March State Board Report: Normandy classified as unaccredited, Kansas City Public Schools charter school request granted

Missouri NEA State Board Report

Notes from March 16-17, 2015 meeting of the State Board of Education

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Board classifies the Normandy Schools Collaborative as unaccredited


After a court ruling that the state board could not leave the Normandy Schools Collaborative without an accreditation status, the board voted to classify Normandy as an unaccredited district effective immediately. The Joint Executive Governing Board stays in place, and maintains authority for hiring/firing of employees.  The state did file a notice to appeal the decision in order to keep that option open and give time to further study the ruling and possible legal options. 


Dr. Pearson, interim superintendent for Normandy, gave a report that was originally scheduled for the February board meeting. Dr. Pearson reported on multiple community partnerships, current status, future targets, and key school district initiatives. State board members initiated a discussion about the challenges of attracting and retaining staff.  Dr. Pearson stated that Normandy began this year with 43% of staff as new hires and he expects to start 2015-2016 with 20% new hires.  The district has already identified teachers who will not be offered a contract for next year and collected intent to return forms that indicate additional staff will not return. The district recently hired staff for in-school suspension, and reports that suspensions and expulsions are down from October numbers. Dr. Pearson wants to support National Board Certification among Normandy teachers as a way to improve salary and retention.


After the glowing report from Dr. Pearson and others about changes implemented in Normandy, one member of the state board asked why Normandy was doing a nation-wide search for a new superintendent.  The JEGB president replied that while Dr. Pearson would consider the position, a wide search would assure the community that the board hired the best person for the job. 


Board grants Kansas City Public Schools request to become a charter school sponsor


One-third of students who live in the Kansas City school district attend charter schools, with mixed results for students.  Dr. Green, Kansas City superintendent, has served on several charter school boards and believes that the district offers some advantages as a charter school sponsor.  The state board approved the application.  Kansas City Public Schools now has the opportunity to bring specific charter school proposals to the state board for approval.  The district is in talks with the Urban Neighborhood Initiative about a school in an urban renewal area under consideration. 


Kansas City and St. Louis school districts report to the board


Both districts reported on numerous community partnerships, current status, future targets, and key interventions. Based on student progress data collected by Kansas City, the district hopes to reach over 70% of the possible points on their 2015 Annual Performance Report.  The community is feeling optimistic about their schools. Their future plans include greater involvement with charter schools.   


Saint Louis Public Schools plan to reach full accreditation in 2016. The district is working intensively with 27 schools with low APR scores.  In the last four years, St. Louis has doubled the number of preschool students served.  Their third-grade reading data shows students who attended preschool had twice the scores of students who did not attend preschool.  SLPS is already an approved sponsor of charter schools, and Dr. Adams plans to develop a portfolio of schools within the district to increase school options for all students.


Park Hill School District reports on their virtual education program


Numerous conversations are taking place in state and national legislative bodies, including Missouri, regarding virtual education and the benefits and drawbacks of this type of instructional delivery system. The Park Hill School District, in the greater Kansas City area, requires each student to take one online course in order to graduate from high school.   The school district oversees the development and delivery of the fourteen current virtual courses offered, with over 1,200 students enrolled this year.  Teaching one online course for 25 students counts as one class in a teacher’s workload.  Eighty percent of Park Hill students take personal finance as an online course, and online students scored higher on the state personal finance test than students enrolled in the regular course.  Their experience shows that students are most successful in blended courses, where students meet with the teacher a few times and do the rest of the course work online.  As a result, they are adjusting their courses to require six in-person class sessions during the online course, known as blended learning.   


Method to identify Performance Districts used to calculate state adequacy formula approved


One component of the Missouri School Foundation Formula is the per-pupil spending of high-performing Missouri school districts, called “Performance Districts.” Changes in the Missouri School Improvement Program required that the method of identifying these districts also be updated.  Beginning in Fiscal Year 2017, Performance Districts will be those school districts scoring 90% APR or higher for two consecutive years prior to the calculation.  The two APR percentages for individual districts will be averaged, and the districts ranked beginning with the highest average.  The number of designated Performance Districts will not exceed 25% of all districts. 


Missouri state plan for implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act approved


DESE received many comments, and some changes were made to the proposed rule as a result.  Most changes were to clarify language or update terms.  Previously, a master’s degree was required for Special Education Supervisors, but in the revised rule, only a bachelor’s degree is required.   The following language was added about scheduling Individualized Education Program meetings:

The second attempt to schedule a meeting with the parent must be a direct contact. A direct contact includes regular or certified mail, phone call, or in person contact.

Also, the rule includes an expanded explanation of measurable goals to be included in an IEP as follows:

Measureable goals are specific to a particular skill or behavior to be achieved, measureable/quantifiable, attainable, results oriented, time-bound and can reasonably be accomplished within the duration of the IEP.


In other business the board:

  • Approved a revised Graduation Handbook, clarifying changes in statute and rule.

  • Approved 2015-2016 calendars for state-run schools, such as the Missouri School for the Deaf.

  • Designated four high schools as A+ schools: Delta C-7, Frontier STEM High School, Frontier School of Excellence-North and North Technical High School.

  • Heard an update on development of Missouri’s Equity Plan to improve equitable access to effective teachers.

  • Heard an update on Missouri’s Leadership Development System.

  • Revoked or suspended the Missouri teaching certificate of several individuals, including one who broke their contract in August to take another job.

  • Heard an update on education bills in the Missouri Legislature.

  • Heard an update on progress of the Fiscal Year 2016 Missouri Education Budget.


The next meeting of the state board of education will be April 20-21, 2015.  Missouri NEA will be there!  If you have any questions, contact Brent Fullington or Ann Jarrett at 800-392-0236. Details of state board agenda items can be found at


Respectfully submitted,

Brent Fullington, Vice President, MNEA                    

Ann Jarrett, Teaching and Learning Director, MNEA 

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Posted Date: 3/23/2015
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