UG to discuss highway projects, casino grants today

The Unified Government Commission is scheduled to discuss highway projects and casino charitable grant committee intent and process at a special session at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, in the fifth floor conference room, Suite 515, City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kan.

After the special session will be a closed session regarding litigation.

At 7 p.m., the UG Commission will hold its regular meeting in the Commission Chambers, City Hall, lobby level.

On the agenda for the regular meeting are a discussion of population and job growth forecasts; a review of the plat for the Family Dollar at 81st and Leavenworth Road; and a few other items.

The agenda is online at www.wycokck.org.

Flags to fly at half-staff today

Gov. Sam Brownback has ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff from sunup to sundown on Thursday, Sept. 11, in observance of Patriot Day.

By a joint resolution approved Dec. 18, 2001, Congress designated Sept. 11 of each year as Patriot Day, and by Public Law 111-13, approved April 21, 2009, requested the observance of Sept. 11 as an annually recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance.

“On Sept. 11, we honor the memories of the men, women and children who perished that day,” Gov. Brownback said. “We remember their families and friends. And we remember the courage of our first responders who rushed forward in the face of extreme danger to rescue those who needed help. I urge all Kansans to take a moment today to pray for those we lost, their families and friends and to remember the bravery of first responders across the nation.”

Patriot Day is an annual observance to remember those who were injured or died during the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

Teachers’ dreams come true as Google funds all Kansas City projects on donor website

Turner Sixth-Grade Academy students in an after-school art club will have more art supplies thanks to a donation this week. (Photo courtesy of Donors Choose)
Turner Sixth-Grade Academy students in an after-school art club will have more art supplies thanks to a donation this week. (Photo courtesy of Donors Choose)

Last year, Alyssa Passmore purchased a lot of art supplies out of her own pocket for the Turner Sixth Grade Academy after-school art club.

She said she was completely surprised on Wednesday when she learned that Google had funded her request for $398 for art supplies for the Doodle Dogs Art Club on the DonorsChoose.org website.

Not only was her request funded, but also funded by Google was every request on that website from teachers in the Kansas City area.

Working with art projects after school helps her sixth-grade students spend time in a positive and productive way, she said in her request for funds.

“The kids are absolutely thrilled that they’re getting more supplies than we can fund,” she said.

Like a lot of teachers, Passmore sometimes uses her own funds to buy supplies for the students.

Last year, Passmore got some donations from Savers of supplies, and she asked her teacher friends if they could donate an extra gallon of paint for the students’ projects. The Donors Choice website also helped her fund a clay art project earlier this year.

While she does receive a budget for supplies and has a very supportive administration that has increased the funding for art supplies, these funds will allow her students to do some extra enriching projects, she said.

The Turner sixth-grade students will use this funding for making wire sculptures, finger crocheting, mobiles, and inspirational posters for the school, she said.

“Now with this funding I can do my dream projects with the kids,” Passmore said.

In one day, Google made the wishes of 23 teachers come true in Wyandotte County, funding classroom projects valued at more than $64,000, according to the staff of Donors Choose.

In the Kansas City metro area, the total was estimated to be almost $200,000 for 152 classroom projects. Google funded every teacher request in the Kansas City area that was on the DonorsChoose.org website. Only public schools are listed on this website.

Chris Pearsall of Donors Choose said that Google funded teachers’ projects in several cities recently, including San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Austin. After the news hits about projects being funded, they hear comments from other teachers that they’d wish they’d known about it and had put a request for funding on the website.

But the Google funding also tends to help everyone, as more visitors go to the website and fund the newer projects that are being listed there every day, he said.

Twenty of the Wyandotte County projects funded were from the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools, while one was from the Piper district and one from the Turner district.

The funding means more classroom laptop computers for students at Whittier Elementary School; iPads for some students at Kennedy Elementary School; as well as tablets and other supplies at other schools in the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools district.

In the Piper district, Google funded a $24,681 request for Race to 21st Century Learning to buy 50 Apple iPads that will create two mobile 21st Century labs.

A Piper Elementary School teacher stated, “This has been a dream of many Piper Elementary teachers for years. We currently have one to two iPads per classroom that is utilized for student use during the day. Like other schools, we see the world opening up for students due to the user friendly and interactive approach of learning with iPads. However, due to current state funding, it has been put on the back burner for many years. Google has opened the doors for our students to create, explore and learn by providing 50 iPads. This will allow us to create two mobile learning labs where students will use the technology to design apps, write code, and produce movies all based on 21st Century skills and our common core standards. They will be used to their fullest potential and Piper teachers could not be happier about this opportunity for our kids. Thank you, Google.“

Mobile computer labs will be purchased after a donation to the Piper Elementary School. (Photo courtesy of Donors Choose)
Mobile computer labs will be purchased after a donation to the Piper Elementary School. (Photo courtesy of Donors Choose)