State Boards Tell KC Schools to Wait for Accreditation
July 22, 2014

The Kansas City school system did not get its wish today.
The Missouri Board of Educations did not grant the district provisional accreditation.
The Kansas City district asked the Missouri Board to immediately grant them provisional accreditation. The district says its made improvements in its academic performance.
The state board, however, doesn’t see it that way.
“There is not sufficient data available yet for KCPS to verify that they have earned provisional accreditation,” according to a statement from DESE Tuesday afternoon.
The latest round of state test scores should be available in late August.
The unaccredited district expected to get its provisional accreditation restored at that time.
Kansas City thought it had improved enough in 2013 to regain accreditation.
Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicasto said the state was looking for a sustained trend of improvement , rather than just a good score on one round of tests.
The district says it has been make steady improvement now for three years.
Superintendent Steven Green says the district wanted to get the accreditation settled before the school year started.
He said that would prevent students who can transfer out of the district because of the lack of accreditation, having g to rejoin the school ( or provisional accreditation) is restored.

KC School Asking Missouri Board to Restore Provisional Accreditation Now
July 22, 2014

KC Star:
Kansas City Public Schools wants the state of Missouri to grant the district provisional accreditation now — on a temporary basis — rather than wait on a process for reaccreditation that will probably play out this fall.

The Missouri State Board of Education has added the district’s request to its agenda for its meeting Tuesday in Jefferson City.

Superintendent Steve Green said the district is making its request now because as many as 18 students are lining up to transfer out of the unaccredited district under a state law that allows students to transfer to nearby accredited districts with tuition paid by the unaccredited district.

Under the law, those students probably would have to return after one year because Kansas City continues to be confident it will earn provisional accreditation from the state board this fall and end the district’s exposure to the transfer law.

“The timing on how this unfolds is our concern,” Green said.

Green said he thinks there is plenty of data in the state’s hands now that shows that Kansas City’s next state report card will score at least in the provisional range for the second year in a row and probably even in the fully accredited range, he said.

But those scores, compiled in annual performance reports, won’t be made public until Aug. 29, three weeks into the new school year.

Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro has said that she would recommend the Kansas City district for provisional status if it were to repeat last year’s performance, but such a recommendation probably would not be presented to the state board until October.

“We want to avoid having families go and then having to come back,” Green said.

A spokeswoman for the state said the board’s discussion of Kansas City’s request probably will occur in closed session because Kansas City has a pending lawsuit that seeks provisional status.

Read more here:

Overview of KC Schools Likely in New Missouri Plan
March 21, 2014

AP) – The Missouri State Board of Education has endorsed a plan for assisting and intervening in school districts.

Districts are to be classified in tiers based upon performance, and state involvement would increase as performance worsened.

The Kansas City school system is one of three in Missouri that are unaccredited.
Education officials could tailor what steps are taken based upon the situation within a school district.

The education board approved the framework Friday and directed state education officials to start work toward applying it to specific districts. Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro says the first step is likely to be an overview of districts that are currently unaccredited or have provisional accreditation.

Missouri officials have been considering school plans since a law took effect last year that gave the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education more power to intervene in struggling districts

Another Call for Nicastro to Quit
January 16, 2014

(AP) – A Missouri House member has renewed her call for state Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro to resign.

Democrat Genise Montecillo, of St. Louis, addressed Nicastro during a hearing of the House Budget Committee on Wednesday.

Nicastro has faced criticism over various issues in recent months, including the award of a contract to a consulting firm to draft a turnaround plan for unaccredited school districts.

Montecillo urged Nicastro to step down last year. On Wednesday, she said the commissioner’s resignation would be the responsible thing to do for Missouri’s children.

Nicastro responded that she has a history with urban schools and that her record speaks for herself. She said others can do her job as well but that she’s not sure the state could find anyone more willing and committed.

CEE-Trusts Offers Plan for State Intervention in KC Public Schools
January 14, 2014

Members of the Missouri Board of Education got their first detailed look at a consultant’s plan for “state intervention” of the unaccredited Kansas City, Missouri school district.
The plan was created by the Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust, known as CEE-Trust.
The plan calls for a quick, major, transformation of the troubled district.
It’s designers say urban school systems are the problem holding students back, but urban schools themselves can succeed.
It’s central premise is to shift much of the decision making away from the District’s central and give more control to schools to decide how to educate their pupils.
If the state Board of Education adopts the plan, and the Kansas City Public School system does not regain accreditation this year, the plan could be in place by the next school year.
The plan was drawn up for Kansas City, but it’s designers say it could also be used to reform the unaccredited urban school districts in the St. Louis area of Normandy and Riverview Gardens.
The district’s central administration would be replaced by a state Community School Office.
That agency would function like a central office, but with fewer duties.
The Community School Office would still operate buildings, handle transportation and enrollment.
Other functions, however, would be delegated to the schools.
The plan calls for nonprofit educational agencies to serve as sponsored of individual schools. Those sponsors could be successful charter schools, or even operations sponsored by nearby districts, as well as other school reform groups.
The school sponsors and building principals would have more control over how money is spent in each school, curriculum, and who are hired as teachers.
Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro, who is most interested in the CEE- Trust plan, says other options are also being looked at.
Nicastro told reporters Monday the Kansas City district has its own reform plan. Several other agencies also have drawn school reform options.
There will a hearing in Kansas City on the plan on January 29th at 6:30 pm at the Paseo Academy at 4747 Flora.
Nicastro said it is possible the state Board could act on the reform plan as soon as it’s next Board meeting in mid-February.