Young scientists are invited to Union Station on Saturday, March 30th for a fun-filled day of science demonstrations and for special screenings of Sid the Science Kid: The Movie. Show times are at 9:45am, 11:15am and 3:45pm. Hands on science activities and demonstrations will take place through out the day. Full schedule and more information here.
Although they joke about shutting the windows and blinds in the small conference room at Académie Lafayette’s K–2 campus, the dozen administrators, board members and witnesses at the annual lottery for admission take confidentiality very seriously.
The lottery system started five years ago when Académie Lafayette began receiving more applications than they had space for students.
“It’s bittersweet- It’s unpleasant- Those would be two adjectives I would use,” said Heather Royce, Académie Lafayette’s K–2 principal.
Of this year’s 136 applicants for the 2014 kindergarten class, there is space for 46. This is the space available after siblings of current students, any children of staff and “re-instated students”, or students who were picked during the previous year’s lottery, but whose parents decided to delay kindergarten for another year.
Admission at Académie Lafayette primarily happens in kindergarten because of its French-immersion curriculum.
“We’ve consistently had about 175 applications received during the open application period for the last three years,” said Katie Hendrickson, director of communications and admissions at Académie Lafayette. “This year we’ve received 30 more applications, so the interest in the school is growing and has grown steadily.”
Enrollment in charter schools in Kansas City and St. Louis has grown in the last decade according to the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE).
Charter schools were first permitted in Kansas City and St. Louis in 1998 to give parents alternative school options because the public schools in both cities were struggling.
Académie Lafayette was founded in 1999 as the first charter school in Missouri.
In June of 2012, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation allowing unaccredited school districts and school boards in accredited districts to apply for a charter school charter with DESE.
DESE Communications Coordinator Sarah Potter said it’s not yet clear how this legislation might impact the number of charter schools in the state.
“I’m not sure that we’re going to see more charter schools,” Potter said. “I think there is hesitancy with sponsors because there is more accountability.”
This increased accountability includes new standards for reporting academic performance and transparency of school finances to the state.
Académie Lafayette, which is sponsored by the University of Central Missouri, is looking at possible expansions.
“We are full already in this building,” Royce said. “We opened this building in August, really at capacity with six kindergartens, six first grades and six second grades.”
Letters to families letting them know whether or not they have been selected in the lottery will be mailed March 15.
“I ask families to have a plan B, but I don’t know exactly where they go [if they don’t get in],” Hendrickson said. “This is a painful and sad day, because we know that we have the chance to really accept students and help them go a certain direction with their education, and it’s really sad to see this whole other group of kids that we’ll never meet.”
On Sunday, March 3rd, the Kansas City Service Jam presented two services that were designed in just forty-eight hours at the Google Fiber Space in Westport. The local event launched on Friday evening at Red Nova Labs before moving over to Google Fiber for Saturday and Sunday sessions.
The event focuses on collaboration and designing services related to a shared theme, which was simply presented as “Grow ^”, or as interpreted by the participants, “Grow Up”. The Kansas City Service Jam divided into two smaller groups to design prototypes of two entirely new services.
One KC team tackled the problem of financial acumen among children. They decided to focus on parents who are fiscally responsible and have the desire to facilitate a conversation about finances with their 6-10 year old children.
“We see a lot of solutions that ‘gamify’ or abstract the use of money, our mission was to get these children involved in real world finances.” said David Rondeau, one of the group’s team members.
The group created a prototype application that allows children to utilize their parent’s device in the grocery store aisles for comparison shopping. The app, called “Eenie-Meenie”, centers around the use of cartoon monsters to guide the children by using a barcode scanner to gather information on quantity and price, enabling them to understand the financial aspects of a purchase.
The other KC team prototyped a service related to personal growth, with a particular focus on the problem of procrastination. Team member Rachel Lin said of their project, “Using a co-creative process, we developed the concept of a fun game to help a user break a negative behavior pattern (procrastination) and then guide them through the process of finishing their task.”
Near the final hours of the event, team member Justin Ruggieri said, “It’s pretty amazing that by Sunday we created a viable service which we had no awareness for on Friday.”
A new report issued by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation suggests that passing legislation to offer Startup Visas has the potential to add between 500,000 and 1.6 million new jobs over the next 10 years.
The visas, included in the Startup Act 3.0 bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate, would be available to a fixed pool of 75,000 foreign-born individuals who already hold H-1B visas or F-1 student visas and who start companies in the United States.
In the first year of business, these entrepreneurs would be required to employ at least two full-time, non-family workers and to invest or raise an investment of $100,000 or more.
By meeting the first-year requirements, recipients would be granted a three-year visa extension. If, over that three-year period, the business owner has hired, on average, one additional employee each year, he or she may apply for permanent status.
“There’s hope that 2013 finally may be the year the United States implements comprehensive immigration reform,” said Dane Stangler, director of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “However, that legislation would fall short if it fails to create a new visa for the thousands of potential foreign-born entrepreneurs who are already in the country, particularly those who are likely to start technology and engineering firms. Increasing their numbers would accelerate U.S. economic and job growth and help offset the steadily declining numbers of native entrepreneurs.”
Previous research has shown that immigrant-founded technology and engineering startups employ an average of 21.37 people per firm.
A National Foundation for American Policy analysis of the top 50 venture capital¬backed companies in 2011 revealed that 24 were founded or co-founded by immigrants.