CONTACT:  Michele Clark
Communications Coordinator

Vol. 45, No. 52

July 15, 2011

Public Meetings Are Underway to Discuss Higher Standards for Missouri Kids and Schools

Regional groups of educators, business and community leaders, parents, and students are meeting this summer to review and offer suggestions on proposed new standards for public schools.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is conducting a series of public meetings in five locations throughout the state.  The third and final round of meetings will take place next week:  July 18 in Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis; July 21 in Moberly; and July 22 in Poplar Bluff.

Participants were selected by a steering committee of statewide organizations representing key stakeholders.

Tom Rose, a business owner and local school board member from Columbia said he hopes the advisory groups will be able to provide DESE with concrete suggestions.

“The regional meetings have been a great opportunity for stakeholders to express their opinions openly, as well as for DESE to give more detailed explanations about the proposed MSIP rule changes,” said Rose, a participant in the Moberly advisory committee.

The Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) is the state’s system of school improvement and accrediting public schools.  The standards have been reviewed and updated about every five years; this will be the fifth revision since the program’s inception in 1990.

“The first two meetings have been helpful and have provided excellent feedback,” said Chris L. Nicastro, Commissioner of Education.  “Our meetings next week are designed to help us generate specific recommendations for consideration by the State Board of Education.”

At the St. Louis regional meetings, Kathy Frederking, director of the Lewis and Clark Career Center in St. Charles, has observed that participants are putting a lot of time and energy into the process because of the importance of their work.

“I am very honored and pleased we have been asked to serve on the advisory committees and to have the opportunity to express concerns and support things we agree on,” Frederking said. “I believe everyone is very concerned about the kids and their futures.”