This week, NPR Ed is focusing on questions about why people play and how play relates to learning.

Braden Swenson wanders into a semi-rickety wooden shed on his search for gold, treasure and riches.

"Is there any tweasure in here?" he asks in the endearing dialect of a 4-year-old. "I've been looking everywhere for them. I can't find any." The proto-pirate toddler conducts a quick search, then wanders away to continue his quest elsewhere.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is calling for an investigation into the way leaders at UMKC’s Henry W. Bloch School of Management promoted the school.  

Karen / Flickr

The campuses of the University of Missouri-Columbia and University of Missouri-St. Louis have set new fundraising records.

UCSL Chancellor Thomas George says $31.2 million was raised during the 2013-14 fiscal year — $10 million better than the previous year's fundraising total. The donations helped create 70 new scholarships, contributed nearly $6 million for a new building for the business college and $2 million for the St. Louis Mercantile Library.

Lee Jian Chung / KBIA

Missouri's community colleges have a new tuition agreement with an online university.

The Missouri version of Western Governors University has agreed to provide a 5 percent tuition discount for community college graduates who take its online courses.

The Missouri Community College Association says the deal with WGU is the first such statewide agreement that the association has signed on behalf of its members. Community college graduates also will be eligible for special scholarships from the online school.

With two weeks to go until teachers report for the beginning of the new school year, the Normandy Schools Collaborative said Monday it has hired 80 percent of the staff it needs, from custodians to principals.

But just to make sure it hasn’t overlooked any good teachers who are still looking for employment, the district said it will be holding a job fair two days later this week.

(Updated 1:29 p.m., Fri., July 18)

Even though the University City School Board has voted to change course and accept students who are qualified to transfer from Normandy, uncertainty surrounding the transfers remains.

Missouri education officials plan to expand a scholarship program to some high school students who came to the US illegally before their 16th birthday.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education says those students will be eligible to participate in the A+ program, which gives qualifying students to receive two free years of tuition at a Missouri community college.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports the program will be opened to students who have applied with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" status.

MU School of Medicine
File Photo / KBIA

The MU School of Medicine announced Tuesday Dr. Patrice Delafontaine will take on the position of dean.

brody4 / flickr

The University of Missouri has received a $400,000 grant to help restore about 600,000 books damaged by mold.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports the grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation on Wednesday. Libraries staff discovered the mold problem in October at an underground storage site in Columbia. Health officials said the mold did not endanger public health.

Springfield camps get kids ready for Kindergarten

Jul 9, 2014
Michele Skalicky / KSMU

This week at nine Springfield elementary schools, kids are making friends, learning social skills and getting ready to start their formal education.  They’re attending Kindergarten Camp, hosted by the Community Partnership of the Ozarks.  KSMU's Michele Skalicky reports.

The camp started Monday and goes through Friday at Bingham, Bissett, Boyd, Bowerman, Robberson, Watkins, Weaver, Westport and York Elementary Schools. 

Neighborhood Centers, Inc. / Flickr

The Missouri Department of Higher Education is opening up a community college scholarship program to young adults who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

That means students who qualify for the program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, will be able to trade tutoring hours for two years of tuition reimbursement through the A+ Scholarship Program. 

The deferred action program is tied to an Obama administration initiative that started in 2012. 

Adam Procter / Flickr

Today University of Missouri Advancement officials announced that MU has set a single-year record for fundraising.

The University of Missouri is expanding an early alert system that tracks academic performance to all four of its campuses this fall.

The system, developed by the company Starfish Retention Solutions, is designed to improve retention and graduation rates by better connecting students, faculty and staff.  

The expansion follows the success of a pilot program at the university's Columbia campus that gives advisors real-time grading information on students and tracks performance trends among classes and subjects. 

Adam Procter / Flickr

The University of Missouri is making cuts across the board to make up for money it expected it to receive from the state government, but will not. In an email to university staff Thursday, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said MU must make up for an additional $3.8 million that is not coming to the University due to Governor Jay Nixon's recent general revenue withholdings.

Maureen Lewis-Stump / KBIA

The summer session for Smithton, West, Oakland, Lange and Gentry middle schools began almost three weeks ago and with that beginning, came a huge project for the students to work on.

Westminster partners with Arizona online grad school

Jul 3, 2014
Westminster College
The History Faculty / Flickr

Westminster College in Fulton can now offer its alumni and faculty advanced degree programs. The college announced a new partnership with Arizona-based online graduate school Northcentral University this week. The partnership is expected to provide a "preferred tuition rate" for Westminster students, faculty, and staff for the programs Northcentral offers.

Missouri S&T seal
Sasikiran 10 / Wikimedia

The Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla is among a dozen campuses added to the growing list of schools being investigated by the federal government for their handling of sex abuse complaints.

Moberly Area Community College
KOMUNews / Flickr

The Moberly Area Community College Board of Trustees is back to six members following the appointment of its newest member during its meeting Monday.

Linn State Technical College is getting a new name to reflect the mission it has had for years.

Updated at 9:24 a.m. Monday with more district decisions about Normandy transfers.

As the Normandy school district is about to give way to the Normandy Schools Collaborative, Missouri’s education commissioner is addressing criticism about how the transition has been handled.

Chris Nicastro’s response: The decisions that have been made represent the best available from a list of bad options.

Randy Smith and Team of Students


It’s been 20 years since the fall of apartheid in South Africa in 1994. For the last year now, students and faculty here at the University of Missouri have been assisting the University of Western Cape in preserving an archive of thousands of photographs, films, artifacts, oral histories and other historical documents related to the struggle for freedom during apartheid. 


RSVP Center funding to shift to MU Student Life

Jun 27, 2014

Administrative oversight of MU's Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center will officially switch from the Missouri Students Association to Student Life next week.

The Providence Point hilltop mansion in central Columbia will no longer be reserved as the University of Missouri System President's residence. The system will soon be renting the property out to university businesses and organizations.

As promised, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed on Tuesday the wide-ranging school transfer bill passed by lawmakers this year, saying it violates basic principles of public education and does nothing to help students trapped in unaccredited schools.

At the offices of Education Plus in west St. Louis County, the governor listed three main reasons for his action.

File photo / KBIA

Gov. Jay Nixon came to St. Louis County Tuesday to make official his vow to veto school transfer legislation that allowed the use of public money to pay for certain students to attend private schools.

MU planning teacher and learning center

Jun 23, 2014
Adam Procter / Flickr

  University of Missouri teachers could be getting some extra training in the next few years.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Anxiety crept through SheRon Chaney when she heard that the Francis Howell School District would no longer accept about 350 transfer students from Normandy who were signed up to continue in the program. 

“Last year we were hopeful, this year we’re fearful,” she said. 

Chaney transferred her middle school aged daughter BrenNae to Maplewood Richmond Heights last year.  And even though Francis Howell’s decision --  made during a closed session of its school board -- doesn’t affect her directly, it has Chaney and hundreds of other parents holding their breath.

Jose Kevo

Educators across Missouri have been debating the issues of common core state standards and teacher tenure. Missouri National Education Association President, Charles E. Smith, said whatever route Missouri goes, teachers should be involved in the decision.

The bill that could replace national common core standards with a new set of standards developed by Missouri state educators is still sitting on Governor Nixon's desk.

Håkan Dahlström / Flickr

Missouri education officials have released new guidance for student transfer policies.

stephenconn / Flickr

Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation that enacts performance-based funding for Missouri's public universities and community colleges.