State Board Changes Normandy Transfer Policy, Hears District Update

Wed 07/23/14 - 15:52

The State Board has voted to reverse its previous Normandy transfer policy and allow more students to transfer. In June, the Board voted to prohibit students who did not attend Normandy in 2012-13 from transferring in 2014-15. The new policy will allow students who transferred in 2013-14 to continue to attend the same school regardless of where they went to school in 2012-13.  Based on the districts that have agreed to continue taking transfers, it appears that about 60 more students will be able to transfer based on this policy change. The Board reviewed the latest financial situation of the district and determined that Normandy would be better able to absorb the cost of those transfers.

The State Board also heard updates from Department staff on the progress being made within the Normandy Schools Collaborative. Two primary areas were covered: finance and administration and learning services.

“It is critically important to get Normandy right,” said Board President Peter Herschend.

Dr. Ron Lankford provided updates on outstanding bonds and unaudited fund balances. As of June 30, Normandy's balance is approximately $1.5 million in unrestricted funds for the operating budget. The district did not have to draw down any of the $2 million in state funds appropriated in the FY 14 Supplemental Budget to be used only if needed to complete the 2013-14 school year. Major budget cuts along with careful financial management kept Normandy solvent.

Deputy Commissioner Margie Vandeven reported on ongoing professional development for teachers and administrators. To establish conditions for a fresh start in the district, training is being provided in educator evaluation, literacy and innovations such as flipped classrooms.

“The energy in the room during training for principals was incredibly high,” said Dr. Vandeven. “The principals believe change is needed, and they’re excited to kick off the new year.”

Tina Clark-Scott, principal of Jefferson Elementary School, agrees. "The PD training is engaging, focused and re-enforces the high expectations we have of school leaders and teachers,” she said in a written statement. “With a heavy emphasis on English language arts as well as learning about the new Missouri educator evaluation system, we will create a high academic culture for our students."

Dr. Vandeven updated the Board on hiring and recruitment efforts for faculty and staff. About 80% of teachers have been hired for the upcoming school year based on current enrollment projections. A job fair is planned for July 24 and 26, and the district is working on other recruitment strategies.

The State Board also heard strategies for effective classroom instruction, curriculum and assessment, and use of data. There are also plans for targeted community outreach to encourage parental and community involvement to improve local schools and ensure students have the resources they need to learn.