By LESLIE COLLINS
August 15, 2012
Kansas City Public Schools met two additional state standards this year, but it’s not enough to regain state accreditation. Two other school districts also failed to regain accreditation, St. Louis City and Riverview Gardens.
KCPS lost its accreditation in January of 2012, after being provisionally accredited since 2002.
KCPS met a total of five standards on the state’s 2012 Annual Performance Report (APR), including one bonus point. KCPS earned the Bonus MAP (Missouri Assessment Program) Achievement point for improving in four areas: math (grades third through fifth); math (grades sixth through eighth); communication arts (grades sixth through eighth); and Algebra I. The school district also met requirements for advanced courses, career education courses, college placement and career education placement.
For K-12 school districts, a district must meet 9 of the 14 standards to receive full accreditation and six standards to receive provisional accreditation. Kindergarten through eighth grade school districts have seven standards and must meet five to be fully accredited and four to receive provisional accreditation.
Asked if she’s satisfied with KCPS’ progress, Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro said, “No, of course it’s not satisfactory. We’re not looking for districts to gain a single point or provisional accreditation. We want to show high levels of improvement for all kids in all areas.”
Nicastro added that one year of fluctuation doesn’t guarantee long-term success.
As for Missouri as a whole, Nicastro said she’s pleased with the progress of schools and students. Nearly 600,000 students took the MAP tests last spring and the state saw gains in both communication arts and math. Fifty-five percent of Missouri students are proficient or advanced in communication arts and 55 percent are proficient or advanced in math.
“We continue in Missouri to set very high standards, and we continue to hold our districts and our students accountable for continuous school improvement,” Nicastro said.
KCPS: What happens now
Although KCPS continues to struggle, the state can’t step in immediately.
“The Department (of Elementary and Secondary Education), under current law, cannot do anything significant until June 30, 2014,” Nicastro said. “So, we will continue our improvement efforts and continue to provide support to the district as they continue to work toward improving student performance.”
That support includes monthly meetings with KCPS officials and the Regional School Improvement Team to review plans and provide feedback. In addition, a turn-around team has been assigned to KCPS to meet monthly with principals and district personnel to create strategies for schools in most need of academic assistance. Turn-around team members will continue to visit
classrooms and document their observations. Missouri Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education representatives will also ensure that KCPS’ curriculum is aligned with the state’s curriculum and standards, Nicastro said.
Northeast News contacted KCPS regarding the recently released MAP scores and accreditation status, but district officials were not available for comment.
However, KCPS has already begun circulating fliers regarding its accreditation status. One flier titled, “Make It Better,” states the school district’s lack of accreditation won’t prevent students from attending a top college or university.
“There’s only one way to college – hard work, good study habits, high test scores, and consistent attendance…” the flier states. “Nothing, even lack of accreditation by KCPS, will hold you back.”
Missouri School Districts:
510 – fully accredited
9 – provisionally accredited
6 – accreditation status to be determined in September
3 – unaccredited
How KCPS stacks up against area districts
2012 – 64.3 percent
2011 – 57.4 percent
2010 – 65.2 percent
North Kansas City
2012 – 88.2 percent
2011 – 84.9 percent
2010 – 86.1 percent
2012 – 85.6 percent
2011 – 90.1 percent
2010 – 86.3 percent
Number of State Standards Met for 2012
KCPS – 5 standards
North Kansas City – 12
Independence – 14
(K-12 districts must meet 9
of 14 standards to be fully accredited)
2012 – 93.1 percent
2011– 90.7 percent
2010 93.9 percent
2012 85.8 percent
2011 – 84 percent
2010 – 80.8 percent
North Kansas City
2012 – 95.5 percent
2011 – 95.2 percent
2010 – 95.2 percent
2012 – 92.7 percent
2011 – 92.5 percent
2010 – 92.1 percent
2012 – 94.3 percent
2011 – 94 percent
2010 – 94.1 percent
2012 – 91.8 percent
2011 – 90.5 percent
2010 – 91.7 percent