(Updated at 3:46 p.m. with revised transfer policy)
JEFFERSON CITY – With its president acknowledging that an earlier vote was an overreaction, the Missouri state board of education reversed itself Tuesday and broadened the terms under which students living in Normandy may transfer to nearby accredited districts in the upcoming school year.
With two weeks to go until teachers report for the beginning of the new school year, the Normandy Schools Collaborative said Monday it has hired 80 percent of the staff it needs, from custodians to principals.
But just to make sure it hasn’t overlooked any good teachers who are still looking for employment, the district said it will be holding a job fair two days later this week.
Several parents of students who live in the Normandy school district filed suit in St. Louis County Circuit Court Monday, challenging the state’s move to limit the number of students who may transfer out of Normandy to accredited school districts.
Rodney Norman grew up in the St. Louis neighborhood near Mitchell School, though he didn’t go there, and he knows what the closure of the school did to the area near Page and Goodfellow boulevards.
Now, say Norman and his wife, Juanita, they know what the reopening of the building, as the KIPP Victory Academy for 200 students in kindergarten and first grade, will mean when classes begin next month.
Now that the dramas of the state takeover and the uncertainty of student transfers have mostly passed, the board of the new Normandy Schools Collaborative started working Monday night on their main goal: Raising student achievement.
Missouri's education commissioner Chris Nicastro sat at the board table while some of her assistants presented detailed plans on how to evaluate teaching and learning. The five board members heard the state’s plans for turning the district around.
In their presentation, the process was described this way:
A newly signed law designed to protect religious expression in Missouri’s public schools reinforces a constitutional amendment passed two years ago, but some say that it could lead to fewer opportunities for students to express their religious views.
The law, HB1303, was signed last week by Gov. Jay Nixon. Dubbed the “Missouri Student Religious Liberties Act,” it says that:
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