News, etc., from in and around schools in Douglas County:
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• Because of the magic of online content management, I'm actually writing this blog at the end of my workday. And, let me say: Like so many second-graders 'round about lunchtime, I'm getting antsy to see the outside. Here's a slick, 40-plus-page report on why those kids — and probably their parents and local schools reporters, too — ought to get out and enjoy some fresh air to supplement their educational experiences.
I know I've recently linked to an Atlantic story, but today's "The False Promise of Back-to-School Commercials" is too good of a post not to mention, too. That's where I saw the National Wildlife Federation's report and it's effectively a sponsored post from the organization, but it's not as if there's no other evidence supporting the benefits of exercise and unstructured break time.
This article from a 2010 New York Times blog points out research that suggests recess is even better when it's before lunch.
• The USD 497 districtwide email for today has some information on the district's bond issue planning. It's all pretty much old news if you've been following the school board, but it does highlight some important points, including that they hope to have the whole thing figured out by the first of the year in order to have a bond election in April. Here are some other details:
— The district hired Gould Evans Associates to help with pre-bond-issue planning "and to develop a strategy that balances the many space, land use, academic and infrastructure needs of the Lawrence Public Schools with an emphasis on responsible, sustainable and compatible growth for 21st century learning," according to the email, which is put together by district spokeswoman Julie Boyle. No details about the financial arrangements have been released.
— The district is doing a technology audit, performed by Alexander Open Systems, which also provides the IT department with some software needs. The audit is supposed to wrap up this month. Technology is a big goal — one of the biggest goals — for improvement in the bond issue. IT and AOS are doing analysis, assistant superintendent Kyle Haden has told me, to look deeply at what kinds of systems will work best for schools going forward.
The bond issue will be a huge one in my upcoming coverage, so keep an eye out for more stories as it goes forward. As always, if you have questions, feel free to get in touch.
• Eudora schools are looking for community input on the district's strategic planning initiatives. If you'd like to help, call 542-4910 or send a message via the communications team's Facebook page. Just make sure you sign up before Sept. 15 if you want to be involved.
• In case you missed it on our sister site, Wellcommons.com, last week, a seventh-grader from the Shawnee Mission district, Rori Coyne, was one of the participants in the White House's first "kids state dinner" last month. Rori won a contest to create a recipe and explain how it fits into the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act's recommended food groups. You can find her "yummy cabbage sloppy joes" in this PDF of the winning kids from each state.
• Know anything that I need to learn? Send news tips, comments or questions to email@example.com or call 832-6314.