Posts tagged with Education

What did you “used to believe?”

I happen to have a television right above my desk and I try to keep it on some sort of cable news network. I glanced up during a lull in my day and saw the anchor talking about I Used To Believe, a Web site dedicated to adults sharing their most ridiculous childhood beliefs. It's pretty quality.

Here are some of my favorites: "I used to think the local newscasters could see me, so my mom would put on the news when she had to do house work because I behaved myself, in fear the newspeople would tell on me." (By the way, that is TOTALLY true. I will tell on you. Granted, I anchor at 10 p.m. on Sundays, so I'm guessing there aren't many badly behaved kids still up to tattle on.)

"I found my mother's 'Alien' card when I was 5 years old. I actually believed my mom was an alien, until I finally asked her and she explained that she was an immigrant."

Then there's a list of some common ones:

• If you swallow a seed, a plant will grow in your stomach.

• Chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

• Thunder is God bowling (totally guilty of believing that one).

One big belief I had when I was little was that everyone bought their children when they were babies and picked them up in a special store. My younger brother and I were adopted. I was 5 when we went and got him, and I asked if we had a receipt and could return him. Turns out it doesn't work like that.

What are some of your childhood beliefs? Anything you tell your children to believe that isn't exactly true?


Films, retirements and plants — oh, my!

There's quite a few events going on in the next few weeks in Lawrence public schools, so I thought I'd put a bug in your ear about some of them.

Tonight at 7 p.m. the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club is hosting a fundraiser/student film premiere of their original work titled "Welcome to L.A." It's $5 per person and will be shown at Liberty Hall.

Today is also National Nurses Day. I know I tried to avoid the nurse's office as much as possible as a kid, but these men and women work hard and try not to let your children get away with faking it. Say thanks.

This Saturday, the Free State High Greenhouse Science Class will be selling the plants and flowers they've been growing in the greenhouse on the school's campus. The sale goes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will be in the greenhouse, which is on the southwest corner of the campus. It's the second annual plant sale for Free State.

There have been quite a few administrative and school retirements, so the district will be honoring both with retirement receptions. The first is on May 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. for retiring superintendent Randy Weseman, deputy superintendent Bruce Passman and COO Mary Rodriguez. The public is welcome and refreshments will be served. It will be at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive.

The recognition reception for 30 retiring teachers and staff will be on May 20 starting at 4 p.m. It will also be at district headquarters.

And, finally, if you've made it this far, the district has prepared a list of potential cuts that could be made if the Kansas state legislature decides to cut the base state aid per pupil again. The public is being asked for their input on what they would cut or would save. Email suggestions to

Whew. Now I just have to prepare myself for the next few weeks of complete business -- high school graduation is upon us!


Getting ready for Earth Day…

So, Lawrence celebrated Earth Day this weekend, but really Earth Day is tomorrow.

How much do you know about the environment? Check out this Connections Academy Quizbowl Challenge, which will put you to the test. Really, it's geared toward kids, so maybe see if your kids know more than you. Even I've seen a big difference between the curriculum of my day (which wasn't that long ago) and what the kiddies are learning in Lawrence public schools.

Take a peek back at the first ever Earth Day with pictures done by National Geographic called The First Earth Day: Bell-Bottoms and Gas Masks.

And as a teaser for tomorrow — I'll be heading to Prairie Park and Sunset Hill schools to get in on their Earth Day action.

Here's a cute (and super kid friendly) video about the history of Earth Day.

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?


Hey, teachers! Need some extra cash? Here’s how

Are you a teacher? Have an awesome idea for your kids but don't have the extra money to do it? U.S. Cellular is here to help.

It launched its "Calling All Teachers" campaign, which will funnel $1 million (how very Dr. Evil of them) to teachers across the country for classroom materials and educational experiences for their students.

Between now and Teacher Appreciation Week, which is May 4-8, the wireless company wants teachers to post requests on The Web site helps public school teachers find money for class projects that go over their limited budgets.

Past winners in Kansas include a microscope and science supplies for $436, athletic equipment for a Special Olympics program costing $411, and a $141 mastering math games library.

The program is open to all public school teachers in the markets where U.S. Cellular does business, which, of course, includes Lawrence. has gotten more than $30 million in funding for teachers during its nine years in existence.

So, get your project funded today! And if any Lawrence teachers cash in on this offer, you must let me know so we can do a story on the amazing things going on in our local schools.


For sale: LHS engineering students

I know I've raved about Lawrence High's college prep engineering class before and how they win everything and could design their way out of a cardboard box, but to show off all their skills, they need to make it to the Global Construction Challenge in Knoxville, Tenn. They swept up at KC regionals after a lot of practice.

They're having a fundraiser. They're selling themselves. No, not like that. They're selling their manual labor skills in an auction at 7 p.m. March 9 in the LHS cafeteria. If you purchase a student, you can get up to six hours of work of out them!

Here are just a few of the kids you can select from (I'm picking guys I've interviewed and that I know are awesome):
- Tyler Click, a senior, likes cars, engines, sports, music and food. He wants to study mechanical engineering in college.
- Tyler Bailey, a senior, likes baseball, football, bowling and music. He wants to go to KU to study aerospace engineering. (And is a really good sport when you ask him to call you stupid on TV. Just a side note.)
- Dylan Shmalberg, a senior, likes cycling, sports, cars, food and traveling. He'll study mechanical engineering at KU.

I mean, if I didn't live in a teeny tiny apartment and actually needed things to be fixed, these would be the kids to do it. Plus, they're raising money to get down to Knoxville to show off their skills at a national level.

If you can't be at the auction but want to help build the dreams of engineering kids (get it? Build their dreams?), you can donate to LHS Engineering, c/o Charlie Lauts, Lawrence High School, 1901 La., Lawrence, KS 66046.


Federal stimulus package has $100 billion for education

On Friday, Kansas Commissioner of Education Alexa Posny told school districts that the federal stimulus package includes about $100 billion for education.

But, the money won't just rain down from above — it's targeted to specific areas. Here's the breakdown:
- $10 billion for Title I
- $12.2 billion for IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Act
- $250 million for the state longitudinal data systems program, which collects data to improve student learning
- $3 billion for school improvement programs
- $53.6 billion for state fiscal stabilization, which includes $5 billion for state innovation and incentive grants

Commissioner Posny indicated that proposed guidance to states on how to use these funds could come as soon as this week. She also noted that states and districts would need to be ready to use the money now, but it seems some money will be far more restricted in potential uses that others.If you could spend money in the "school improvement programs" area, what would you target? What about state innovation?

Outstanding teachers will bank thanks to KU Credit Union

Oh, how I love school board meetings. Going to them, sitting through them, thinking about them ... the list goes on. I usually know what's going to happen during them because the agenda is out before hand and I'm always in the know. (Hello, it's my job.)But last night, the board and superintendent Randy Weseman threw me for a bit of a loop.Chuck Law, this year's Master Teacher was surprised with a check for $2,500 to go along with his new title. Not only was he surprised with the award in November, Randy got him again with the big bucks.The check is just one of many provided by the KU Credit Union. They are expanding their partnership with Lawrence Education Achievement Partners to give monetary awards to outstanding teachers, specifically those who win awards from the district administration.The Lawrence Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year will each receive $1,000 when they are announced later this month. Next fall, the Lawrence Elementary and Secondary Horizon Award winners will each get $250. The Class Act award and a $50 prize will be given monthly to a classified staff member. There is also recognition for deserving substitute teachers.It's always nice to recognize teachers, especially with a little dough. Law said last night he's taking some fellow Free State staffers and their principal, Ed West, out to celebrate. Pretty sweet deal.


LHS engineering kids bring home more hardware

Let me tell you something, the Lawrence High college prep engineering students are amazing.First, they cleaned up at the KU engineering competition in October. And the boys have a pretty sweet sense of humor too. They totally helped me out on my stand-up. (I tried to be funny — they were funny.)This past weekend, they were in KC competing in a new event: The Construction Challenge! Dum, dum, dummmm!I went to talk to the kids about what they were hoping to do. The kids and their teacher, Charlie Lauts, thought they'd do pretty well, considering the national competition had never held a regional in KC. Most of the schools in the area were new, too.The kids cleaned up again. They got first, second AND third overall and even got some individual awards. This means they can go to nationals in Knoxville, Tenn., — if they can get there.If you're feeling generous and want to help sponsor the future builders of our nation, let me know. I'll put you in touch with these engineering phenoms.


Kids get their spell on this weekend

I'm pretty p-u-m-p-e-d for this Saturday. Yes, the KU men's basketball team is taking on Oklahoma State, but it's what's going down before the game that I'm excited about.The 2009 Douglas County Spelling Bee. WOOT!That's right. The cream of the Douglas County crop (specifically Baldwin, Eudora, and public and private schools in Lawrence) are all convening at Southwest Junior High this Saturday to spell their pre-teen hearts out. The added bonus? I'm the host. And the coordinator. Don't ask how I got roped into that one. (Kidding! I love it! It fits so nicely into my already crazed and insane schedule! I do it for the kids!)Anyway, 27 spelling superstars will be letter-battling this weekend. I'm pretty excited. Our online editor, Jonathan Kealing, will be pronouncing, so at least parents will go after him before they come after me. We've been practicing. I'm a pretty stellar speller myself. (At least, I play one while I'm working in the journalism field. Thanks, copy editors!)Here's a list of former champions and the words they spelled to take home the...honey! Get it? Bee? Honey? (It's official — I'm going into stand-up comedy.) "Guerdon" was the 2008 word (which, by the way, means "a reward, recompense, or requital." I won't lie — I looked it up).Think you're a great speller? Check this out — you can have your very own spelling test. I've been playing with this all week. Here's a sweet roundup of some amazing spelling bee moments (including the infamous fainter who then went on to wake up and spell his word correctly!) from the Scripps National Bee.Did you win any spelling bees while you were in school? Or do you still remember the word you lost on? (Ask my boss about that. He missed "Hanukkah," but I will say it has like 5 million spellings. He's still salty about it.)


Drop 10 friends, get a free burger

Kids love their social networking -- Facebook, MySpace, they're Twittering (which, by the way, I still don't get) and doing all sorts of stuff online. Just last week, it was announced that Facebook has 150 million users worldwide. Advertisers are sure to follow with those numbers for Facebookers young and old (including BOTH of my parents. Yeah. Awesome.)So, get this: Burger King is now hoping you have amassed enough friends on Facebook that you can spare a few. That's right. In their newest campaign, they're hoping people sacrifice 10 friends for a Whopper. But, choose wisely, because those friends are going to be notified that you just ruined your friendship for a fast-food sandwich!The Chicago Tribune even went to the source: "It's all meant as tongue-in-cheek," said Tia Lang, director of media and interactive for Burger King. "I mean, if I had 300 friends, there are probably 10 or so people I'm not so close with. But overwhelmingly, we see people getting the joke."Yeah, ha ha, I'm dropping you for a burger. Have a nice life. As of yet, I have not been ditched. That means either a) I'm awesome or b) none of my friends like Burger King. So far, almost 215,000 people have been de-friended. Ouch.Would you sacrifice 10 friends for a Whopper? Is this sending the wrong message to kids?