With Missouri’s No Child Left Behind waiver approved, school districts are considering how this will impact them, including Grain Valley.

With Missouri’s No Child Left Behind waiver approved, school districts are considering how this will impact them, including Grain Valley.

“This means Missouri schools will be scored under one system instead of two,” said Grain Valley assistant superintendent Brad Welle. “The exception that 100-percent of students score advance or proficient (in mathematics and communication arts) by 2014 no longer applies.”

The U.S. Department of Education approved Missouri’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act waiver in late June, which gives the state some flexibility from No Child Left Behind requirements. The NCLB requirements designate individual schools and school districts as “in need of improvement” or failing based on a number of factors, including state test scores. The waiver will allow the state to use its own accountability system to identify schools that are struggling and bypasses the 2014 requirement. The waiver goes into effect for the 2012-13 school year.

Welle, who discussed the waiver during the July 19 Grain Valley Board of Education meeting, said districts will still be expected to show continued improvement in student achievement scores on state assessments. He said the implications for Grain Valley, as well as other school districts, include replacing the “pass/fail” system with a new statewide system that classifies schools who receive Title I money from the federal government as “reward, focus or priority.”

Reward districts, or highest performing districts, will be those schools that are in the top 5 percent of Title I schools in Missouri, as determined by Missouri Assessments Program exam scores. Reward-High Progress schools are limited to the top 10 percent of Title I schools that are gaining proficiency ranking in mathematics and communications arts on the MAP exams over the past three years. Priority schools are classified as schools that are persistently among the lowest achieving of title schools in the state. The remaining 86 percent of schools will be labeled as focus.

This, Welle said, will devote more state resources to those districts that are deemed as focus or priority districts.

“Missouri schools will be assigned a level in early August,” he said. “Another implication for the Grain Valley School District as a result of the waiver includes we will no longer have to send out an AYP letter in early August notifying parents we failed to meet Annual Yearly Progress.”

For more information on the final waiver application, answers to frequently asked questions and to find other supporting documents, visit the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website at dese.mo.gov/qs/esea-waiver.html.

The board also heard from representatives of LJ Hart about refunding some of the school district’s bonds. Two options were presented – refund the bonds now or wait until December to see if interest rates continue to fall. The board decided to refund the bonds now instead of waiting for fear that interest rates would increase instead of decrease.