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Archive for Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First Bell: Bill Self gets assist for score on breakfast speaker; KU science stars appear on kids-oriented trading cards; district’s classified staffers await reconfigured assignments

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self and his wife, Cindy, welcome the praise of thousands of KU fans as they ride in Doug Compton's car during the Jayhawks' national championship parade April 13, 2008 in downtown Lawrence. Also praiseworthy: the coach landing David Booth as keynote speaker for the 2011 Community Education Breakfast, a benefit for the Lawrence Schools Foundation. Cindy Self is a member of the foundation's board of trustees.

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self and his wife, Cindy, welcome the praise of thousands of KU fans as they ride in Doug Compton's car during the Jayhawks' national championship parade April 13, 2008 in downtown Lawrence. Also praiseworthy: the coach landing David Booth as keynote speaker for the 2011 Community Education Breakfast, a benefit for the Lawrence Schools Foundation. Cindy Self is a member of the foundation's board of trustees.

March 8, 2011

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A few education-oriented items from around the area:

The speaker for this year’s Community Education Breakfast is a graduate of Lawrence High School, received degrees at Kansas University and now leads a financial firm with $219 billion in assets under management.

But don’t be surprised if folks would rather focus on a couple sheets of paper featuring a few typewritten lines and a scribbled note at the bottom.

David Booth, a 1964 graduate of Lawrence High School, will deliver the keynote speech at the 2011 Community Education Breakfast on Aug. 26, 2011.

David Booth, a 1964 graduate of Lawrence High School, will deliver the keynote speech at the 2011 Community Education Breakfast on Aug. 26, 2011.

David Booth — proud owner of James Naismith’s original rules of “Basket Ball,” now on temporary display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo. — will serve as keynote speaker for the Aug. 26 breakfast, the Lawrence Schools Foundation announced Monday.

Credit none other than Bill Self, Kansas University’s head basketball coach, with a big assist.

“We are so excited that David is willing to speak at our event to help raise money for the public schools in Lawrence,” said Cindy Self, a member of the foundation’s board of trustees. “When Bill called and asked him if he would be interested, David didn’t hesitate.”

In December, Booth submitted the winning $4.33 million bid at auction for Naismith’s original rules, which had been typewritten in 1891 and later signed in 1931 by the man who had served as KU’s first basketball coach and would go on to be athletics director.

Kansas Athletics Inc. is busy putting together a group of officials representing the department, the university, KU Endowment Association and the KU Alumni Association to work with Booth to create a suitable home for the rules on the KU campus.

Officials have said that an addition to the Booth Family Hall of Athletics would be an option.

For more information about the breakfast, contact Susan Esau, the foundation’s executive director, at (785) 330-2790 or sesau@usd497.org.

•••

Donna Johnson, founder and CEO of Pinnacle Technology Inc., is featured on a trading card. Among facts on the back of the card: "EXTRA COOL: Has also studied oceanography."

Donna Johnson, founder and CEO of Pinnacle Technology Inc., is featured on a trading card. Among facts on the back of the card: "EXTRA COOL: Has also studied oceanography."

OK, kids: A new set of trading cards is out there for fun, education and other enjoyment.

The continuing subject: Science.

This month’s cards, 12 in all, are available courtesy of an organization working to boost students’ interest in “STEM”: science, technology, engineering and math.

Creator of the cards is the Ad Astra Initiative, which describes itself as a 10-year-old grassroots organization with the purpose of celebrating science in Kansas.

Previous editions of cards have included prominent scientists, engineers and investors with Kansas ties.

Among this month’s featured cards:

• Kristin Bowman-James, a distinguished professor of chemistry at Kansas University, hailed for her work on molecules to improve environmental cleaning and director of “a $20 million research project funded by the National Science Foundation in which scientists in Kansas and Oklahoma study global climate change and do renewable energy research.

• Donna Johnson, founder and CEO of Pinnacle Technology Inc. in Lawrence, a firm whose work involves “new ways to measure chemicals in the brain that are connected to diseases like depression, alcoholism or Parkinson’s,” and designer of “wireless sensors that can measure sleep and seizure activity in the brain” so that scientists “can then better understand sleep patterns or how to treat sleep-related problems or epilepsy.”

• Creighton Hardin, on the medical faculty at KU from 1952 to 1988, known for several things, including being the first surgeon to successfully fix an aortic aneurysm — a blood vessel that may burst — by replacing the weak part with a donated tissue graft. Also: He sewed arterial replacement tubes for lab studies using nylon purchased at J.C. Penney and, in 1971, became the first surgeon in the world to reattach a severed upper arm “with the return of function.”

There are several faces on cards that folks might find interesting: Fred Koch, of Koch Industries; Otis Ray McIntire, who graduated from KU in 1941 and went on to invest Styrofoam; Joseph Kennedy, a KU chemistry graduate who is credited as a co-discoverer of plutonium.

In any case, check out the cards at the initiative’s website, where they can be downloaded, printed and, yes, traded.

•••

Here’s an update on the Lawrence school district’s ongoing reconfiguration project, as provided by Julie Boyle, the district’s director of communications. The information Boyle uses comes from Bob Arevalo, the district’s division director of human resources:

“As you know, the school board, administration, teachers and staff have been studying reconfiguration in order to maximize student learning. In April of 2010, the board voted to transition to K-5 elementary, 6-8 middle school and 9-12 high school learning environments next fall. To accommodate this exciting and historic change, it is necessary to reassign some staff for the 2011-12 school year.  

“It was our intent to notify all staff of 2011-12 assignments at the same time. Unfortunately, some information needed to determine placement for some of our employee groups is not available. In order to take advantage of some upcoming professional development activities, we plan to proceed with notification of employee groups for which sufficient information is available to make placement decisions.  

“Most certified teaching staff will receive notice of anticipated placement on Wednesday at 3 p.m. Notifications will be made in writing and will be placed in the employee’s mailbox at the building where he/she receives payroll information.

“Employee groups that will not receive anticipated placement notification are: special education and related services, school nurses, English as a Second Language, guidance counselors, Lawrence Virtual School staff, middle and high school music, and middle school career and technical education staff.

“Once the process of placing certified staff is complete, we will address any needed changes with classified and administrative staff.”

— The First Bell e-mailbox is always open: mfagan@ljworld.com.

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