Archive for Thursday, March 10, 2011

First Bell: Send in your questions for Lawrence school board candidates; Kathleen Sebelius to address bullying; Lawrence students earn medals at German event

March 10, 2011


A few education-oriented items from around the area, and beyond:

Now that the general election is less than four weeks away, interest is picking up regarding candidates for Lawrence school board.

And you can get involved in the process.

Candidates are lining up for online chats here on The live chats give voters and others a chance to pose their own questions, to see where candidates stand on the issues.

See the adjacent list of chats scheduled so far. You can submit questions in advance, or log on during any chat that you’re interested in following.

Nine candidates are actively campaigning for four available seats on the board. The general election is April 5, and winners will start their four-year terms in July.


A former Kansas governor will be at the White House today, joining members of the National PTA for a conference to discuss the importance anti-bullying efforts in schools.

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, will take part in the conference along with Arne Duncan, who is secretary of education, and two other important members of the administration: President and Michelle Obama.

The National PTA is launching a national anti-bullying initiative, with information and resources to help students, parents and educators grapple with the growing problem.

Sebelius' appearance at the White House will come a day after she delivered the keynote address for the National PTA’s Legislative Conference this week in Arlington, Va., attended by “grasstop” leaders from across the country during the conference’s opening day.

Her address covered how “effective family engagement, beginning with the Head Start program and during a child’s early years, lays a positive foundation for success during transitions and across a child’s lifespan,” according to the National PTA.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Officials in the Lawrence school district have spoken early and often about the importance of early involvement at the district level, through early-childhood education and the effectiveness of full-day kindergarten programs.

The availability of such programs, of course, is limited by money, and the district expects to start the next academic year with $3 million less, overall, than it has this year.

The Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force recently forwarded a list of recommendations to the Lawrence school board. Among the task force’s adopted criteria: “Plan for all-day kindergarten at all schools in the future.”


Students from Free State High School, Lawrence High School and the Lawrence Virtual School scored Olympic-sized victories this weekend, as they put their knowledge of German language and culture to the test at Kansas University.

Related document

Lawrence medalists at Schüelerkongress ( .DOCX )

The students were among nearly 300 students from 17 high schools statewide to compete in Schüelerkongress — translation: “congress of pupils” — at Wescoe Hall.

Free State’s team of 17 students won 23 medals, ranking the school tops for ration of medals per student. Lawrence High had 20 students competing, and took home 17 medals, good enough for third. The virtual school had nine students take part, and one medal winner.

The showing from the Lawrence contingent had the event’s organizer thinking of performances that don’t come along all that often. Lawrence's two major high schools took home 27 percent of the 147 medals presented overall.

“For my generation, it’s like Mark Spitz winning seven medals at the Munich Olympics,” said Bill Keel, chairman of KU’s Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, which organized the event.

Students made presentations in poetry recitation, prose reading, spelling, poster making, culture tests and oral proficiency. Each presentation was judged by at least two KU professors or graduate teaching assistants, with assistance from German exchange students.

To see the winners from Lawrence's public schools, download the attached list.

“They were right at the top of the 17 high schools participating,” Keel said.

— The First Bell e-mailbox is always open:


goodcountrypeople 7 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

goodcountrypeople 7 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

PennyBrite 7 years, 1 month ago

KU German department issued a press release in 2010 about Schülerkongress and in 2011 about Schuelerkongress. Is one way more accurate than the other? Anyone know? Both ways interchangeable?

In any event, WAY TO GO to all the students who participated!

(And why did they want to cut back on teaching German in Lawrence? Lack of interest? I'd say these kids have interest.....)

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