At the February Board of Education meeting, Department staff presented a first draft of recommendations for accrediting, supporting and, if necessary, intervening in school districts in Missouri. In a work session last week, the State Board members urged the Department to find ways to immediately support districts before they become provisionally accredited or unaccredited. The Department’s recommendations include additional supports as districts begin to decline in performance and execute performance contracts when districts become provisionally accredited.
“Access to good schools for every child – regardless of zip code – was a common theme put forward in the feedback we received. The proposed plan focuses on working with districts to improve schools,” said Deputy Commissioner Margie Vandeven. “The Department is grateful for all the proposals submitted and the concern those proposals show for the students of Missouri.”
The plan presented to the State Board today has the following benefits:
- Focus on children and families.
- Tiered levels of support related to performance.
- Early intervention.
- Specified accountability for district and state when state intervention is necessary.
- Maintains community schools.
The plan includes five tiers of support and interventions with various options for the State to consider when applying them to local districts. The Department recognized the need for multiple possible solutions when looking at diverse communities with varied challenges in different parts of the state.
The levels of support and intervention increase as a district’s classification is lowered. Unaccredited districts would receive a fiscal monitor as student transfers are enacted and governance and contracts would be reviewed. Local boards of unaccredited districts could remain in place, a special administrative board could be installed or an alternative governance structure may be installed.
A lapsed district could be attached to one or more districts; students could be assigned to other districts; and/or the district could come under state oversight for restructuring. The State Board would apply changes based on the needs of each district and community.
The Department plans to gather feedback on the recommendations at two public hearings: Feb. 24 in Kansas City at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley and Feb. 25 in St. Louis at University of Missouri-St. Louis. The public is invited to review the recommendations and provide feedback online at www.dese.mo.gov/unaccredited-districts.