PreK-12 schools

Steve Harris

Thanks to new legislation, a definition of dyslexia will now be included in the Iowa Code.  The neurological condition, which often runs in families, causes individuals difficultly with learning to read, write and spell.

The law is the result of strong advocacy from a number of groups, including the parent-lead, grassroots organization Decoding Dyslexia. DD aims to bring attention to educational intervention for dyslexic students.

Clay Masters / IPR

At Meredith Middle School on Des Moines’ northwest side there are more than 30 ways students say hello. The number of languages can change week to week. This school year the Des Moines school district will receive more than 6 million dollars from federal and state funds for ELL services, and will also spend more than a million dollars of its own money. Next year the district plans to have more than 6,000 ELL students.

USDA Photo by Bob Nichols

The poverty rate of black Iowans is more than three times that of whites. For Hispanics, it is more than twice the poverty rate of whites.

Charity Nebbe

Host Charity Nebbe celebrates acts of kindness by interviewing the people whose lives have been positively affected by others.

Classroom Creatures

Nov 21, 2013
IPR's Pat Blank

A Wartburg College professor hopes to bring biology classrooms back to life. Michael Bechtel says students should be studying living creatures not ones that are dead and floating in formaldehyde. He's been growing a collection of snakes, frogs, tortoises and others for about 19 years. He's sharing them in his college classroom and beyond.

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

While support to reduce prison sentences has been growing, Iowa State University sociologist Matt DeLisi recently testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that for certain offenders this would be a mistake. 

Miguel Vaca

Join host Charity Nebbe to hear about out how foreign languages are being taught in some elementary schools in Iowa and about the benefits of introducing a new language early in life.  Guests include administrators and teachers of foreign language in Iowa.

Raising Girls

Oct 10, 2013
Joe Lencioni

From Cinderella to Miley Cyrus our girls grow up in an environment rich in images of femininity.  Host Charity Nebbe gets insight into the challenges and dangers girls face as they grow and how the media influences their development.

Gerry Chamberlin

In 1965, 13-year-old Mary Beth Tinker arrived at her Des Moines junior high wearing a black armband to protest the Vietnam War.  Little did she know that this simple act would lead to a historic and controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Iowa Department of Education

As the Iowa Department of Education releases its annual State Report Card, officials say they should be graded differently.

Run Hide Fight

Sep 13, 2013
Pat Blank

Nearly 400 teachers in the Cedar Falls School District spent today learning some new options should they ever have to deal with someone with a gun in their classroom.  The training was provided by the Cedar Falls Police Department and focused on updated protocols from the Department of Homeland Security. Much like the fire drill, Stop, Drop and Roll,  public safety officials have developed Run, Hide, Fight for use in an active shooter situation.The Cedar Falls School District is one of the first in the state to involve all teachers, not just administrators.

Torch Magazine

Last month the University of Iowa was ranked as the #1 party school by The Princeton Review.  Binge drinking is a problem on not only the Iowa City campus, but on college campuses across Iowa and the U.S. What is the nature of binge drinking and what can be done to curb it?

Phil Roeder / Flickr

Does drinking coffee prevent dementia? Will diet soda give you cancer?  Science and health reporting is often misleading and confusing.

Jeremy Wilburn / flickr

How sexually active is your teen? It turns out that 34% of Iowa high school students are currently sexually active. So what do you know about the sex-ed being taught at your kids’ school?

In the first part of our program, host Ben Kieffer learns about a nationally recognized sex education program that many Iowa schools use, which focuses on the financial impact of having a child. Then we broaden the discussion to find out what’s being taught in Iowa’s public schools and Catholic schools. What’s appropriate? What’s effective at preventing teen pregnancy?

Iowa State Fair

    

The Iowa State Fair wraps up next weekend. IPR's Clay Masters talks with Sarah McCammon, who's on assignment with Marketplace, over the economics and controversy over when schools should start and how that affects state fairs and tourism. Masters also talks with McCammon about the energy stories she's done on Transocean, the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that was involved in the BP oil spill three years ago, and a solar company that’s also ahead of its peers.

U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan / flickr

As students prepare for classes, the social studies classroom in Iowa’s public schools might be a little different than it was when you were in school. Today on River to River, we talk about the modern social studies classroom with the Iowa teacher that won a 2013 American Civic Education Teacher Award.  And as high school football practices are starting, we talk with a coach that’s using new technology to assess concussions in athletes.

Iowa School for the Deaf / facebook

The winner of this year’s state Poetry Out Loud competition didn’t make a lot of noise.  Dakota Meyer is a student at the Iowa School for the Deaf.  Today on Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Meyer about his performance. She also sits down with the superintendent of the Iowa School for the Deaf and the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School to learn about education for deaf and blind students in the state of Iowa.

Iowa is nearing the end of the first year of a three-year experiment with the Iowa Virtual Academy.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, schools are changing their intruder response procedure from a stay put and hide method, to a fight or flight response. Today on River to River, we talk with violent incident trainers and educators who are changing the way our schools and our children prepare for the worst case scenario, and how these changes are empowering teachers and students in order to keep them safe.

Franco / Flickr

Everyone can appreciate a sincere compliment and a few high school students in Iowa City are embracing that truth. Charity Nebbe talks with the West High Bros about their efforts to make their school a better place. Then we explore the power of kindness and positive thinking.

The Iowa Department of Education is seeking state funding to expand on-line education for high school students. The Department is now operating what’s called “Iowa Learning Online” with federal funding that’s expiring.

State Education Director Jason Glass says the program is serving students who aren’t doing well in traditional classrooms.

“We have students that are bullied. We have students that are medically fragile. We have students that need to be home for any number of reasons, “ Glass says. “Those are the kind of students we want to make this an option for.”

The Branstad administration as well as school districts all over the state are reacting to Friday’s school shootings in Connecticut.   One official  is  encouraging schools to review their security procedures.       But the governor and key lawmakers aren’t jumping to any conclusions about needed legislation to prevent such a tragedy here.       

Clay Masters / IPR

Same sex marriage is legal in Iowa and it appears to be gaining acceptance. A Supreme Court justice who was part of the ruling that paved the way for same-sex marriage was retained in a heated campaign this year. But advocates for gay teens say bullying is still a problem in schools. 

Iowa Department of Education

Iowa teachers would see their base pay bump if new recommendations from an education task force are put into place. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

A state task force wants Iowa schools to move toward  air-conditioning their classrooms.   It’s part of a drive toward year-round schedules  which experts say can boost student achievement.

USDA / Flickr

This year school lunches got healthier. Host Charity Nebbe talks about the changes to the school lunch program and finds out how those changes have been received in the lunch room. Then, Jan Temple  talks about the  “Pick a Better Snack” program, an effort to give kids the knowledge they need to make better choices.

Advocates  for higher teacher pay better be upfront about just how much it’s going to cost, and who’s going to cover it, if they want to achieve their goal.    That's according to a representative of Iowa’s school administrators who’s serving on a task force on teacher salaries.

Dean Borg

Governor Terry Branstad has named veteran Cedar Rapids educator Tania Johnson  the 2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year.

Johnson spent most of her 22-year teaching career in Cedar Rapids kindergarten classrooms before she accepted a teacher leadership position with her school district this fall.

University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen has announced plans to retire "no later than July 1, 2013."  Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank reports.

Reinventing Education

Jul 23, 2012

At no time in history have schools been asked to do so much. Author, businessman, and attorney, Jamie Vollmer, experiences the challenges first hand in his book Schools Can't Do It Alone. Charity talks with Vollmer about the struggles education leaders face and how they can redevelop the system to increase student success.

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