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Alayna Nelson, a sophomore at Wichita Northwest High School, grew up hearing stories of repeated mass shootings on the news.

“Every single time this happened I always wanted to do something about it,” Nelson said.

Now, Nelson and other students in her generation are taking action against gun violence.

"I feel like I’m finally getting to the age where people will start listening to me,” she said. 

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

About 300 alumni of North Kansas City High School, some of whom traveled hundreds of miles, gathered one last time Thursday night to pack themselves on wooden planks for the Hornets' final girls and boys basketball games at the facility that's been open since 1951.

These days, high school gymnasiums are usually built with retractable bleachers. But when the North Kansas City High School Fieldhouse is torn down and the wooden planked seats removed, the wrecking ball will drop on two giant slabs of staircased concrete.

Segment 1: Why the face of vocational tech education is changing.

When you think of career education classes for high schoolers, what comes to mind? Maybe welding or auto shop? But with today's changing workforce, many students are also preparing for industry fields like coding and biomedical technology. Find out how a school in Lee's Summit is adjusting to meet this need.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Tamargo / U.S. Coast Guard

High school students aren't necessarily known for taking a thoughtful approach to complicated moral dilemmas, but that characterization may be unfair and outdated. Today, we learn about the competitive extracurricular activity taking place in two Johnson County, Kansas. schools that promotes civil discourse and a careful consideration of all viewpoints. Then, we get the Missouri Budget Project's perspective on Gov.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Gov. Sam Brownback wants to add hundreds of new school counselors to public schools in Kansas over the next five years, if they can be found.

That would require a dramatic reversal in a state that’s seen a slight decline in school counselors over the past decade and that may be losing its capacity to train more.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

When 18-year-old Columba Herrera walks across the graduation stage this May, she’ll leave Topeka Public Schools with two things — a high school diploma and the beginnings of her college transcript.

Herrera will have a semester’s worth of college credit — courses offered at Topeka West High School in conjunction with Washburn University.

Each freshman-level college class that the aspiring computer science major knocks out of the way while in high school gets her closer to her goal.

file photo / Southeast Kansas Education Service Center

Today, about three of every 20 students in Kansas fail to graduate from high school. Gov. Sam Brownback contends that in five years, only one will fall short.

That would vault Kansas from the middle of the pack to a level no state in the country hits today.

Education experts question if it’s realistic. The governor and the education department, they say, ask for too much too soon. After all, the early years of school weigh heavily. Work with kids learning their alphabet and colors — as much as those studying capitalism and algebra — can determine later who sticks it out.

Teenagers And The #MeToo Movement

Jan 8, 2018
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

From newsrooms to the U.S. Capitol to the stage at the Golden Globes, people are drawing back the curtain on an issue that has plagued our workplaces, homes and schools for years. Today, psychologist Wes Crenshaw returns with a panel of young women to talk about this very issue: sexual assault and harassment. They give us their take on what's going on in the #MeToo movement right now, and let us know why this issue is still especially relevant for people their age.

Anna Weber worked on the set of the Steven Spielberg's movie, The Post. She shares how recreating the newsroom made her think about history and the role of journalism ... and about her dad, a longtime editor at The Kansas City Star.

Then: a look at the ongoing challenges for families who are trying to find a great school for their kids with special needs.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Despite several unsuccessful attempts to repeal Obamacare outright, Pres. Donald Trump has made substantial changes in how the healthcare exchange works. Today, we discuss those changes, and how they're affecting folks who depend on the Affordable Care Act. Then, the City School Fair wants to make Kansas City, Missouri parents aware of all the possibilities for K-12 education that don't require moving to the suburbs.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

The four teenagers running to be the next governor of Kansas were tested Thursday at a forum organized by their peers at Lawrence Free State High School.

Standing at the center of the Free State gym, they fielded questions on gun control, race, drugs, abortion and a host of other divisive issues.

They answered forthrightly. Honestly. Not by pivoting to talking points like more practiced politicians.

At a time where groups are banding together to start new high schools in Kansas City, what do we expect from a high school education?

Plus: a look at KC's own psychotronic film festival.

Guests:

After a photo of local high school students drinking alcohol from cups arranged in a swastika went viral, many alumnae have spoken out, focusing on a code of conduct at the school. We ask, what should schools do to respond to hate speech?

Plus, Kansas City native Derrick Barnes has written a new children's book, Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut

Guests:

In 1973, Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs met up on the tennis court to see whether women could cut it in sports. Inspired by Battle of the Sexes, we take a look at how their legendary match influenced feminism and women in sports today.

Plus: a teacher at Shawnee Mission East wrote a song that addresses sexual assault ... and invited his students to collaborate on it. Hear the story behind his song, "Fallen Roses."

 

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

Hungry kids need good food. Seems simple enough, right? Wrong. According to a Huffington Post article from February, school lunch programs are one of the most regulated nutritional programs. 

In this encore presentation, we'll get to know a few local "lunch ladies" and check in on school lunch programs in our area.

Guests:

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

When you walk into the new Olathe West High School, it doesn't at all feel like a high school. It could be on a college campus — or even the campus of Microsoft or Google.

There's an atrium when you walk in, along with a large commons area — and even a part of the library where students and teachers can congregate.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

The Kansas State Department of Education is asking schools to increase the number of students who go on to college or vocational programs within two years of leaving high school.

The department released new district-by-district data this month as part of its push toward that end.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

A new math class being piloted by dozens of high schools across Kansas seeks to save students stress, time and money when they reach college.

Currently, about one-third of students who continue to two- and four-year colleges in Kansas don’t score high enough on placement tests to enroll directly in college algebra, a class most need in order to graduate.

Instead, they work their way up through remedial classes, a process that can take multiple semesters.

As small-town populations decrease, what happens to those schools that are the anchors of their communities? We look at the challenges that rural schools in Kansas and Missouri face.

Guests:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The art of lowriding in Kansas City, then local high school students share how they covered politics and the presidential election in their yearbooks.

Guests:

In recent years, issues on local college and high school campuses have gone public, from sexual assaults to protests expressing racial unrest. A few young journalists share their process, and whether being a student impacts their ability to report on tough stories.

Plus, meet the author of a new book about baseball in early Kansas.

Guests:

Barbara Shelly / KCUR 89.3

Saadiq Thompson will walk across the stage and proudly receive a diploma from Ruskin High School in Kansas City in a few weeks. But he’s only spent a sliver of his student days there.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Maybe you’ve noticed the yard signs featuring a pixelated, rainbow “U” popping up in the city’s southwest quadrant.

Parents who want to see the former Southwest Early College Campus reopened as a project-based learning high school met Wednesday at Bier Station in the Waldo neighborhood.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Last September, a sexual assault in a bathroom at Shawnee Mission East High School raised concern among students and parents.. A 15-year-old Leawood boy has since pleaded guilty in juvenile court to the charges.

But it was something beyond the assault that really got Kansas City area students talking. It started with a hashtag. 

#WearBlackToStopAttacks

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Balloons were practically spilling out of the doors, as parents and children filed into the Central Library in downtown Kansas City for the first ever City School Fair this weekend. 

The library was buzzing throughout the day, with a steady crowd of visitors. Fifty schools were in attendance, spread out at booths on all three floors of the library. 

"It's kind of like a college fair," said library spokesperson Courtney Lewis.

St. Teresa's Academy is still going strong, 150 years after the school's founding on Quality Hill. Though a lot has changed since then, the staff's belief in the benefits of single-gender learning has not. 

Guests:

Courtesy of Netflix

A Netflix documentary that debuted on Sept. 25 has reopened attention to a 2013 alleged rape case in Maryville that left one young woman's life changed and a community divided.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Yesterday, Southwest Early Campus in Brookside closed its doors for the last time. We explore the legacy of the 100-year-old Southwest High School.

We also hear the story of Daizsa Laye Bausby, whose death in a hotel room was ruled a homicide. She was supposed to graduate from Southwest this year. Was the life of this young black woman ignored by local media?

Guests:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Tuesday night, around 70 students from Southwest Early College Campus (SWECC) attended the school’s final graduation ceremony at Unity Temple. They entered the room to "Pomp and Circumstance," dressed in traditional black gowns.

As they took their seats, one seat remained empty in the front row.

If you could go back in time, what would you tell your future self?

When she was in high school, KCUR's Lisa Rodriguez wrote a letter to herself. She just received that letter in the mail, in time for her 10-year reunion. She opens the letter for the first time and reads part of it on-air.

Guest:

  • Lisa Rodriguez, KCUR

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