First Bell

Want to get your student involved? School clubs may be the answer

Rochelle Valverde

Want to get your middle or high school student involved in something after school? Athletics may be the obvious go-to, but they can be a substantial time (and monetary) commitment for both parents and students. Teacher-sponsored school clubs — with the convenience of being at school and of no or ...

Have a creative kid? Here are some activity suggestions for early-dismissal Wednesdays

Rochelle Valverde

If you’re looking for something to keep your kids busy after Wednesday early dismissal from Lawrence schools, a few organizations around town are offering some artistic options. • First United Methodist Church is providing free art sessions for middle school students. The program, Art Café, includes art, cooking and woodworking ...

Getting in the back-to-school spirit

Rochelle Valverde

Welcome to First Bell, a K-12 education blog where you can find helpful or interesting notes about schools across Lawrence. The first day of school is right around the corner, so here's to putting the summer behind us and looking forward to the new school year. **New look for a ...

Online infographic tracks school district's mail-ballot election returns

Elliot Hughes

By now, all registered voters living within the Lawrence school district should have received the materials necessary to participate in the district's mail-ballot election concerning its local option budget. Voters have until noon Jan. 27 to return their ballots to the Douglas County clerk's office, 1100 Massachusetts St. In the ...

KNEA taking tenure battle into mixed judicial environment

Peter Hancock

The state's largest teachers union announced this week (sort of) that it plans to launch a legal fight over teacher tenure rights. But it will be doing so in a clouded judicial environment where two recent court rulings have gone in opposite directions. The Kansas National Education Association on Monday ...

Kansas teachers keeping close watch on North Carolina

Peter Hancock

In a case that is resonating with many teachers in Kansas, a judge in North Carolina last week struck down that state's new law that does away with traditional teacher tenure. As reported by the [Raleigh News & Observer][1], Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood ruled that the law, enacted last ...

Why high school sports matter, and why they don't

Peter Hancock

I've been covering the Lawrence school board for almost two years now. Before that, I spent the better part of the previous 23 years covering government bodies of all other types - from city councils and county commissions to the Kansas Legislature and, occasionally, some congressional activity. I've even sat ...

Lawmaker's misstatements on education caught on video

Peter Hancock

A northeast Kansas legislator was recorded on camera over the weekend telling constituents that Kansas has the fourth worst educational system in the country, based on student test scores, while spending more than any other state on public schools - claims that are directly contradicted by official records. In a ...

School board notes: AVID; weeds; Langston Hughes project

Peter Hancock

The Lawrence school board meeting Monday night was dominated by discussion of the school finance bill that state lawmakers recently passed, but Gov. Sam Brownback is still yet to sign or veto. But there was other activity worthy of note, much of it buried on the consent agenda, meaning there ...

KNEA uses 'thunderclap' to spread word on education bill

Peter Hancock

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, there was an unusual spike in the Twitter hashtag #ksleg, which reporters, lobbyists and other political junkies use to highlight items about the Kansas Legislature. That spike, which shows up in the graphic below, was no accident. It was the result of a new kind of ...

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