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Vol. 45, No. 79

Sept. 20, 2011

State Board Reclassifies KCMSD to Unaccredited

Change in status effective Jan. 1

The State Board of Education voted today to reclassify the Kansas City, Missouri School District as unaccredited effective Jan. 1, 2012.

The State Board approved the change in a unanimous vote after an in-depth review of student performance trends and a lengthy discussion of the district’s progress in setting the stage for future academic improvement.  Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro and officials in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Quality Schools participated in the presentation and recommendation.

“While this decision was an extremely difficult one for our board to make, we believe it is the right one,” said Peter Herschend, president of the State Board of Education.  “This action may feel like a set-back for the district, but this decision is not totally unexpected.  We will work closely with the district’s leadership and staff and continue efforts to improve student achievement.  Our work requires a laser-like focus on classroom instruction.”

Commissioner Nicastro indicated the Department will be working with KCMSD and the community to identify a process for providing immediate assistance and monitoring progress.  She will bring a recommendation to the state board at its December meeting.

By state law, an unaccredited school district has two full school years to demonstrate a sustainable level of academic progress.  Should this not occur, the district will lapse and the State Board of Education must intervene.

The action was part of a larger agenda item for the State Board to consider 18 school districts yet to receive an accreditation determination during the current cycle of the Missouri School Improvement Program.

One school district improved its classification standing.  The State Board reclassified Charleston R-I from provisionally accredited to accredited.  The K-12 district of more than 1,000 students in Mississippi County has halted a decline in academic performance and has shown improvement in recent Annual Performance Reports.

The State Board also reclassified two districts from accredited to provisionally accredited effective immediately:  Swedeborg R-III and Calhoun R-VIII.  Swedeborg is a K-8 district of less than 50 students located in Pulaski County, about 22 miles northwest of Fort Leonard Wood.  The district met four of seven total standards, but none of the academic MAP standards.  Swedeborg will continue to be closely monitored and may be at risk of becoming unaccredited if academic performance does not improve.

Calhoun is a K-12 district of about 160 students located in Henry County.  Student performance has fallen rapidly since 2007.  The district met 12 of 14 standards five years ago, but fell steadily each year to a low of only four standards last year.  The district regained a point this year, but continues to be a concern, officials said.

At the recommendation of Commissioner Nicastro, the State Board will delay classification determinations until next year for six school districts:  Normandy, Hickman Mills, Climax Springs, Scott County Central, University City and Winfield.

In summary, classification actions taken today include:

Accreditation maintained (no change):

    • Cowgill R-VI
    • Gasconade C-4
    • Marquand Zion R-VI
    • New Bloomfield
    • Oregon-Howell R-III
    • Pemiscot Co. R-III
    • Sheldon R-VIII
    • Stet R-XV

Changed from Provisionally Accredited to Accredited:

    • Charleston R-I

Changed from Accredited to Provisionally Accredited:

    • Calhoun R-VIII
    • Swedeborg R-III

Changed from Provisionally Accredited to Unaccredited

    • Kansas City, Missouri School District

Held over until next year

    • Climax Springs R-IV
    • Hickman Mills
    • Normandy
    • Scott County Central
    • University City
    • Winfield