BLOOMFIELD, Mo. - Low scores on the Missouri School Improvement Program Version Five (MSIP 5) by the Bloomfield School District was the topic of a presentation by Superintendent Toni Hill Monday night at the regular meeting of the Board. The Bloomfield District scored 63.50 percent on the yet-to-be implemented evaluation system for school district accreditation. The new system by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) replaces the old Annual Performance Reviews (APRs) beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
Hill said the score by the district "does not designate the district as a focus school." She said the score should be of concern to the board and the district, and measures were being implemented to improve those scores.
"We're currently an accredited district with distinction," said Hill. "So seeing the numbers released by DESE was a surprise."
The MSIP 5 system will become the state's new school accountability system for reviewing and accrediting public schools. It emphasizes variables such as student achievement, graduation rates and post-graduation student placement. In the old APR there was a maximum of 14 points, while under the new MSIP 5 there are 140 possible points. The score the district received was the result of applying old data to a new format.
Hill told the board the administration was moving to address weaknesses and low scores. She said it would be a slow process in making changes to improve the rating, but "we have a plan in place."
She said Dr. Ken Jackson, with DESE, visited the district to aid in addressing some issues. She said High School Principal Dustin Hicks, Elementary Principal Amy James and herself were given three of the 10 positions in the Bootheel for training sessions sponsored by DESE to assist districts with low scores.
Hill said some areas where Bloomfield scored low were due to reporting problems. She said Bloomfield scored a 22.5 out of a possible 30 points for graduation rates. She said they found that students at the Juvenile Detention Center were being counted as students in grades K-12. She said those students leave the Center at the age of 16 years, so they appear not to graduate. She said those students needed to be classified as students in grades K-11, so they would not have an adverse affect on the district graduation rate. Bloomfield also scored a 7.5 out of 10 possible points in attendance, and these were areas that could be addressed in the short term.
Hills said the administration also wanted to address scoring for student achievement. She said the administration would be meeting with teaching staff to review "core standards," and make sure teachers are teaching what is prescribed by DESE. She said many teachers use the textbooks as their guide, which may not reflect the standards established by DESE.
MSIP 5 also provides points for college enrollment, military careers and career technology, which means the district needs to account for students' placement after graduation.
Board Member Bill Robison asked several questions about the MSIP 5 ratings, and also questioned how the administration and staff intended to address the concerns.
"We're beginning new curriculum work aligned with our core standards," said Hill. "We think that will improve our student achievement score, and we plan to have more one-on-one with our students to find out what they plan to do after graduation."
Robison said the board didn't want to be back in a year to find the district's numbers were still low.
Board members thanked Hill for bringing "the bad as well as the good news" to the board's attention.
Hill updated the board on construction of the FEMA Safe Room. She said work was progressing "on schedule." She noted that the concrete floors have been poured, as well as the concrete ramps for handicapped accessibility for the front and side entrances. The striping on the exterior has also been completed. She said she had looked into the cost of installing some automated bleachers. The estimated cost was $20,000 to $24,000, which the district does not currently have available.
"We will have to put that on hold," she noted. "It is something we will want to look at in the near future."
Board President David Battles asked if the district could hold some fundraisers to help with the cost, noting the PTO could be recruited to assist. Board Member Don Lafferty said he had spoken with Modern Woodman of America which indicated they would match funds raised up to a set amount.
In other business, Hill reported that the only candidates to file for school board positions were incumbents David Cooper and Lafferty, who are up for re-election. The deadline to file was at 5 p.m. Jan. 15. She said if there is not a contested position, then the district would not have to hold an election and would save that much in cost.
In executive session, the board voted to hire Daina Craft, Jordan Arevett, Candice Sheets and Amanda Dewrock as substitute teachers. They also approved hiring Brad Tefferteller as a custodian and accepted the resignation of Vicki Adams as high school math teacher.
The board also renewed Hill's contract as superintendent, extending it for another two-year term.
(Keith Lewis with the Southeast Missourian provided background on MSIP 5 for the article.)