Education

knittymarie / Flickr

With less than three months on the job, Normandy School District Superintendent Tyrone McNichols has a clear plan to regain accreditation from the state and a strong message about the help he needs to make that plan successful.

The main academic components of McNichols' plan involve a new literacy program in partnership with the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a new focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). As part of the focus on STEM, a new science program is being implemented through a partnership with Washington University.

Courtesy Normandy School District

Now that the school transfer process is in full swing, we’re taking a look at the new superintendents who are hustling to earn back state accreditation for their school districts.

Both men have only been on the job for a few months, and facing long odds, they’re reaching out the community to help get their schools back on track.

This two part report starts on the first day of school in the parking lot of Normandy High School. 

Intel Free Press/Wikimedia Commons

Students at Kirkwood High School became the latest to join AT&T's nationwide push to stop texting and driving.

(via Flickr/evmaiden)

Missouri education officials are seeking an additional $6.8 million to help Normandy school district.

The State Board of Education approved the budget request on Tuesday. That's the first step in a process that ultimately requires the support of the governor and Legislature to become a reality.

Students started transferring out of the Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts this year under a state law that requires unaccredited districts to pay the costs for students who want to attend other public schools.

Courtesy Normandy School District

Normandy and Riverview Gardens School Districts are unaccredited. St. Louis Public Schools is only provisionally accredited. 

Provided by Susan Uchitelle

All of us should be greatly concerned that the continuation of the Sequestration will have an extremely negative impact on the future of our schools and our school age children. It adversely impacts education in many ways
 

Cast a Line / Flickr

Welcome to our guide to the Missouri school transfers situation. This document will be updated as the news changes and we gather more information.

Have more questions? Tweet us at @stlpublicradio or leave it in the comments below.

Last updated 1/07/14

What is this law?

Will the law be changed?

Which districts are involved in the St. Louis region?

As the committee assigned to help figure out what's next for St. Louis Public Schools winds up its work, one of the main questions it is asking is: How should the city school board be chosen, by election or by appointment?

But based on the discussion the five members had on Monday afternoon, as important as how is the question of who.

Students aren't the only ones who get report cards -- school districts do, too. And the latest numbers for some troubled school districts in the St. Louis area aren't encouraging.

The two Missouri districts in the area that have only provisional accreditation, Jennings and Normandy, still are far short from making the grade, preliminary numbers released Monday show. And the two districts that have been taken over by the state -- St. Louis and Riverview Gardens -- aren't improving either.

After Cleveland Hammonds took charge of the St. Louis Public Schools on July 1, 1996, he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he was coming into the job as the 23rd superintendent of the largest public school system in Missouri with eyes wide open.

"I know there are great challenges -- I'm not that naive," he said.

Paideia Academy, which had planned to open its school year the day after Labor Day despite having lost its charter to operate, won't be opening after all.

Fred Robinson, president of the school's board, said Thursday that an effort to secure financing for the school had not worked out, so it would not be accepting students, at least for now. He said the decision was made earlier this week.

"The deal we were working on didn't work," Robinson said, declining to give further details. "The deal we were working on fell through."

Although as a kid it was anathema to proclaim my delight in the first day of school, I was thrilled when Labor Day finally rolled around. It meant summer vacation was finally over.

St. Louis Public Schools have paid out as much as a teacher's salary for a full year to teachers who have yet to have their own class this fall, the district acknowledged Tuesday.

Because of unusual movement of teachers, as schools were forced to reconstitute their staffs as part of a turnaround effort, as many as 26 teachers were not assigned to classes that matched their certification, according to Sharonica Hardin, the school system's chief human resource officer.

The elected board of the St. Louis Public Schools wants to resume control of the district no later than July 1 of next year, ending what would be four years of state control of the city schools. It also is looking for new sources of funding and a cap on new charter schools until the district's enrollment stabilizes.

What's the best relationship between teachers and students? Love? Admiration? Respect?

What would you do if your class were deeply involved in a creative project, like a movie or a newspaper or a play, and the principal came along and said you had to get back to basics because standardized test time was coming up?

The sign above the door at Paideia Academy in north St. Louis proclaims NOW ENROLLING, with another banner saying: Classes Begin Aug. 20th.

But four days before its school year was supposed to begin, Paideia Academy -- the north St. Louis charter school that lost its charter, its sponsor and its lawsuit to remain open -- isn’t saying whether it will be teaching students this fall or when those classes might really begin.

Executive compensation is a hot-button topic. Numerous reports document that chief executives of major corporations earn salaries that far exceed those of their workers. And, amid the financial crisis and recession, we have seen that compensation and performance are not always linked.

Richard Gaines
Drew Canning | 2010 | St. Louis Beacon

Responding to the message that a $155 million bond issue for the St. Louis Public Schools would require no tax increase,  city voters gave the proposal an overwhelming victory Tuesday.

With 100 percent of the city’s precincts reporting, Proposition S, won with 76 per cent of the vote, and school officials declared victory. It needed a four-sevenths majority for passage, or 57.1 percent..

If brightly colored T-shirts, inspirational slogans and sheer enthusiasm can turn a school district around, Riverview Gardens - make that the NEW Riverview Gardens - could be on its way back.

But as speakers conceded Monday morning during the opening convocation for the reconstituted district, the turnaround is going to take a lot more than school spirit.

"Everything will be tied to what affects learning at the classroom level," new Superintendent Clive Coleman said in an interview before he took the stage to rally the troops.

DESE says that MAP scores are up, even though most local districts did not meet AYP targets, but Missouri's commissioner of education says rather than concentrating on what is mandated by NCLB, parents and others should concentrate on APR.

To translate for those of you who do not understand eduspeak:

The latest results on the Missouri Assessment Program show growth across the board, but the numbers were not high enough to meet the annual yearly progress mark set by the federal No Child Left Behind act.

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