PreK-12 schools

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.

In the 1920’s the Railroad wanted to build a line through Dallas, Iowa, but city elders refused comply with the railroad’s demands.  Mr. Melcher of the railroad decided to found his own town just a mile south and the Dallas- Melcher rivalry was born.  On today's "Talk of Iowa" we begin our summer series on Iowa towns with rivalries.

Earlier this month Ric Jurgens retired as CEO and Chairman of Hy-Vee after 43 years with the company. The Iowa-based supermarket chain operates 235 stores in eight states. This hour on River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Ric Jurgens about the evolution of Hy-Vee and trends in the grocery business. During the second half of the hour, we'll talk with two dieticians about healthy eating and changes to school lunch menus which take effect this year.

School Start Debate

Apr 10, 2012
John Pemble

After a long debate, the Iowa House today voted to put a limit on how early Iowa schools can start classes in the fall.   The tourism industry is behind the bill, including advocates for the Iowa State Fair, who say it’s hard to participate in the annual August event when kids are back in school.  But some education advocates resent talking about the school start date when weightier education issues remain unresolved.    

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