Thursday, August 22, 2013

Grandview School District On Track to 'Accredited with Distinction' Status

By Mary Wilson
The Grandview School District will be patting their own backs after good news regarding the 5th cycle of the Missouri School Improvement Plan (MSIP). The district received their Annual Performance Report (APR), which incorporates a three-year data period as the scoring guide, and presented the information to the school board on Thursday, August 15.

The MSIP 5 scoring guide evaluates the district as a whole, as well as each individual building, on five state standards to determine district and site level accreditation. Preliminary APR indicate that with the exception of one site, the district and the remaining schools demonstrated strong progress. The district as a whole, as well as Belvidere, Martin City K-8, and Grandview High School all show signs of being proportionate to the “Accredited with Distinction” indicator on the MSIP 5 scoring guide. Grandview Middle, Conn-West, Butcher Greene and Meadowmere are all projected to fall into the “Accredited” indicator.

“We’re looking at academic standards, college and career readiness standards, attendance standards and graduation standards,” said Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Lisa Walker. “All of the fourteen standards (from last year) are still there. In fact, it’s a more rigorous scoring guide that we’re transitioning to.”

Based on the 2012 data, Butcher Greene was the only school that showed scores high enough to be “Accredited with Distinction.” The district as a whole, and three other schools, showed scores ranging in the “Accredited” range. Conn-West and Martin City showed “Provisionally Accredited” score ranges, and Grandview Middle School came in at “Unaccredited”, based on the data from the previous three years.

Now the data from the 2012-13 school year is coming in, and with that the district was able to see preliminary results based on the figures received.

“We cannot share specific percentages with you at this time,” said Walker. “The results posted on Monday, August 19th, are embargoed until August 23rd. But based on the preliminary numbers, we project that because of the growth that we’ve seen this past year, in combination with the previous two years, the district, Belvidere, Martin City and Grandview High School will land in the accredited with distinction range.”

Walker stated that when the numbers are released, the district believes that the “Accredited” group of schools will be at the high end of the range. The numbers are still working drafts, and the district will spend the next three years transitioning to MSIP 5. The district will not receive the first official designation from MSIP 5 until 2015. Because it is a more rigorous scoring guide, and college and career readiness standards are being tracked in addition to the other standards, the state has given districts three years to work towards the MSIP 5 standards.

“The next step for us will be to look at each school to see how every grade level within the school is doing,” said Walker. “We’ve had some great progress, and we have to continue that progress to keep getting the status at a higher level. We’re all aware of that. We have some good evidence that the choices that we’ve made, and the focus that we’ve been putting forth, are working and we need to keep expanding that.”

Walker explained that while there is great progress throughout the entire district, she felt proud of the work done at the high school level in mathematics. District Superintendent Dr. Ralph Teran said that the task of the district is to continue on the path they are on, and sustain the progress seen.

“Continue to climb and distribute it throughout the whole year,” said Teran. “Distribute it throughout all the leadership. We really can do this and we can sustain it. It’s doable if we begin to replicate the things that work. We’re as good as anyone else. I think that’s our message for this year, that we really can live in this place and thrive in this place.”

Also at the meeting, Grandview Chamber of Commerce President Kim Curtis provided an update to the board regarding economic development in the community. According to Curtis, the chamber’s role is to bring the business community together for networking and advocacy, while the economic development council is tasked with retention as well as working with the city on creating new businesses and jobs, and community promotion.

“When we talk about partnering,” said Curtis, “we were very involved in the April bond issue that passed successfully. Beyond the board supporting that, it was also very hands on for us.”

The Chamber provided meeting space for the bond initiative, as well as other resources that the district was able to tap into. Curtis also thanked the district for the stadium improvements.

“With all the things going in on Main Street, we just thought that it was something that would carry over to the other side of what is now I-49,” said Curtis. “We’re really proud that you did that. We hear a lot of things about it within the community. It just adds to the idea that Grandview is becoming a different city, and it makes the school district very much a part of that.”

Curtis also talked about Truman Corners redevelopment and that the last day of business for Sam’s Club in Grandview will be August 29.

“While that’s bad news for the city, it’s good news in terms of what we have planned in their place,” said Curtis. “Hopefully within a year, we’ll have something built. RED Development can’t announce anything yet, but they have some great letters of intent from some great retailers.”

According to Curtis, the ownership group for the newly opened Hampton Inn in Belton is looking at the possibility of building another hotel (under a different name) off of 150 Highway in Grandview. There are also a few shops opening soon on Main Street, including Local Roots Market at 808 Main Street and a pizza-by-the-slice/sandwich shop to go in the former Long John Silver’s building.

Jeff Spangler, Development Director from the Bright Futures organization, introduced himself to the board, and provided a little background on the program that the district is working to implement this school year. Bright Futures

USA is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing communities together to focus on the success of children. This grassroots movement uses the Bright Futures framework to engage businesses, human service agencies, faith-based organizations, and parent groups within communities to meet the needs of children so every child can be successful, now and in the future. On February 7, 2013, the District hosted a community gathering to share information about the Bright Futures program and evaluate the level of interest in initiating the program in our community. On March 14, 2013, the Board of Education unanimously approved becoming a Bright Futures Affiliate. To follow the progress of the initiative, follow them on Facebook by searching Bright Futures Grandview.

Finally, board member Barbara Polette requested that the renewal of membership to the National School Boards Association (NSBA) National Affiliate Program. The National Affiliate program is available through a partnership with the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) and NSBA. The Grandview C-4 Board of Education has maintained membership in NSBA at various times over the years, including in 2012 and 2013. Board policy states that the Board will seek to participate as fully as possible in these two organizations.

The NSBA National Affiliate Program includes critical information and resources that can be accessed through monthly webinars, special reports, monthly video casts, news alerts, networking programs and member discounts for the NSBA annual conference.

Also, NSBA provides a powerful voice to Congress which can impact the way laws affecting education are crafted and enacted. The National Affiliate program fee for the district’s enrollment category is $4,675.00 for the period of October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014.

“I just wanted to know what we got last year for our $4600,” said Polette. “How has our membership in this organization benefitted our students or teachers?”

Board Vice President Leonard Greene responded by saying, “When we expose ourselves to other school districts outside of our immediate area, we’re able to learn different things.”

 Board President Cindy Bastian noted the benefits that were outlined in the board item. Bastian also pointed out the policies that address the fact that the district should retain their membership in both organizations.

The membership renewal was ultimately passed by the board, with Polette opposing. It was then discussed
that the membership should be used to its full extent in order to be worthwhile in the future.
The next regular meeting for the Grandview School Board will be on Thursday, September 19, at 6:30 p.m.

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