September 27, 2013
Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) will have one more chance this year to defend its case for provisional accreditation. Chances for receiving provisional accreditation are dwindling, however.
Yesterday, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced it would not be recommending provisional accreditation for KCPS. However, KCPS’ quest for provisional accreditation will still be placed on the Oct. 22 agenda of the State Board of Education, which will make the final decision.
KCPS Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green, along with KCPS officials, presented their case for provisional accreditation to the DESE Department Leadership Team earlier this month.
“Your group was well prepared and your presentation gave an excellent overview of the efforts underway in Kansas City,” Missouri Commissioner of Education Dr. Chris Nicastro wrote in a letter to Green dated Sept. 26. “We were pleased to see the progress made this past year as reported on the district’s Annual Performance Report (APR) and the improved financial stability and climate. All of you, your staff and the students deserve recognition for this progress.”
However, KCPS’ strides aren’t enough.
For evaluating school district performance and accreditation, DESE has now switched to MSIP 5 (Missouri School Improvement Program) Performance Standards which looks for “high achievement as well as sustained improvement in district performance.” According to Nicastro, a majority of the 2013 Annual Performance Report (APR) points were earned as a result of progress made in 2011 and 2012, “two years when the district produced extremely low results.”
Results from the 2013 APR indicate that about 70 percent of KCPS students are failing to be proficient in all four subject areas: math, science, English and social studies. In addition, KCPS failed to meet established targets for individual growth in grades four to eight in math and English. MSIP 5 is designed to use the last three years’ worth of APRs to make recommendations.
“The data suggest that the district has hard work ahead to improve student performance,” a DESE press release stated.
During an Aug. 23 press conference at Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, Green stressed the progress KCPS has made. For the 2013 APR, KCPS earned 84 points, enough to qualify for provisional accreditation. MSIP 5 points range from 0 to 140, and to earn full accreditation, a school district must score at least 98 points. Benchmarks include academic achievement on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP), attendance rates, graduation rates, college and career readiness, among other criteria. When KCPS received a September 2012 preliminary report using the new scale, KCPS scored only 27.5 points, the lowest in the state.
“Though we recognize the hard work and commitment by district leaders, principals, teachers, parents and students, the school system has yet to demonstrate the sustainable trend of improvement, nor the adequate levels of achievement, necessary to grant reaccreditation,” Nicastro wrote.
Green will further discuss plans for student achievement and achieving full accreditation during his State of the Schools address Monday, Sept. 30, at 10 a.m. at Paseo Academy, 4747 Flora Ave., Kansas City, Mo.