Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Michele Skalicky

High School juniors and seniors are wrapping up a week at a camp southeast of Branson where they're learning about many different aspects of the natural world.  KSMU's Michele Skalicky visited the camp, and has the story.

Temperatures soared into the middle 90s this week, but that didn’t stop young people attending an environmental camp near Kirbyville from working hard in the late morning sun.

Drury University, Wallace Hall
Theresa Bettmann / KSMU

An annual fundraiser at Drury University has netted $212,000, marking a 15 percent increase for the school over last year.

This was the third year of its “531 Challenge,” which seeks that many donors giving at any level prior to the last day of May – or 5/31.

In total, 644 people gave to Drury, which is a five percent increase in donors from last year. The $212,000 purse was aided by a $50,000 challenge gift from Drury alumna Bobbi Springer. The class of ’49 graduate committed to give that amount if the participation goal was met.

Dan Prater
Bart Anders/KSMU

Roughly 55,000 volunteers dedicated more than 155,000 combined hours to service projects in Greene and Christian Counties. That’s according to 2015 data compiled by Drury’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership.

The Center’s Special Advisor Dr. Sarah Smith and Executive Director Dan Prater presented the survey results on campus Tuesday.

“We wanted to inform community leaders of the importance of (volunteerism) and the work that is being done,” Prater said. “If you are a for-profit company, you really ought to be doing civic engagement.”

Scott Harvey / KSMU

While enrollment of first-year students at Missouri State University has been on an upward trend, it could mean expanding housing services as capacity meets or exceeds needs.

President Clif Smart says a feasibility study is underway to determine the need for a new “traditional style” residence hall.

“If you look back a few years ago our freshmen class; we had a few less than 2,500. And this last year we were about 3,150. In the fall we anticipate being well over 3,200. So we’ve got a growth of about 750 freshmen in the last three years,” says Smart.

Ozarks Food Harvest
Ozarks Food Harvest website

This past school year, 54 percent of students in the Springfield school district received either a free or reduced lunch. So come summer, it might seem that a majority of local youth could struggle to get enough to eat. But that is not the case.

“Parents don’t realize there are open sites and that they can have their kids come in and enjoy breakfast and lunch,” said Amy Gibbons, director of nutrition for Springfield public schools. “It’s the same food we serve during the regular school year, it’s healthy and it meets all the USDA guidelines.”