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Bench outside Wichita South High School

Vaccine mandates, teacher pay and scholarships: Kansas education bills to watch

Kansas legislators have introduced more than a dozen bills regarding K-12 and higher education in 2022, covering topics such as teacher pay, COVID vaccines and course materials. The Kansas Legislature went into session Jan. 10 and lawmakers will likely continue to add new legislation to the list.  The mix of education-related legislation also includes some…


Wichita USD 259 officials are hoping to expedite repairs to Wichita East High School’s science wing, which shut down this semester because of structural issues. (Rafael Garcia/The Beacon)

Why Wichita USD 259 is fast-tracking repairs to this 99-year-old high school

Wichita East High School students and teachers are back to class for the spring semester, but some of them are returning to different classrooms. After discovering structural issues in the building’s science wing in the fall, school officials are shuttering the wing’s 18 classrooms until repairs can be completed. Teachers from those classrooms are continuing…

Servers at Buckner Performing Arts Elementary School work students through the lunch line on the last day of school before the holiday break. (Rafael Garcia/The Beacon)

School lunch is a food and people business. Wichita USD 259’s challenge is finding either.

Rows of racks in Wichita USD 259’s vast School Service Center on Hydraulic Street in northeast Wichita are the second-to-last stops before distribution to the district’s dozens of schools. In the adjacent industrial kitchen, pizzas roll through conveyor-belt ovens, while enormous mixers pipe mashed potatoes into a machine that seals the food into large plastic…

Truc Dao leaves a note of encouragement for her fellow classmates at Wichita South High School during finals week. (Alex Unruh/The Beacon)

Wichita teens want a bigger voice in meeting their mental health needs

Editor’s note: We updated this story on Dec. 20 to show that Truc Dao and Andrew Le are director and vice director of Students Empowerment, respectively, and members of ICTeens in Mind. One of the things Truc Dao has relearned in 20 months of high school during the pandemic is how to catch her breath.…

Spencer Newman, a fourth-grader at Earhart Environmental Magnet Elementary, checks on the chickens housed at the campus. (Fernando Salazar/The Beacon)

How you can snag a spot for your student at one of Wichita’s magnet schools

Students are wrapping up the fall semester at Wichita USD 259, but enrollment for the 2022-23 school year is already starting for the district’s 24 magnet schools. The district’s magnet program offers schools that focus on subjects like science, leadership and performing arts, with some specializing even further into fields like aerospace engineering and health…

Registered nurse Krista Weaver and her nephew Les Weaver demonstrate how students receive medical care at Haysville USD 261’s school-based health clinic. (Photo illustration by Fernando Salazar/The Beacon)

A KU Wichita Pediatrics pilot program brings health care into schools, and it’s keeping students in class

Editor’s note: We updated this story on Dec. 8 to clarify that Krista Weaver is an advanced practice registered nurse. On Dec. 9, the story was updated to clarify that KU Wichita Pediatrics operates the school-based clinics. There’s no telling who or what Krista Weaver will see every day in her classroom-turned-clinic in Haysville USD…

Canva art of student taking test Math and reading scores dipped on the Kansas Assessment Program tests administered earlier this year, which could hint at academic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (Canva)

How to find your student’s Kansas state assessment scores and what they mean

Kansas teachers, education leaders and policymakers are starting to get an idea of the pandemic’s toll on student learning across the state with the latest results from the Kansas Assessment Program. Results from the spring 2021 state assessments show that students generally performed more poorly on the standardized tests after a year of disrupted learning.…


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