columbia public schools

Chris Belcher
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Columbia Public Schools announced in an e-mail to staff Friday it decided on four final candidates to interview for the position of superintendent of schools. The Board of Education has not released the names of the candidates but will be interviewing them over several days to come.

classroom
Håkan Dahlström / Flickr

The Columbia Public Schools Board of Education, with help from the Missouri School Board Association, is continuing its search for a new superintendent of Columbia schools. The current superintendent, Chris Belcher, announced in January that he was planning to retire in June.

The Board began its search shortly after Belcher’s announcement and just closed the job posting February 14. Board President Christine King said there is a total 19 candidates.

Snowy College Avenue
Kyle Felling / KBIA

Most everyone knows driving in the snow can be dangerous, and numbers from last week seem to confirm it.

The Columbia school board revealed a name for one of the two new Columbia elementary schools after months of planning and consideration. 

Columbia, Jefferson City schools closed Wednesday

Feb 4, 2014

Columbia Public Schools will not be in session Wednesday.  It will be the district’s third consecutive day with a snow cancelation. In an email, Jefferson City Public Schools also announced that classes were canceled.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

UPDATE 5:00pm Thursday: Columbia Public Schools will be closed again on Friday due to weather and road conditions. Jefferson City Public Schools will be in session Friday, although busses will run on snow routes in Callaway County in the morning and afternoon.

UPDATE 5:00 p.m. Wednesday: University of Missouri officials announced that the Columbia campus will be open Thursday for all regularly scheduled operations.

Chris Belcher
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher announced his retirement plans in a letter to the Board of Education.

Belcher will retire effective June 30, 2014 and will take a job as a faculty member in the University of Missouri College of Education. Belcher says that role will allow him “to stay connected with CPS through leadership development.”

Chris Belcher
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Now that Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher is eligible for retirement, he is weighing his options for next year. That’s according to an email Belcher sent out last week to Columbia Public Schools staff.  One of his options could be a teaching position with the MU College of Education.

District spokersperson Michelle Baumstark says Belcher sent the email to remain transparent about his situation with staff.

Columbia School Board
KBIA File Photo

Tuesday was the first day candidates could file to run for the school board, and School board member Tom Rose has announced he will not run for reelection.

After seven years on the school board, Rose's term will expire in April. Rose plans to focus on his private veterinary practice, but he said he will still be involved with education.

“I'll still stay involved in the school, especially involved in early childhood education and those types of things but I also see that there are, can certainly give an opportunity for other people that had expressed interest in serving on the board as well," Rose said.

KBIA

The Columbia City Council has appropriated $150,000 to pay a consulting company to update the city’s development codes.

students in classroom
Brad Flickinger / Flickr

Grants for laptops and iPads in recent years have put more technology in the hands of Columbia Public Schools students .

students in classroom
Brad Flickinger / Flickr

On Monday, Columbia Public Schools decided to redistrict the area around Mill Creek Elementary School, which means next year, about 100 students will be switching to either Grant, Paxton Keeley or Russell Boulevard Elementary Schools.

students in classroom
Rachel Rice / KBIA

Columbia Public Schools is working to improve class attendance rates.

CPS breaks ground for new elementary school

Nov 1, 2013
columbia public school leaders hold ribbon cutting for new elementary school
Colin Hope / KBIA

Columbia Public Schools broke ground Wednesday for a new elementary school near Battle High School.

school buses
Twix / Flickr

Columbia Public Schools reached a deal to purchase property for new elementary school.

Columbia School Board
KBIA File Photo

Columbia Public Schools has yet to announce the location of a new elementary school in the southwestern part of Columbia.

Columbia Public Schools renews bus contract

Oct 16, 2013
school buses
Twix / Flickr

The Columbia School Board is renewing its yearly contract with First Student. The transportation system for elementary and high school students is constantly changing to make the out-of-school environment as pleasant as possible.

First Student Manager Craig Caldwell said the recent change from a two tier system to a three tier system is expected to prevent tension on the buses.

Lee Jian Chung / KBIA

Assistance League Mid-Missouri has awarded more than $95,000 in funding for programs proposed by teachers. The programs -- designed by teachers -- emphasize new approaches to learning that could enrich the current curriculum. 

Assistance League Mid-Missouri leads the Links to Learning awards as part of their community-based philanthropic efforts. Columbia Public Schools spokesperson Michelle Baumstark said the awards support activities teachers wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

Katie Link / KBIA

Leaders of the Columbia public school district plan to seek another $50 million bond issue in April, followed by new $40 million bond proposals every two years until 2020.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports the $50 million bond issue on the April ballot will require a 4-cent tax increase. The subsequent $40 million bonds in 2016, 2018 and 2020 would require no tax increase.

Columbia Public Schools

Hickman High School announced today that Principal Tracey Conrad will be taking an indefinite leave of absence.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that Conrad's absence is due to a family concern.

Assistant principal Eric Johnson will serve as the school's interim principal until Conrad returns.

bookgrl / Flickr

A food truck will soon be part of the lunch time choices for students at Columbia high schools.

The district says the truck will bring more food options and help with overcrowded lunch rooms at its high schools. The district ordered the truck on Monday.

Laina Fullum is the nutrition services director for the district. She says the pork and chicken offered on the truck will meet U.S. Department of Agriculture standards for school lunches and will be available for the free or reduced-lunch program.

Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

As the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education releases the latest round of MAP scores, Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher says, frankly, he isn’t worrying all that much about the scores this year. But he says they do still highlight one serious, known problem.

Superintendent Belcher says the MAP scores this year should be taken with a grain of salt, because the state is going through a transition period. The MAP tests will be replaced as part of the state’s planned implementation of common core standards in 2014-15. Belcher says Columbia teachers are already thinking beyond the MAP test, and have targeted their curriculum at preparing students for the new assessments, instead.

KBIA

The dog days of summer are over for many students in the area, and will be ending quickly for many more. The fall semesters at the University of Missouri, Stephens College and Columbia College all begin on Monday.

All students in Columbia Public Schools go back tomorrow, except for kindergarteners, who get a few more days of summer and start school this Thursday.

Thursday also marks the start date for Jefferson City Public Schools.

Moberly students return to school this Wednesday.

Students in Fulton and Kirksville started last week.

Kellie Kotraba, Columbia Faith & Values / KBIA

 Boxes of tissues lined the sanctuary of Missouri United Methodist Church on Saturday morning, but laughter frequently filled the air as family, friends and community members gathered to remember Columbia educator Eliot Battle.

Battle died in June from injuries sustained in a car accident, and he is most remembered for his role in desegregating Columbia’s public schools. The city’s newest high school is named after his wife.

Robert Couse-Baker / flikr

The U.S. Department of Education announced it’s giving $7.7 million to the state of Missouri to improve low achieving schools through the Department’s School Improvement Grant program.  

MU Cooperative Media Group

A little more than a week after celebrating with his family and community the opening of Columbia's Battle High, long-time Columbia educator Eliot Battle, has died. Columbia Public Schools spokesperson Michelle Baumstark says Battle died last night, Tuesday, June 11th, from injuries sustained after a car crash Friday. Battle had been hospitalized following the accident.

school bus
svadilvari / Flckr/Creative Commons

In a new annual report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Columbia Public School District’s bus fleet comes in just below the state average on school bus maintenance standards. The report looks for defects in school buses and deems them approved, defective, or out-of-service. Columbia Public School district had 23 buses ruled defective and four put out of service, meaning that 85 percent of the district’s 188 buses were approved as up to standard. The state average for approved buses is 89 percent.

Katie Link / KBIA

The Columbia Board of Education has voted against a measure that would have allowed two school officials to carry guns on campus. Board members voted 4 to 3 to reject the idea at a regular board meeting last night.

Kids' summer lunch program begins

Jun 10, 2013
Douglass Park
City of Columbia

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services will start a summer food program from Monday, June 10, at Douglass Park in Columbia.

This is the 13th year of providing nutritional summertime lunches in Columbia. Because the program is federally subsidized, the U.S. Department of Agriculture mandates that every meal contain a serving of milk, protein, grains, fruit and vegetables. Meals will be prepared by Columbia Public Schools and served by volunteers. There will be five volunteers serving pre-wrapped food and drink as cafeteria line. 

KBIA News

Columbia’s Frederick H. Douglass High School celebrated its largest graduating class since the building reopened as a desegregated high school in the 1980s.  

“This day, we celebrate the triumph and determination and hope of, hear this number, people, 72 graduates,” Douglass principal Eryca Neville announced to a roaring auditorium, packed full of proud family and friends. 

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