Kansas City, February 1, 2019: Kansas City Public Schools has made the mark for full accreditation thanks to the sustained efforts of leaders, teachers, students, support staff, family members, partners and volunteers.
KCPS earned 82.9 percent of the points possible on its 2018 Annual Progress Report, according to data shared during a press conference today at Woodland Early Learning Community School. This unprecedented result is a remarkable turn-around for a school system that faced a potential state takeover just a few years ago.
“This is a great day for KCPS,” School Board Chair Melissa Robinson said. “It means so much to all of us who are part of Team KCPS, and to our families and partners. This achievement tells us that we are on the right track.”
Every year, Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) produces an APR that measures improvement based on several different factors for every public school and Local Education Agency (school district) in the state. These performance factors include, among other elements, Missouri Assessment Program and End-of-Course exam results, attendance and graduation rates, and career and college readiness.
APR points are accumulated for achievement and improvement in each category. School districts are expected to get at least 70 percent of the possible points in order to be considered at a “full accreditation” level.
State accreditation status is actually determined by a vote of the Missouri State Board of Education, which considers APR and DESE recommendations when making this decision. After losing provisional accreditation in 2011, KCPS earned that status back from the state school board in 2014. Since then, the school system has been steadily gaining ground under the leadership of Superintendent Mark Bedell.
During his remarks at the Feb. 1 press conference, Dr. Bedell credited the support of the School Board, previous superintendents, staff, students, families, elected officials and partners.
“More than anything, I want to express our deep sense of gratitude to everyone who contributed in numerous ways that helped us reach this remarkable achievement,” Dr. Bedell said. “Today, Kansas City Public Schools stands alongside other school systems in the metro area with scores that are competitive if not better than the others.”
Dr. Bedell highlighted three particular points of pride for KCPS in the 2018 APR results.
First, KCPS students performed better than they ever have in recent memory on state exams in math and English language arts, earning 15 out of 16 points. Just as important, KCPS did not have to use DESE’s “hold harmless” option to earn these points. The state gives school districts the opportunity to use scores from up to two years ago if that will earn them more points than they would by using results from the current year. KCPS did not need to use that option in 2018. These points reflect current and ongoing academic progress by students.
Next, KCPS is either at or on track to reach state goals for 2020 in all three College and Career Readiness expectations: 6 out of 10 points in assessments, which includes the ACT, SAT, ASVAB and ACT WorkKeys exams; 9.5 out of 10 points in Advanced Placement; and 10 out of 10 in Post-Secondary Placement.
“I would suggest that this is one of the most important categories measured by the state,” Dr. Bedell said. “These results demonstrate that we are truly preparing our students to succeed after graduation.”
Finally, KCPS earned 24 out of 30 points for its graduation rate. The five-, six- and seven-year graduation rates are all on pace to meet state expectations by 2020.
“We aren’t where we need to be yet with graduation rates, but we are taking the necessary steps to get them there,” Dr. Bedell said. “But given our rates of student mobility and the fact that we serve all students regardless of when they come to us, I believe that our graduation rates will continue to be a source of celebration.”
KCPS 2018 Teacher of the Year Arjun Ravindran, who teaches math at Central Middle School, encouraged the community to remember that individual student improvement is always more important than standardized achievement data.
“We are teachers because we are driven to help children become successful adults. With all of the recent news and noise surrounding public education in this country, I think we need to remember that one essential data point: teachers love children – individual, sometimes frustrating but always uniquely wonderful children,” Mr. Ravindran said. “And given that fact, our measures of success can’t be graphed. How do you plot that moment when a student suddenly realizes they understand integers? Sure, that skill can be assessed, but the hope and resilience that the light bulb moment instills, that’s the real value of a great public education.”
Ms. Robinson, Dr. Bedell and other members of the KCPS leadership team will be engaging in a “Thank You Kansas City” tour around the school system and community during the months of February and March in order to express their gratitude for the support of stakeholders and rally around ongoing improvement efforts.
KCPS Annual Progress Report History
- 2012 – 27 percent
- 2013 – 60 percent
- 2014 – 66 percent
- 2015 – 63.9 percent
- 2016 – 70 percent
- 2017 – 63.9 percent
- 2018 – 82.9 percent