Today the State Board of Education voted unanimously to classify St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) as fully accredited, effective immediately. The vote followed a presentation by Department staff outlining the district’s student growth in academics as well as stability in leadership and finances.
“This is an opportunity to celebrate really great things in the district,” said State Board President Charlie Shields. “Today’s decision should be viewed as a major success for St. Louis, the state of Missouri and the Department.”
The district has scored in the fully accredited range for two straight years. SLPS is showing student academic growth in English language arts (ELA) and math, as well as showing student progress in social studies. SLPS exceeded its growth targets in math for 2015 and 2016 and exceeded its ELA target in 2015 and was on track for 2016. The district improved student attendance and graduation rates as well as its use of data to lead improvement efforts.
“The progress in St. Louis was brought about by a whole collection of unsung heroes, starting with students,” said State Board Member Mike Jones. “They made a commitment as individuals to get better. This is an exceptional day for Superintendent Adams and his staff, but mostly for the students and teachers who worked every day for this result.”
While regaining accreditation is a big step in the right direction, Board members and Department staff say the work is not complete. For example, too many students continue to read below grade level. The district also faces challenges in retention of staffing and in increasing the level of academic rigor.
“St. Louis schools should celebrate this milestone of full accreditation while understanding that the work of educating kids is never finished,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “We are hopeful that district leadership will continue to focus on student learning in every classroom with effective teachers and school leaders.”
SLPS became unaccredited in June 2007. The state’s accountability system at that time outlined challenges linked to school finance, governance, and academic instruction and rigor. The district became provisionally accredited in October 2012.
The accreditation of the district and the transitional school district’s existence are two separate issues. In February 2016, the State Board approved the continuing operation of the Transitional School District of St. Louis through June 30, 2019. Therefore, the Special Administrative Board (SAB) remains in place at this time.