SB 255 - TURNAROUND OPTIONS FOR UNACCREDITED SCHOOLS (Section 160.085): When an individual school is classified as unaccredited, the school board of the district in which it is located must adopt and implement a school turnaround option for that school. The school board may use a restart model, a transformation model, or a turnaround model.
A restart model requires that the district convert the school or close it and reopen it using an education management organization. A school using a restart model must enroll any former student and may enroll any other student who wishes to attend.
The transformation model requires the district to implement various governance and instructional strategies, and implement evaluation and assessment systems, as described in the act. It requires the replacement of the school principal and removal of staff who have not increased student achievement and high school graduation rates.
The turnaround model also requires the district to implement various governance and instructional strategies, and implement evaluation and assessment systems, as described in the act. The school principal must be replaced and a new principal is granted operational flexibility. In addition, the new principal must select new staff. No more than fifty percent of the existing staff will be retained.
ACCREDITATION OF INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL BUILDINGS IN ST. LOUIS AND KANSAS CITY (Section 161.088): This act requires the State Board of Education to develop a system of classification for the St. Louis and Kansas City school districts that accredits individual schools within those districts. The State Board must develop the classification system as part of the Missouri School Improvement Program and promulgate it through administrative rule.
STUDENT TRANSFERS (Section 167.131): Currently, the school board of a school district that does not maintain an accredited school is required to pay the tuition and transportation of resident students who attend an accredited school in another district of the same or an adjoining county. This act creates an intradistrict transfer system for the St. Louis and Kansas City school districts if a student attends an unaccredited school. Any student who attends an unaccredited school within those districts may transfer to an accredited school within his or her district of residence that offers the student's grade level of enrollment if there is sufficient capacity. If there is not sufficient capacity in any accredited school within the student's district of residence, the student may transfer to an accredited district in the same or an adjoining county. To be eligible to transfer to another district, a student must have been enrolled in and attending a public school in the unaccredited district for three school years. The St. Louis and Kansas City school districts must publicly post on their internet websites a student transfer application. A parent or guardian who seeks to transfer his or her child to an accredited school within the St. Louis or Kansas City school district must complete a transfer application by April 1 for the following school year. If a student's unaccredited school regains accreditation during the school year and he or she has enrolled in another accredited public school within the district or an accredited district in the same or an adjoining county, the student may complete the school year at the school of enrollment.
This section is similar to provisions in SB 633 (2016), SB 22 (2015), and SB 49 (2015).
READING, PERSONALIZED LEARNING PLANS, STUDENT RETENTION (Section 167.730): This act requires, beginning July 1, 2018, all public schools in the St. Louis City School District, including charter schools, to use a response-to-intervention tiered approach to reading instruction for students determined by their school to be struggling readers. At a minimum, the reading levels of students in kindergarten through tenth grade must be assessed at the beginning and middle of the school year. Students who score below district benchmarks must be provided with intensive, systemic reading instruction.
Beginning on January 1, 2018, and each January thereafter, each public school in the St. Louis City School District, including charter schools, must prepare a personalized learning plan for any kindergarten or first grade student whose most recent school-wide reading assessment result shows the student is below grade level. Certain exceptions exist from this requirement. For any student with a personalized learning plan, the student's main teacher must consult with the student's parent or guardian about the plan and must have consent to implement it. If a student is still performing below grade level through the end of the first grade year, the school must refer him or her for assessment to determine if an IEP is necessary. If an IEP is not necessary, the personalized learning plan must remain in place until the student is at grade level.
Any student who is not reading at the second grade level by the end of second grade may be promoted to third grade only if: the school provides additional reading instruction during the summer and demonstrates the student is ready for third grade at the end of summer school; if the school provides a "looping" classroom in which the student remains with the same teacher for multiple years and the student is not reading at the third grade level by the end of third grade, the student must be retained; or the student's parents or guardians may sign a notice that they prefer to have the student promoted except that the school will have final determination to retain.
The St. Louis City School District and each charter school located in it must provide in the annual school accountability report card the numbers and percentages by grade of any students at grade level who have been promoted but who have been determined as reading below grade level.
This section is similar to provisions in SB 23 (2017), SB 58 (2017), SB 633 (2016), SB 22 (2015), and SB 49 (2105) and is substantially similar to HB 511 (2011) and HB 2214 (2010).
TEACHER EMPLOYMENT IN UNACCREDITED SCHOOLS (Section 168.310): The school board of any district in which an unaccredited school is located may terminate the employment of any school personnel employed in the unaccredited school. The school board may also not renew the contract of any school personnel employed in the unaccredited school.
LETTER GRADES FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS (Section 171.417): By July 1, 2019, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must develop and implement a system of assigning letter grades to each public school based on performance and student growth. The Department must develop two different methods of assigning letter grades based on the assignment of points, one method for public schools with grades kindergarten through eight and a second method for public schools with grades nine through twelve.
The method for assigning letter grades to schools with grades kindergarten through eight must be based on the assignment of point values using the following performance and student growth factors, as described in the act: the percent of pupils who score at or above the proficient level on state standardized assessments in English language arts, mathematics, and science; the percent of pupils who make annual learning gains in English language arts and mathematics; and the percent of pupils in the lowest thirty percent of pupils in English language arts and mathematics and who make annual learning gains.
The method for assigning letter grades to schools with grades nine through twelve must be based on the assignment of point values: at least fifty percent of the points must be based on pupil proficiency, determined by state standardized assessments and other measures considered appropriate by the Department; and the balance of points must be based on graduation rates, measures of college and career readiness, and measures of learning gains.
After the Department assigns points to each public school, it must establish a grading scale for the letter grades to be assigned for that year for public schools with grades kindergarten through eight and a separate grading scale for public schools with grades nine through twelve. For the first school year that grades are assigned, each grading scale must include the following criteria: no more than ten percent of public schools must be assigned a grade of A; approximately twenty-eight percent of public schools are assigned a grade of B; approximately thirty-one percent of public schools are assigned a grade of C; approximately twenty-eight percent of public schools are assigned a grade of D; and at least five percent of public schools are assigned a grade of F. The point values needed to achieve a specific letter grade will remain the same from one year to the next, except as provided in the act. The system may be adjusted based on a school's grade configuration.
Before each August first, the Department must notify each public school, school district, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Joint Committee on Education of each school's letter grade, the detailed formula and metrics for the letter grade system, and the building-level data used to generate the letter grade.
A school district may apply to the Commissioner of Education to designate one or more of its schools as an alternative education campus. An alternative education campus will not receive a letter grade and will instead receive a summary status of "maintaining" or "failing."
By July 1, 2019, the Department must establish and implement a waiver system for waiving regulatory or statutory reports and requirements for a public school that consistently maintains a grade of A or B. A waiver would be effective as long as a public school maintains a grade of A or B.
This act contains an emergency clause.
This act is substantially similar to SB 616 (2014).