The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is the administrative arm of the State Board of Education. It is primarily a service agency that works with educators, legislators, government agencies, and citizens to maintain a strong public education system. Through its statewide school-improvement initiatives and regulatory functions, the Department strives to assure that all citizens have access to high-quality public education. The scope of the Department’s duties ranges from early childhood to adult education. The Department does not regulate or evaluate private, parochial or home schools. For descriptions of the duties of the Commissioner and the Department’s Divisions, see http://dese.mo.gov/overview.html.
Local District Control
The General Assembly has elected to give the responsibility for the operation of a Missouri school district to a local board of education rather than create a state controlled educational system. The local board of education has been given the primary duty of establishing the procedures, rules, and regulations for a school district, as well as for the schools within that district.
Examples of decisions that are considered local decisions follow. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive, but to provide examples of local decisions.
- Hiring, discipline and termination of both professional and support staff.
- Making needful rules and regulations for the organization and government in the school district.
- Establishing the discipline policy for the schools within the district (including corporal punishment).
- Establishing the attendance policy for the schools within the district.
- Establishing the grading policy for the schools within the district.
- Determining the grade placement of a student (including promotion or retention).
- Determining the grade point average of a student.
- Determining the school and/or district’s curriculum (which must include the Show-Me Standards).
- Selecting the school and/or district’s textbooks, educational materials and supplies.
- Establishing the school district’s calendar(s). (The calendar may be different for different schools within the district but all calendars must meet certain legal requirements).
- Allowing fund-raising activities for a school or the school district.
Avenues for Marketing Products and Services
The most effective marketing is word of mouth, where one teacher shares his or her successful experience with a coworker. Whenever possible, vendors are encouraged to include testimonials from Missouri educators when promoting their product and/or service. Include the testimonials in marketing literature and newsletter articles. Include a successful teacher when presenting and exhibiting at conferences, and when visiting state departments and schools.
Vendors are encouraged to communicate directly with Missouri’s public school districts. The DESE Core Data section maintains a school directory listing all the districts and school buildings in the state, and contact information for their administrative leadership. This directory is available at http://dese.mo.gov/directory/. Note the listing of Additional Directory Items on the bottom of the directory page. You can download contact information electronically from this site.
Several organizations throughout the state host annual conferences focusing on instructional technology issues. These conferences often have vendor venues or opportunities. For a listing of the major instructional technology conferences, visit http://dese.mo.gov/calendar.html or check the latest edition of Newsline for more current conference information.
Missouri Vendor List and Prime Vendor Contract
The State of Missouri Procurement Office maintains a statewide list of vendors. This office allows vendors to register with the State of Missouri as providers of specific commodities and/or services. Visit https://www.moolb.mo.gov to learn more about on-line bidding and vendor registration and visit http://www.oa.mo.gov/purch/vendor.html to access a copy of the Vendor Manual. Missouri has also established a Prime Vendor Contract. See http://www.wwt.com/smocontactus.html
While IT is not directly involved with district purchasing decisions, conversations between vendors and Instructional Technology staff may at times be informative and helpful. IT staff are willing to schedule these conversations as our calendars allow and/or direct vendors to other DESE staff when appropriate.
Because of busy schedules and time constraints, IT staff suggests the following steps be taken prior to contacting the section.
- Visit the Department and IT web sites to determine if/how your product and/or service fits in the state and local school improvement plans, programs, and initiatives.
- Determine the appropriate section(s) to contact. Send a letter detailing your product and how it can benefit Missouri educators. Provide the URL where staff can review the product/service. If necessary issue a generic ID and password for limited access.
Follow up with a telephone call or email to schedule an appointment.