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Superintendent of Mehlville schools to focus on continuous improvement


By MIKE ANTHONY

Executive Editor

Though the Mehlville School District received 148 of a possible 149 points on its Missouri School Improvement Program evaluation, Superintendent Tim Ricker believes room for improvement always exists.

Public school districts undergo MSIP evaluations every five years to earn their accreditation classification based on three sets of standards — resource standards, process standards and performance standards. To earn full accreditation, a school district must receive 106 of the possible 149 points.

"I think we did good. I think it was a total team effort, that's for sure,'' Ricker told the Call. "Teachers worked hard on the performance areas and the kids worked hard on the performance areas. Staff has worked extremely hard to make sure that over the course of the last couple of years we've been at or above standards in all areas, although we do have some areas that we still need to work on.

"So that focus on continuous improvement will be something that we're going to do every year instead of waiting until the end of the five-year cycle to get back on board. We're going to put that in our everyday planning so that we'll know ex-actly what we need to do in year one through five,'' the superintendent added.

The Missouri School Improvement Program is designed to promote excellence in the state's public schools by ensuring those schools meet certain basic standards and continue to strive for excellence in an increasingly competitive world.

Before an on-site visit by the MSIP field team, which took place in January, the Mehlville School District already had earned 100 points by achieving a perfect score on its annual performance report and receiving the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Distinction in Performance Award.

The MSIP final report, which was delivered to Mehlville administrators in May, cites both district strengths and district concerns.

In a May 13 letter to former Superinten-dent John Cary, MSIP Director John Weber noted that Mehlville officials had until Aug. 22 to issue an administrative letter of response to those concerns.

"In this response, the district should explain what actions have been taken to address these minor concerns,'' Weber wrote.

Approval of the administrative letter of response was scheduled to be considered by the Board of Education Monday night — after the Call went to press.

"The MSIP responses are pretty straightforward. This is what we're going to do,'' Ricker said. "All of it will be included in our CSIP (Comprehensive School Improvement Plan), so we'll be writing the CSIP in the fall of the year, a new one with all of the updated responses and updated plans.

"We'll be doing an analysis of our previous year's work on all of our key performance indicators. So we'll be reporting that to the board and then identifying some new areas to look at,'' he added.

Of the possible 149 points, Mehlville was penalized one point for lacking an ad-ministrative position — an assistant to the superintendent post.

The lack of that post was cited as a concern in the final MSIP report.

In his response, Ricker wrote, "The Mehlville School District will continue to analyze its administrative plan for possible future consideration based upon financial, educational and political constraints.''

Another concern cited in the final MSIP report regarded Missouri Assessment Program scores. While achievement results in the grade spans six to eight and nine to 12 showed improvement, scores in math and science were low.

In his response, Ricker noted that the district administration met June 11 to discuss this concern and has formulated action plans that will be added to the district's CSIP to address the concerns.

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