This is the weekly report to the LINC Commission for the week of Sept. 28, 2012. Our board is deeply interested in our work and wanted to learn about -- and share with others -- the great things LINC is helping to accomplish.

LINC in Review - Sept. 2012
LINC in Review - Sept. 2012
In this edition of LINC In Review: LINC Celebrates Lights On Afterschool 2012, Community Leaders talk about Google Fiber at the Sept. LINC Commission Meeting, and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visits Kansas City as part of his Back-to-School Bus Tour.

Lights On Afterschool celebrations highlight health, safety, culture 


LINC Caring Communities sites are planning Lights On Afterschool celebrations across the Kansas City area.


This year's celebrations include health fairs, student performances, cultural celebrations, and evenings devoted to establishing safe ways to get to school.


Information about the celebrations can be found on LINC's Lights On Afterschool webpage,


This annual event is organized by the Afterschool Alliance. National celebrations include lighting up the Empire State Building and Mount Rushmore on Oct. 18. More information can be found at


Lights On Afterschool rallies nationwide give youth a chance to showcase the skills they learn and talents they develop at their afterschool programs, and to send the message that millions more kids need quality afterschool programs.


More than a million people are expected to participate.

"Blitz Nights" seek parent involvement, community cooperation

Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS)
and Parent University will host four Zone Blitz Night events on Thur., Oct. 4.


The idea propelling Zone Blitz Nights is to connect neighborhoods, grassroots resources, and local service providers in order to meet the social needs of students so they may excel in the classroom.


The district has divided schools into four zones - East, Northeast, Central, and Southwest - and will host an event in each zone. All events will have a guest speaker, refreshments, book giveaway, and free childcare provided by LINC.


Zone Blitz Nights are a part of the district's Project Choose program to help students and families take the proper steps to support academic achievement and social growth.


Project Choose is a three-part effort to raise student attendance and reduce the dropout rate. It includes identifying and recovering dropouts, cooperating with juvenile justice authorities, and informing the community how they can contribute.

James, Boone elementaries make area's Title I most-improved list


Several area schools have been rewarded with recognition on the Title I list of most-improved schools.


A recent article in the Kansas City Star highlighted efforts by principal Jo Nemeth at James Elementary (Kansas City Public Schools) to focus on attendance and curriculum. Nemeth also hopes to bring health and dental clinics to the school as a way to "care for the whole child."


Boone Elementary (Center School District) principal Sheryl Cochran talked about the importance of involving parents and making them key players in understanding their child's needs.


Other schools on the list also gave credit to dedicated staff members, increased parent involvement, and a clearer focus on students' future education.


Both James and Boone are LINC Caring Communities sites. Raul Lopez Gomez and Rochelle Owens are the site coordinators, respectively.

Neighborhoods reach Google goals, bring internet to schools


Several Kansas City, Kan. and Kansas City, Mo. neighborhoods - 180 to be exact - will gain access to new Google high-speed gigabit fiber internet thanks to a coordinated community effort to meet pre-registration goals.


The pre-registration drive, which began in July, concluded on Sept. 9 following a final push to pre-register the required number of households.  LINC worked with the Kansas City and Center School Districts, Kansas City Public Library, and other community groups, as well as Google employees to help Google "fiberhoods" - neighborhood divisions set by Google - meet their goals. Fiberhoods which met a set percentage of pre-registered households also earned free high-speed internet for a community building, often the local school, library or community center.


Many other community and neighborhood leaders also stepped up to lead their areas to Google Fiber. Some of these efforts were discussed at the September LINC Commission Meeting. A video from the meeting is available on the LINC website.


An independent website,, tracked the progress of each fiberhood. LINC also set up to distribute information and raise awareness.


Google Fiber offers home internet touted as being 100-times faster than current average internet speeds. Households interested in the service had to pre-register online at and pay a $10 fee. Fiberhoods which didn't meet their goal by Sept. 9 will have a chance to qualify during the next round of installation qualification. A date has not yet been announced.

LINC, libraries will host 2012 Jackson County Spelling Bee


Spelling Bee Logos The Kansas City Public Library (KCPL), Mid-Continent Public Library (MCPL), American Federation of Teachers, and LINC will host the 2012 Jackson County Spelling Bee in February 2013. The winner will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.


The Jackson County Spelling Bee features spelling bees hosted by each participating school followed by three competitions held at KCPL and MCPL locations. Information can be found at


In order to participate, schools must enroll with Scripps at by Oct. 15.


The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation's largest and longest-running educational promotion. Its purpose is to help students improve spelling, increase vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage.

Joan Berkley honored, remembered by LINC and the community

Joan Berkley,
beloved wife of LINC founder Bert Berkley, died recently following a long battle with cancer.


Joan was active in many community causes and very supportive of Bert's effort to establish, support and develop LINC, which was founded in 1992.


She was part of a LINC study tour to Israel and hosted many LINC functions and international guests at their home.


Gayle Hobbs, LINC president shared:


"Joan was an incredible gift to LINC and the entire community. Her love, support, wisdom, wit and compassion helped so many do so much. She is irreplaceable."


Joan was loved by many and will be deeply missed.


A memorial service, held Sept. 19th at the Kansas City Plaza Library, was attended by over 500 people.

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Contact Information
Brent Schondelmeyer, Director of Communications
phone: (816) 410-8350