Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Education Commissioner
4:41 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Nicastro Gets Mixed Grades For Education Tenure

Chris Nicastro
Credit DESE website

Now that she has announced her retirement at the end of the year, how should Chris Nicastro’s tenure as Missouri’s commissioner of education be graded?

Using the guarded tone of academia, Alex Cuenca, an assistant professor of education at Saint Louis University, gave this assessment Tuesday:

“I think she did the best she could with the circumstances she was given and the cards she was dealt.”

The response from state Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, who himself is about to leave public service after a long career in the General Assembly, was pithier.

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Education Commissioner
12:18 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Nicastro To Retire As Head Of Missouri Schools

Chris Nicastro
Credit DESE website

Updated 5:01 p.m. with reaction, more details.

Chris Nicastro, whose sometimes controversial tenure as Missouri’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education has been marked by efforts to improve urban schools and the transfer program out of Normandy and Riverview Gardens, announced Monday she will retire at the end of the year.

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Student Transfers
9:17 am
Sun September 14, 2014

Restrictions Eased For Normandy School Transfers

Credit Stephanie Zimmerman

As legal efforts continue to open the Francis Howell school district to students who want to transfer from Normandy, a new policy shift has increased the pool of students able to transfer to any local accredited district.

The move raises new concerns about the financial survival of Normandy, which was taken over by the state after transfer costs drove it to the brink of bankruptcy last school year.

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Education Standards
2:31 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Missouri Begins Process Of Replacing Common Core

Credit (via Flickr/MforMarcus)

Though the national Common Core state standards will still be used to test Missouri students for the current school year, the process to replace them with standards written by Missourians has begun.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said Friday that groups designated to come up with the new Missouri Learning Standards, as set up by legislation signed by Gov. Jay Nixon in July, will begin meeting later this month in Jefferson City.

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School transfers
2:51 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Tuition Policy Change Could Lead To Bankruptcy in Normandy

Credit (via Google Maps screen capture)

Missouri education officials now say they will pay whatever tuition a receiving district charges for transfer students from Normandy, rather than a lower amount imposed earlier, raising new concerns about the state-run district's ability to survive financially.

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Annual report card
12:01 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Normandy Falls, Riverview And St. Louis Rise In Newest School Report Cards

Credit Stephanie Zimmerman

Take a look at a statewide map showing how districts performance has changed between the past two school years, as well as five takeaways from the report cards.

While St. Louis Public Schools and Riverview Gardens have made solid gains in their push toward accreditation, Normandy finds itself in a deeper hole, earning just 7.1 percent of the possible points in Missouri’s latest list of school report cards released Friday.

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Student Achievement
6:17 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Statewide MAP Test Scores Down In English, Math & Science, Up In Social Studies

The Missouri State Board of Education announced a drop in this year's state MAP scores over last year.
Credit Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Figures released today Tuesday by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) show an overall drop in standardized test scores for the state's public school students.

Fewer students during the past school year achieved "proficient" scores for English, math and science sections of the Missouri Assessment Program, or MAP, tests.  Social studies was the only subject that saw overall scores rise.  

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Transfer Lawsuit
12:23 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Answers To Normandy School Questions: Fate Of Transfers Hinges On A Few Words

Credit (via Google Maps screen capture)

As a St. Louis County circuit judge weighs whether four families who live in Normandy have the right to send their children to nearby accredited districts in the upcoming school year, Missouri education officials are trying to clarify action they took recently that is central to the case.

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Student Transfers
5:37 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Normandy Families Blocked From Student Transfers Argue Their Case In Court

Credit Stephanie Zimmerman

The end of summer is coming for most area students, if it hasn’t already arrived, but the uncertainty over transfers out of Normandy remains.

The attorney for parents suing to allow their students to transfer out of Normandy accused state education officials Wednesday of using “linguistical magic” to change the rules by saying that the new Normandy district is accredited and Missouri’s transfer statute does not apply.

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State School Board
3:46 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Missouri School Board Loosens Normandy Transfer Rules

Peter Herschend
Credit DESE website

(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.

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