Ryan Delaney | KBIA

Ryan Delaney

Originally from Burlington, Vermont, Ryan has worked for Northeast Public Radio in Albany, The Allegheny Front in Pittsburgh, and WAER in Syracuse, where his work was honored by the Syracuse Press Club. His reporting has also aired on New Hampshire Public Radio and Vermont Public Radio.

Ryan has a degree in broadcast journalism and international relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Gavin Schiffres pulls caffeinated hard candy wrappers out of the pocket of his dress slacks, admitting he’s only been sleeping a few hours a night. 

It’s been an exhausting first week tending to the new charter middle school he co-founded. 

Kairos Academies opened Monday in the top floor of a printing company along Jefferson Avenue on St. Louis’ south side. There have been a few hiccups to contend with: Student calendar apps weren’t working; the Wi-Fi completely crashed Thursday. 

The lines of students snaking through the hall of the Affton preschool were squiggly.

It will take some practice, just like how to use the bathroom and wash hands before returning to play time. 

Everything was new for the 200 students Tuesday morning for their first day at the Early Childhood Center in Affton. 

In a single phone call on an afternoon in June, Superintendent Kent Sherrow learned that his Iron County C-4 School District would lose nearly a quarter of its budget. Doe Run Mining Company had contested its property tax assessment, lopping off more than $1 million from the Ozark school district’s revenue.

“It’s not the same district it was a year ago,” Sherrow said. “Right now, our whole district is in a situation where we’ve got to catch our breath and get our feet back under us.”

Missouri schools will start much closer to Labor Day beginning in 2020, creating a dilemma for many working parents: What to do with the kids?

Some have already begun asking summer camps whether they’ll stretch their season longer next summer. Yet camp organizers warn they may struggle to keep costs down for families while providing enough counselors to lead activities for two extra weeks. 

Every Missouri public school should employ armed protection to keep children safe from active shooters.

That is the main takeaway from a report released Wednesday by a task force formed by Gov. Mike Parson in March to improve school safety. A federal panel spent much of 2018 conducting a similar review of school safety measures and released its report in December.

Nora Pryor imagines squeaking sneakers on hardwood floors when she thinks of gym class. But her physical education is currently punctuated by chirping cardinals.

Nora, 15, laps Boulevard Park in Lake St. Louis several times a week, mixing speed walking and jogging on a hot summer morning to get her heart rate up, and occasionally glancing down at her Garmin fitness tracker.

Three charter schools are enrolling students this summer before opening their doors for the first time in August.

Two schools will be run by longtime charter operators in St. Louis, while a third is being opened by young Teach For America alumni.

Updated 9:30 p.m., June 19, with results of recall vote — The president of the union representing St. Louis’ traditional public school teachers survived a recall vote Wednesday night. But the effort to oust her has created a clear fissure in the union.

Sally Topping is only two years into her first term as president of American Federation of Teachers Local 420. An executive board that predates her failed to oust her on charges she’s misled members and lacked financial transparency. Topping calls the claims weak and exaggerated.

Fans will say this parade has been 52 years in the making. Those organizing it put the event together in a matter of days.

“We’re very superstitious in hockey,” said Steve Chapman of the Blues’ front office. “So we started planning this about two days into the Stanley Cup Final. Quietly, very quietly.”

But details are set for the Blues’ championship parade and rally to celebrate the team winning the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup this week. It’s the team’s first championship.

The De Soto School District can improve its tracking of employee compensation, contracts, attendance reporting and handling of lunch and athletic money, according to a state review of the school system’s accounting.

The Missouri state auditor released an audit of De Soto schools Wednesday evening. The report lists 12 findings, including some that require immediate attention, earning the district a rating of “fair.” State audits earn one of four rankings, from excellent, to good, fair or poor.

Riverview Gardens will remain a provisionally accredited school district, after the Missouri State Board of Education declined to vote on its petition for full accreditation.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education had recommended that the board deny the request because the district didn’t score enough points on its annual performance report for full accreditation.

Three courses of algebra stood between Amanda McCleary and a high school diploma.

McCleary, 33, tried twice over the years to earn a GED certificate since dropping out of Vashon High School in St. Louis as a teenager, but the timing wasn’t quite right. When she learned from a friend about a high school for adults being started by MERS Goodwill, “I called instantly,” she said.

McCleary was one of five women in bright blue caps and gowns at the first graduation ceremony in downtown St. Louis Wednesday evening for the alternative high school program that started in October. A sixth student had to miss the ceremony for work.

College applications, diplomas and student loans are still more than a decade away, but St. Louis’ youngest students are stockpiling free cash to pay for their diplomas.

The St. Louis treasurer’s office has opened a college savings account for every kindergartner in public school in the city since 2015 through its College Kids program, seeding each with $50 in parking revenue.

Back to school will be a little later in Missouri next year if lawmakers get their way.

The Missouri General Assembly passed a law pushing school start dates back about a week over the opposition of school administrators. It’s part of an effort to encourage families to fit one more weekend of trips to amusement parks and lakeside cabins around the state.

The cheers at the end of the day could be heard down the hall and around the corner, all the way in the office where Sarah Briscoe was making daily announcements.

The hollering was coming from a second-grade classroom where every student showed up for the school day. The daily ritual of announcing perfect-attendance classrooms is part of the school’s all-out focus on getting its students into desks every day.

Bryan Hill Elementary School in the far-north side College Hill neighborhood can boast an attendance rate 97.9%, a figure bested only by one of St. Louis Public Schools’ gifted-program magnet schools.

The teaching corps of St. Louis Public Schools is becoming older and whiter. And that concerns Superintendent Kelvin Adams.

Adams has asked the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for more flexibility and pathways to getting quality educators into classrooms. It’s something state education officials said is worth serious consideration.

Low pay is the top reason teachers leave the classroom, a new survey of Missouri public school educators found.

The state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education asked 6,000 teachers, principals and administrators what makes them keep teaching and what makes them quit. The results were shared at Tuesday’s State Board of Education meeting.

Maxine Waters, a California congresswoman, is known around the halls of Vashon High School in St. Louis as “Auntie Maxine.”

She returned to her alma mater Monday to speak for an hour to a group of girls six decades younger than her about determination, defying the odds and standing up to threats.

All the middle school students at River Roads Lutheran School easily fit inside Yvonne Boyd’s classroom. Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students follow Boyd through daily lessons.

When Boyd has a free period, she walks across the hall to the principal’s office to handle paperwork and respond to messages. She’s also the school’s top administrator.

River Roads is celebrating its 150th year of education, though it nearly didn’t reach this milestone, staving off a brush with closure.

St. Louis Community College is suing one of its workers over allegations of financial mismanagement. The filing alleges the employee diverted more than $5 million in state worker-training money over roughly a decade.

"It was money that was intended to help people to advance in their careers and help employers with their existing employees," said the college’s chancellor, Jeff Pittman. He added, "It's frustrating and discouraging to believe that anybody would take advantage of a situation like this."

St. Louis Public Schools is granting more freedom to two neighborhood elementary schools in hopes the formula to improve their performance lies within.

Starting in August, staff at Meramec Elementary in Dutchtown and Ashland Elementary in Penrose will report to a different board and have more say over how they run their schools.

State education leaders are returning governance of the St. Louis public school system back to an elected school board and ending 12 years of oversight.

The Missouri State Board of Education held its monthly meeting in downtown St. Louis Tuesday where it voted to end its control of St. Louis Public Schools July 1.

Five Berkeley families are trying to prevent the Ferguson-Florissant School District from closing another school in their city.

The residents and city filed a lawsuit seeking to block the current redistricting plan for the north St. Louis County school system and force the school board to come up with another way to adjust to a shrinking student population.

A Missouri Supreme Court ruling from earlier this year is giving advocates hope that stronger protections for transgender youth in school will soon follow.

A transgender student sued the Blue Springs School R-IV District for access to the bathroom and other facilities that aligned with the student’s gender identity. The state’s top court ruled in late February in favor of the student.

For more than a decade, the St. Louis Board of Education met every month in a school library, gym or cafeteria across the city with only the most diehard public-education watchers in attendance.

Despite keeping up appearances, actual control of the city’s public-school system had been forcibly handed over to another body more than a decade ago. The board has been disenfranchised since a 2007 state takeover of St. Louis Public Schools amid rising deficits, falling academic performance and revolving superintendents.

There’s a late-winter chill in the house. A space heater is trying to do the work of a busted furnace. Angelina rubs the sleep out of her eyes as her mom gets her washed up and dressed.

It’s 8:45 in the morning. The 8-year-old is already late for school. She didn’t go to bed until after 2 a.m., because sleeping at her great-aunt’s home in the Walnut Park neighborhood in north St. Louis was not the plan. They couldn’t get into her mom’s sister’s apartment a few miles away. So it was back on the bus.

School districts in west and south St. Louis County are seeking voter approval to make significant facility upgrades that officials say will ease overcrowding and improve security.

There are four districts with funding propositions on the April 2 municipal election ballot. Lindbergh, Webster Groves and Bayless are all proposing no-tax-rate-increase bonds. Clayton is asking voters to approve a 56 cent property-tax increase.

Adam Layne began “noticing a theme” after a third consecutive question about affiliations with charter schools during last night’s St. Louis school board candidate forum.

Layne is running again for the school board after an unsuccessful run in November. But the former Teach For America corp member at Clyde C. Miller Career Academy is already on a board of the soon-to-open Kairos Academy charter school. Two other candidates had some ties to the independent public schools that educate about a third of St. Louis’ public school kids.

Seniors at St. Louis College Prep will be the independent public school’s first, last and only graduating class.

St. Louis College Prep, a charter middle and high school that was thrown into fiscal distress late last year, will close down at the end of the academic year and a nearby charter school will fill the void, according to Steve Singer, president of College Prep’s board.

There are no desks in AP Latin class at University City High School. Students instead “circle up” by facing each other in plastic chairs.

As the stuffed animal, “Felix the Talking Cat,” makes its way around the circle, one student expresses worry about an exam later in the day. Seniors fret about pending college-acceptance letters. Another shares news of unexpectedly acing a test and the group cheers.

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