October 30, 2019

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Kansas City Education News

KCPS ‘nudges’ parents to combat chronic absenteeism

Administrators using research to get kids back to class

By Cody Holyoke, KMBC 9 News

(click link to view video)

Like many districts, administrators in Kansas City Public Schools are battling to keep students in school. Now, they’re using special research to push parents and kids in the right direction. The root cause of chronic absenteeism varies widely from student to student. “There is no silver bullet to this issue,” explained Michael Reynolds, KCPS’ chief research and accountability officer. “These [missed] hours add up into days, and days add up into weeks, and the accumulated effect is very real in the student population.” The district’s newest tool is called a ‘nudge letter.’

These are the 50 most powerful people in Kansas City right now

435 Kansas City’s Magazine

In Kansas City, power comes in many forms. Sheer wealth can mold the city with the stroke of a pen. Athletic heroics can bring our city together. Charismatic community organizers can shake up the system. Here are the 50 people shaping our city right now.

Dr. Mark Bedell has been the superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools for the past three years, and he knows he has work to do.

Bedell has worked and lived in Houston, Baltimore and Nashville. When it comes to racial division, he says Kansas City features unique challenges. He points out the conference room window to the street where the Kansas City Board of Education office stands. “We know that Troost tells a story,” he says. “It’s unlike any other city I’ve lived in.”

Coming down the pipeline in his school system is Blueprint 2030, a plan to maximize resources and enhance the overall educational experience.

Bedell says the future will also bring a newcomer center for immigrants living in the KCPS district. “We have one of the highest immigrant populations in the state of Missouri,” he says. “Creating this newcomer center for all of our English language learners and their families could be a game changer. It’ll help them transition into our school systems in a seamless manner.”

Missouri/Kansas Education News

Ozark tops area districts — and much of Missouri — in reading, math

By Claudette Riley, Springfield News-Leader

As a district, Ozark tops the region — and most of Missouri — in students meeting state expectations in reading and math.  The results of state-mandated exams administered in spring 2019 showed 64.5 percent were on grade level in reading and 62.1 percent hit that mark in math.  In reading, Ozark was 15.8 percentage points above the state average and higher — in many cases significantly — than any other district in Greene, Christian, Taney, Webster and Stone counties.

National Education News

3 best practices for addressing hate and prejudice on school grounds

A strong culture against intolerance is key to prevention, but some experts say administrators aren’t prepared for these incidents.

By Naaz Modan, EducationDive.com

Hate crimes have been on the rise nationally for three consecutive years, and schools have not been immune to spillover in the classroom.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most recent data, from 2017, indicates 7,175 criminal incidents in the U.S. that year were motivated by hate or bias toward a certain race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender and/or gender identity. Out of these incidents, 10.5% took place on K-12 school or college grounds, making schools and colleges the third-most common location for hate crimes.

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