This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” over the noon hour Tuesday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live . Jaylon Muchison was involved with the speech and acting team during all four years at Belleville West High School. In his senior year, all that preparation paid off in a huge way: Muchison not only was named National Student of the Year by the National Speech and Debate Association, but also netted $22,500 en route to winning Optimist International’s 2020 Oratorical World Championship. Optimist International is a national service organization based in St. Louis. Muchison is the first St. Louis-area winner of its world championship. On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air , Muchison will join us to discuss his remarkable victories and the role theater and speech have played in his development. The 18-year-old is headed to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this fall, where he plans to pursue a double major in acting and communications.
As schools in the St. Louis region plan for a predominately virtual start to the academic year, children may again be left largely to their own devices. And yes, that’s in both senses of the phrase.
Teachers and education advocates have long called for school districts to include more lessons on Black history in the K-12 curriculum. With the recent protests to save Black lives and the urgent request from white people to understand the Black experience, that call is gaining attention. To help reimagine teaching Black history, the University of Missouri’s Carter Center for K-12 Black History Education will host a virtual Teaching Black History conference for educators that starts Friday. Black history should not only discuss the traditional narratives of oppression, but it should provide context on African people and the contributions of Black people throughout history, said Lagarrett King, the center’s director.
Friday night lights may shine on rural Missouri football fields, but the prospect of a fall sports season in the St. Louis metro area is looking dimmer. The state’s athletics organization is moving forward with having a sports season open Aug. 10 but is leaving the decision on whether it’s safe to field a team to the local level. Restrictions on youth sports currently in place in St. Louis County are making it unlikely that teams there will be able to play when games begin Aug. 24.
A promotional video from Barat Academy, an independent Catholic school in Chesterfield, offers parents the two things that seem to be often at odds during this pandemic: health and high-quality academics. “To ensure your child remains healthy and safe as well as their academic needs met, our classes are never any larger than 15 students,” the video says over music. Private schools in the area are trying to offer a more robust in-person school option this fall, but as the virus continues to spread through the community, those plans could also be scaled back between now and the start of school next month. Barat Academy is developing virtual learning options as well, administrators said earlier this month during a recruitment event. Public school districts around the region started backpedaling in the last few days on plans to offer some in-person learning this fall , saying the swelling coronavirus pandemic is causing too much uncertainty. The Archdiocese of St. Louis said in-person
Updated at 5 p.m. Don’t put away the kids’ laptops yet. Thousands of St. Louis-area students will still be learning either fully or partially online when school resumes Aug. 24.
Brittany Woods Middle School feels too empty, too quiet, when teacher Anne Cummings comes to the school to maintain its garden. The building in University City, like those of all public schools in the St. Louis region, has been closed since mid-March by the coronavirus pandemic. After the long closure, Cummings gets excited for the prospect of seeing her students in person again. But then the reality hits her like a brick: The idea of being in a school teeming with kids doesn’t feel right either.
As coronavirus cases surge around the country, St. Louis-area universities are planning to welcome students back to campus in August. But many will not be testing students for the coronavirus this fall. Fontbonne University, Harris-Stowe State University, Lindenwood University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis said they do not have the capacity to provide coronavirus tests. Instead, those colleges have partnered with local health departments for contact tracing and plan to send students to free testing centers, if they show symptoms of COVID-19.
Student-athletes will have to scale back scrimmages and practices starting Monday, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced, saying there’s a worrying increase in COVID-19 cases being reported among county teens. “Sports are one of the most important ways to learn responsibility, discipline and teamwork,” Page said Thursday afternoon. “But because youth sports bring people together, the activities that surround youth sports are fertile ground for viral transmission.”
On a recent morning of summer school, students were met at the entrance of Gore Elementary School in Jennings with thermal temperature scanners. It’s just one sign of the new reality of school during a pandemic, along with masks, social distancing and alternating school days.
Suriyya Lawrence really wants to be a police officer. But the 17-year-old rising high school senior from Jennings has been getting more doubtful looks and questioning of her choices by friends and family members this summer, as the nation’s focus hones in on the role of police and their relationship with the Black community.
Dozens of St. Louis teachers clung to a sliver of shade offered by the administrative building of St. Louis Public Schools on Monday, clutching signs displaying their fear of returning to the classroom during an unchecked pandemic. The protest came a week before most districts in the St. Louis region are slated to release detailed plans for how they’ll try to safely bring people back inside classrooms next month for the new school year.
As the Black Lives Matter movement draws attention around the world to long-entrenched racial injustices of the present day, the past looms large as well. Reckoning with United States history seems critical to any contemporary progress on everything from housing disparities to mass incarceration. But as Americans grapple with the past and present in new ways, holes are appearing. Different people are often working from very different, and often incomplete, understandings of the nation’s history. “I never heard about that in school growing up” has become a common refrain. On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air , St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann hosted a conversation with educators and historians focused on rethinking the teaching of history. The show delved into how curriculums have evolved in the past — and still need to change going forward.
Missouri school districts that blend in-person and remote learning because of the pandemic won’t face funding penalties related to attendance. The State Board of Education passed two emergency rules Tuesday establishing how schools that opt for hybrid instruction models will be paid during the 2020-21 school year. The emergency rules pave the way for districts to release their plans for reopening schools. Deputy Education Commissioner Kari Monsees said the new rules allow states to build on the contingency plans they already have for snow days and other short-term school closures. “I don’t think the authors of the statute envisioned anything like COVID-19,” Monsees said. Under the new rules, school districts will be allowed to have students attend school every other day and learn remotely on alternating days. Or, schools can have one group of students attend in the morning and another in the afternoon. “The primary purpose of such an approach would be to better support physical
Schools in St. Louis County now have guidelines they can use as they make plans to return to in-person learning this fall. Health and education leaders in St. Louis County worked together to develop guidance for districts building a framework for how classrooms and schools will look while the COVID-19 pandemic remains a concern.
A new report by a nonprofit group of retired admirals and generals shows that lack of access to quality and affordable child care in Missouri is limiting military service and could ultimately affect national security. Mission: Readiness is a bipartisan organization whose goal is keeping kids in school, fit and out of trouble. Its report shows that 71% of Missourians age 17 to 24 are ineligible to serve in the military due to educational shortcomings, criminal history, drug use or obesity, according to Department of Defense data. “The best way to address these disqualifiers is to start early,” said retired Brig. Gen. Daryl McCall. “There is scientific consensus that brain development from birth to age 5 sets the foundation for a child’s future success.”
Even fewer Missouri students have reliable internet connectivity than previously thought, according to a new report from the nonprofit Common Sense Media. The group, which makes entertainment and technology recommendations for families, estimates that 36% of Missouri students don’t have adequate internet access for virtual learning. An earlier Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education survey put that figure at 23%. Both studies found that cost was the biggest barrier to access.
Federal money meant to help low-income families with food costs while kids were home from school this spring is reaching just 60% of Missouri’s eligible families. The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer is a $5.40 a day allocation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that usually goes to high-poverty schools to feed their students. Instead this spring the P-EBT money was sent directly to families across the country as a one-time check of up to $302.
For generations, June 19 has been a day of celebration of heritage and liberation for many African Americans. Family and community gatherings across the nation, particularly in the South, commemorate the day when enslaved people in Texas learned they were free . As the nation enters a new era in the struggle for equality during weeks of protests aimed at stopping police from killing black people, Juneteenth celebrations are taking on greater significance, said Sowandé Mustakeem, an associate professor of history and Africa and African American studies at Washington University.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri is calling on the state’s school districts to follow a national example and remove police officers from schools. The ACLU has circulated a letter to nine school administrators so far, mostly in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas, arguing the money spent on school resource officers, often referred to as SROs, should instead go to the social-emotional needs of children, such as by hiring more social workers and counselors.