Two Kennett schools declared deficient

Saturday, February 22, 2003

KENNETT, Mo. -- The State Board of Education on Thursday declared Kennett High School and Kennett Middle School academically deficient according to the requirements of the Outstanding Schools Act of 1993.

Under state law, the schools will get extra state money and two years to improve or face the prospect of the state suspending tenure for teachers and administrators.

Superintendent Jim Callewaert said the staff of both schools had previously recognized concerns regarding student achievement and has taken steps to implement programs during the past several years.

Kennett Middle School has instituted MAP activities during advisory period, an accelerated reader program, a sixth-grade reading club, a remedial reading program for sixth through eighth grades, among other programs.

Kennett High School went from the eight-block schedule to the traditional seven-period school day this year. Instructional time for each class increased from 210 minutes to 250 minutes per class per week.

"The board of education, administrators and staff recognize that we cannot educate students well simply by specifying what you want them to learn and testing them on the results," Callewaert said. "We must provide the conditions that make effective teaching and learning possible."

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education marked 11 schools as possibly academically deficient, based on student performance on the statewide MAP tests.

Visited in December

An audit team visited each attendance center to review data, talk with staff and students and determine whether the school is academically deficient. The two Kennett campuses were visited by the audit team in mid-December.

The state board will within 60 days appoint a management team to conduct any necessary investigations and make any recommendations the team believes appropriate.

A second audit team will visit two years after the filing of the management team report. If the school remains academically deficient, the local board of education may suspend indefinite contracts, not grant tenure to any probationary teacher or appoint a "school accountability council."

Other schools named deficient Thursday were Breckenridge High School in Caldwell County, just west of Chillicothe, and Wright City High School in the Warren County community west of St. Louis.

Eight other low-performing schools avoided the deficient status based on signs of progress observed by state teams that visited them late last year. Those schools include Caruthersville middle and high schools, Center High School in Kansas City, Jennings junior high and high schools, Maplewood-Richmond Heights Middle School near St. Louis, Jefferson Elementary in the St. Louis suburb of Normandy and Reed Middle School in Springfield.

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