Schools and education

Pinckney Elementary principal promoted to district curriculum job
May 21, 2015
Kirsten Wondra, principal at Pinckney Elementary, has been named assistant director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for the Lawrence school district, the district announced Thursday.
Amy McAnarney named assistant principal at Free State High School
05:09 p.m., May 21, 2015 Updated 10:16 p.m.
Amy McAnarney, assistant principal of curriculum, instruction and assessment at Emporia High School, has been named the new assistant principal at Free State High School, the Lawrence school district said in a release.
One of two men charged in alleged Haskell dorm rape pleads not guilty to all charges
04:15 p.m., May 21, 2015 Updated 10:13 p.m.
A 19-year-old Anadarko, Okla., man pleaded not guilty on Thursday to all charges related to an alleged Nov. 15, 2014, rape in a Haskell Indian Nations University dorm room.
Plan-making a lesser priority at Free State High School graduation
09:21 p.m., May 20, 2015 Updated 10:47 p.m.
Graduation time usually means that graduates and everyone around them are thinking about what’s coming next. But the speakers at Wednesday’s commencement ceremony for Free State High School wanted to de-emphasize the plan-making. By Elliot Hughes
Lawrence husband and wife teaching duo receive $10,000 ‘Bobs’ Award
06:36 p.m., May 20, 2015 Updated 10:45 p.m.
Lawrence High School’s husband and wife music-teaching duo, Mike Jones and Rachel Dirks, have been named the first joint recipients of the Lawrence Schools Foundation’s annual “Bobs Award.” Amid a standing ovation from friends, family members and work colleagues, the award, along with a $10,000 check, was presented to the couple Wednesday afternoon in Lawrence High School’s cafeteria.
Rain or shine, LHS community celebrates graduation
09:05 p.m., May 19, 2015 Updated 10:40 p.m.
With many umbrellas sprouting from the bleachers, it was something of a surprise that hardly any of the Lawrence High students on the football field unfolded any of their own. Perhaps the flat-topped caps signifying their graduation shielded them from the rain well enough.
Free State graduation ceremony moved to Allen Fieldhouse
May 19, 2015
Free State High School will move its graduation ceremony to Kansas University’s Allen Fieldhouse, 1651 Naismith Drive, because of inclement weather expected on Wednesday.
Veritas graduates set to make a ‘mark’ on the world
May 17, 2015
Pharmaceutical scientist Michael Windheuser had some humble advice for Veritas Christian School’s class of 2015 Sunday. He encouraged the graduating seniors to read in their free time, learn a new language, travel as much as possible and always make their bed in the morning.
Free State High graduation: Student taking his enthusiasm to Russia, Harvard
12:00 a.m., May 16, 2015 Updated 10:18 p.m.
If something interests Kenneth Palmer, he’s not just going to happily do the requisite work and call it a day. Andrea York, a former teacher of his at Free State High School, remembers a time when her U.S. history course had finished without the class having read the whole textbook. Kenneth held on to it to finish.
Rural district’s sacrifice illustrates depth of Kansas schools’ budget woes
May 14, 2015
Mike Sanders, superintendent of the Skyline school district in Pratt County, resigned his $81,000 a year job this week, saying that would prevent the district from having to cut more staff. Sanders said rising costs and the lack of state funding are forcing the district of 421 students to make difficult choices. By Peter Hancock
Lawrence High graduation: Voracious student of history prepares for school in Scotland
06:48 p.m., May 14, 2015 Updated 10:57 p.m.
Have you ever heard of a high school freshman mummifying some store-bought chicken? Neither had one of the best archaeology schools in the world. When the time comes for high school students to write their college essays, many wonder how they can stand out. Kennedy Dold, a soon-to-be graduate of Lawrence High School, and her parents described the time she rounded up some peat to give the old “bog body” style of mummification a try.
Kansas officials urge schools to teach financial literacy
09:36 a.m., May 13, 2015 Updated 10:40 p.m.
The chairmen of the Kansas House Education Committee and the State Board of Education are urging local school districts to teach financial literacy.
Teachers, parents unhappy after teacher loses job
May 11, 2015
Almost 20 members of the public spoke in defense of, shed tears over and hugged Mary Etta Thomsen during Monday’s Lawrence school board meeting, where she lost her job as an elementary school teacher.
8 Lawrence students named Governor’s Scholars
04:55 p.m., May 11, 2015 Updated 10:13 p.m.
Eight graduating seniors who attend school in Lawrence were named 2015 Governor’s Scholars.
New York Elementary second-graders get creative with product pitches
01:43 p.m., May 11, 2015 Updated 10:15 p.m.
It’s a little past 8 a.m. Monday at New York Elementary and Shane Heiman’s second-grade classroom is busy pitching ideas to JanSport. The task at hand: designing a new feature for the company’s backpacks. Among the concepts tossed around: built-in video games, music players, iPads, pillows and in one of the more outlandish designs, a rainbow-tooting unicorn. A similar scene has unfolded every day since October. By Joanna Hlavacek
School funding lawsuit could set stage for constitutional showdown
May 10, 2015
Sometime in the next few weeks, or perhaps months, three judges will issue a ruling that could set the stage for constitutional showdown between the Kansas Legislature and the judiciary.
Kansas GOP touts school funding law; districts look to cut
May 9, 2015
Public school districts across Kansas are cutting programs, shedding jobs, ending the school year early and blaming it on the state’s new school funding law, even as the conservatives who advocated it tout the changes as a generous step forward for education.
Attorney: Kansas need not have best school funding system
08:45 a.m., May 8, 2015 Updated 10:29 p.m.
Kansas is not required by its constitution to have a perfect education funding system or the nation’s best, an attorney for the state told a district court panel Friday as it considered whether to block the state’s new school finance law.
KCK superintendent tells court new funding mechanism is ineffective and is costing schools millions of dollars
09:12 a.m., May 7, 2015 Updated 10:54 p.m.
The superintendent of the Kansas City, Kan., school district told a three-judge panel Thursday that funding cuts enacted this year, coupled with a budget freeze for the next two years, are forcing her district to cancel projects and reduce services to some of the state’s neediest students.
Free State High School hires longtime school administrator from Missouri as next principal
04:54 p.m., May 6, 2015 Updated 09:50 p.m.
Myron Graber, a school district administrator in Missouri, has been chosen as the next principal at Free State High School.
Staff and faculty at New York Elementary School receive Teamwork Award
03:12 p.m., May 6, 2015 Updated 09:44 p.m.
The staff and faculty at New York Elementary have had to jump through a number of hoops this school year while construction crews worked on $5.7 million of improvements. Leaky ceilings, jackhammering, dust, a small fire — you name it.
Bike racks outside Pinckney Elementary fill up on Bike to School Day
12:33 p.m., May 6, 2015 Updated 09:45 p.m.
Despite the threat of thunderstorms, Pinckney Elementary and other Lawrence schools saw many more kids arrive by bicycle than normal Wednesday. The posse of bicyclists came as a result of National Bike to School Day. Various schools encouraged their students to saddle up on two wheels and peddle over.
Three Lawrence public school students named National Merit Scholars
May 6, 2015
Three Lawrence public school students have been named National Merit Scholarship winners.
Lawrence Schools Foundation hands out Golden Apple Awards to outstanding teachers
04:07 p.m., May 5, 2015 Updated 10:28 p.m.
Debra Williams, a special education teacher at Sunset Hill Elementary, and Shakiyya Bland, a math teacher at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, have been given this year’s Golden Apple Award by the Lawrence Schools Foundation.
Gov. Brownback, Kansas legislators give 5 school districts more funding
02:26 p.m., May 5, 2015 Updated 05:48 p.m.
Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative leaders agreed Tuesday to give roughly half a million dollars in additional funding to five school districts hit hard by recent policy changes and unforeseen expenses.
McLouth schools to close early
May 3, 2015
Public schools in McLouth have become the latest the district in Kansas to announce it will close classes several days early.
31 Lawrence public school students to compete in speech and drama championships
03:24 p.m., May 1, 2015 Updated 10:18 p.m.
Thirty-one students Lawrence’s public high schools will compete in the Kansas 6A Speech and Drama Championships Saturday.
Kansas Supreme Court won’t touch school funding case for now
May 1, 2015
The Kansas Supreme Court plans to wait to take up a school funding lawsuit against the state.
Kansas Supreme Court puts school finance appeal on hold
April 30, 2015
In an order released late Thursday, the state’s high court said it will not consider an appeal of the case until a three-judge panel in Topeka finishes its deliberations. The next hearing before the panel is scheduled for May 7. By Peter Hancock
Lawrence superintendent signals ‘grave concerns’ about budget situation
04:56 p.m., April 30, 2015 Updated 10:29 p.m.
Staff and parents in the Lawrence school district received a letter from Superintendent Rick Doll Wednesday, saying the current fiscal situation in Kansas raises “grave concerns about the district’s ability to maintain high quality educational programs and services.”

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