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Schools and education

Free State student to spend spring break in Antarctica
March 6, 2014
Lawrence Free State High School senior Alex Houston is leaving Friday for a two-week expedition to Antarctica. The trip is in advance of the Boy Scouts of America’s “Sustainability Summit,” to be held this fall in West Virginia. He will be part of an expedition led by Sir Robert Swan, a polar explorer and founder of “2041,” a group dedicated to the preservation of the Antarctic wilderness. By Peter Hancock
Kansas Supreme Court orders some school funding increases, sends big question back to lower court
01:00 p.m., March 6, 2014 Updated 04:04 p.m.
The Kansas Supreme Court says the state’s current public school funding levels are unconstitutional. The court said Kansas’ poor school districts were harmed when the state made the decision to cut certain payments when tax revenues declined during the Great Recession. The Supreme Court also sent the case back to district court for more review to “promptly” determine what the adequate amount of funding should be, but didn’t set a deadline for a hearing. It did, however, set a July 1 deadline for legislators to restore money for two funds aimed at helping poorer districts with capital improvements and general school operations.
Kelly Hart of South Middle School named Lawrence Secondary Teacher of the Year
March 4, 2014
Kelly Hart, an English language arts teacher at South Middle School, was named the Lawrence school district’s 2013-2014 Secondary Teacher of the Year. Staff reports
As Kansas weighs restrictions on sex ed, sexuality experts say it’s already inadequate
March 4, 2014
As the Kansas Legislature discusses restricting how sex education can be taught across the state, some sexuality experts say the programs are already inadequate in preparing students for adulthood. By Giles Bruce
Douglas County GOP hears anti-Common Core messages
March 3, 2014
Activists who oppose the Common Core standards told a gathering of Douglas County Republicans that the new education guidelines are an effort by the federal government to take over local control of public schools, and an attempt by corporations to gather massive amounts of personal data about students. State officials have consistently denied those allegations. By Peter Hancock
Frigid temperatures delay school buses, leaving some students in the cold
March 3, 2014
Sub-zero temperatures Monday morning caused problems for school buses, leaving scores of students standing in the cold. By Peter Hancock
Full-day kindergarten not all fun and games
Lawrence currently funds at all schools but hopes state will add to budget
March 1, 2014
Isn’t a full day of school exhausting for a bunch of 5-year-olds? You bet, says their likewise exhausted kindergarten teacher Lauren Mitchell. She and her class are winding down a busy seven hours staying engaged and focused on a long list of lessons and activities — none of which, incidentally, is nap time. As the Kansas Legislature considers Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to fund full-day kindergarten statewide, Lawrence is in its second year of offering the program at every district elementary school at no extra cost to parents. By Sara Shepherd
Five from Bishop Seabury named National Merit finalists
February 26, 2014
Five students from Bishop Seabury Academy have been named finalists in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship competition. Staff reports
Bode named Kansas Master Teacher
February 26, 2014
John Bode, a third grade teacher at New York school, has been named a 2014 Kansas Master Teacher award recipient. Staff Reports
Longer classes will make up for weather day
February 24, 2014
High school students in Lawrence will spend a few extra minutes in each class to make up a snow day this year. By Peter Hancock
Doll: Politics likely to change Common Core standards
February 24, 2014
Lawrence school district superintendent Rick Doll said the local district fully supports the Common Core standards. But he said they have become so politically charged, they likely will not last long in their present form. By Peter Hancock
How safe is your school: Bullying and school violence in Lawrence
February 23, 2014
A review of police reports and school district data shows bullying and other forms of violence occur in almost every building of the Lawrence school district. But some schools more problems than others. By Peter Hancock
Area students score at Future City national competition
February 21, 2014
A team from Southwest Middle School earned fourth place at the national Future City competition in Washington, D.C. recently. The competition challenges students to envision and design a city of the future, focusing on one particular urban planning challenge. By Peter Hancock
Perry-Lecompton student named National Merit finalist
February 20, 2014
Perry-Lecompton High School senior Adante Ratzlaff has been named a National Merit finalist.
Teens — and reporter — get dose of financial reality at LHS
February 19, 2014
Back in high school, this was not the reality I pictured for my 26-year-old self. Posing as a student to go through a financial literacy program called Reality U Wednesday at Lawrence High School was a reminder for me — and an eye opener for the real teens around me — of some key truths. One: Life is expensive. Two: It doesn’t always happen like you planned. By Sara Shepherd
Kansas House panel considers opt-in-only sex education
February 18, 2014
What began as a hearing about human health and sex education for Kansas students evolved Tuesday into a debate on parental involvement and best school practices.
Kansas House panel restores $16M for all-day K
February 18, 2014
A Kansas House budget committee has restored $16 million for Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to fund all-day kindergarten, keeping the money in place while a separate committee reviews the merits of the plan.
Kansas students lobby against sex ed bills
February 17, 2014
A cadre of college students is lobbying Kansas legislators to reject bills that would change the way parents approve student access to sex education courses and materials.
Eudora teacher to receive Horizon Award
February 17, 2014
Noah Musser, who teaches visual arts at Eudora High School, will be honored this week with a Kansas Horizon Award, which recognizes outstanding first-year teachers. The award, sponsored by Kansas Cable Telecommunications, will be presented Friday at a luncheon in Topeka. Staff Reports
Area legislator hopes to halt Common Core in its tracks
February 16, 2014
Rep. Willie Dove, R-Bonner Springs, is the chief proponent behind a bill in the Kansas Legislature to nullify new Kansas curriculum standards in reading, math and science. Democrats say the bill is misguided, and even Republican leaders say it faces an uphill battle in the Legislature. By Peter Hancock
Eudora school district names Splichal new superintendent
February 14, 2014
The Eudora school district has named Steve Splichal as its new superintendent, effective July 1. Splichal, who is currently superintendent in the McClouth school district, will succeed retiring superintendent Don Grosdidier. By Peter Hancock
Eudora student named National Merit finalist
February 13, 2014
Kennedy O’Dell, a senior at Eudora High School, has been named a National Merit finalist.
Kansas House bill would void academic standards
February 13, 2014
A new proposal before the Kansas Legislature would nullify reading, math and science standards for public schools adopted previously by the State Board of Education.
Kansas to ask for extension and changes to No Child Left Behind waiver
February 12, 2014
The Kansas State Department of Education will soon ask the federal government to extend the state’s waiver from the No Child Left Behind law. Federal officials have said Kansas is at “high risk” of losing its waiver, but state officials are confident it will be continued. By Peter Hancock
Sample Kansas reading, math tests now online
February 12, 2014
People interested in seeing what kind of reading and math tests Kansas students will take this spring can now go online and take a practice exam. Kansas University’s Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation is developing the new tests, which are aligned to the Common Core standards. By Peter Hancock
State education board moves forward on fingerprinting requirements
February 12, 2014
The Kansas State Board of Education plans to vote next month to begin the process of changing state regulations to require all public school teachers and administrators submit fingerprints and undergo a criminal background check as a condition of being licensed. The change would affect an estimated 35,000 school officials. By Peter Hancock
Dress giveaway makes prom accessible for Lawrence students
February 12, 2014
Project Prom Dress will be held at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire Street, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Guests can choose from more than 200 dresses, as well as the Social Service League’s collection of shoes, bags and jewelry. By Joanna Hlavacek
Student activity at heart of design plans
February 11, 2014
Schematic designs for the Lawrence school district’s planned new College and Career Center include open spaces, transparent walls and and rooms designed for collaborative working. District officials plan to open the new facility in the 2015-2016 academic year. By Peter Hancock
Random act of kindness makes special night even more memorable for LHS students
February 10, 2014
Some Lawrence High School students were out for a special night on the town Saturday when a random couple made it even more special, by picking up the tab at a local restaurant.
School board to discuss plans for College and Career Center
February 9, 2014
The Lawrence school board will discuss plans for the new College and Career Center during a work session Monday night. The new facility near 31st and Haskell will provide career and technical training for high school students. By Peter Hancock