First Bell: Transition efforts scheduled for Wakarusa Valley students, families; board approves ‘transfer preferences’ for 29 Broken Arrow students; Lawrence High entrepreneurs to compete Wednesday

A few education-oriented items from around the area and elsewhere:

Administrators and others are making plans to ease the transition for students who must attend a new school because of the closure of Wakarusa Valley School at the end of this school year.

Wakarusa Valley students will get a chance to visit their new schools — either Broken Arrow or Sunflower, depending on where they live — during a school day sometime in May. Students will be taken by bus to their new school for student tours and other activities, “so that first day won’t be as scary,” said Sue Hosey, Sunflower principal, during a recent meeting of the Lawrence school board.

Students and their families also are being invited to their new school’s end-of-the-year events:

• At Broken Arrow, that would be a Juke Box celebration from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 6, following a chance to meet with Broken Arrow staffers at 5:15 p.m. that day.

• At Sunflower, that would be the Sunflower Carnival, which will be from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. May 14. A open house also is being organized.

Broken Arrow and Sunflower PTOs also plan to conduct joint meetings with members of Wakarusa Valley’s PTO.

“The most important thing is communication,” said Brian McCaffrey, principal for both Wakarusa Valley and Broken Arrow schools, noting that the transition process would be ongoing. “It doesn’t stop in May, and it doesn’t stop in the summer.”

Hosey agreed.

“This is not an easy transition for anyone,” she said. “Definitely, the communication part is crucial.”


The closure of Wakarusa Valley also is prompting boundary changes for students outside the school’s attendance area.

An estimated 29 students who live in a neighborhood along the east side of Kasold Drive, from Clinton Parkway to 31st Street, would move from Broken Arrow to Schwegler schools for next year.

To ease disruptions, however, the Lawrence school board has directed administrators to give “transfer preferences” to current students living in that area who wish to remain at Broken Arrow. That way, if there is available space at Broken Arrow, the students in what is known as the Parkmar neighborhood would get first priority at being able to stay.

“The district needs to work with people when we can,” said Scott Morgan, a board member who was among six to approve the transfer preference. Only Mary Loveland voted against it.

One note: Students living in Parkmar neighborhood no longer will be eligible for bus transportation to school, because Schwegler is within 2.5 miles of neighborhood homes; in general, 2.5 miles is the distance beyond which the district provides regular bus service, because that is the distance required for the state to provide transportation financing.


Jacob Von Feldt, a student at Lawrence High School, presents his plans for Sunflower Fight League, which would take MMA across Kansas. Von Feldt was among 21 LHS students to make a presentation Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at Kansas University's School of Business, as part of a collaborative program.

Five students from Lawrence High School will be pitching their business plans against others from area schools, as part of a regional competition for young entrepreneurs.

The competition will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Topeka Public Library, 515 S.W. 10th Ave. in Topeka.

Leaders from area businesses will serve as judges, looking to rate each entry based upon a variety of standards that would be applicable in a real-life entrepreneurial setting, including: mission statement, market analysis, market strategy, financial development, financial analysis, presentation skills, ability to answer questions and — as always — viability.

Here are the entrants from Lawrence High, including each student’s business idea:

• Camas Buerger, ITAid.

• Cole Cummins, Designated Delivery.

• Taylor Eubanks, Fresh Globe Air Freshener.

• Arthur Hall, Helping Hands.

• Jacob Von Feldt, Sunflower Fight League.

The students from Lawrence High worked with students from the School of Business at Kansas University to develop their business plans, and presented them to judges last month.

Other regional competitors Saturday will be from Topeka, Topeka West and Highland Park high schools in Topeka.

The students are participants in Youth Entrepreneurs of Kansas, a program — founded by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation — that teaches free enterprise fundamentals to high school students through hands-on experiences. The goal is to give students skills and tools to start their own businesses, enhance their business skills for future career opportunities and encourage them to pursue higher education.

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