School report cards offer inside look at education in region

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Want to know how many local high school seniors went on to a four-year university after graduation last year?

How about the average salary of administrators in a particular district, or how many students were suspended on weapons-related offenses in a certain school?

Missouri school districts' annual report cards -- now available in local board offices or on school Web sites -- offer the community an inside look at trends and averages in a variety of student-related areas.

Under state law, Dec. 1 is the deadline to publish the report cards. The reports include test scores and information about student achievement, enrollment, course offerings, attendance, parental involvement, school finances and teacher quality.

"Every piece of information in these reports is a reflection of the district's progress as a whole," said Dr. Gerald Landewee, superintendent of the Oak Ridge School District.

The Southeast Missourian will publish a detailed analysis of local schools' report cards in the Dec. 10 edition.

The report cards include state averages, which Nell Holcomb superintendent David Fuemmeler said may be the most beneficial part for parents.

"Everybody wants to know about averages, and the state's numbers are a good comparison for that," Fuemmeler said.

Officials in most school districts spend several months compiling the required data and arranging it in an easy-to-use format.

"Basically, we have to do it. But since it's a requirement, we want to make it as useful as possible for parents, businesspeople or whomever is interested," said Dr. Sam Duncan, director of federal programs in the Jackson School District.

"Most parents don't need a document with a lot of numbers to gauge the education their child is getting, but it's nice to have something that shows the big picture," Duncan said.

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