March 13, 2019


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Kansas City Education News

Hear What Kansas City Students Say About High School Prep For Careers

By Emily Woodring, Flatland

Kansas City PBS caught up with Lanier and other high school students at a Hire KC Youth event here in Kansas City, Missouri. Hire KC connects students to work experiences and internship opportunities in the Kansas City region, and the next Hire KC hiring fair is April 12.  Kansas City PBS is examining the issue of workforce development as part of its participation in the national American Graduate: Getting to Work project, an initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Follow #AmGradKCPT on Facebook and Twitter for local American Graduate content and #AmGrad to see content from across the United States.

KS education leader announces bullying task force

By Sam Hartle, 41 Action News

The Kansas Education Commissioner, citing constant feedback from parents, is launching a task force on school bullying. Commissioner Randy Watson announced the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying Tuesday. The 25 to 30 member task force will start work in April, with the hopes of providing recommendations by December. “Everywhere I go, parents want to discuss this,” Watson said in a release. “There are no easy answers.” The task force will be co-chaired by Rick Ginsberg, dean of the University of Kansas School of Education and James Regier, superintendent of the Whitewater-Remington school district northeast of Wichita, Kansas.

KCPS launches program to address student food insecurity

By Johanna Pounds, Northeast News story today


This year, Kansas City Public Schools will be implementing a Breakfast in the Classroom program to help create food security for children attending the schools.  KCPS held a press conference Friday, March 8 at James Elementary School to showcase the launch of the program. Twenty-five Kansas City Public schools will be introducing this program to their classrooms with the help of Operation Food Search (OFS), a non-profit organization based out of St. Louis dedicated to ending hunger for students in the Missouri/Illinois area. General Mills and The Walmart Foundation have funded this $477,742 grant in this district through OFS. This program is anticipated to continue for the next three years, according to one OFS representatives, and any equipment that is needed now until the end, Walmart and General Mills will provide. Missouri State Representative Richard Brown (D) of the 27th district, one of the individuals who introduced OFS to KCPS said during his time as a teacher he learned the struggles of students who were not able to eat in the mornings. “I was a public school teacher for 24 years in Kansas City Public Schools, and I saw first hand what child hunger does to our schools,” said Brown.  About 1 in 5 children in Missouri (18.6%) live in households that struggle with hunger.


Missouri Education News

Gov. Mike Parson signs executive order for school safety task force

By Hannah Knowles, 13KRCG


Gov. Mike Parson signed a new executive order Wednesday morning that would create a state-wide school safety task force.  The plan put Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Missouri School Boards’ Association and the Center for Education Safety in charge of making recommendations for Missouri’s school districts. Parson said it was important to create a plan for the schools in the state so that everyone is prepared in case of an emergency. The plan identifies best practices and adapts them to make Missouri specific recommendations for schools and school districts across the state. Additionally, the task force would also help identify resources currently available through the center for education safety and other organizations that schools can use to better ensure their preparedness.


National Education News

These Students Are Doing PD With Their Teachers. Their Feedback Is Candid

By Denisa Superville, Education Week


Nearly all the teachers at Des Moines’ Theodore Roosevelt High School–about six dozen—were grouped around tables in the school’s library and cafeteria on a recent afternoon, armed with lesson plans and ready to take notes. Feedback on how to sharpen their lesson plans was flowing, but it wasn’t from fellow teachers or outside experts. The suggestions were coming from the nearly 100 students seated among them. The advice was frank. Here’s how to make a lesson more interesting, some students offered, or more relatable. Here’s what to do to help struggling students grasp concepts, they offered.  This joint student-teacher professional-development session is an integral part of an initiative underway at Roosevelt High to ensure students are central players in important aspects of the school and its culture. Students are openly encouraged to “push back on the adults.” They are helping shape the redesign of the school’s mission and vision statement and its adoption of a less-punitive approach to behavioral infractions. Students are advocating for extracurricular activities that mirror their interests.


Why Lunch, Exercise, Sleep, and Air Quality Matter at School

By Sarah Sparks, Education Week


From technology to textbooks to teacher training, school planning often has a lot of competing priorities. Some things—like the morning schedule, lunch and activity time, or the building’s physical environment—by their very banality often fall to the bottom of that priority list. Yet evidence is mounting that attending to these basic aspects of students’ school experiences can significantly improve their academic focus, concentration, and mental well-being. And often the challenges to making changes in school structures seem insurmountable. But many schools are coming up with creative solutions. In Seattle, for example, “it took years” to convince the district to delay high school start times to give adolescents more sleep, according to teacher Cynthia Jatul. “When we first started bringing it up to the school board, they said that they had tried and had never been able to fully implement the policy because there are so many factors that surround school start time, and a lot of those things are difficult to change. So even though it was known that it would be much better, nothing was done.”  Yet switching the bus schedule to pick up elementary students before high schoolers ultimately reduced stress at both levels, as older students got more rest and parents of younger children were able to get to work earlier.


More states weighing mandatory recess, physical activity laws

By Amelia Harper, Education

In recent years, more state legislatures have come to realize what elementary school teachers and parents have long enforced through built-in recess periods — children need time to play. Most school hours are spent in learning activities that require students to be relatively still and quiet, and at some point, it becomes harder for them to concentrate and focus without any breaks. Research has shown that if kids have to wait longer for a break, they become less attentive and more antsy, but when given a break for play, their attention spans bounced back once they returned to the classroom.  In the wake of the death of recess at some schools — a byproduct of the No Child Left Behind regulations — more research has highlighted the benefits of recess as well as physical education. Children need physical activity to remain fit and healthy, but they also need unstructured play time to regulate emotion, strengthen memory, promote a normal sleep schedule and digest what they’ve learned in the classroom. Under Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) regulations, physical activity is considered part of a well-rounded education.  States and school districts play a role in meeting children’s physical need for exercise. According to Active Living Research, scheduling time for physical education during the school day study can “help more students meet national recommendations for physical activity.”  Recess also helps students with social-emotional learning, as it is one of the few times during the day children can interact with one another freely.