Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

After State Review, Riverview Gardens Schools Will Remain Unaccredited. for Now

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

After State Review, Riverview Gardens Schools Will Remain Unaccredited. for Now

Article excerpt

Missouri education officials announced Tuesday that they will not recommend a change in accreditation status for the Riverview Gardens School District, where educators were hoping to earn the state's seal of approval next week and end the three-year outflow of students to other schools.

In January, the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education gave the district a road map with specific performance targets that, if fully met, would put the north St. Louis County district another step closer to regaining provisional or full accreditation. The Missouri Board of Education would have the final say.

The targets were in areas of academics and college and career readiness. By the state's measures, the district showed even more improvement over last year, by meeting three of five of them.

Chris Neale, an assistant education commissioner, said Riverview Gardens demonstrated "admirable" improvement in the 2015-16 school year. But it wasn't enough to persuade him to go before the Missouri Board of Education on June 14 and ask for a better rating. "It was a matter of setting some very high targets and not quite getting there," Neale said.

As long as Riverview Gardens remains unaccredited, students may continue to transfer to school systems that are provisionally or fully accredited.

This past year, about 530 students from the district took part in the transfer program. Upgrading the district's rating would mean most if not all of those students would be sent back to Riverview Gardens schools. State education officials began warning parents of this possibility in December.

Superintendent Scott Spurgeon has been working to transform the district since he began leading it three years ago.

He called the work involved in meeting the state's targets this past year "rigorous and time-consuming." Among other things, it involved giving students another round of standardized tests after they finished the Missouri Assessment Program.

"It is a process that has continued to demonstrate we are making a difference with our scholars," Spurgeon said. …

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