CONTACT:  JIM MORRIS
Director, Public Information
573-751-3469

Vol. 44, No. 4

January 19, 2010

Board Approves Process for Identifying and Supporting "Lowest-Achieving Schools"

The State Board of Education today approved a new procedure for identifying and publicizing the “lowest-achieving” public schools in Missouri.  The new procedure is required by federal regulations and reflects the administration’s focus on “turning around” the nation’s chronically low-performing public schools.

State education officials are required to publish a list of schools by January 29.  Two primary groups of schools will be identified:

  • “Tier I” schools will be schools that receive federal Title I funding and which, based on academic performance, are in the bottom five percent of those schools or which have graduation rates below 60 percent.  These schools will have been previously determined to be in need of “improvement,” “corrective action” or “restructuring,” based on federal requirements.
  • “Tier II” schools will include middle schools and high schools that are eligible for, but do not receive, Title I funds and which are among the lowest-performing five percent of all such schools, or have a graduation rate below 60 percent.

“All states are being required to take a more aggressive approach in working with schools that have consistently struggled with academic performance.  While nobody wants to see their school on this list, we think this process can be a constructive step.  We need to rally community support and focus the Department’s resources on efforts that will help these schools and their students make real progress,” said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro.

Schools identified as lowest-performing will be eligible for additional federal school improvement grants next year to assist them with staff development and to support specific turnaround strategies.  School districts with buildings on this list also will be required to provide specific plans for improving performance in those buildings and to publish results regularly.