“I don’t think I’ve ever discovered a student who was presented with actual history and thought it was boring,” says Keith Baker, who has taught the subject at Edwardsville High School for 20 years. “It’s about functional education. History has to come alive. The connections have to be introduced, and then students can start asking questions. They’ll learn that history is not only tremendously complicated, but it is also tremendously interesting.”
As if on cue, a student within earshot responds: “What you’re saying is true.”
ST. LOUIS • On one school day last month, more than 30 Hamilton Elementary students sat cross-legged on the gym floor, laughing at an episode of the ’90s television show “Recess” that was being projected on the wall.
They were watching TV because they had no gym or art teachers that day, said substitute teacher Janet Burns, who was supervising them. Those teachers were absent.
Missouri public school students in kindergarten through 12th grade could take online courses for free, with their school district or charter school picking up the tab, under legislation that passed the Missouri House and Senate this month.
The main intent of the plan, dubbed the Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program, is to expand course access for high school students in small, rural or cash-strapped schools that might lack the money or number of students to justify hiring staff to teach advanced courses, such as chemistry, Chinese or creative writing.
The Pattonville School District has a seemingly simple mantra: All children are capable of high academic performance.
“We really believe every single student is going to be proficient,” said Tim Pecoraro, Pattonville’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “We know they’re not all going to get there at the same time. But our teachers believe that, our students believe that.”