest in Ferguson over the weekend.

In Jennings, where students walk to school, the opening of classes Monday was postponed to Tuesday, to ensure student safety.

In a letter to families and staff released early Monday morning, signed by Superintendent Tiffany Anderson, the district said:

Courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis

Paul Sorenson was working his way toward a master’s degree from Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work when he kept bumping into the same questions over and over again.  

As an intern for the nonprofit health-care provider Grace Hill, Sorenson was supposed to connect poor families with resources that could help get them caught up on rent and utility bills. But what if one of these agencies  had its funding reduced, moved its offices or was no longer open?  

Entrance to Normandy High School campus
(via Google Maps screen capture)

As a St. Louis County circuit judge weighs whether four families who live in Normandy have the right to send their children to nearby accredited districts in the upcoming school year, Missouri education officials are trying to clarify action they took recently that is central to the case.

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