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Everything listed under: Missouri

  • Read MOre, Missouri! Helps Prevent Summer Slide


    “Read MOre, Missouri!” is a statewide summer reading challenge to prevent summer slide — a loss of learning that many students experience while they are out of school for the summer. The program is designed to help your son or daughter keep reading skills sharp between school years.

    Reading through the summer minimizes reading-specific summer slide, and Missouri Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven says, “Kids who read during the summer are much more likely to retain the skills they gained during the school year.”

    Summer slide is a layman’s term for the academic regression kids have during the summer months when they aren’t in school. Teachers often have to spend several weeks of the new school year reviewing information from the previous grade level before they can begin teaching the current year’s coursework.

    Here’s what the loss looks like in reading for kindergarteners through fourth graders:


    To help prevent summer slide, every school district in Missouri is encouraged to take part in Read MOre, Missouri. Here’s what you should know before your child comes home talking about the challenge:

    · Experts say that reading just six books during the summer can help keep kids from having to play catch-up in the fall.
    · The program uses The Lexile® Framework for Reading to help you pick books out for your kids that match their reading levels.
    · The Read MOre, Missouri website helps you search more than 200,000 books so that you can find the ones that are written at your child’s Lexile® level and are about subjects your child enjoys.
    · The site sorts books by more than 28 categories, including everything from humor & games to sports to animals — and more.
    · Once you build your child’s reading list, you can download it or print it. You can take the list with you to the local library or a bookstore to find your child’s books.
    · Your local library offers print editions as well as digital books for your child to read on the Kindle or tablet.
    · Any reading is better than no reading, so encourage your child to read magazines, news stories, or even recipes in addition to the books on their summer reading list.

    Read MOre, Missouri is a program of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). You can read the DESE press release here, and you can learn more about the Lexile® Measure Framework for reading in this post.

    Learn more about how to help your child succeed in his or her Missouri public school education by bookmarking Missouri Parent News and by connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Leadership Development Program Announced for Missouri Educators

    The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has partnered with the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) to offer its Executive Development Program to Missouri educators through the Missouri Leadership for Excellence, Achievement and Development (MoLEAD) project.

    The NISL’s Executive Development Program emphasizes the role of principals as leaders and strategic thinkers, helping them build the skills necessary to set direction for teachers and to run efficient organizations.

    MoLEAD will use the NISL Executive Development Program to train more than 300 educators (superintendents, principals, assistant principals, and teacher leaders, specifically) from nine regions of the state. The ultimate goal is to raise student achievement by offering high-level professional development for those school leaders selected to participate.

    According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the MoLEAD curriculum “will focus on instructional leadership with emphasis on new Missouri academic standards and best instructional practices” (source).

    Educator training will take place online and in face-to-face sessions, combining hands-on experiences with mentoring opportunities. The first group of participants began the MoLEAD program in January and will complete the program in July.

    MoLEAD is just one more way that the state of Missouri is working toward achieving a “Top 10 by 20” status; ranking in the top 10 performing states in the country in public education by the year 2020. (Part of the Top 10 by 20 initiative is to prepare, develop, and support effective educators.)

    Image via Getty.

  • Is Average Good Enough? 2013 Nation’s Report Card Released

    The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) released the 2013 Nation’s Report Card recently, and the results beg the question, “is average good enough for Missouri’s students?”.

    The report, which focused this year on math and reading scores in the 4th and 8th grades, showed that Missouri’s students still need our support in fundamental subjects like reading and math.

    While each of Missouri’s individual scores remained the same (or showed slight improvements) from 2011 to 2013, national average scores increased more substantially. In other words, Missouri held steady while the rest of the country improved — on average at least. Here’s a closer look:

    4th Grade Mathematics
    National Rank: #49*
    National Average Score: 241
    Missouri’s Score: 240
    Percent of students nationally scoring at or above proficient: 41%
    Percent of students in Missouri scoring at or above proficient: 33%
    Change from 2011 to 2013: No Change in Missouri; 1 point increase nationally

    8th Grade Mathematics
    National Rank: #33*
    National Average Score: 284
    Missouri’s Score: 283
    Percent of students nationally scoring at or above proficient: 26
    Percent of students in Missouri scoring at or above proficient: 26
    Change from 2011 to 2013: 1 point increase in Missouri; 1 point increase nationally

    4th Grade Reading
    National Rank: #27*
    National Average Score: 221
    Missouri’s Score: 222
    Percent of students nationally scoring at or above proficient: 26
    Percent of students in Missouri scoring at or above proficient: 28
    Change from 2011 to 2013: 2 point increase in Missouri; 1 point increase nationally

    8th Grade Reading
    National Rank: #27*
    National Average Score: 266
    Missouri’s Score: 267
    Percent of students nationally scoring at or above proficient: 31%
    Percent of students in Missouri scoring at or above proficient: 32%
    Change from 2011 to 2013: No Change in Missouri; 2 point change nationally

    Source for Scores

    As the parent of a student in Missouri’s public schools, you probably don’t believe that “average” is good enough for your son or daughter. Rest assured that Missouri’s educational leaders don’t so, either.

    Missourians at all levels (local educators, state legislators, and educational advocates) have been bustling in 2013 to make positive changes in Missouri’s public education system.

    From fighting to preserve educational funding to proposing workable alternatives to the Missouri school transfer law, leaders have been making the case for your child’s right to a high quality public education in the state.

    Here some examples:

    · During the last session of the Missouri Legislature, a number of legislators helped prevent a state tax cut that would have been detrimental to Missouri’s funding of public schools.
    · The Missouri Association of School Administrators, the Cooperating School Districts of St. Louis and the Cooperating School Districts of Great Kansas City recently proposed an alternative to Missouri’s school transfer law.
    · The Missouri House Interim Committee on Education just finished a statewide tour to hear from parents, teachers, administrators and communities about what’s working and what’s not working in Missouri’s public schools. (Click here for highlights)
    · The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education continues to work on the “Top 10 by 20” student achievement improvement effort

    If you want to become more informed and involved in what’s happening in your child’s education, Missouri Parent can help. We’re here to provide you with accurate and timely information on educational funding and legislative issues that impact your family.

    * Rank is out of 52 total “states” including Department of Defense (DoDEA) schools and District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)

    You may also be interested in:

    Missouri’s 4th and 8th Grade Science Students Top 20 in Nation

  • Teacher Tenure and Teacher Shortages in the State of Missouri

    On September 11th, the Missouri State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education met for the second of four hearings on teacher tenure and human resources in Missouri. The state’s teacher tenure policies were debated, and specific areas of teacher shortages were identified.

    The debate over teacher tenure in Missouri isn’t new. Tenure supports believe that tenure promotes teaching as a valued profession, and that tenured teachers are best positioned to become student advocates. Supporters are concerned that eliminating teacher tenure will drive good teachers out of the state.

    Opponents of teacher tenure feel that tenure makes it too expensive and too difficult to fire ineffective teachers. As a result, according to those who oppose tenure, teachers remain in Missouri’s educational system who would otherwise be fired.

    The Joint Committee also discussed a Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education study showing teacher shortages during the 2013-14 academic year. The eleven areas of teacher shortage were identified as: blind/partially sighted aides; deaf/hearing impaired aides; English as a second language; gifted programs; severely developmentally delayed students; school psychologists; school psychological examiners; physics; foreign languages; and computers/information technology.

    To help you better understand teacher tenure in the State of Missouri, MOParent has published posts explaining teacher tenure and discussion of common misperceptions about tenure.

    To continue to stay up-to-date on Missouri’s public education news and policies, subscribe to Missouri Parent email updates at the top of this page and Like Missouri Parent on Facebook.


    Kansas City Star

  • State-Level Funding for Missouri Public Schools

    Yesterday, we explained how Missouri compares against national averages for federal, state, and local public education funding. Today, we’ll explore primary sources of state-level funding for our schools.

    In Fiscal Year 2014, Missouri will invest $3,385,298,854 in elementary and secondary education. That $3.4 billion will cover 31.76% of Missouri’s K-12 public education costs. The schools will look to the federal government for 10.13% of their overall state education funding, and to local sources for the remaining 59.01%.

    Of the $3.4 billion Missouri will spent on public education in FY14, 83.7% comes from Missouri’s General Revenue, and the rest comes from gaming, lottery, and other sources.

    State General Revenue (83.7%)
    Missouri’s General Revenue funds most of the state’s primary functions, including social services, health care, and public education.

    General Revenue is collected from individuals and business in Missouri through individual income taxes, sales and use taxes, corporate income taxes, corporate franchise taxes, refunds, and other collections.

    Gaming (11.4%)
    The Missouri Gaming Commission regulates charitable and commercial gambling in Missouri. Each year, the Commission ensures that a portion of Missouri’s gaming revenues is allocated to supporting public education. In recent years, gaming has directly contributed to Early Childhood Development, Education and Childcare in the state.

    Lottery (4.2%)
    The Missouri Lottery is another significant source of support for Missouri’s K-12 public schools. Each year, the Lottery appropriates funds for public education through Missouri House Bills 2, 3 and 6.

    To see exactly how the Lottery has divided its allocations, click here.

    Other (0.7%)
    Public schools are also funded through an assortment of smaller “other” funds. These funds include the Fair Share Fund revenues which are generated from tax receipts from four cents per cigarette pack; County Foreign Insurance Tax with comes from a tax on insurance premiums of companies not based in Missouri; and many other smaller revenue sources.

    Learn More About Missouri’s Schools
    If you want to know more about K-12 public education in Missouri, you can subscribe for MOParent email updates at the top of this page.

    To learn more about funding for Missouri’s schools, be sure to read yesterday’s post, “Where Does Missouri’s Public Education Funding Come From?”.

  • Dispelling the Achievement Gap Myth Between Public and Private Schools

    Private schools have an elite reputation, but research shows that private school students may be not be performing as well as those students enrolled in public schools.

    The Research
    In 2007, the Center on Education Policy (CEP) published a 38-page research paper that compared several different types of public and private schools.

    The research also took into account “…other aspects of family life that are also critically important in shaping students’ academic, civic, and economic life.”

    The CEP study accounted for, “key background characteristics, including students’ achievement before high school, their family’s socioeconomic status (SES), and various indicators of parental involvement”.

    The CEP’s paper was the first of its kind to include such family educational activities and attitudes toward education in its research, and the findings tell a story that Missouri public school parents will be glad to hear.

    The Findings
    The CEP’s study found that students in “urban public high schools generally did as well academically and on long-term indicators as their peers from private high schools, once key family background characteristics were considered.”

    The CEP’s Four Core Findings:

    1. Students attending independent private high schools, most types of parochial high schools, and public high schools of choice performed no better on achievement tests in math, reading, science, and history than their counterparts in traditional public high schools. 

    2. Students who had attended any type of private high school ended up no more likely to attend college than their counterparts at traditional public high schools. 

    3. Young adults who had attended any type of private high school ended up with no more job satisfaction at age 26 than young adults who had attended traditional public high schools. 

    4. Young adults who had attended any type of private high school ended up no more engaged in civic activities at age 26 than young adults who had attended traditional public high school.

    According to the CEP, “Taken as a whole, these findings suggest that students who attend private high schools receive neither immediate academic advantages nor longer-term advantages in attending college, finding satisfaction in the job market, or participating in civic life”.

    What Does This Mean for Your Child?
    As a Missouri parent, you want your child to succeed in school — and in his or her life after high school graduation. While private schools may seem distinguished, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of public and private education.

    If you enjoyed this post and want to receive future email updates about Missouri public schools, subscribe to the MOParent email list at the top of the page.

  • Missouri Public Education: Attendance Means Achievement

    Angela Lee Duckworth, Ph.D, is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, but before she was a psychologist, Dr. Duckworth was a schoolteacher in New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago.

    An Ivy League graduate, Dr. Duckworth had worked in education, management consulting, and the nonprofit sector before beginning to conduct the research that she’s now so known for — research which shows that “grit” is the key predictor of educational achievement.

    Dr. Duckworth has researched students ranging from national spelling bee competitors to United States Military Academy cadets, and she has found the same results in each of her studies: “grit” is a stronger predictor of success and achievement than IQ score, talent, or passion.

    What does Dr. Duckworth mean by “grit”? In her words, grit isn’t just being passionate — it requires sustaining that passion over a long period of time. It isn’t about short-term success or even about intelligence.

    “Peak skill is achieved after years of deliberate practice,” says Dr. Duckworth in this TED Talk. “Most people don’t have the grit to sustain that deliberate practice, so they tend to peak early.”

    Grit is defined by perseverance, tenacity, and doggedness. Grit means staying on a clear path to achieve long-term goals. Grit means consistently working towards long-term goals, year after year.

    The grit of Missouri’s public education system is evident in its attendance policies, its graduation rates, and its steadily increasing student MAP scores .

    Missouri’s public school system has shown marked improvement in elementary education scores for science, math, reading, and communication arts. Test scores show that our students are becoming increasingly successful in English, geometry, American history, and government. Four-year graduation rates are on the rise, as well.

    Public Education in the state of Missouri is on a course of steady improvement, and as Dr. Duckworth says, “History and psychology tell us that changing our minds a lot is not a good way to get anywhere. We must stay on task.”

    Now is not the time to reinvent the system. Now is the time to stay the course of public education in the state of Missouri.

  • Missouri Public Schools are Good for Your Family

    Today on the MOParent Blog, we’ll talk about how enrolling your child in Missouri’s public schools is good for the state of Missouri’s schools — and why Missouri public schools are good for your family.

    Invest in Solutions
    The best way to help strengthen Missouri’s public schools is to be a part of the solution. Missouri’s teachers and administrators are engaged in a constant state of advocacy for the funds and other resources they need to provide the best education possible for your child.

    When your child attends Missouri public school, his or her attendance guarantees federal and state funding for public education. And as a public school parent, you have unique opportunities to invest in — and advocate for — your child’s public school education.

    Advocate for Your Child
    When you play an active role in your child’s education, you become an advocate for your child — and for other children in your community.

    Missouri’s public school parents are empowered to stand up for the things that matter the most to their families: high-quality teachers, a safe learning environment, saving for college education, and preparing your child for college and career.

    There are many ways to become more active in your child’s public education, many of which are easy to get involved with. Don’t be shy about approaching your child’s teacher, principal or coach to volunteer your time.

     Your child’s school will be grateful for your time and support.

  • Missouri’s 4th and 8th Grade Science Students Top 20 in Nation

    Missouri’s 8th grade students ranked in the nation’s top 20 on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) exams in 2005 and again in 2012.

    The NAEP is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas, and Missouri schools are periodically selected to participate in NAEP assessments. NAEP administers uniform assessments nationwide in a number of content areas — including science — in the 4th, 8th, and 12th grades.

    Science scores and rankings on the NAEP exams are based on the percentage of students scoring at or above proficient on each assessment. In 2005 (the base year for comparative analysis), Missouri’s 8th graders were 13th in the nation with a 36% proficiency rating. In 2012, Missouri’s 8th grade science students achieve the same percentage proficiency rating (36% of students scored at or above proficient), but fell to 18th nationally in rank.

    Missouri’s students aren’t just excelling in science on NAEP assessments. Students have increased their science scores on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests from 2008 to 2012, as well. From 2008 to 2012, 5th grade students jumped from 44.7% to a 51.6% scoring at or above proficient. 8th grade science students increased from 43.3% scoring at or above proficient to 49.9% scoring at or above proficient.

    Proficiency in science is apparent on ACT scores in Missouri, as well. For the last seven years, Missouri has ranked in the top 24 states nationally on the science portion of the ACT.

    Keep Science Fun for Your Kids
    If you enjoy seeing Missouri’s students excel in the sciences, you can help continue the positive trend by keeping science fun for your kids at home.

    Stay tuned to this website to see MO Parent’s tips for Keeping Science Fun.

  • Common Core Standards – Teaching Persuasive Argument

    Students who are able to understand information, take a position about that information, and form logical arguments about it will be ahead of the curve in high school, college, and career.

    That’s why persuasive argument is one of the cornerstones of the English Language Arts Common Core Standards. 

    What is Persuasive Argument?
    If your child has ever come home from school tasked by his or her teacher to write a persuasive essay, then your child has been asked to form a persuasive argument. The goal of persuasive writing is to convince the reader that your position is better than the alternative or opposite position.

    How Common Core Standards Incorporate Argument

    According to Common Core Standards, “to build a foundation for college and career readiness, students need to learn to use writing as a way of offering and supporting opinions...”

    Argument is an Anchor Standard for English Language Arts Grades K-12.

    · Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
    · Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    (Anchor Standards Grades K-12)

    Argument is incorporated into English Language Arts Standard with increasingly complexity as students advance from one grade level to the next.

    Beginning in the 6th grade, for example, students should be able to identify arguments written by others. The Common Core Standard for 6th graders is: “Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the argument presented.”

    In junior high, students are expected to “write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence”. Students should be able to write arguments based on “substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence” in their 9th through 12th grade years.

    Common Core Standards — including these standards on persuasion and argument — keeps Missouri’s students on track for college and career success.

    To learn more about Common Core Standards and why Missouri’s public schools use them, bookmark the MOParent blog and sign up for MOParent email updates.

  • The Cost of Private Education for Missouri Families

    Previously on the MOParent Blog, we talked about how teacher qualifications and student diversity may both be stronger in Missouri’s public schools than its private ones. Today, we’ll talk about the cost of private school education.

    The Cost of Private School Education
    On average, private elementary school tuition is $6,733 per year and private secondary school tuition is $10,549. 

    At the national average, then, private school education from the 1st through the 12th grades costs $96,060 per child. The average cost of a full-time, in-state, four-year undergraduate degree from Missouri’s public universities (counting tuition and fees) is less than $30,000. That means that the average family could send three children to Missouri four-year universities for less than the cost of sending a single child through 12 years of private schools.

    In a state where the unemployment rate hovers at around 6.8% (May 2013) and the median income is still $5,000 per year lower than the national average, most Missouri families cannot afford private education for their children.

    The Cost of Public Education
    As a taxpayer in the state of Missouri, you have already invested in your child’s public school education. Your child is entitled to a free, fair education from kindergarten through high school graduation at no out-of-pocket fee to you.

    The vast majority of Missouri families are educationally price-sensitive. By attending public schools, you can invest extra income into extracurricular activities, specialty camps, private lessons and tutors for your child. And the money you save as the parent of a Missouri public school student is money that you can invest in helping your child go to college.

    Want to Learn More?
    To receive email updates on your child’s Missouri public education, subscribe — at the top of this page — for MOParent email updates.

  • Two Missouri Public School Teachers Inducted into National Teachers Hall of Fame

    Of the five newest inductees into The National Teachers Hall of Fame, two are teachers in Missouri’s public schools.

    Daryl Johnson is a high school English teacher at Smithville High School in Smithville, MO, and Beth Vernon is an 8th grade Earth and Space Science teacher at Brittany Hill Middle School in Blue Springs, MO.

    Johnson, who has taught for 17 years, is also president of the Smithville Missouri NEA affiliate and is a National Board Certified teacher.

    An anonymous student on had this to say about Johnson’s teaching:

    “Mr. Johnson is without a doubt the best teacher I've ever had. He is funny and personable and entertaining. He is challenging without being over the top at all. Everyone is very attentive in his class and it is enjoyable. He is very passionate and always understanding. I definitely recommend him!”

    Vernon, who is in her 28th year of teaching, was also a Disney Award Teacher in 2010. Vernon’s principal, Dallas Truex, says, “Too many times we hear the things that aren’t going as well. We’ve got great teachers, and this is one of the examples of those teachers.”

    Three other teachers, representing Texas, Oklahoma, and Maryland, were also inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 2013.


    The National Teachers Hall of Fame (NTHF), located in Emporia, Kansas, was founded in 1989 by Emporia State University, the ESU Alumni Association, the City of Emporia, USD 253, and the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce as a tribute to our nation's most important profession - - teaching.

    The Hall of Fame is committed to drawing the public's attention to exceptional PreK-12 teachers through a museum, teacher resource center, and recognition program which honors five of the nation's most outstanding PreK-12 educators each year. The NTHF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

  • Two Reasons to Choose Missouri Public Schools

    In today’s blog post, MOParent will address several reasons why Missouri parents should think twice about choosing private schools over public ones.

    Teacher Education
    The same study found that 45% of public school teachers hold master’s degrees while just 38% of nonsectarian teachers had earned master’s degrees.

    If the experience and education of your child’s teachers is important to you, be sure to talk with your local school district as well as with the private school in consideration before assuming that local private schools offer better teachers. The results my surprise you.

    There’s no doubt that today’s school-aged children need to build productive working relationships with colleagues of a variety of backgrounds when they enter the work force later in life. Public schools may prepare your child for professional diversity more effectively than private schools do.

    Only 10% of American students attend private schools, and the majority of those attend schools with religious affiliations. When only a small portion of the population is represented in your child’s school, and that population is further segregated based on religious preference, tuition costs and geography, your child’s classmates are likely to be less diverse and more alike.

    Missouri public schools, however, educate children of all socio-economic statuses, all ethnicities, all languages, and all religions. By attending Missouri public schools, your child is educated in an environment that’s as diverse as your local community is. If preparing your child for the diversity of college and career is important to you, Missouri’s public schools are a fantastic option for him or her.

    If you’d like to receive updates about Missouri public school education directly in your inbox, subscribe to MOParent email updates in the box at the top of this page.

  • Things Parents Should Know About In-State School Transfers in Missouri

    Transferring your child to a new school mid-year can be stressful for you and your son or daughter. Thankfully, Missouri has a streamlined transfer process that will make things a little bit easier for you and your child.

    Request Your Child’s Records

    A student may be denied enrollment if the student’s discipline record indicates that he/she is currently suspended or expelled from another school, including a private, parochial, charter or out-of-state school, and the enrolling school would have suspended or expelled the student for the same offense.
    –Safe Schools Act

    Your child’s current school is required by the state to forward his records on to his new school within five working days of your request.

    In addition to academic records, special needs, and disciplinary records will also move with your child to his new school. If your child has been expelled in his old school, his expulsion will likely apply at his new school as well.


    Before you begin the transfer process, you should be sure that his vaccinations are up to date. If your child’s vaccinations are not current, he may not be allowed to enroll in his new school.

    If you’re concerned about the cost of immunizations, your child may qualify for the Missouri Vaccines for Children Program.

    A student may be denied enrollment if the student has not met the state’s immunization requirements for entering school.
    –Safe Schools Act

    Your child will need to have proof of identification in order to enroll in his new school. A birth certificate or social security card may be enough, but it’s a good idea to call the new school before you begin the official transfer process to be sure you have the right documentation.

    Activities & Athletics
    The Missouri State High School Activities Association offers strict guidelines around student activity eligibility. If your child is involved in school teams or organizations, you should closely review the MSHSAA eligibility standards before you transfer schools. It’s also a good idea to meet with the athletic director at your child’s current school and at the school your child will transfer to so that you can ask questions and familiarize yourself with the nuances of MSHSAA’s transfer policies.

    Special Needs
    Parents of children with special needs should become familiar with the same general transfer steps above. In addition, your child’s current school will need to send your child’s IEP on to his new school, and your child’s new school may conduct interviews with you, your child, and your child’s current school staff to better support your child’s unique needs in the new learning environment. For details on in-state transfers for your child, MOParent recommends that you speak directly with your child’s old and new school.

    For more helpful tips on Missouri Public Schools, sign up for MOParent email updates!

  • Three Great Reasons to Use the School Bus

    Missouri students have several options for transportation to and from school. Today we’ll share three reasons why riding the bus to and from school is a great option in Missouri.

    School Buses Reduce Your Family’s Carbon Footprint
    Putting your child on the bus to and from school helps reduce emissions by keeping additional automobiles off the road.

    The positive impact you and your child will make on the environment by choosing the school bus is substantial.

    According to, each school bus on the road replaces 36 cars, saving 2.3 billion gallons of fuel, $6 billion, and 44.6 billion pounds of CO2 nationally.

    The School Bus is Your Child’s Safest Ride to School
    Did you know that studies have shown that the school bus is your child’s safest ride to and from school?

    According to Linda McCray and John Brewer, “The safety record for school bus transportation exceeds that of all other modes of travel.”

    WebMD puts the statistics into perspective:

    "When on a school bus, your child is driven by a professional driver in a reinforced vehicle designed to include bright flashing lights, stop sign arms, and other special safety features. The school bus is, statistically, the safest choice of transportation to and from school."

    Riding the Bus is Cost Efficient
    When you choose to use the school bus instead of driving your child to school, you’re not only keeping your child safer and reducing your family’s carbon footprint, you’re saving money, too.

    When money is tight for families, school districts, and the nation, every cost savings opportunity helps. Consider saving your family and your district money by encouraging your child to ride the bus to and from school.

    Get more tips on Missouri public school education by subscribing to MOParent’s email newsletter.

  • Eight Missouri Schools Honored with Gold Star Recognition

    Eight Missouri schools were honored as Gold Star schools in 2013. Missouri’s 2013 Gold Star Schools are:

    Bolivar High School (Bolivar R-I School District), Bolivar, MO

    Brentwood High School (Brentwood School District), Brentwood, MO

    Lee’s Summit West High School (Lee’s Summit R-V-II School District), Lee’s Summit, MO

    Nixa High School (Nixa R-II School District), Nixa, MO

    Sappington Elementary School (Lindbergh Schools), St. Louis, MO

    Spokane High School (Spokane R-VII School District), Highlandville, MO

    Willow Springs High School (Willow Springs R-IV School District), Willow Springs, MO

    W.W. Keysor Elementary School (Kirkwood R-VII School District), Kirkwood, MO

    The Gold Star Schools Program is a state-level recognition program, administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Founded in 1991, the Gold Star Schools Program has rigorous criteria that are aligned with the national Blue Ribbon Schools program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

    The national Blue Ribbon programs identified both “high performing schools” and “improved schools”. Each of the eight schools recognized as Missouri Gold Star Schools have also been nominated for the national Blue Ribbon program. Blue Ribbon Schools will be announced by the U.S. Department of Education in Fall 2013.

  • Common Misperceptions About Teacher Tenure in Missouri

    Teachers in the state of Missouri achieve tenure after five years teaching full-time in the same school system. Teacher tenure does not prevent teachers from leaving their jobs, though, and tenure does not protect inadequate teachers from being fired. 

    Teachers May Leave Tenured Positions

    Tenured teachers are empowered to cancel their indefinite contracts, just as the school district may still terminate a tenured teacher. 

    Teachers who are tenured may terminate their contracts for the coming school years on or before June 1st without school board permission. Even if a teacher signs a contract in the spring, the teacher can leave the contract by providing written notice to the school district on or before June 1st of that same year. 

    Schools May Fire Tenured Teachers

    Perhaps one of the biggest misperceptions about teacher tenure in Missouri is that tenured teachers are protected from involuntary dismissal. 

    In fact, tenured teachers’ employment can be terminated involuntarily under several circumstances:

    ·         If the teacher has a physical or mental condition that renders him or her unfit to instruct or associate with children.
    ·         For immoral conduct.
    ·         For incompetence, inefficiency or insubordination in the line of duty.
    ·         For willful or persistent violation of Missouri’s school laws or the local school district’s published policies or regulations.
    ·         For excessive or unreasonable absences.
    ·         For conviction of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude.

    Is the School Required to Give the Teacher a 30-Day Improvement Period?

    In Missouri, unless a teacher is terminated on the basis of “incompetence, inefficiency or insubordination,” the teacher is not entitled to an improvement period. The school board is allowed to proceed immediately with the termination process. In other words, tenure does not protect teachers from being fired.  

    Written Notice of Termination

    School districts who terminate tenured teachers are required to serve the tenured teacher with “written charges specifying the grounds it believes exist for termination and notice of the right to a hearing”. 

    If the teacher does not request a hearing within 10 days of being served with written notice of dismissal, the school board may terminate the contract by a majority vote. 

    In addition, the school board may suspend teachers (with pay) during the termination process. 

    Teacher tenure in Missouri does not protect unfit teachers, nor does it protect teachers who have missed an excessive number of classes. Missouri’s teacher tenure does not project teachers who have broken Missouri’s school laws, state laws, district policies, or Federal laws. 

    Despite common misperceptions, tenured teachers in Missouri can still be fired.

    To learn more about teacher tenure and other educational policy issues in the state of Missouri, sign up for MOParent email update at the top of this page.

  • What is the Missouri School Improvement Program?

    The Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) is the state’s school accountability system for reviewing and accrediting public school districts in Missouri. 

    MSIP began in 1990, and has completed four cycles. MSIP entered its 5th cycle (MSIP5) this year. 

    MSIP Cycles
    Cycle 1: 1990-1996
    cycle 2: 1996-2001
    Cycle 3: 2001-2006
    Cycle 4: 2006-2012
    Cycle 5: 2012-Present

    4 Policy Goals of the MSIP

    The Missouri School Improvement Program has four policy goals, including articulating expectations for student achievement, distinguishing school and district performance, empowering stakeholders, and promoting continued improvement. Specifically, the goals of the MSIP are to: 

    1) Articulate the state’s expectations for student achievement with the ultimate goal of all students graduating ready for success in college and careers; 

    2) Distinguish performance of schools and districts in valid, accurate and meaningful ways so that districts in need of improvement can receive appropriate support and interventions, and high-performing districts can be recognized as models of excellence; 

    3) Empower all stakeholders through regular communication and transparent reporting of results; and 

    4) Promote continuous improvement and innovation within each district. 

    MSIP Resource, Process, and Performance Standards

    MSIP standards are used to review and accredit public school districts in Missouri. These standards are organized into three categories: Resource Standards, Process Standards, and Performance Standards. 

    Annual Performance Reports (APRs)

    Annual Performance Reports (APRs) are generated for every public school, district and charter local education agency each year. APRs are established based on each school’s Performance Standards, and they are used to determine appropriate supports and interventions needed at the school and district level. 

    Four Levels of Accreditation

    MSIP 5 articulates four levels of Missouri school accreditation. Those levels are:
    Accredited With Distinction – Equal to or greater than 90% of the points possible on the APR and meets other criteria yet to be determined by the State Board of Education.

    Accredited – Equal to or greater than 70% of the points possible on the APR.

    Provisional – Equal to or greater than 50% to 69.9% of the points possible on the APR.

    Unaccredited –Less than 50% of the points possible on the APR. 

    Are you curious to know what your school district’s accreditation level is? This PDF from the Missouri State Board of Education includes a comprehensive list of 2012 Accredited, Provisionally Accredited, and Unaccredited schools. 

    Would you like to learn about MSIP5 and how it affects your child and your local schools? Sign up for email alerts from MOParent today.

  • Immunizations for Missouri Students at Every Age

    Missouri’s public schools want to keep your child safe and healthy from preschool through graduation and beyond. That’s why Missouri has built recommended immunization schedules based on the nation’s leading immunization, disease, pediatric and family medicine organizations.

    That’s also why Missouri offers the Vaccines for Children Program, which we’ll talk about later in this post.

    Immunizations from Birth to Six Years Old
    From birth to age six, your child will probably receive a number of important immunizations, many of which can be given in combination, reducing the number of individual trips you’ll need to make to your doctor’s office or county health office.

    Some of these immunizations include Hepatitis A & B; Polio; Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR); and Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTap). Your child will likely receive his or her Hepatitis B shot at birth, while the remaining immunizations are spread out over his or her early years of life.

    Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services’ Easy to Read Immunization Schedules

    Birth to 12 Years 

    7 to 18 Years

    Immunizations for Eleven and Twelve Year Olds
    Between the ages of eleven and twelve, it’s recommended that your child be protected against Meningococcal Conjugate (MCV), Human Papillomavirus with a TDap booster.

    Catch-Up Schedules & Booster Shots
    If you’ve fallen behind on your child’s vaccinations, don’t panic. Instead, contact your pediatrician, family doctor or county health office to review your child’s immunization records and build a catch-up schedule for remaining vaccinations.

    Some immunizations that your child is given at a young age will need a follow-up “booster” shot in your child’s preteen or teen years. Talk with your doctor or county health office to make sure your child is up to date on all recommended shots.

    Free Vaccines
    Are you concerned about the cost of your child’s vaccines or worried that your health insurance won’t cover immunizations? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers free vaccines for children who qualify. You can learn more about Missouri’s Vaccines for Children Program here

    Why Vaccinate?
    "Missouri's immunization program is working to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases by providing vaccines to children and adolescents who cannot pay for them through the Vaccines for Children Program; educating health care professionals, medical providers and the public on the importance of vaccinations; and ensuring that children who are in child care and school are adequately immunized against diseases that are harmful and sometimes deadly."
    Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services

  • Missouri’s Public School Bus Fleets Benefit from Doe Run, Co. Settlement

    As part of a 2010 agreement with the EPA, Lead producer, the Doe Run Co., will give $500,000 to help Missouri’s school districts decrease the carbon footprint of their bus fleets and improve environmental practices in school science labs.

    The Doe Run Co. began making grants available to Jefferson County schools on a first-come, first-served basis in February of this year. The Hillsboro, Jefferson R-VII, Dunklin, Windsor, De Soto, Grandview and Festus school districts were selected to receive grant funding. Any remaining funds were schedule to be made available to schools in Dent, Iron, Washington, Scott and Reynolds Counties on August 1,2013.

    There are $300,000 in grants available for retrofitting diesel-powered bus engines to reduce emissions. Doe Run, Co. will also contribute $200,000 to help schools remove hazardous waste or old chemicals from science labs, photo and art studios, and dark rooms.

    According to the Doe Run, Co., “After receiving the Doe Run grant, each school district will contract independently with their maintenance providers or vendors to complete the work on each engine. Upgrades are aimed at reducing school bus emissions of nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds by up to 90 percent. School districts will be required to share data reporting reductions and progress with Doe Run.”

    In total, Doe Run, Co. will contribute $3.5 million to fund Missouri school districts and another $2 million to community-based projects, some of which include Missouri public school projects as part of the same 2010 agreement with the EPA.

  • More Missouri Students Attending Full-Day Kindergarten

    Enrollment in full-day kindergarten has increased by more than 10% — from 85.6% to 95.7% — since 2006, according to the Missouri Top Ten by 20 Dashboard . This is great news for the state of Missouri.

    The fact that Missouri offers full-day kindergarten is a sign that Missouri is ahead of the national learning curve for the public education of young students. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, 94% of Missouri’s children attend full-day kindergarten, while only ten states and the District of Columbia require full-day kindergarten to be provided and publicly funded at all. Thirty-four states require at least half-day kindergarten, and six have no requirement at all for public kindergarten programs.

    Is Full-Day Kindergarten Overrated?
    Research shows that students who attend full-day kindergarten programs build stronger academic foundations that their peers who attend part-day programs or don’t attend kindergarten.

    Strategies for Children cites research that students who attend full-day kindergarten programs learn more in reading and math and exhibit more independent learning, classroom involvement, and productivity in work with peers than children who are enrolled in half-day kindergarten programs

    At-risk and low-income students, especially, benefit from full-time kindergarten instruction.

    A study of 17,600 Philadelphia students found not only that low-income students performed better in full-day than half-day kindergarten, but that school districts saved a substantial sum of money in reduced retention rates of those full-time kindergarten students in the first, second and third grades. 

    Missouri has a 22% child poverty rate and 34% of Missouri’s children live in single parent families. 146,000 Missourians receive WIC (Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition program) support, and nearly half a million adults and children in Missouri receive welfare

    When so many of Missouri’s students and families are low-income, Missouri’s record high enrollment in full-day kindergarten is especially meaningful. We are setting the next generation of students up for academic — and life – success.

    Is your child or a child in your care nearing kindergarten age? Enrollment in Missouri’s full-time kindergarten programs is free in most districts. Contact your local public school district to find out how to enroll your child.

3550 Amazonas Drive, Jefferson City, MO 65109. 573-638-4825