This is wonderful news to all of us city residents!
Press Release from St. Louis Public School District:
Today, the Missouri State Board of Education (SBOE) unanimously voted to restore accreditation for the St. Louis Public School District. Missouri Commissioner of Education Dr. Chris Nicastro made the recommendation to the SBOE after a thorough analysis of multiple years of data and indications of district-wide improvements over the past five years.
“Today, we recommend that the State Board re-classify St. Louis Public Schools as Provisionally Accredited effective immediately. We further recommend that the State Board review their progress under the standards of MSIP 5 in September of 2013, and each year thereafter until the district achieves full accreditation,” remarked Dr. Nicastro
The District lost accreditation in 2007 due to steady declines in the District’s academic performance, concerns about the District’s long-term financial stability, and turmoil in the District’s leadership. A Special Administrative Board (SAB) was appointed at that time and charged with restoring the District to accreditation status.
“The governance structure and stability in District leadership have been critical elements of the progress we’re seeing,” said State Board Vice President Rev. Stan Archie of Kansas City said in a release. “It’s clear that this intervention has proven effective in launching significant improvement.”
The SAB has addressed the three areas identified as reasons for the District being stripped of accreditation by:
- Under the leadership of Richard Gaines, the District engaged more than 3,000 community members to create a Comprehensive Long Range Plan (CLRP). This CLRP was used as the guiding document to implement a DESE-approved Accountability Plan that provides for improved collection and use of data to drive academic gains and ‘cultural’ change in instructional and operational functions of the District.
- Attaining an increase in the number of APR points earned each year, moving the District from 3 APR points in 2008 – 2009 to 7 APR points in 2011 – 2012, including a point in high school mathematics, which qualifies the District for Accreditation as outlined in the DESE APR requirements standards
- Eliminating the District’s fiscal deficit and operating with a balanced budget and a surplus for a third year
- SAB Vice President Melanie Adams led a National Search to find and hire Dr. Kelvin Adams as Superintendent in 2008, ushering in a period of stability and accountability in District leadership
“The Special Administrative Board is pleased with the outcome of the vote taken by the State Board of Education. The granting of accreditation is an affirmation of the improvement made by the students and teachers of St. Louis Public Schools under the leadership of Dr. Kelvin Adams and his administrators,” said Rick Sullivan, President & CEO of the SAB.
“However, this is just a mile marker on the road to success,” added Sullivan. We will not be satisfied until St. Louis Public Schools earns Full Accreditation and is once again the school district of choice for families in St. Louis City.”
Other successes of the SAB include increasing the graduation rate and attendance rate of SLPS, passing a $155 million facilities improvement bond issue, and expanding the early childhood education program to provide educational services for children between the ages of 3 and 4 years of age.
Superintendent Dr. Kelvin R. Adams believes today’s vote by the SBOE is an affirmation of the dedication on the part of the District’s students and staff. “I would like to thank every staff member, our students, families, AFT Saint Louis Local 420, and the community for their contributions to achieving accreditation,” said Adams. “I would also like to thank Missouri Commissioner of Education Dr. Chris Nicastro and the State Board of Education members for conducting the review and making this decision.
Dr. Adams sent a letter to all staff members immediately after learning of the decision by the SBOE. While thanking them for their hard work, he reminded them to stay focused on the District’s core mission of educating children. “I want to caution everyone that this is not a time to rest and relax. Now, we must rededicate ourselves to educating our community’s young people at higher levels. Our mission is to raise the level of expectation for each and every student. Each child in the St. Louis Public School District must be performing academically at grade-level and must be college and career ready when they graduate from our schools. Accreditation is a major milestone, but is not our end goal,” he wrote.
AFT St. Louis Local 420 President Mary Armstrong attended the SBOE meeting in Jefferson City to witness first-hand the historic vote. “”The employees of St. Louis Public Schools are excited about the District being granted Provisional Accreditation. It demonstrates that dedication, hard work and perseverance pay off.”
“The District-Union collaboration, financial sacrifices, parental involvement, and student ownership in his/her education have brought us to this point on our journey towards full accreditation. This is one of the giant steps on the path. Although, we are pleased with our progress, we are not content. We won’t jump for joy or be satisfied until full accreditation has been granted to SLPS. I would like to express our Union’s membership appreciation to the State Board of Education, the Commissioner and DESE for making the right decision,” said Armstrong.
SLPS Special Administrative Board members are Rick Sullivan (President/CEO), Melanie Adams (Vice President) and Richard Gaines (Chair – Comprehensive Long Range Plan).
For more information, please contact the Office of Public Information (314) 345-2367.