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Vol. 46, No. 68
September 18, 2012

State Board of Education Gives Preliminary Approval to Updated Standards for Schools

The State Board of Education gave preliminary approval to updated standards for public schools at its meeting Monday in Jefferson City. The standards will be open for a 30-day public comment period once they are published by the Missouri Secretary of State.

The revised resource and process standards will be included in the latest version of the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) and will go into effect two years from the date they are adopted.

"The resource and process standards help define the state's expectations for public education and promote continuous improvement in our schools," said Margie Vandeven, assistant commissioner for the Office of Quality Schools at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The standards were reviewed and revised by a committee of superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, representatives from Missouri's education associations and officials from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The new standards will provide guidance to local school districts as they implement an educator evaluation system to assess and improve the performance of teachers, principals and superintendents in Missouri. School districts can adopt a model evaluation system developed by the Department or develop a system of their own that includes the essential principles of effective evaluation outlined in the Department's system. School districts will need to have an educator evaluation system in place by the 2014-2015 school year.

The guidelines include "standard" and "desirable" recommendations for class sizes and the number of administrative and support staff, including superintendents, principals, library media center staff, and guidance counselors, based on a school's student population.

The standards also address:

    • Curriculum to meet Missouri's core academic standards
    • Use of technology in the classroom
    • Instruction in fine arts and physical education
    • Safety of the learning environment
    • Professional development for staff
    • College and career planning
    • Use of assessments and data to determine student achievement and areas where additional instruction is needed

The Department uses the resource and process standards to help school districts determine the resources they need to implement practices that improve student performance.

"In times of limited resources these new standards are designed to assist schools in making decisions about the best way to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in college or other postsecondary training and careers," Vandeven said.

Preparing all students for college and careers a goal of the Department's Top 10 by 20 initiative, which calls for student performance in Missouri to rank among the top 10 performing states by 2020.

The revised standards will be presented to the State Board for final approval early next year.