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JHS senior named National Merit Scholarship semifinalist  
null JHS senior Matt Riechman-Bennett

was named a semifinalist in the 59th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors and includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. 


There are approximately 16,000 academically talented high school seniors who will have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,000 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $35 million. The scholarships will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements and advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title. Finalists will be notified in February 2014. 



Destroyed pavilion rebuilt at Cecil Floyd through generous donation  
The students and staff of Cecil Floyd Elementary returned from  summer break to a school with a brand new pavilion. McCarthy, the construction company that is rebuilding Mercy Hospital, donated time and funds to restore the pavilion that was lost in the May 22, 2011 tornado. In addition, McCarthy is in the process of fixing a drainage problem that has affected the school's soccer field for null
some time.


"Students go out there every day for the shade, and the art class has been using it to do drawings," said Principal Gayle Hennessey. "We're also able to use it for community and parent events."


The drainage problem in the soccer field has reduced the amount of play space, and so the work McCarthy is doing will be beneficial during recess and P.E., Hennessey said.


The improvements don't stop there for Cecil Floyd. The PTA will purchase new playground equipment in the near future.


Former truancy officer has one-of-a-kind teaching job for Joplin Schools  
null Kimberly Lankford has a one-of-a-kind job for Joplin Schools, literally! She is the teacher at the Joplin Juvenile Detention Center and is the only Joplin Schools' employee there.


She doesn't have a conventional classroom or school day, working with a maximum of six students at a time in separate morning and afternoon classes. The students she teaches range in age from 12 to 17. Her lesson plans are unique to her position as well.


"I teach all four common core classes...but I also do a lot of social and life skills," said Lankford. "They have a voice in the classroom; we have a lot of group discussion, and I think that's more conducive to learning for these types of students."


Aside from teaching in a nontraditional setting, Lankford faces other challenges including the varying time periods she will have students in her class.


"You get really attached to them and you'll come in one day and their name will be off the board because they've been released," she said. "You don't get that closure that you would in a normal school setting, like on the last day of school."


Another challenge she has is knowing that many of the children she works with will return to environments that don't encourage education.


"You just hope that you plant seeds, and maybe five years down the road that will click, and a light will come on," she said.


A former truancy officer, Lankford was inspired by her family to combine teaching with her criminal justice background, and she took her current position in 2009. She is also a mentor through the Check and Connect Program for Joplin High School.


"I really do enjoy these kids, and I get that respect back, and I hope they take something from that," she said. "I just feel like through education I can inspire them to better their lives."



Free health careers day camp open to middle school students 

Freeman Health System's Healthcare Career Day Camps are open to middle school students who are interested in careers in science, medicine, or he
nullalthcare.  At the camp, your child can spend a day in the former operating rooms at Freeman Hospital East learning about hospital jobs, conducting fun science experiments, and participating in hands-on healthcare exploration activities! The camps are free and held on days when students are out of class. Enrollment packets are due September 27. To find out more and to pick up an enrollment packet, call your child's middle school.

Enrollment open for FTC Community Education fall classes 
Do you want to improve your photography skills? What about  learning how to bake artisan breads from the experts at Mohaska Farmhouse? From basic computer skills to entertaining with class, you have a variety of choices when it comes to FTC's fall community education classes.

To learn more and enroll, call 417-625-5269 or visit

View class schedule


Attendance matters!  

Missing a day here and there won't hurt, right? Research shows that null absences, excused or unexcused, can add up to academic trouble.

  • Attendance matters as early as kindergarten. Studies show many children who miss too many days in kindergarten and first grade can struggle academically in later years. They often have trouble mastering reading by the end of third grade.

  • By middle and high school, chronic absence is a leading warning sign that a student will drop out.

  • Too many absent students can affect the whole classroom, creating churn and slowing down instruction.

Parents can help: 

  • Avoid extended vacations that require your children to miss school.
  • For younger children, you can set a regular bedtime and morning routine. Make sure they get 9 to 11 hours of sleep. You can lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
  • For older children, you can help set homework and bedtime routines that allow for 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 hours of sleep. Make sure that when the lights go out so do cell phones, video games, and computers. 
  •  Above all, set an example for your child. Show him or her that attendance matters to you and that you won't allow an absence unless someone is truly sick. 




Sept. 24: Board of Education Work Session and Meeting, 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm @ Joplin Schools Administration Building  


Oct. 4: Homecoming, Joplin vs. Waynesville, 7:00 pm @ Junge Field  


Nov. 4, 5, 7: Academic All Stars, 6:30 pm @ College Heights Christian Church -


 Click here for more events



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