accreditation

Brad Wilson / Flickr-CC

The Hickman Mills School District in south Kansas City, Mo., appears to be inching closer to full accreditation.

Hickman Mills lost its full accreditation after several years of dismal test scores.

At the State Board of Education meeting Thursday Hickman Mills and two other districts updated their improvement plans.

Between the 2012-13 school year and 2013-2014 Hickman Mills made huge improvements on test scores and college and career readiness.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Green celebrated the district's recent successes in his annual State of the Schools address Tuesday.

The district regained provisional accreditation last month after losing its standing with the state in 2012. Green, who took over as superintendent shortly thereafter, says many believed at the time the district couldn't be saved.

But he says that attitude isn't helpful in education.

Christopher Sessums / Flickr--CC

Later this week the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will release Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test scores for every school in the state.

The state already released preliminary results for Kansas City Public Schools on Aug. 6 when DESE announced the district had been provisionally accredited. At that time DESE said Kansas City received 86 out of a possible 140 points. Enough for the board to accredit the district for the first time in two years.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon plans to veto legislation that would have allowed students in the unaccredited Kansas City school district to transfer to private schools.

In a statement Friday, Nixon blasted state lawmakers for failing to fix the current school transfer law.

“Throughout the legislative session I repeatedly made it clear that any effort to send public dollars to private schools through a voucher program would be met by my veto pen,” Nixon said. “The General Assembly ignored my warnings, and this veto will be the result.”

  The Hickman Mills school district in Kansas City, Mo., is battling back from a critical state audit that found financial and management issues. Now the next step for the district is winning back its full accreditation – which slipped to provisional status last year. Hickman Mills Board Vice President, Dan Osman, says they have a plan.

Missouri is no longer threatening a quick take-over of the Kansas City school district.

The state's latest proposal instead centers around performance contracts, advice and financial help from the state and a five-tiered school performance ranking system. If an unaccredited district like Kansas City's fails to meet its goals, it would fall to the lowest, or “lapsed” category and likely be taken over by the state.

JEFFERSON CITY -- From the start of Monday’s six-hour session considering a variety of ways to help struggling schools, the head of the Missouri board of education emphasized that the state is concerned about long-range, broad-based policy, not the operations of individual districts.

But as board members heard a number of presentations on suggested reforms, the talk returned time and again to the current transfers out of unaccredited school districts and the impact on the students who live there.

MyTudut/Flickr-CC

You might have guessed that the Kansas City, Mo., schools aren’t happy with the recent ruling that will make them pay for students transferring outside their district. Now, they’re channeling that fury through the courts.

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, we discuss the details of that and take a look at the controversial and secretive long-term plans from the education commissioner for the unaccredited district.

Guests:

The Kansas City school district will go to court to attempt to stop a state Supreme Court ruling from allowing students to transfer to adjoining accredited districts from taking effect. 

After a closed meeting of the school board yesterday, board president Airick West said the district will file for an injunction  blocking the transfers today. West said the action is being taken to protect the students and the progress they and the district have mad over the past 24 months from what he called "outside circumstances that threaten the growth of that achievement."

A proposal to circumvent thousands of potential student transfers in the Kansas City area may be considered by the Missouri General Assembly next year.

Kansas City Superintendent Gets Up To 5 More Years

Oct 24, 2013

As Kansas City schools inch toward regaining accreditation from the State of Missouri, Superintendent Steve Green took a vote of confidence out of a school board meeting October 24.

Green gets a new three-year contract at $250,000. The pact includes a pair of one-year extensions.

Green’s contract also has a $60,000 signing bonus.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Public schools in Kansas City, Mo. will remain unaccredited.

The State Board of Education on Tuesday chose to take no action on a request by Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Green to grant provisional accreditation, based on this year's assessment scores in which the district placed within the provisional range. But State Board President Peter Herschend says there hasn't been sufficient improvement sustained over a period of time.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

It seems like every time there’s been a glimmer of hope for the unaccredited Kansas City Public Schools, those hopes are dashed. In August, KCPS made a remarkable improvement in its report card from the state, meeting the numerical cutoff for provisional accreditation. But in September, Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro recommended that the district stay unaccredited until it shows it can sustain these improvements.

State of Missouri

The hopes of Kansas City Public School officials were dashed last month when Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro recommended the district remain unaccredited.  

KCPS had been seeking provisional accreditation. Officials cited improvements in test scores and other factors. This August, the district earned 60 percent of the total possible points on its state report card (that was up from about 20 percent in a preliminary assessment last year). Fifty percent was the cutoff to be considered for provisional accreditation.

Missouri's Commissioner of Education notified Kansas City Schools Superintendent Steve Green Thursday that she would not recommend changing the district's accreditation. The schools were classified unaccredited in 2012.

Commissioner Chris NiCastro noted improved student performance, but she said one year of advances is not enough.

The  accreditation is on the Missouri Sate Board of Education meeting agenda in October.

Maria Carter / KCUR

Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) leaders are celebrating.  They got a 60 percent on a state evaluation.  That’s 10 percentage points more than needed to get to provisional accreditation, although whether and when that gets restored is up to the state education officials. 

When Superintendent Stephen Green first got the district’s numbers under a new evaluation system in December, they were dismal.

Moments like that either they break you or they make you stronger for having persevered through the break,” said Green.

KCUR

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued guidelines Wednesday regarding student transfers between unaccredited and accredited school districts.

Among other things the guidelines urge accredited districts that border those without accreditation to adopt and publish policy on class size and teacher ratios by August 1.

The Missouri Department Of Elementary and Secondary Education has issued its own guidelines for the transfer process of students from unaccredited districts to those which are accredited.

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The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday over a 20-year-old law that requires unaccredited school districts to pay tuition for students who transfer to nearby accredited schools. 

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

While Missouri lawmakers consider dissolving, splitting up or changing the governance of Kansas City Public Schools, state education officials have resumed working with the district on regaining accreditation by the current deadline of 2014.  

School Standing Loss Creates Academic Bedfellows

Dec 27, 2011

A recent study from University of Missouri-St. Louis may have Kansas City applications as the local school district prepares to lose its  accreditation in January. The survey finds how many students will leave the unaccredited system.

The October-November survey of some 600 St. Louis households finds nearly one-third of public school students would leave that  district if they could transfer to better-performing districts. State law lets them but the law is being contested.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

With Kansas City Public Schools losing accreditation January 1, the district has set up a new policy allowing for students to transfer to accredited districts.