Archive for Wednesday, March 30, 2011

First Bell: Full-day K decision expected in April; junior from Lecompton a finalist in science competition; Idaho lawmakers trading teachers for technology?

March 30, 2011


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

Adding full-day kindergarten at Broken Arrow and Sunflower schools next year remains a possibility, but members of the Lawrence school board aren’t yet ready to move forward.

Board members said they want more information about other potential uses for “at-risk” funds that would be used to finance the enhanced kindergarten programming at the two schools.

Money to finance the expansion of full-day kindergarten would come from savings generated by the closure of Wakarusa Valley School. Board members voted Monday to close Wakarusa; the decision about the kindergarten programming won’t come until April 11 at the earliest, when administrators plan to provide members with more information.

Either way, full-day kindergarten remains a goal for the entire district.

“It is an investment that a lot of people can embrace and feel good about, and rightfully so,” said Rich Minder, board president.


A home-schooled student from Lecompton is among four finalists included in a state competition that could yield national or even international prestige.

Sarina Farb, a junior, will participate in the Kansas BioGENEius Challenge, set for May 5 before the KansasBio Board of Directors. Three winners will advance to the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge, in June in Washington, D.C.; from there, 10 winners will join students from Canada and Australia to compete in the International BioGENEius Challenge.

Farb was chosen to participate in the state competition for her molecular biology project: “The Effects of BPA — an Endocrine Disrupter Extracted from Thermal Receipt Paper — on the Proliferation of Cancer Cells.”

At each level of competition, students are evaluated on the quality of their research and displays, as well as for their responses to questions relating to their scientific knowledge and potential commercial applications for their research.

The competitions are open to high schoolers “who demonstrate an exemplary understanding of biotechnology through science research projects,” organizers say.

I’m not sure what an endocrine disrupter is, but I’m certainly not going to be surprised if one day Farb ends up working with the Kansas University Cancer Center, which now is working toward National Cancer Institute designation.


Among other educational happenings elsewhere:

According to a report in the Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review, a bill that had passed in the Idaho Senate moved on to the state’s House on a committee vote Tuesday.

The bill would shift funds “from teacher salaries to technology purchases, and also to fund a new merit-pay bonus plan for teachers starting in 2013. The 24-page bill also makes a series of changes in how Idaho’s schools are funded and brings in a new focus on online learning, while phasing in a plan to have one laptop computer or other ‘mobile computing device’ for every high school student in Idaho.”

Among the bill’s detractors is Sherri Wood, president of the Idaho Education Association, who told the lawmakers: “This legislation trades teachers for technology,” according to the story.

An aide to Gov. Butch Otter offered support for the bill, according to the story: “Our students must be prepared for life in an online world. … This is a profound investment in the kind of education that will enable Idaho’s students to compete globally.”


Patty Buchholz 7 years ago

All day kindergarten should be for the entire district or not at all. Why does the board insist on discriminating against West Lawrence?

Nikki May 7 years ago

I agree with you that it should be all district, but it's not discrimination. They went by "at risk" numbers originally and one of the things that makes a student "at risk" is low income. Another is parents with a lower level of educational background. (ESL might be too, not sure, but both Hillcrest and Cordley have full day). Now, I'm not saying anything against the east side (as I live here) but this city is very much divided when it comes to that. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of us on this side that are educated and some have money. Shoot, we even have kids who have parents that are doctors on this side. But, there is a disparity for sure. Schwegler and Hillcrest are the farthest west that have full day kindergarten right now.

How much is a home west of Iowa compared to a home east of Iowa?

4yourinfo 7 years ago

Proper values southwest will now drop since Wakarusa is being sacrificed to give full day kindergarten but yet east and a little south land is worth... Yep you guessed it $23,000 an acre!

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