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District orders changes to 8th grade slavery lesson

Mr. Wormsley is one of the best and does not deserve to have this meaningful lesson or any other lesson he has created, called into question. The fact that he has taught in the district for MANY years with few complaints should speak to the effectiveness of his teaching. Our district administration is very quick to snuff out any lesson, book, or teacher that might raise any controversy. It is so sad that the district administration talks "Courageously" but when they are given opportunities to "walk the talk" they turn tail and run. Disrespect should be given to the district administration until they can stand up and be "courageous" for the teachers that work hard daily and create lessons that are creative and meaningful.

February 19, 2013 at 10:08 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

‘Water baby’ indeed: Former LHS swimming star to compete in Olympic trials

The focus of this article should have been on Emma's accomplishments, not your poor views of the few parents that go overboard. Furthermore, it appears that Emma's parents are not among the parents that were targeted by your sarcastic remarks. Focus on what a great young lady Emma is and the support her parents have provided would have served the tone of this article better.

June 21, 2012 at 8:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Middle school principals reject ‘Tom Sawyer’ as single ‘core’ text for eighth-grade English

Twain may have written the book originally for 5th grade, but the archaic language makes it a difficult read for 8th grade students. The richness of the language is what makes this book a must read for any student and the uncomfortable feelings this book evokes is a bonus in this lackadaisical society.

October 14, 2011 at 8:38 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Middle school principals reject ‘Tom Sawyer’ as single ‘core’ text for eighth-grade English

The article does not come right out and say the book is banned, but the implication is that any teacher choosing to use the book will not be given administrative support if the book is called into question by parents or other groups. Another fine example of how USD 497 is widening the trust gap with it's teachers.

October 14, 2011 at 8:34 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

First Bell: District's new rooftop units ‘best’ available; teachers raise concerns about standards-based grading in middle schools; teacher cites ‘trust’ gap

Kudos to the Southwest teachers as well. Harders and Drinkhouse made some valid points. Did the board even look at the six page handout that Harders gave them? The handout showed four pages of the SBG for a math class and a one page simplified report that is currently being used under the traditional system from a math class at 7th grade. It is pretty hard to imagine that a parent would read four pages to decipher what their child is achieving. I hope the board and administrators will take the time to look at the handout.

The parents that spoke up were also very effective with their message. I truly hope the board will take action.

October 12, 2011 at 7:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

First Bell: District's new rooftop units ‘best’ available; teachers raise concerns about standards-based grading in middle schools; teacher cites ‘trust’ gap

I think the forum is a nice idea, but it doesn't go far enough. The board should call for an immediate halt to SBG at 6th grade. Then let us have a forum to discuss the future of this system. The SBG system is not compatible with Skyward and district administrators have already admitted that there are problems with the system. So I would like to ask the school board to stand up to the district administrators, Kobler and Doll specifically, and put an end to this debacle currently in place. The Skyward system is a valuable and informative tool when used for the traditional grading system for which it was designed. The sixth grade teachers have better places to spend their time. Thoughtfully grading papers and giving students meaningful feedback takes enough time without the headache of a system that is flawed. Elementary teachers discussed the use of SBG long before the system was put in place. The sixth grade teachers that are new to SBG did not have the benefit of those discussions, nor the months of training that followed elementary teachers through the first year of the implementation of the new grading system. The district has proven their lack of trustworthiness time and time again. It is time that the board stands up for the teachers, parents, and students and puts a stop to a practice that was put in place in a very underhanded way.

October 12, 2011 at 7:26 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

First Bell: School board to learn about Standards Based Reports, which are different from traditional report cards; see how your elementary school enrollment stacks up against projections

I really hope that parents show up to this board meeting in force. This type of unilateral decision cannot be allowed. I find it interesting that when elementary was considering the implementation of the standards based grade card that it was a discussion for six years rather than an edict from the district. The standards based report card also prompted the adoption of the trimester schedule at the elementary because the report cards took so long to fill out. Imagine how long it will take a middle school teacher to fill out the report card when they have 120+ students versus an elementary teacher that has 20+ students. The implementation of this reporting system at 6th grade is not feasible for the amount of students each teacher has at this level. Not to mention that none of the 6th grade teachers were consulted or aware of this change prior to the school year beginning. Students at this level need to have immediate communication as to grades and missing work. This system has taken away that communication piece that Skyward provides for students, parents, and support staff. If you are concerned about this grading system, PLEASE attend the upcoming board meeting.

September 23, 2011 at 7:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lower expectations

Chuck, I appreciate your letter and I would like to encourage any person concerned about this new grading system to contact Angelique Kobler at the district office, 832-5000. This system was sprung on the 6th grade teachers during the first full week of school. Those teachers coming up from the elementary school were told at the end of the last school year that standards based grading would not follow the sixth graders to the middle level. Those teachers agreeing to teach 6th grade that were currently in the junior high setting were not even aware that the standards based grading system was going to be used. The fact that the district did not discuss this decision with the teachers who would be using it should be concerning to the public. The sixth grade teachers were given a one hour training session to answer their questions. This unilateral decision is not acceptable and the training was a joke. I would urge the public to stand on the side of the public teacher, who already has plenty of work on their plate already.

September 18, 2011 at 7:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Commentary: 9/11 is editor’s most memorable day working in the newsroom

Dennis, thank you for your article. It was very touching.

September 15, 2011 at 3:23 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Southwest Junior High seventh-grader injured in fall at Clinton Lake

You all seriously need to get your facts straight . The field trip that this student was on has been taking place for fifteen years. The seventh grade class goes out to the same spot to collect fossils that they will use in their science class to identify the types of fossils common to this area. It is called field experience and you can't get that experience by sitting in the classroom . On this field trip there was a paleontologist from KU, many parent volunteers, and many SW staff. The girl who was injured was surrounded by many students and adults. She was also being cautious and she still got hurt. It is called an accident, she didn't plan it and neither did any of her friends or the adults who care for her. Accidents happen and no one can stop that from happening. Even if we stopped taking field trips, accidents would still happen. We can't place ourselves in a bubble. We have to live, get hurt, pick ourselves up and keep going. Stop trying to assign blame for every bad thing that happens. Sometimes there is no one to blame and sometimes you just have to accept that bad things happen and not everything can be peaches and cream.

May 6, 2011 at 9:17 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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