Entries from blogs tagged with “education”

Local storyteller to perform at Lawrence Public Library

Local storyteller Priscilla Howe will have two performances on Thursday at the Lawrence Public Library.

Howe, a former children's librarian, has been a full-time storyteller and puppeteer since 1993, according to her website. Howe has performed in schools, libraries, conferences, festivals and other special events across the country.

Thursday’s performance is open to all ages and likely is the best fit for children in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, according to the library’s youth services coordinator, Karen Allen.

“They’re stories that either she’s made up or stories that are well-known folktales,” Allen said.

Howe and her puppets will perform “Hopping on one Foot! Story Stretches, Songs, and Silliness” at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Allen said each performance will last about 45 minutes.

The performances are free and open to the public and will take place in the auditorium of the library, 707 Vermont St.

Priscilla Howe sings “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” with the help of a puppet Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, at the Lawrence Public Library’s River City Reading Festival.

Priscilla Howe sings “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” with the help of a puppet Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, at the Lawrence Public Library’s River City Reading Festival. by Richard Gwin

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Lawrence Summer Food Program to begin Monday

The Lawrence Summer Food Program begins serving free meals for youths on Monday. The program, which offers free breakfast and lunch, is hoping to serve more people with its recently added site at the Lawrence Public Library Plaza.

“The Lawrence Public Library is probably the one we’re trying to grow the most since it’s the most visible of all of them,” said Dylan Admire, SNAP-Ed nutrition educator for K-State Research and Extension for Douglas County, which helps to administer the program.

The program runs Monday through Friday from noon to 1 p.m. in the lawn adjacent to the library, 707 Vermont St. There are six additional sites around town that serve breakfast, lunch or both. Any child between the ages of 1 and 18 can get a free meal, and there is no registration required.

“There’s no fee, no registration, nothing,” Admire said. “They just show up.”

An adult must accompany anyone under 4 years of age. Adults can also purchase lunch for $3.45 and breakfast for $2.15. The program served more than 50,000 meals throughout the summer in 2015, which is 6,000 more meals than were served the previous year.

Last year, the program added the location at the Lawrence Public Library. The new site, with its proximity to the Outdoor Aquatic Center and library, is aimed at getting more preteens and teens to take part in the program.

"To really be able to attract preteens and teens is our big focus this year, because we’ve gotten a lot of younger kids in the past, but not as much of the teens and preteens," he said.

The Lawrence school district’s food service department prepares, serves and delivers the food, and menus are available on the district’s website.

The program is administered by both federal and state agencies. Locally, the program is sponsored by: Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, City of Lawrence Parks and Recreation, K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, Lawrence Public Library, Lawrence Public Schools Food Service Department, Just Food and LiveWell.

Lunch Only Sites

  • Broken Arrow Park

29th and Louisiana Street

June 6-Aug. 5, Excluding July 4, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

  • East Lawrence Recreation Center

1245 E. 15th St., 832-7950

June 6-Aug. 5, Excluding July 4, noon-1 p.m.

  • Lawrence Public Library, Library Plaza

707 Vermont St., 843-3833

June 6-Aug. 5, Excluding July 4, noon-1 p.m.

  • South Park Gazebo

1141 Massachusetts St., 832-7930

June 6-Aug. 5, Excluding July 4, noon-1 p.m.

Lunch and Breakfast Sites

  • Hillcrest Elementary School

1045 Hilltop Drive, 832-5720

June 6-July 29, Excluding July 4

7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

  • New York Elementary School

936 New York St., 832-5780

June 6-July 29, Excluding July 4

7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

  • Woodlawn Elementary School

508 Elm St., 832-5920

June 6-July 29, Excluding July 4

7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

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Lawrence math teacher reflects on experience on national reality show

After six months of not being able to talk about the final outcome of her run on a national reality show, the finale on Thursday at least offered Lawrence math teacher Brittany Harrell-Miller some relief.

“It was nice to finally get to this point and no longer have to keep a secret,” Harrell-Miller said Friday.

Thursday’s finale revealed that Harrell-Miller’s team came in second in the NBC reality show “Strong,” missing a chance to win up to $500,000 in prize money that teams could have accumulated throughout the show.

But the experience wasn’t for naught. In addition to teaching algebra at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, Harrell-Miller is also a cheerleading coach at the school. She said a lot of what she learned about strength training, conditioning and nutrition has informed her coaching and that next school year she plans to take that even further.

“I hope to do some goal setting and see what they want to get out of becoming a cheerleader,” said Harrell-Miller, who throughout her school years was a member of a competitive cheerleading and gymnastics team.

About 90 people gathered at Wayne & Larry's Sports Bar & Grill for a watch party of the finale of the NBC reality TV show "Strong."

About 90 people gathered at Wayne & Larry's Sports Bar & Grill for a watch party of the finale of the NBC reality TV show "Strong."

Harrell-Miller traveled with her wife and son to San Diego to watch the finale with her teammate, Todd Durkin, but she didn’t forget about her fans here in Lawrence. Harrell-Miller Skyped in to video-chat before and after the show with about 90 people who gathered for a watch party at Wayne and Larry's Sports Bar & Grill.

“I think going into it, we were afraid that we would disappoint people and we would let people down, because everybody really wanted us to win,” Harrell-Miller said. “But I think in the end, everybody was just really proud of us and proud of the efforts that they watched on the show.”

Brittany Harrell-Miller, right, traveled to San Diego to watch the finale of the NBC reality TV show "Strong" with her teammate and trainer, Todd Durkin, her wife, Jordan, and her son, Jadin Harrell.

Brittany Harrell-Miller, right, traveled to San Diego to watch the finale of the NBC reality TV show "Strong" with her teammate and trainer, Todd Durkin, her wife, Jordan, and her son, Jadin Harrell.

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Details for last day of school and graduation for Lawrence school district

The last week of school in the Lawrence district is upon us, bringing the start of summer vacation as well as graduation ceremonies for high school seniors. Here are some details for the coming days:

• The last day of school for students in kindergarten through 11th grade in the Lawrence district is Thursday. All schools will dismiss about midday and lunch will not be served.

• For elementary and middle schools with 8 a.m. start times, students will be released at 11:15 a.m. Thursday. For those with 8:45 a.m. start times, students will get out at noon. Pre-kindergarten students and high school seniors had their final days of school last week.

• The last two days for high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors will consist of final exams. Students will take their final exams on Wednesday and Thursday and be released near midday. Dismissal times at Free State High will be 12:35 p.m. on Wednesday and 11:25 a.m. on Thursday. Dismissal times at Lawrence High will 12:15 p.m. on both Wednesday and Thursday.


Details for graduation ceremonies for the Lawrence school district:

• Free State High School, 7 p.m. May 24 at FSHS Stadium

• Lawrence High School, 7 p.m. May 25 at LHS Stadium

• Adult Education Graduation, 7 p.m. June 2 at South Middle School

Accessibility for FSHS and LHS graduations:

FSHS: Handicap parking will be available in designated areas. Golf carts will be available to transport individuals who need assistance from the parking lot to the stadium. Accessible seating will be ground level on the east side of the stadium.

LHS: Handicap parking will be available in designated areas in the north parking lot as well as along the fence near the Carl Knox Natatorium. Golf carts will be available to transport individuals who need assistance from the parking lot to the stadium. Accessible seating will be ground level on the east side of the stadium.

Inclement weather plan for FSHS and LHS graduations:

If rain pushes either graduation ceremony indoors, the event will be held at Allen Fieldhouse, 1651 Naismith Drive. The superintendent and school principal will make a determination of whether graduation will be moved indoors by 1 p.m. the day of the ceremony. A message regarding any change in location will be sent out to all parents via the district’s automated notification system.

Parking near Allen Fieldhouse:

Entrances at Allen Fieldhouse will open at 5 p.m. Free parking will be available in Lot 90. You can also pay to park in the garage north of Allen Fieldhouse (the north parking lot is not available due to construction).

Accessibility at Allen Fieldhouse:

There are 30 handicapped parking spots south of Allen Fieldhouse, but the remainder of that lot is closed. Golf carts will be available to transport individuals who need assistance from the parking lot to Allen Fieldhouse. Accessible seating will be on the south side of the fieldhouse.


Lunch menu options for Tuesday:

Elementary school level:

Main dish: chicken strips with roll; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick Sides: mashed potatoes with gravy, fruit, salad bar, milk

Middle school level:

Main dish: chicken strips with roll; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger Sides: mashed potatoes with gravy, salad bar, fruit juice, fresh fruit, milk

High school level:

Main dish: chicken strips with roll; veggie shaker; cereal with string cheese; parfaits with muffin; pizza; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; daily sandwiches; deli bar Sides: mashed potatoes with gravy, corn, salad bar, fresh fruit, fruit sorbet, fruit juice, oven potatoes, milk


Correction: Both high schools will not be dismissed at the same times on Wednesday and Thursday. The post has been edited to add correct dismissal times for Lawrence High School.

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Lawrence math teacher continues success on reality competition show ‘Strong’; watch party to be held on Thursday

In case you haven’t been following along, the Lawrence algebra teacher who took part in a competitive reality show is still in the running after six episodes.

Liberty Memorial Central Middle School algebra teacher Brittany Harrell-Miller recently took part in the reality show "Strong." The show premiered last month on NBC and episode 7 of the show will be broadcast on Thursday. Harrell-Miller let me know that this episode will reveal whether she advances to the top three teams.

As part of the show, Harrell-Miller competed against nine other women in strength and conditioning challenges. Each woman is paired with a professional trainer, and at the end of each week one team is eliminated. The winning team is awarded $500,000.

Harrell-Miller, a Lawrence native, will be hosting a watch party open to the public for Thursday’s episode. The watch party will be 7 p.m. on Thursday at Wayne & Larry's Sports Bar & Grill, 933 Iowa St. See the attached flyer for more information.

Watch party flyer

Watch party flyer


In other news and notes for Wednesday:

Schwegler Elementary School will hold dine-out night at Freddy’s.

The South Middle School seventh- and eighth-grade orchestra will perform at 7 p.m.


Lunch menu options:

Elementary school level

Main dish: corndog; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: green beans, applesauce, salad bar, milk

Middle school level

Main dish: corndog; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger; Baja fish taco; veggie shaker

Sides: green beans, applesauce, tomato salsa, salad bar, fruit juice, fresh fruit, milk

High school level

Main dish: shepherd’s pie; corndog; deli bar; pizza; cereal with string cheese; parfaits with muffin; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; daily sandwiches

Sides: green beans, lemon-roasted carrots, applesauce, fruit sorbet, fruit juice, fresh fruit, oven potatoes, salad bar, creamy tomato soup, milk

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Registration now open for summer camps at Prairie Park Nature Center

If you’d like your child to get some outdoor exercise this summer, the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department has some options coming up.

The Prairie Park Nature Center will hold weekly summer adventure camps beginning in June. The camps include various themes, such as fishing, canoeing and archery.

The program is open to children 6-13 years old and camps will be in session from June 6 through Aug. 12. Camps run Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is also an extended camp option that runs Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants should bring a sack lunch and wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear.

The cost of the camp is $100 per child, per week. The extended camp costs $125 per child, per week. Registration can be done online at the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department’s website or at any of its facilities. For additional information, contact the nature center at 832-7980.

Adventure camp themes are as follows:

• June 6-10 Claws, Paws, Jaws

• June 13-17 Kid Vs. Wild

• June 20-24 Most Extreme Animals

• June 27-July 1 Spaceship Earth

• July 5-8 Lights, Camera, Animals

• July 11-15 Where the Wild Things Are

• July 18-22 Creature Quest

• July 25-29 The Planet Avengers

• Aug. 1-5 Junior Naturalists

• Aug. 8-12 Last Chance Summer Camp


In other news and notes for Tuesday:

• Cordley Elementary School will hold its choir and handbell choir program at 7 p.m.

• Deerfield Elementary School will hold its fifth-grade parent information meeting at 6 p.m.

• Prairie Park Elementary’s Eat & Earn Night will be held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Jason’s Deli.

• The parents group at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School will meet at 6 p.m. The school’s site council will meet at 7 p.m.

• The Lawrence High School spring orchestra concert will be at 7 p.m.


Lunch menu options:

Elementary school level

Main dish: super nachos; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: perfect pinto beans, frozen fruit cup, salad bar, tomato salsa, milk

Middle school level

Main dish: super nachos; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger; fish sandwich

Sides: perfect pinto beans, frozen fruit cup, salad bar, fruit juice, tomato salsa, fresh fruit, milk

High school level

Main dish: meatloaf with roll; chicken and noodles; cereal with string cheese; parfait with muffin; deli bar; veggie shaker; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; daily sandwiches

Sides: mashed potatoes with gravy, roasted cauliflower, mandarin oranges, fruit juice, fresh fruit, frozen fruit cup, fruit sorbet, over potatoes, salad bar, milk

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Signup extended for Lawrence school district’s summer band camps

If you missed the signup for the Lawrence school district’s summer music instruction programs, you’re in luck. Deadlines for all three district programs have been extended until May 25.

For beginners, the summer novice program is open to students entering fifth and sixth grades. Students entering seventh grade can enroll in the summer band and/or jazz band program. The summer jazz band program is also open to students entering eighth grade.

The novice program has the option of three sessions that are 1.5 hours each, running between May 31 and June 10. Both the band and jazz band programs have four sessions that are 1.5 hours each, running from June 20-24. All programs are $60 each and take place at Lawrence High School, 1901 Louisiana St.

Enrollment forms list the available time slots for each session and are available on the USD497 website.


In other news and notes for Friday:

  • Elementary schools will host field day on Friday.

  • Deerfield Elementary students can wear tie-dye T-shirts for spirit day.

  • The New York Elementary PTO will host movie night at 7 p.m.


Lunch menu options:

Elementary school level

Main dish: chicken nuggets with roll; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: mashed potatoes with gravy, grapes, salad bar, milk

Middle school level

Main dish: chicken nuggets with roll; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger; grilled cheese

Sides: mashed potatoes with gravy, mandarin oranges with pineapple, salad bar, fruit juice, fresh fruit, milk

High school level

Main dish: chicken quesadilla; black bean quesadilla; rice bowl; deli bar; pizza; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; daily sandwiches

Sides: refried beans, salad bar, perfect pinto beans, tropical fruit salad, fruit juice, fresh fruit, fruit sorbet, oven potatoes, guacamole, milk

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Summer bus passes for students now on sale

Summer in Lawrence offers various activities for kids around town, and getting to and from those events will soon be a little bit easier.

Summer bus passes for students are now on sale at several locations around town. For $10, students in kindergarten through 12th grade can have unlimited rides on city buses June through August.

The passes are on sale at several locations, including grocery stores and recreation facilities throughout Lawrence. For more information, visit lawrencetransit.org or call 864-4644. See below for a full listing of sale locations.

Locations to purchase student bus passes beginning May 1:

• All Lawrence Dillons stores • All Lawrence Hy-Vee stores • The Merc, 901 Iowa St. • City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St. • Community Building, 115 W. 11th St. • East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 15th St. • Holcom Park Recreation Center, 2700 W. 27th St. • Rock Chalk Park, 6100 Rock Chalk Drive

In addition, bus passes can be purchased at the Lawrence Indoor Aquatic Center (4706 Overland Drive) beginning May 23, and from the Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center (727 Kentucky St.) beginning May 28.


In other news and notes for Wednesday:

  • Eighth-graders will attend their annual field trip to Worlds of Fun.

  • Liberty Memorial Central Middle School will host family night for incoming sixth-grade students at 6 p.m.

  • South Middle School will host parent night for incoming sixth-grade students at 6 p.m.

  • Southwest Middle School will host parent night for incoming sixth-grade students at 6 p.m.

  • West Middle School will host parent night for incoming sixth-grade students at 6 p.m.


Elementary school level:

Main dish: French toast sticks with sausage; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: oven potatoes, orange wedges, salad bar, milk

Middle school level:

Main dish: French toast sticks with sausage; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger; fish sandwich

Sides: oven potatoes, orange wedges, salad bar, fruit juice, fresh fruit, milk

High school level:

Main dish: baked potato bar; vegetarian gyros; pizza; baja fish taco; deli bar; pizza; cereal with string cheese; parfait with muffin; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; daily sandwiches Sides: lemon-roasted carrots, green beans, mango, fruit sorbet, fruit juice, fresh fruit, oven potatoes, salad bar, milk

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Student art on display at Lawrence Arts Center

Public art exhibits are pretty commonplace in Lawrence, but it isn’t every day that the city’s youngest artists have the chance to showcase their work.

The Lawrence Arts Center is currently hosting the school district’s annual art show, which includes student art from all 20 of the district’s schools.

The show features student artwork selected by district art teachers and ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade. Selections include a variety of visual art, such as drawings, paintings and ceramics. Think abstract art and self-portraits, but also cat portraits and ceramic pandas.

The exhibit will be open until May 14 at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St. Arts center galleries are open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.


In other news and notes for Friday:

  • Liberty Memorial Central Middle School will have Museum Night from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

  • Variety Shows at South Middle School begin at 6 p.m.

  • West Middle School will hold its Spring Show at 7 p.m.


Lunch menu options:

Elementary school level:

Main dish: chicken strips with roll; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: mashed potatoes with gravy, mandarin oranges, salad bar, milk

Middle school level:

Main dish: chicken strips with roll; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger, fish sandwich

Sides: mashed potatoes with gravy, mandarin oranges, salad bar, yellow tear-drop tomatoes, fruit juice, fresh fruit, milk

High school level:

Main dish: crispito with cheese; rice bowl; deli bar; pizza; cereal with string cheese; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; daily sandwiches

Sides: savory black beans, refried beans, grapes, fresh fruit, fruit sorbet, fruit juice, oven potatoes, tomato salsa, salad bar, milk

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Bike to School Day set for Wednesday

If the spring weather isn’t motivation enough, this week offers another good reason to choose the bike over the car for the ride to school. The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department is encouraging students to walk or bike to school on Wednesday in celebration of National Bike to School Day.

Lawrence elementary and middle schools will be hosting special events for Bike to School Day such as park-and-rides and bicycle rodeos. Lawrence school board members, city commissioners and firefighters have also been invited to join in the activities throughout Lawrence.

The health department said regular exercise has many benefits, among them: stronger bones, muscles and joints and reduced risk of conditions like Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. In addition, research has shown exercise before school helps children arrive focused.

“Physical inactivity is at crisis proportions in America,” said Michael Showalter, health promotion specialist. “In the coming decade, preventable chronic conditions are expected to overtake tobacco as the leading cause of death in Kansas. The research is clear that students who walk or bike to school will be healthier and perform better in school.”

The health department, school district and several other organizations have joined together for the “Be Active Safe Routes” initiative, which works to make school routes more accessible by foot and bicycle. Safety tips and maps of neighborhood routes to schools are available on the “Be Active Safe Routes” website.

Ben Lyles, 6, a kindergarten student at Pinckney Elementary, was among those who biked to school Wednesday, May 6, 2015, on national Bike to School Day.

Ben Lyles, 6, a kindergarten student at Pinckney Elementary, was among those who biked to school Wednesday, May 6, 2015, on national Bike to School Day. by Richard Gwin


Second-graders in Shane Heiman’s class at New York Elementary School shared their art and writing skills with the community for May Day. Students created May baskets by decorating plastic pitchers and placing a pinwheel in the spout. The pitchers were filled with small gifts such as flower seeds, candy and bubbles.

None by Shane Heiman

The students delivered the May baskets to local businesses — the Journal-World among them — on Monday with an illustrated poem and letter. The letter said the students decided to make the May baskets as part of their #DayItForward project, and encouraged businesses to “#DayItForward on to another business or person.”


On to other special visitors, a couple of Kansas University basketball players recently made a stop at Sunset Hill Elementary. KU guards Frank Mason III and Devonté Graham visited the school to read aloud to students on Thursday.

None by Kansas Basketball


In other news and notes for Tuesday:

  • This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week and today is National Teacher Day.

  • Kindergarten students at Broken Arrow Middle School will perform their music program at 6:30 p.m. The Prairie Park Elementary PTA meets at 6:30 p.m.

  • The Sunflower Elementary PTO meets at 7 p.m.

  • Third-grade and kindergarten students at Sunset Hill Elementary will perform their music program at 6 p.m.

  • The sixth-grade band and orchestra at Southwest Middle School will perform at 6 p.m.

  • Senior Band Night will be held at Lawrence High School at 7 p.m.


Lunch menu options:

Elementary school level

Main dish: Crispito with cheese; tuna sandwich; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: perfect pinto beans, tomato salsa, frozen fruit cup, salad bar, milk

Middle school level

Main dish: Crispito with cheese; tuna sandwich; hamburger; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger; BBQ ribette sandwich

Sides: perfect pinto beans, tomato salsa, frozen fruit cup, fresh fruit, salad bar, milk

High school level

Main dish: chicken strips with roll; veggie shaker; cereal with string cheese; parfaits with muffin; pizza; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; daily sandwiches; deli bar

Sides: mashed potatoes with gravy, corn, salad bar, frozen fruit cup, fresh fruit, fruit sorbet, fruit juice, oven potatoes, milk

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Community input meetings to be held regarding traffic issues at three elementary schools

Parents will soon have the chance to offer their input about traffic and parking near three elementary schools in the Lawrence district.

Starting next week, the city and school district are hosting public meetings with parents and neighborhood residents regarding traffic flow and parking at Cordley, Langston Hughes and New York schools.

Changes to the layout at the schools because of recent construction prompted city staff to look into potential changes to how traffic moves around the schools. The community meetings will help inform the process, which involves the city, the school district and the Traffic Safety Commission.

Any changes are ultimately presented to the City Commission for final review. The public meetings will be held at each school on the following dates:

Cordley Elementary School: May 2, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Langston Hughes Elementary School: May 10, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

New York Elementary School: May 16, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.


In other news and notes for Thursday:

  • Broken Arrow Elementary will host its Arts and Innovation Night from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • New York Elementary will hold its spirit day.

  • Third-graders at Quail Run Elementary will be taken on a Lawrence History Tour. Students will visit the Miller House, Austin Turney House, Oak Hill Cemetery, Watson Park and Pioneer Cemetery.

  • Schwegler Elementary will hold its science fair and science night from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Sunflower Elementary will have its Freddy’s Fundraiser from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.


Lunch menu options:

Elementary school level

Main dish: macaroni and cheese; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: roasted broccoli, strawberries, salad bar, milk

Middle school level

Main dish: macaroni and cheese; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger; grilled cheese

Sides: roasted broccoli, strawberries, salad bar, fruit juice, fresh fruit, milk

High school level

Main dish: macaroni and cheese; pasta food bar; parfait with muffin; deli bar; veggie shaker; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; daily sandwiches; pizza

Sides: roasted broccoli, marinated mushroom salad, strawberries, fruit sorbet, fruit juice, oven potatoes, salad bar, fresh fruit, milk

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Sunset Hill Elementary to host open house after $9.6 million renovation

The results of the most extensive of the Lawrence school district’s construction projects will be on display this Friday.

At more than $9.6 million in renovations and additions, the project at Sunset Hill Elementary had the highest price tag of the district’s 21 schools. To celebrate the project’s completion, Sunset Hill is hosting an open house on Friday at the school, 901 Schwarz Road.

The Sunset Hill project included the addition of several new classrooms, new music and art rooms and expansion of the school’s cafeteria and kitchen. Sunset Hill students have been holding classes in the former East Heights building this school year, and will begin classes in the new building next school year.

The Sunset Hill “Cultural Kaleidoscope” open house will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday. The event will include refreshments, performances and a display of student art and writing. More information about the event is available on the Facebook event page.

Sunset Hill Elementary PTO updated their... - Sunset Hill Elementary PTO | Facebook

Sunset Hill Elementary PTO updated their... - Sunset Hill Elementary PTO | Facebook by Sunset Hill Elementary PTO


In other news and notes:

  • Prairie Park Elementary will hold its Eat & Earn Night from 5 to 8 p.m. at Freddy’s, 2030 W 23rd St.

Lunch menu options:

Elementary school level

Main dish: corndog; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: steamed carrots, applesauce, salad bar, milk

Middle school level

Main dish: corndog; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger; rice bowl

Sides: steamed carrots, applesauce, tomato salsa , salad bar, fruit juice, fresh fruit, milk

High school level

Main dish: shepherd’s pie; corndog; deli bar; pizza; cereal with string cheese; parfait with muffin; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; daily sandwiches

Sides: green beans, salad bar, lemon-roasted carrots, applesauce, fruit juice, fresh fruit, frozen fruit cup, fruit sorbet, over potatoes, salad bar, milk

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Sunflower Elementary Boys & Girls Club awarded $5,000 grant

The Sunflower Elementary Boys & Girls Club has been awarded a $5,000 grant to fund a health and fitness program.

The $5,000 Focus Grant provides club participants with programming that supports a healthy, active lifestyle.

The program, Triple Play, focuses on being healthy “through the mind, body and soul.” The goal of Triple Play is to encourage kids to eat healthier, become more physically active and increase their ability to engage in healthy relationships.

The grant is funded by the Amerigroup Foundation’s Healthy Generations grant program. The Sunflower Elementary club was one of various club sites across the nation to receive such a grant. The Triple Play grants are part of a five-year, $10 million commitment from Amerigroup Foundation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The Sunflower Elementary Boys & Girls Club was awarded a $5,000 Focus Grant.

The Sunflower Elementary Boys & Girls Club was awarded a $5,000 Focus Grant.


In other news and notes:

  • The Lawrence school board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the district offices, 110 McDonald Drive.

  • The first of two auditions for the Broken Arrow Elementary talent show will be at 3 p.m.

  • Fifth-graders at Prairie Park Elementary will take a field trip to Kansas Starbase in Kansas City.

  • Sixth-graders at South Middle School will take a field trip to the Baker Wetlands.


Lunch menu options:

Elementary school level

Main dish: pepperoni pizza; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: corn, fresh sliced pears, salad bar, milk

Middle school level

Main dish: pepperoni pizza; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger; veggie shaker

Sides: corn, fresh sliced pears, salad bar, fruit juice, fresh fruit, milk

High school level

Main dish: sweet and sour chicken with rice; rice bowl; deli bar; pizza; cereal with string cheese; parfaits with muffin; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; daily sandwiches

Sides: oriental blend vegetables, snap peas, oven potatoes, pears, fruit sorbet, fruit juice, fresh fruit, salad bar, milk

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Corpus Christi Catholic School awarded statewide academic honor

The only school in Lawrence to receive this year’s Kansas Governor’s Achievement Award is Corpus Christi Catholic School, 6001 Bob Billings Parkway. The award honors the top-performing schools in the state. Corpus Christi was one of 36 elementary schools in Kansas to receive the honor. School administrators said that adjusting curriculum to the specific needs of students is key to the school’s academic success. “We always teach the individual child, and make sure that they’re continually moving forward and always learning,” said Corpus Christi Principal Mary Mattern. About 300 students in preschool through eighth grade attend Corpus Christi. The school opened in 1999 with only kindergarten and added additional grade levels in the years that followed. The school also holds an annual silent auction to fund additional resources for the school. Mattern said that last spring, funds from the auction enabled the school to purchase new textbooks for every subject. Having those resources also makes a difference, she said.
“So along with great instruction, we’re also giving our teachers the best resources possible to help the students,” Mattern said. In order to receive the award, schools had to receive top scores in state math and reading assessments. Schools that received a building-level assessment score in the top 80 percent in both subjects qualified for the award. Schools also had to be in the top 5 percent of elementary schools or high schools. As far as the state overall, Blue Valley schools are the clear standout, with 24 of the 57 awards going to schools in its district.

As far as the state overall, Blue Valley schools are the clear standout, with 24 of the 57 awards going to schools in its district. A full list of the 57 schools to receive the reward is available here.


A significant land purchase looks to be in the works for the Lawrence school district. At its last meeting, the Lawrence school board met in executive session to discuss negotiations regarding a property acquisition. Two additional executive sessions have been scheduled for April 25 and May 9 “to discuss negotiations.” I checked in with the district to see whether there are any more details to share, but district spokeswoman Julie Boyle said at this time there are not. The potential purchase was described as “real property,” which usually indicates a purchase of land (and potentially a building as well). It's not clear what the use of the property will be, but if it is for another school, it’ll be interesting to see where the land is located. Another possibility is that the land could be for the district’s maintenance facility, which has been a topic of discussion lately. I’ll pass along any details as they come along.


In other news and notes:

  • Fifth-graders at New York Elementary will take a fieldtrip to the Negro League Baseball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Mo.

  • Fourth-graders at Prairie Park Elementary will take a fieldtrip to the Kansas Children's Discovery Center in Topeka. Fifth-graders will take a fieldtrip to Kansas Starbase in Kansas City.

  • The third and final day for the Sunflower Elementary book fair will be Friday.

  • Sixth-graders at West Middle School will take a fieldtrip to the Baker Wetlands.

  • The second of three days for the Free State High School Black Box Theater Festival will begin at 7:30 p.m. The KJCL Latin Convention will be held at Lawrence High School at 3 p.m. in the cafeteria.


Lunch menu options:

Elementary school level

Main dish: chicken nuggets with roll; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: mashed potatoes with gravy, honeydew, salad bar, milk

Middle school level

Main dish: chicken nuggets with roll; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger; grilled cheese

Sides: mashed potatoes with gravy, honeydew, salad bar, fruit juice, fresh fruit, milk

High school level

Main dish: chicken quesadilla; black bean quesadilla; rice bowl; deli bar; pizza; cereal with string cheese; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; daily sandwiches

Sides: refried beans, perfect pinto beans, honeydew, fruit sorbet, fruit juice, oven potatoes, salad bar, fresh fruit, milk

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Fundraising continues for $300,000 Ryan Gray playground renovation

Fundraising is still in progress to replace the handicap-accessible playground at Hillcrest Elementary School, 1045 Hilltop Drive. New specially designed equipment will make almost the entire playground accessible and include various wheelchair transfer sites.

The bid for the project is about $247,000. In January, the Lawrence school board approved up to $300,000 for renovation of the playground, called the Ryan Gray Playground for All Children. The additional funds cover a 5 percent contingency to address unknown issues that could arise during construction. As part of the agreement, the school district will match up to $150,000 raised by the playground’s steering committee.

A rendering of the new Ryan Gray Playground for All Children at Hillcrest Elementary School, 1045 Hilltop Drive.

A rendering of the new Ryan Gray Playground for All Children at Hillcrest Elementary School, 1045 Hilltop Drive.

So far, the committee has raised $78,500 and hopes to increase that figure to at least $130,000 in coming weeks, said committee co-chair Janel Leitch. Along with other efforts, the committee is selling $50 and $100 bricks through May that donors can engrave with their name or other message. Donations can be made online.

The current accessible playground is more than 20 years old and the ground surface, surrounding landscaping and most of the specialized playground equipment will be replaced as part of the renovation. The playground was built in 1993 in honor of Ryan Gray, a former Hillcrest student who had disabilities and who died in 1990.

The playground currently features slides and swings that can be used by children in wheelchairs, but Leitch said the new playground will have even more ways for children in wheelchairs to play with other children. The playground is open to the public while school is not in session, and Leitch said a playgroup of children with disabilities regularly uses it.

Construction of the playground is planned for this summer.


In other news and notes:

  • Fourth-graders at Broken Arrow Elementary will take a fieldtrip to the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka.

  • First-graders at Hillcrest Elementary will take a fieldtrip to Shawnee Mission Town.

  • Second-graders at New York Elementary will take a fieldtrip to Kaleidoscope in Kansas City, Mo.

  • The second of three days for the Sunflower Elementary book fair will be Thursday.

  • Kindergartners and first-graders at Woodlawn Elementary will perform their music program at 6:30 p.m.

  • Sixth- and seventh-graders at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School will perform their band concert at 7 p.m.

  • Sixth-graders at South Middle School will take a fieldtrip to the Baker Wetlands.

  • The first of three days for the Free State High School Black Box Theater Festival will begin at 7:30 p.m.


Lunch menu options:

Elementary school level Main dish: pasta with or without meatballs; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: roasted broccoli, apples, salad bar, milk

Middle school level Main dish: pasta with or without meatballs; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger; spicy chicken sandwich

Sides: roasted broccoli, salad bar, apples, fruit juice, fresh fruit, milk

High school level

Main dish: pasta with or without meatballs; spicy spaghetti, cereal with string cheese; parfait with muffin; deli bar; veggie shaker; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; daily sandwiches; pizza

Sides: roasted broccoli, marinated mushroom salad, pears, fruit sorbet, fruit juice, oven potatoes, salad bar, fresh fruit, milk

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New York Elementary to add butterfly garden

Students at New York Elementary School are hoping for some airborne visitors this spring after first steps have been taken to create a butterfly garden for the school, 936 New York St.

Over the weekend, school families and staff worked alongside volunteers with Kansas University’s Big Event program to construct the beds for the butterfly garden, said principal Nancy DeGarmo.

If you’re not familiar with how they are made, the gardens attract butterflies by having flowers and other plants that certain species of butterfly prefer for their nectar or because they make good host plants for cocoons.

The school had a butterfly garden previously, but schools throughout the district have been rebuilding their gardens following the completion of construction projects. New York’s new butterfly garden is on the north side of the school and is in addition to its vegetable garden, located on the south side. If your student is interested in gardening, the school’s garden club meets after school on Tuesdays.

DeGarmo said that on Saturday volunteers made four raised beds, filled them with soil and prepared the beds for the upcoming planting.

Volunteers work on New York Elementary's new butterfly garden on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Volunteers work on New York Elementary's new butterfly garden on Saturday, April 16, 2016.


In other news and notes:

  • The Prairie Park Elementary Run Club will meet from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

  • The Schwegler Elementary Marathon Club will meet from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • The first of three days for the Sunflower Elementary book fair will be Wednesday.

  • The Southwest Middle School Bel Canto Variety Show will be from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.


Lunch menu options:

Elementary school level

Main dish: French toast sticks with sausage; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: oven potatoes, salad bar, orange wedges, milk

Middle school level

Main dish: French toast sticks with sausage; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger; fish sandwich

Sides: oven potatoes, salad bar, orange wedges, fruit juice, fresh fruit, milk

High school level

Main dish: baked potato bar; vegetarian gyros; deli bar; cereal with string cheese; parfaits with muffin; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; daily sandwiches

Sides: lemon-roasted carrots, green beans, salad bar, mango, fresh fruit, oven potatoes, fruit sorbet, fruit juice, creamy tomato soup, milk


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Enrollment open for summer youth volunteer program

A local volunteer program is offering youths a way to stay busy this summer by helping the community.

Summer of Service lets participants volunteer with several local organizations over an eight-week period. The program is run by the Sunrise Project and open to youths ages 12 to 18. A donation of $25 per week is requested, but not required, in order to participate.

As part of the program, participants sign up for a specific volunteer project. Each project is a week long, and volunteers will help out Monday through Friday for three hours per day. There is one project each week in June and July, and participants can sign up to help with multiple projects if they would like.

The following organizations will host projects: Habitat for Humanity, school gardens, Ballard Community Services, Community Shelter, Just Food, Hidden Valley Camp, Family Promise, Humane Society and the Sunrise Project. A full schedule and description of the volunteer work involved with each project is available here.

New this year, youths can also sign up for Advocacy Week to be held July 18-22. Participants will work with various organizations to learn how to create positive social change.

For more information, visit the program's website or email programs@sunriseprojectks.org


In other news and notes:

  • Broken Arrow Elementary will hold Theater Arts Day for third-graders from 9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

  • Kindergartners at Hillcrest Elementary will take a field trip to the Natural History Museum.

  • First-graders at Langston Hughes Elementary will perform their music program from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Second-graders will perform from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Third-graders at New York Elementary will take a field trip to the Lawrence Arts Center. The Garden Club will meet from 3:05 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.


Lunch menu options:

Elementary school level

Main dish: chicken quesadilla; black bean quesadilla; tuna sandwich; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: refried beans, tomato salsa, tropical fruit salad, salad bar, milk

Middle school level

Main dish: chicken quesadilla; black bean quesadilla; tuna sandwich; hamburger; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; veggie shaker

Sides: refried beans, salad bar, tropical fruit salad, tomato salsa, milk

High school level

Main dish: chicken nuggets with roll; sloppy Joe on bun; cereal with string cheese; parfaits with muffin; pizza; veggie shaker; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; daily sandwiches; deli bar

Sides: mashed potatoes with gravy, baked beans, salad bar, mandarin oranges and pineapple, fresh fruit, fruit sorbet, fruit juice, oven potatoes, milk


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High school music festival to take place in Lawrence Thursday

Lawrence will be playing host to a variety of high school musicians on Thursday.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association Large Group Music Festival is bringing musicians from across the state to Lawrence to perform.

Orchestras, bands and choirs will all perform throughout the day. Orchestras will perform at Lawrence High School, choirs at Free State High School and bands at the Lied Center. Performances span the day, with the first beginning at 8 a.m. and the last at 4:30 p.m.

The symphonic bands, wind ensembles and orchestras from both Lawrence and Free State High School will perform, as well as multiple choirs from both schools. A full schedule of performances is below.

Schedule for Kansas State High School Activities Association Large Group Music Festival

Schedule for Kansas State High School Activities Association Large Group Music Festival


In other news and notes:

  • The Broken Arrow Elementary family fitness night will be from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The site council will meet from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

  • First-graders at Deerfield Elementary will perform their music program from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Fifth-graders will perform their program from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Second-graders at Quail Run Elementary will take a field trip to Science City from 8:50 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

  • Second-graders at Sunflower Elementary will perform their music program at 6:15 p.m. Third-graders will perform at 7:30 p.m.


Lunch menu options:

Elementary level

Main dish: lasagna with breadstick; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: steamed carrots, peaches, salad bar, milk

Middle school level

Main dish: lasagna with breadstick; parfait with muffin; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger, grilled cheese

Sides: steamed carrots, peaches, fruit juice, creamy tomato soup, salad bar, fresh fruit, milk

High school level

Main dish: lasagna with breadstick; pasta fazool; deli bar; pizza; cereal with string cheese; parfait with muffin; veggie shaker; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; daily sandwiches

Sides: asparagus, marinated mushroom salad, peaches, fresh fruit, fruit sorbet, fruit juice, oven potatoes, salad bar, cream of broccoli soup, milk

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Lawrence school board vice president’s commentary on Kansas politics gains wide following

Lawrence school board members don’t tend to shy away from commenting about legislation that affects Kansas school districts, but one board member is taking his commentary to a wider audience.

Over the past month, school board Vice President Marcel Harmon has written three pieces for the news and entertainment website Salon that have generated several hundred comments. The most recent, titled "Sam Brownback declares war on Kansas: This is how extremists gut a state — and democracy" was published on Tuesday.

A piece Harmon wrote a few weeks ago, titled, "Sam Brownback, America’s worst governor: He’s gutted Kansas with an ultraconservative, religious agenda — and it’s getting worse", was shared more than 10,000 times on Facebook. It also prompted a reaction from the Kansas Policy Institute, a conservative think tank. The reaction piece, "Lawrence school board member makes many false claims in angry rant", was written by KPI president Dave Trabert and criticized Harmon’s “cruel, angry tone.”

Links to all three of Harmon's recent essays are available here.


In other news and notes:

  • Fifth-graders at Broken Arrow Elementary will have their Math Awareness Month Workshop from 8:50 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

  • The Prairie Park Elementary Run Club will meet from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

  • The Schwegler Elementary BOGO book fair will be from 8:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. The marathon club will meet from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The PTA dine-out night at Taco John’s will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

  • Seventh- and eighth-graders at South Middle School will have their band concert from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Lawrence High School will have its middle school sport info meeting at 7 p.m.


Lunch menu options:

Elementary school level

Main dish: cheese pizza; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: roasted broccoli, salad bar, fruit cocktail, milk

Middle school level

Main dish: cheese pizza; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger; spicy chicken sandwich

Sides: roasted broccoli, salad bar, fruit cocktail, fruit juice, cream of broccoli soup, fresh fruit, milk

High school level

Main dish: French toast sticks with sausage; scrambled eggs with waffle or biscuit; biscuits and gravy with sausage; grilled cheese; deli bar; pizza; cereal with string cheese; parfaits with muffin; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; daily sandwiches

Sides: baked southwest potato, waffle fries, fruit sorbet, fruit juice, fresh fruit, oven potatoes, salad bar, creamy tomato soup, milk

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Lawrence high schools to host orientations for concurrent-credit college courses

Orientation sessions for students interested in earning college credit while still in high school are coming up next week. If your student is interested, there is still some time to look over available classes or talk with counselors ahead of orientation.

Before enrolling with a college or university, students will first need to enroll in concurrent credit with their high school counselor.

High school juniors and seniors in the Lawrence school district can enroll in concurrent-credit college courses through three area schools: Kansas University, Johnson County Community College and Neosho County Community College.

For more information on the district’s concurrent enrollment program, including a listing of available classes, visit the district’s website. The dates of the orientation sessions are as follows:

KU Concurrent Enrollment Orientation

Lawrence High School, from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. April 19, cafeteria

KU Concurrent Enrollment Orientation

Free State High School, from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. April 20, auditorium

JCCC Concurrent Enrollment Orientation

Lawrence College & Career Center, 2910 Haskell Ave., from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. April 27, Room 124

NCCC Concurrent Enrollment Orientation

Lawrence College & Career Center, 2910 Haskell Ave., from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. April 28

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In other news and notes:

  • The Lawrence school board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the district offices, 110 McDonald Drive.

  • The Broken Arrow Elementary will meet from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • The Prairie Park Elementary site council will meet from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Sunset Elementary third-graders will take a field trip to the Lied Center for "Theatre Arts Day.”

  • New parent orientation will be held at South Middle School from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Lunch menu options:

Elementary school level

Main dish: hot dog; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick

Sides: baked beans, apples, salad bar, milk

Middle school level

Main dish: hot dog; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; hamburger; baja fish taco; veggie shaker

Sides: baked beans, apples, vegetable soup, salad bar, fruit juice, fresh fruit, milk

High school level

Main dish: teriyaki chicken and edamame; rice bowl; deli bar; pizza; cereal with string cheese; parfait with muffin; hummus with cheese and pita bread; peanut butter and jelly with string cheese; chef salad with breadstick; daily sandwiches

Sides: mashed potatoes with gravy, roasted cauliflower, mandarin oranges, fruit juice, fresh fruit, frozen fruit cup, fruit sorbet, over potatoes, salad bar, milk

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