Jennings School District | St. Louis Public Radio

Jennings School District

Jennings Superintendent Art McCoy talks with students in a construction course at Jennings High School on Jan. 30, 2017.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

All of Jennings High School’s most recent senior class is either bound for college or has found employment, according to the district.

That does include McDonald’s for some grads, but district administrators said the fast-food chain is a partner and enrolled students into its college scholarship program.

Jennings Superintendent Tiffany Anderson takes her turn as a crossing guard.
Jennings School District

A federally funded after-school program used by a dozen St. Louis-area school districts with a high proportion of low-income students is among the targets of President Donald Trump’s proposed education budget cuts.

Lezley McSpadden addressed the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans on July 2, 2016. She will receive her high school diploma from Jennings High School on Friday, May 26, 2017.
Lawrence Bryant | St. Louis American

Lezley McSpadden, the mother of the late Michael Brown Jr., will receive her high school diploma from Jennings High School on Friday, as part of the school’s 100th commencement.

McSpadden, 37, worked with Jennings School District Superintendent Art McCoy Jr. to start the Adult Education Program through which she earned her diploma as its first graduate.

“When I first met with Lezley, I wanted to help with her foundation,” McCoy told The American.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In January, Jennings Superintendent, Dr. Tiffany Anderson, who is credited with turning around the district and helping it reach full accreditation, announced she was leaving to take the position of superintendent with Topeka Public Schools, effective July 1. 

Jennings Freshman Kevion McKay shakes hands with Superintendent-elect Art McCoy Friday, Feb. 19, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 6:30 p.m. with comments from McCoy, board-- The Jennings School District has selected a superintendent to fill the shoes of the woman credited with helping the district regain accreditation. Art McCoy will replace Tiffany Anderson when she takes charge of Topeka Public Schools in July.

McCoy was previously the superintendent for the Ferguson-Florissant School district but stepped down two years ago after that district’s board put him on administrative leave.

Jennings Superintendent Tiffany Anderson takes her turn as a crossing guard.
Jennings School District

Updated 7:10 p.m. Friday with Anderson being hired in Topeka, her comments: Tiffany Anderson, whose leadership in the Jennings school district since 2012 resulted in its earning full accreditation, will become the new superintendent of schools in Topeka, Kan., starting July 1.

The head of the school board in Topeka, Patrick Woods, made the announcement late Friday. Anderson had been one of two finalists for the job.

Jennings Schools
File photo | Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:50 p.m.: JEFFERSON CITY – The Jennings School District’s steady improvement in recent years was rewarded Tuesday when the state board of education granted it full accreditation. But requests for upgrades by the St. Louis Public Schools and Riverview Gardens were put on hold.

Judy Baxter, via Flickr

Three school districts that have been crowing about their latest state report card after years of struggle could find out soon whether they will be rewarded with an upgrade in their accreditation status.

For schools in Jennings and St. Louis, the change would be from provisional accreditation to full accreditation. For Riverview Gardens, which is now one of two unaccredited districts in Missouri, a move up to provisional accreditation could get the district out from under the financial burden of student transfers now in its third year.

Judy Baxter, via Flickr

Struggling school districts in the St. Louis area got some welcome good news with this year’s annual report card from the state.

Riverview Gardens, Jennings and St. Louis Public Schools all posted scores that would put them into the fully accredited range, with more than 70 percent of the 140 points possible on the Annual Performance Report (APR).

Jennings Superintendent Tiffany Anderson takes her turn as a crossing guard.
Jennings School District

The arcane world of school finance in Missouri can be harder to understand than the most obscure poem or the most difficult calculus problem. But clear away all of the acronyms and calculations and modifications, and it comes down to two simple questions:

Should the quality of children’s education depend on where they live? And how important is money to education anyway?

teaching
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Saint Louis University’s School of Education is launching a new teacher training program this week that’s specifically designed for urban education.

The Urban Education Learning Collaborative is small, for now. Just six students will work intensely in the Jennings School District for the next two years.  But Saint Louis University Education Professor, Alex Cuenca, said the hope is to expand to 40 students who will spend all four years working in the same urban school. 

Chardial Samuel, (left) and Rochelle Moore staff the new SPOT clinic at Jennings Senior High.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

As students at Jennings Senior High return for classes, a new school-based health clinic is scheduled to open in the coming weeks. It’s affiliated with “The SPOT,” an existing youth center in St. Louis that offers medical care, counseling and a safe space to stay and do homework.

In the new space at Jennings Senior High, coordinator Chardial Samuel walks through the nearly-finished rooms with a sense of excitement.

Remko van Dokkum | Flickr

Whether it's maintaining privacy online, or knowing how connected students are at home, even well-funded school districts can have a hard time keeping up with the speed of digital change. With that in mind, superintendents and administrators from more than 35 districts across the Midwest will gather for The Future Ready Regional Summit in St. Louis Tuesday to share ideas on how to weave technology into classroom instruction.

Tiffany Anderson appears before the state board of education in Jefferson City Tuesday.
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Updated at 11:33 a.m. with testimony at board meeting:

Riding the crest of improvement on the state’s annual evaluation, Jennings Superintendent Tiffany Anderson sees full accreditation and further gains in the future for the north St. Louis County district.

And Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon, whose district is now the only one in Missouri that is unaccredited, says his staff have laid the foundation for classroom success.