Kansas City Education News
by Mara Rose Williams, KC Star
Center School District officials came up with a strategy this summer to compete with other districts in the area: They bumped up pay for substitute teachers. Now they are raising the pay yet again. That’s because districts in the Kansas City area and across the country face a shortage of substitutes. And in this region, competition to fill a classroom with a substitute is stiff. The number of available substitutes has declined gradually over the last few years, said Michael Weishaar, Center’s interim superintendent. “But this year in particular is a more dire situation.”
By Sara Ritter, KC Star
Dressed in bright red to show solidarity, dozens of teachers protested ahead of the Shawnee Mission school board meeting Monday night, demanding higher pay, lighter workloads and smaller class sizes. After more than six months, the district and teachers union still have not been able to agree on a new contract for the current school year. Both sides acknowledge that Shawnee Mission teachers are the highest paid in the state.
By Elizabeth Ruiz, KCUR 89.3
The massacre at Columbine High School in April 1999 wasn’t the first mass shooting in a U.S. school. But at the time, the 13 deaths and more than 20 injuries were the worst in history. Since then, the country’s 11 most deadly school shootings have claimed more than 125 lives. With no signs of slowing down, there’s an unsettling fear in the mind of many: Which school will be the next to mourn victims of a campus shooting? And that poses another question: How can schools better train and protect students? “Lock out, get out, take out,” is one of the first things that staff at North Kansas City School District learn, according to Rob McLees. A former Kansas City, Missouri, police officer, McLees is now the director of safety and security for the more than 20,000 students in the district.
By Elaine Adams, KC Star
R-7 PUBLIC RELATIONS DIRECTOR LEAVES FOR KC DISTRICT
Kelly Wachel, who has been executive director of public relations with the Lee’s Summit School District since July 2018, has left the district for a job in Kansas City. Her last day was Nov. 8. Wachel’s new position is chief marketing and communications officer for the Kansas City Public Schools.
This is not the first mid-year departure for the Lee’s Summit district this fall.
Missouri Education News
By Mike Kennedy, American School & University
The Jefferson City (Mo.) School District has bought more than 30 properties damaged in a May 22 tornado near Jefferson City High School to facilitate campus expansion. The Jefferson City News Tribune reports that district is acquiring the parcels so it can provide comparable athletic fields at Jefferson City High and Capital City High, the district’s second high school, which opened in August.
National Education News
By Martha Dalton, WABE
Employees and students in the DeKalb County Schools woke up to new leadership on Tuesday. The school district is in transition again after the board let Superintendent Stephen Green go Monday, earlier than expected. At the end of 2012, it seemed like DeKalb was nearing rock-bottom. The district’s accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), placed the district on accredited probation. Mark Elgart, the CEO of SACS’s parent company AdvancED, scolded the board for poor leadership and financial mismanagement. “The current condition of this school system is one that could be classified as one in conflict and chaos,” he said. Elgart said a pattern of mismanagement developed over a decade. “There’s been poor, ineffective governance; there’s been a decline in student performance, and there’s been a depletion of the financial resources of this system to a position today that is very dangerous,” he said.
By Sarah Schwartz, Edweek blog
In the wake of falling reading scores on the test known as the Nation’s Report Card, 12 major education groups are calling on schools to adopt evidence-based reading instruction. On Tuesday, the collective—consisting of Achieve, Alliance for Excellent Education, Collaborative for Student Success, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Learning Heroes, Literacy How, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Council on Teacher Quality, the National Urban Alliance, the National Urban League, the Military Child Education Coalition, and the Education Trust—released a call to action, urging policymakers and education officials to prioritize evidence-based instruction, content-rich curriculum, and teacher training.