Kansas City Area Schools
By Mara Rose Williams, KC Star
Last Thursday, Hickman Mills Superintendent Yolanda Cargile abruptly and with little explanation announced she was leaving. Five days later, the Center School District Board of Education named her as the district’s new superintendent. Cargile gave no timetable for when she is leaving Hickman Mills, but Center school officials said she is set to start there July 1. Center has been searching for a new leader since June, when former superintendent Sharon Nibbelink left under a cloud of secrecy. While the district and Nibbelink had agreed not to discuss the circumstances surrounding her departure, others involved in the district complained about high teacher turnover and strained work relationships between the leadership and staff.
As the country celebrates Black History Month, a troubling report reveals schools nationwide are failing to teach students about slavery and black history. However, some school districts in Kansas City are setting the standard and receiving high marks for initiatives to teach these tough topics.
By Nicole Asbury, KC Star
A new bill may require all Kansas high school students to pass a civics test similar to a United States naturalization exam in order to graduate with a high school diploma. The bill, introduced in the Kansas Legislature’s House Committee on Education Tuesday afternoon, would require all students who enroll in ninth grade after July 1, 2020 to take an exam that is “substantially similar” to the questions the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asks applicants for U.S. citizenship. Students would be able to take the test multiple times until they pass.
If the bill were enacted, students could start requesting to take the exam in the 7th grade. Accommodations would be made for students in special education.
Missouri Education News
By Ryan Delaney, St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri has an updated rubric for measuring whether school districts are educating kids the way they should be. The State Board of Education approved the changes at its monthly meeting Tuesday. “It is an exciting day,” said Assistant Education Commissioner Chris Neale as he sat down in front of the board in Jefferson City. The Missouri School Improvement Plan was first implemented in 1990. This is the sixth version, which the Department and Elementary and Secondary Education refer to as MSIP 6. It is the basis DESE uses to review and accredit school districts and target low-performing schools for intervention. A large part of MSIP is the Annual Performance Report scores districts receive.
National Education News
By Anya Kamenetz, NPR
Ryan Pascal, a 17-year-old student at Palos Verdes High School near Los Angeles, says when her school holds active shooter drills, it’s “chaos.” The first time it happened, not long after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in 2018, rumors started flying over Snapchat and text that the school was really under attack. “We had some students trying to stack up desks to blockade the door. We had some students sort of joking around because they weren’t sure how to handle this. There are other students who are very, very afraid.” On top of all the other stresses of high school, she says, some students are now on constant alert: “When the little bell before an announcement happens, or when the fire alarm goes off, you can see this fear in students’ faces as they wonder, is this going to be a lockdown? Is this a drill? What’s happening? There’s so much anxiety just by a little trigger like that.”
- Almost 80% of secondary school principals agree their schools could be doing more to support students with disabilities, and only 12% say they felt prepared to meet these students’ needs when they became school leaders, according to a survey of more than 3,500 principals — part of the RAND Corp.’s American Educator Panel program.
- Administrators in schools serving more students of color were even more likely to say their schools could provide better educational services for students with special needs. These principals were also less likely than those in schools with fewer students of color to say they had sufficient leadership support, materials and tools, staff with specific expertise, and training and information.
- “Exploring discrepancies in support for special education affecting students of color is critical, given the established history of educational inequalities facing students of color,” write the authors of the survey report, adding that providing more support to principals might be a way for district, state and federal policymakers to improve outcomes among students with disabilities.