Archive for Monday, January 3, 2011

First Bell: Enrollment rising at Corpus Christi; does reconfiguration mean renaming?; engineering competition welcomes sixth-graders

January 3, 2011


More Saints will be marching in today at Corpus Christi Catholic School, boosting enrollment for the new year.

Mary Mattern reports that three or four new students are expected to be in class today, the first day after Christmas break. The school has about 250 students overall, in preschool through sixth grade, with plans for adding seventh-graders for 2011-12.

Fifteen new Saints have enrolled at Corpus Christi so far this academic year, and she expects the numbers to continue to increase.

“We’ve watched this school grow, since starting with one grade,” said Mattern, in her second year as principal and ninth overall at the school, 6001 Bob Billings Parkway in western Lawrence. “And the school’s only 11 years old.”


Something to think about, as the Lawrence school district enters the calendar year that will bring about major enrollment changes for each and every school in the district: Should some schools be changing names, too?

Here’s the deal: For the 2011-12 school year, elementary schools will be limited to kindergarten through fifth grade; existing junior highs will become middle schools, reserved for grades sixth through eight; and high schools will become four-year schools, welcoming freshman on campus full time.

A task force is contemplating a future that could include new schools, renovated schools or expanded schools, especially at the elementary level. School board members have started the study process for potential boundary changes, although they say they don’t intend to take up those issues for at least another year. And high schools will be getting new lockers, reconfigured kitchens and other changes for the coming year.

With all that going on, I wonder: What will we be calling the current junior highs: Central Middle School? Southwest (No Longer a) Junior High School? South School? West Is Best School?

And then there’s the whole directional issue: What happens when and if the district builds another middle school? Will there be a West of West Middle School? Or a Southeast of South Middle School?

Who knows? Tell me what you think.


The Lawrence school district isn’t the only place — or organization — embracing middle schools.

For the first time, this year’s National Future City Competition is allowing sixth-graders to join seventh- and eighth-graders in “conceptualizing, innovating and implementing ground-breaking infrastructure, delivery systems, technologies, devices and products.”


This year’s task regards health care, specifically: “Providing a Reliable and Effective Health Care Product or System the Improves a Sick, Injured or Disabled Patient’s Quality of Life and Comfort.”

Double whew.

Young engineers from Kansas will be competing in a regional competition Jan. 15 at Kansas State University, for chances to advance to the finals Feb. 18-22 — that’s during National Engineers Week — in Washington, D.C.

The grand prize is a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. Sounds like a great trip.

— School's back in session, and the First Bell e-mailbox remains open:


Kookamooka 7 years, 2 months ago

It's time to change those directional Middle School names. I'd love to see them named after famous Kansan artists. How about John Stewart Curry Middle School or Gordon Parks, William Stafford (poet) or Samuel Ramey (opera singer, wait he's still alive) Grandma Elizabeth Layton (painter)....

Tim Quest 7 years, 2 months ago

It's kind of funny to watch Lawrence people freak out about the mysterious concept of a "middle school," a terminology that about 98% of the country has been using for decades.

KS 7 years, 2 months ago

The public school system is making a huge mistake by going to the middle school concept. This puts children into high school way to early. The Catholic school system should not follow course. They are better for a reason and not because they are followers.

Take_a_letter_Maria 7 years, 2 months ago

The local catholic schools are thanking the public school system for this move. They had no intention of adding additional grade levels until the 9th graders were moved up to the high school. They didn't want to go the Jr. High route because they didn't want to have to worry about having any type of high school course work, and you weren't going to get kids to move for one year from Catholic school to Jr. High for 9th grade.

mom_of_three 7 years, 2 months ago

Funny, because 9th graders are considered high schoolers according to their transcripts. And middle schools have been around for decades.

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