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Kansas City District Improves Academic Status, Avoids Student Transfers

Two and a half years after losing accreditation because of falling student achievement and chaos in its leadership ranks, the Kansas City, Mo., school system is back on firmer footing for the 2014-15 school year now that state education officials have granted the district "provisional" accreditation.

While overall academic performance in the Kansas City schools remains low, growth on state math and English/language arts tests from last spring helped propel the embattled district out of its unaccredited status, which had subjected the school system to costly student transfers to neighboring, higher-performing districts.

According to school district officials, it was the third straight year of academic gains as measured by state tests, end-of-course exams, attendance, and graduation rates. As the district's annual academic results were released late last week, Superintendent R. Stephen Green said he's confident that full accreditation can be won by next school year.

The 13,000-student district lost accreditation in early 2012, and, according to school system officials, has never had full accreditation under Missouri's current system of measuring school performance. Districts must meet at least six out of 14 performance standards to receive provisional accreditation and nine for full accreditation.

Now, Kansas City—which has made much of its improvement under Superintendent Green—will shift its focus to earning full accreditation, a steep climb that will require a much larger share of its students to reach proficiency levels in math and reading.


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