The Waynesville R-VI School District received an 82.1 percent on its overall Preliminary Annual Performance Report, which was released on Friday, Aug. 23.
"As a district, we are accustomed to receiving high marks, and so we are disappointed by our overall score this year," says Dr. Judene Blackburn, superintendent of Waynesville Schools.
"During this school year, we will focus on increasing our academic expectations and improving attendance to better meet the new state standards. We will also closely scrutinize our internal processes of acquiring and recording important data. We are an excellent school district and we are committed to making big improvements in our scores."
This is the first set of annual performance reports (APRs) for Missouri schools based on the state's newly revised MSIP 5 accountability requirements. This fifth version of the Missouri School Improvement Plan (MSIP 5) was approved by the State Board of Education in 2011.
"The new system sets the bar higher for education in Missouri and keeps our standards among the strongest in the nation," says Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro.
The MSIP 5 summary data is based on the following standards and percentages earned by the Waynesville district:
Academic Achievement: 96.4%
Subgroup Achievement: 82.1%
College and Career Ready: 70.0%
"Meeting the 90-90 attendance requirement has been a growing problem for our district," says Dr. Brian Henry, assistant superintendent of instructional services.
The 90-90 rule requires 90 percent of the students to be in school 90 percent of the time. To help meet this standard, the School Board adopted a new attendance policy allowing for just five days of absence per semester during the 2013-14 School Year. Parents were notified of the change in March and April and were reminded again at the beginning of this school year.
During the upcoming months, Waynesville's data may improve as the district connects with recent graduates. High schools and career education centers are required to report what their students are doing after graduation and these figures are included in the district's "College and Career Ready" scores.
"Given the mobile nature of our community, it is a challenge for us to find all of our graduates and learn what they are doing," Henry says.
Recent graduates can help by calling the WHS Guidance Office at 573-842-2400 and pressing 3 to report their plans for this fall.
On the MSIP 5 districts earn points through status, progress and growth. As a result of weighting progress and growth, an improving district may look better than a higher performing one.
In the APR's supporting data, Waynesville received full points for English language arts, math and science. Improvements in biology scores helped the district's overall science score this year.
"Our biology scores went up significantly this year because we focused on several initiatives after last year's APR," Blackburn says. "Our district has a strong tradition of excellence and when we focus on an issue, we achieve our goals."