Abigail Beckman

Reporter

Abigail Beckman joined the KMUW team in April 2014. Born and raised in a small Colorado mountain town, she is still getting used to being a flatlander.

She graduated from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., with degrees in journalism and Spanish in 2012. Immediately following, Abigail worked as the news editor of the Dodge City Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kan., where her primary focus was covering crime news. She graduated with a Master of Arts in communication from Wichita State University in the spring of 2015.

Her work has been featured on NPR’s "Only A Game” and “Weekend Edition Sunday.” She has recorded and produced stories for Harvest Public Media and various public radio stations across the state of Kansas. In 2015, she wrote and produced the radio documentary “The Pieces that Remain: Remembering the Wichita State University Plane Crash which won a 2016 Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media, a 2016 regional Edward R. Murrow Award, a first place in the News Documentary category from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI) in 2016, was named Outstanding Graduate Professional Project by the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University for 2015, and took first place in the 2016 special program category from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters.

For another piece called Reaching Out: The Ongoing Relationship Between the WPD and the Homeless," Abigail earned a national Edward R. Murrow Award. The Kansas Association of Broadcasters (KAB) awarded Abigail second place in the 2016 spot news category for her story on budget cuts within Wichita Public Schools that nearly closed the city's adult learning centers. A group project looking into the tight-knit community of Hesston, Kansas following a mass shooting that Abigail completed with co-workers Carla Eckels, Deborah Shaar and Aileen LeBlanc was awarded first place from the KAB in 2016, as well.

The Kansas Association of Broadcasters (KAB) awarded Abigail second place in the spot news category and news feature categories in 2015 for two pieces — Taps: The Hardest 24 Notes and Reaching Out: The Ongoing Relationship Between the WPD and the Homeless."

Ways to Connect

Reno County Fire District #6 / Facebook

Editor's note: This post was updated on Wednesday at 7:22 p.m.

More than 650,000 acres have burned during the course of multiple wildfires that have moved across Kansas since Saturday.

Wichita Sudbury School Facebook

This coming fall, two women from Wichita are planning to open the first Sudbury School in the state of Kansas.

The school follows a non-traditional model of education, putting the responsibility for learning on each individual student.

Joanna Jenkins is helping to spearhead the new school. She says the model embraces a child's natural curiosity.

Abigail Beckman / KMUW

The superintendent of Wichita Public Schools says it's impossible to know the immediate impact of Thursday's Kansas Supreme Court ruling that the state is not adequately funding its public schools. Still, the district says the ruling is a good thing for students here and across the state.

lesslethal.com

The Wichita Police Department is training officers on the use of less-lethal weapons in certain situations.

The ALSTAC-40 weapon system recently purchased by the department shoots a foam or sponge-like round, rather than a bullet. The WPD currently has four of the 40-millimeter launchers, with four additional units on backorder.

Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said during a briefing Wednesday that the foam rounds have been in the testing stage at the department for about a year. He said 60 supervisors within the WPD are trained to use the weapons.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

The Wichita Public School District is looking for feedback on the longer school days that were put into place this year.

In the face of increasing costs and flat funding from the state, the district lengthened the school day by 30 minutes. The change allowed USD 259 to make the school year 15 days shorter, saving nearly $3 million in operating costs.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

At an upcoming meeting, the Derby board of education will evaluate how to proceed with its current policy regarding bathroom access for transgender students.

http://www.wichway.org

Beginning Friday, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) will be demolishing a bridge that passes over I-235 in northwest Wichita.

The demolition of the 25th Street bridge over I-235 is set to be completed by 6 a.m. on Monday. The work is part of a nearly $20 million project which will include the rebuilding of five bridges that pass over I-235.

KDOT says I-235 traffic will be rerouted through the area. Traffic will be reduced to a single lane, and existing ramps will be used to avoid the project.

frankieleon, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas is one of only three states that does not allow first responders to carry a drug to reverse opioid overdoses. A bill unanimously approved by the Kansas House on Thursday would change that.

alamosbasement, flickr Creative Commons

Derby Public Schools is holding two public forums on Wednesday night to gather the community's input on the district's next superintendent.

The Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) is helping the Derby school district gather input from students, teachers, and other community members on what they want in a new leader.

Current Superintendent Craig Wilford is set to retire on June 30.

The forums are scheduled for 5:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening in Derby High School’s lecture hall.

Abigail Beckman

For the first time ever, Wichita Public Schools will have a female superintendent. 

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