A few education-oriented items from around the area:
Southwest Junior High School is poised to get a new name for the next school year, but don’t expect a major change in direction.
A meeting that included members of the school’s site council and student council revealed that nobody sees any reason to trifle with 16 years of tradition.
The school at 2511 Inverness Drive, they determined, should be renamed to Southwest Middle School, to reflect an enrollment shift that will mean educating sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders next year instead of seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders.
The grade levels will change, the meeting attendees acknowledged, but the root of the school’s original name shouldn’t.
“That was unanimous,” said Trish Bransky, the school’s first and only principal. “It’s been just 16 years, but there is some tradition with the name. It is comfortable. And absent any other reason — or any reason that jumps out — it should stay Southwest.”
That’s what the school’s appointed representatives think, anyway. And that’s what Bransky’s report will reflect when Rick Doll, superintendent of the Lawrence school district, compiles his own report for members of the Lawrence school board, likely sometime around spring break.
Board members, you may remember, voted 4-3 last month to pursue new names for the junior high schools. Among their reasons at the time:
• The schools’ directional names “don’t make sense” anymore, given the city’s expansion.
• Giving school communities a chance to participate in the process could engage the public in a positive manner, at a time when schools face plenty of financial and other pressures.
Board members will be the ones who ultimately decide the names for the junior highs, which are set to become middle schools July 1. They indicated they would follow recommendations from each school.
I’ll see about checking in with folks at the other three schools here soon.
Back on Jan. 31, members of the Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force agreed by consensus to pursue recommending closure of either one or two of three elementary schools for next year: Cordley, Pinckney or Wakarusa Valley.
“For myself, and I believe a few others, if we’re going to close any school, BA makes more sense than the (3) that are on the table now relative to our criteria,” Harmon said, in an e-mail sent to Superintendent Rick Doll and copied to fellow task force members. “But it was removed last week from consideration due to political reasons (not specifically in reference to our criteria).”
Whether Harmon wants to reconsider Broken Arrow as a candidate for closure is unclear. Instead, he questions whether the task force will be able to come up with clear consensus on recommending even one specific schools for closure.
The task force’s next meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Monday at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive. The group’s final recommendations are due to the Lawrence school board a week later.
A scheduling update on free developmental screenings offered by the Lawrence school district for assessing preschoolers’ walking, talking, hearing, vision, thinking and social skills...
Screenings will be offered, by appointment, during three upcoming Wednesdays — March 16, April 20 and May 11 (changed from May 18, the date originally scheduled by the district) — at Kennedy School, 1605 Davis Road, which is across Harper Street from the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds. A screening is conducted during a single appointment.
The screenings are available for children who are 3 to 5 years old, and are offered by Lawrence Early Childhood Special Services. Organizers encourage any parents concerned about a preschooler’s development to consider taking advantage of the free screenings.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call or e-mail:
• Edie Boehle, secretary, 330-1643, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Morgan Carter, school psychologist, 330-4389, email@example.com.
— The First Bell e-mailbox is always open: firstname.lastname@example.org.