St. Clair R-XIII School District officials said they believe it will take an additional couple of years of collecting data from the Missouri School Improvement Program’s latest revised accreditation summary report to determine if any dramatic changes need to be made in the way local students are educated.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education earlier this month released its first true MSIP 5 summary reports for state public schools. The revised annual performance report gave St. Clair R-XIII an 88.6 percent score.
A year ago, when preliminary scores were released, St. Clair checked in at 92.1 percent.
“We think it will take us a minimum of three years to create a true percentage of where we are as a district in regards to state standards,” R-XIII Superintendent Mike Murphy told The Missourian. “In my opinion, this year is the first-year baseline results. ... We’re not going to dramatically change our focus after just this one year.
“We’re going to continue to prepare our teachers at this same level of rigor and use initiatives aimed at engaging students in an attempt to reach the achievement level we’re seeking.”
Murphy also said that last year’s report was “projectionary information” plugged in to see how schools might fit into the updated evaluation summary.
DESE’s fifth revision of its annual performance report ranks state school districts in five standards. Each standard has a certain number of points a district can earn which then leads to a percentage.
St. Clair’s percentages in the five MSIP 5 standards ranged from 100 to 66.7 percent. The 100 percent was earned for graduation rate. The 66.7 percent was tallied in college and career readiness.
“Our area of concern is our students being college and career ready,” Murphy said. “If we have higher scores in other areas, but lower scores there, we need to take a long look at that. We plan to focus on that this year.”
Other scores were 94.6 percent in academic achievement, 96.4 percent in academic subgroup achievement and 75 percent in attendance rate.
St. Clair’s overall MSIP 5 point total was 124 out of a possible 140. That computes to the 88.6 percent. Last year, the tally was 129.
“We never can be totally satisfied, but we’re happy with where we are with this,” Assistant Superintendent Nadine Myers said. “We have things in place to continue to be successful.”
Myers said a check of other kindergarten through 12th-grade school districts in the area showed St. Clair behind only Gasconade R-I (131 points) and Washington (127.5). It fared better than Meramec Valley (122), De Soto (113.5), Potosi (110.5), Union (106), Crawford R-II (105.5), Gasconade R-II (104.5) and Crawford R-I (96.5).
According to information from the state, a district must come in at 70 percent to be accredited. That equals 98 points in a K-12 district. A score of 90 percent or above, plus additional undetermined criteria from the state, would qualify a district for accreditation with distinction.
Just taking the percentages into consideration, St. Clair R-XIII would not have been accredited with distinction this year but would have last year.
Academic achievement includes general instruction focus in English/language arts, math, science and social studies at the elementary, middle school and high school levels. St. Clair received 53 out of 56 possible points.
English/language arts, math and science results all came in at 100 percent with 16 out of 16 points in each. In social studies, however, only 5 out of a possible 8 points were earned.
The academic subgroup category covers the same subject areas but includes assessing minority students, students with limited proficiency in English, students with disabilities, students eligible for free or reduced lunches and students receiving special education services.
St. Clair’s tally was 13.5 out of a possible 14. The half-point was lost in social studies.
The college and career ready category uses information such as ACT, SAT, COMPASS or the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery scores, other assessments and percentages of postsecondary placement. Here, R-XIII garnered 20 out of a possible 30 points.
Murphy said it is his understanding that “it will be increasingly difficult” to continue to meet additional standards set by the state in the future.
“The measure will become more rigorous and stringent and will become more challenging for public schools to meet the criteria year after year,” he said. “With the standard levels going up, we will have to elevate our level of focus.
“To continue to reach the achievement level the state is seeking, it’s going to require a unified effort,” he said. “We view it triangularly with the school, parents and community all surrounding the success of students. As we delve into content-area curriculum, student engagement and parental involvement is essential. It will take everyone working together to make students successful with 21st century skills.
“And MSIP 5 is one component of the process.”
According to information from DESE, the fifth version of the Missouri School Improvement Program was approved by the state board of education in 2011, giving schools two years to prepare for the new accountability standards.
Over the past four years, DESE has engaged in and solicited meaningful input from students, parents, teachers, school administrators, education organizations and business leaders about the revised accountability system. The feedback from those discussions consistently urged the state to create a system that recognizes continuous and sustained improvement in every school district in the state.
“The primary goal of MSIP 5 is to prepare students for success in postsecondary education and a career,” a DESE press release reads. “Preparing students for college and careers is one of the primary goals of the Top 10 by 20 initiative, which calls for Missouri to rank in the top 10 performing states in the nation by the year 2020.”
The same information states that the classification or reclassification of school districts based on MSIP 5 is not anticipated until 2015. Education officials, as Murphy indicated, say a three-year period is needed to show long-term, sustained performance trends for districts.