Missouri School Improvement Plan | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri School Improvement Plan

Students cheer during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Rockwood School District's new Eureka Elementary School on Aug. 28, 2019.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri has an updated rubric for measuring whether school districts are educating kids the way they should be.

The State Board of Education approved the changes at its monthly meeting Tuesday.

“It is an exciting day,” said Assistant Education Commissioner Chris Neale as he sat down in front of the board in Jefferson City.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon,  Oct. 2, 2013 - When Missouri school officials release a flood of data every summer, the numbers usually result in a flurry of news, good or bad, then quickly sink from view.

But where the public’s attention ends, school districts’ work is just beginning.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 17, 2013: The Missouri board of education is asking lawmakers for another $6.8 million to help the Normandy school district survive until the end of the school year.

Without the money, state education officials say, Normandy may disappear and its students be divided up among other districts. If the legislature does not come up with the supplemental money, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does not have funds to keep Normandy afloat, a spokeswoman said.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 13, 2013 - Anyone who wants to play what Normandy’s school superintendent calls the “MSIP game” better make sure to know the rules.

Since his district’s annual performance review score was revealed last month to be 11.1 percent – lowest in the state – Ty McNichols and other Normandy administrators have been poring over the numbers, trying to determine the best way to rise out of unaccredited territory by achieving a score of at least 50 percent.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 3, 2013 - This time last year, the St. Louis Public Schools were pushing for an upgrade in their accreditation classification, making the argument that the latest state evaluation gave them enough points to climb out of unaccredited territory.

Chris Nicastro, who heads the department of elementary and secondary education, originally said the district had shown improvement, but not enough to win provisional accreditation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 29, 2013 - Besides hearing updated figures on Normandy High School's discipline incidents, the district's school board meeting Wednesday night also featured a lengthy presentation of Normandy’s scores in last week’s release of numbers from the first year’s evaluations under the fifth cycle of the Missouri School Improvement Plan, or MSIP5.

In the report, Normandy’s earned just 11.1 percent of the points possible, which would keep it mired deep in the unaccredited category.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 26, 2013 - Normandy school superintendent Ty McNichols says the district has a secret legal strategy to address the student transfer situation, but in the meantime it needs to make sure that the 3,000 students who have stayed behind receive the best education possible.

He told a sometimes contentious town hall meeting Monday night that the district’s poor showing in the state’s evaluation last week – the lowest score in Missouri – doesn’t accurately reflect the progress that some of Normandy’s schools have made.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 26, 2013 - Five observations after studying MAP test scores and other evaluations of Missouri school districts, along with educators’ reaction to the numbers:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 23, 2013 - If Missouri educators were to use the first year of a new evaluation plan to classify school districts, St. Louis Public Schools would slide back into unaccredited territory, joining Normandy and Riverview Gardens, and other local districts would be downgraded to provisionally accredited.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 14, 2012 - Missouri’s top educator says the St. Louis Public Schools are a success story that have shown marked progress since being taken over by the state, but they aren’t doing well enough to get out from under the control of Jefferson City just yet.

St. Louis Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams isn’t too happy with that view. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 14, 2012 - Trying to get out from under the cookie-cutter requirements of No Child Left Behind, Missouri submitted its application for a waiver to federal education officials.

Then it got a response and critique back. Then the phone calls and the emails began. Finally, last week, education Commissioner Chris Nicastro took a quick trip to Washington to make a personal appeal.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 6, 2011 - State education officials say their request for a waiver from requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law is not a retreat from accountability but an effort to judge Missouri schools by Missouri rules.

As things stand now, schools and districts that fare well in the Missouri School Improvement Plan often are judged to be falling short under the Adequate Yearly Progress yardstick from Washington. Not only is such a divided report card confusing, educators say, but it prevents the state from identifying the good districts that can serve as models and the poorer ones that need extra attention.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 2, 2012 - Starting two years from now, Missouri school districts will have to meet stricter standards for accreditation under a policy adopted by the state board of education this week.

Meeting in Branson, the board adopted the fifth version of the Missouri School Improvement Plan, known as MSIP5. The new standards were developed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education with help from participants in regional meetings during the summer.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 1, 2011 - Missouri education officials have already modified their application for a waiver from federal education sanctions, based on suggestions from various school groups, but more work is expected before next month's deadline to submit the document to Washington.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 17, 2011 - JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri state board of education advanced a new way to judge the state's public school districts to the next stage Tuesday, but several members expressed frustration that the new standards would not cover the 20,000 students attending charter schools in St. Louis and Kansas City.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 15, 2011 - JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- As proposed changes in the way Missouri rates its school districts head toward a crucial vote by the state school board Tuesday, discussion on Monday centered on a controversial aspect of the rule -- testing.

The specific issues: How many tests should students take? How much should they count? What subjects should they cover?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 12, 2011 - When Missouri education officials abruptly withdrew a proposal earlier this year to revamp how districts would be evaluated, in the face of broad-based criticism from school groups, they said they would gather feedback and make changes accordingly.

Judging by the newly revised plan that will go to the state Board of Education next week, they took the suggestions to heart.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 21, 2011 - After 15 meetings statewide and countless hours of brainstorming on the best way to help Missouri schools and students get better, the latest version of the state's school improvement plan is headed back to the state Board of Education.

Twice in the last three years the board has weighed the next version of the Missouri School Improvement Plan, or MSIP5 for short. And twice it has been withdrawn from consideration and sent back to the blackboard. This year, the last-minute reversal came in the wake of objections from a coalition of statewide education groups that said they had not had enough opportunity to comment on the program.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 5, 2011 - If a proposed schedule of exams for Missouri students becomes reality, high schoolers who now take four state-mandated tests would take 12.

That's a big jump in the number of tests -- and it's also a big if, judging by the comments of educators and others convened to give feedback on the latest proposals for a new version of the Missouri School Improvement Plan, known as MSIP5.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 16, 2011 - Trying for the third time to devise new standards to judge Missouri schools, state educators are beginning by asking help from the people who will be affected most.

Teachers, administrators, board members and more convened at the University of Missouri-St. Louis Thursday morning for the first of three regional advisory committee meetings -- one of a number being held around the state -- for questions, comments and discussion about the fifth version of the Missouri School Improvement Plan, or MSIP5 for short.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 20, 2011 - When Missouri education officials try for a third time to come up with a new set of standards to judge the state's school districts, the changes will be more a shift in tactics than in goals.

That's the judgment of Peter Herschend of Branson, a longtime member of the state Board of Education and its current president. As expected, the board voted Wednesday to approve a surprise request from Chris Nicastro, commissioner of elementary and secondary education, to scrap a proposal put together earlier this year and send it back for further revisions.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 14, 2011 - For the second time in two years, education officials in Missouri have pulled back from new rules for determining how well school districts in the state are performing.

A 30-day public comment period for the new proposal -- known as MSIP5, the fifth version of the Missouri School Improvement Program -- was set to go into effect on Friday after the state Board of Education approved it last month.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 13, 2010 - 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.