Archive for Thursday, January 20, 2011

First Bell: Lawrence school district gathering names for school-naming committees; engineers from West build second-place Future City; state honors math teacher from Central

January 20, 2011


Lawrence school district administrators are gathering names of people to be nominated for appointment to four committees responsible for recommending new names — or retaining current ones — for the district’s four junior high schools, which are designated to become middle schools July 1.

Superintendent Rick Doll plans to forward the names to the Lawrence school board, which is scheduled to form the committees during the board's next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Monday at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive.

Some of the principals I’ve checked in with say they’re forwarding the names of members from their schools’ site councils, student councils and building leadership teams.

Naming recommendations will be expected back to the board sometime around spring break.


A team of students from West Junior High School finished second in the Kansas regionals for the National Future City Competition Saturday at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

Students on the team were Karen Campbell, Kayla Clark, Michaela Schenkel and Michael Quackenbush. They were joined by their teacher, Pamela Simpson, and mentor, Stacey Lamer, an engineer and project manager at Bartlett & West Engineers in Lawrence.

The students were among more than 33,000 from 1,000 middle schools and junior highs nationwide to take part in Future City, a program designed to encourage students’ interest in engineering and related fields. Students use a computer program and build a scale model for “conceptualizing, innovating and implementing ground-breaking infrastructure, delivery systems, technologies, devices and products.”

This year’s task involved health care, as perhaps only an engineer could describe it: “Providing a Reliable and Effective Health Care Product or System the Improves a Sick, Injured or Disabled Patient’s Quality of Life and Comfort.”

Winning the Kansas competition was a team from California Trail Middle School in Olathe.


Keeping teaching fresh

Jennifer Clarkson, a second-year math teacher at Central Junior High School, explains what keeps her going as a teacher. Enlarge video

Several area educators, including one from Lawrence, are among 32 winners of Horizon Awards, sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education in recognition of exemplary educators who are early in their careers.

Winning from the Lawrence school district: Jennifer Clarkson, a math teacher now in her second year at Central Junior High School, where she teaches seventh-graders. In August, she received $250 check from the KU Credit Union during a schoolwide assembly recognizing her nomination by the district.

As a regional winner, she will join 31 others from across the state for a special luncheon Feb. 25, during the Kansas Exemplary Educator Network State Education Conference.

“These new educators have eagerly embraced a challenging profession and proven themselves to be more than up to the task,” said Diane DeBacker, the state’s education commissioner, in a statement. “Through their commitment and hard work they are making a difference in classrooms across our state and I look forward to meeting them and working with them to ensure all Kansas children reach their full potential.”

On Wednesday, the department released the names of all Horizon Award winners, including:

• Josey Eastes, Tonganoxie Middle School, in the Tonganoxie school district.

• Eric Ammerman, Mill Valley High School, in the De Soto school district.

• Mila Little, Pioneer Ridge Middle School, in the Gardner-Edgerton school district.

• Kathryn Wells, Sunflower Elementary School, also in the Gardner-Edgerton district.

• Bethany Baldwin, Berryton Elementary School, in the Shawnee Heights school district.

• Sarah Marolf, Shawnee Heights Middle School, also in the Shawnee Heights district.

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Phil Minkin 7 years ago

I hope the renaming committee considers not making the costly name changes, or at least defers it until there is not the level of financial distress we now face.

buffalogal 7 years ago

I agree with silly to spend money on renaming the schools.....this would be a poor financial decision in this economic climate.

MSD 7 years ago

The Future City team from SWJH placed 4th!

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