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Missouri's Normandy District Sheds Its Unaccredited Status

Missouri's Normandy school district—the state's only unaccredited public school system—will gain provisional accreditation next year.  

The district, now officially known as the Normandy Schools Collaborative and located in St. Louis County, lost its accreditation in 2013. The state took control of the district's finances in February 2014, before fully taking over the district in May of that year.

Normandy is the district from which Michael Brown, the teenager who was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Mo, police officer, had recently graduated.

Before the takeover, the academically-challenged district was on the verge of bankruptcy from expenses it had incurred by paying transportation and tuition costs for students who were allowed by Missouri law to transfer to an accredited school district. 

The Missouri state board of education voted unanimously Friday to grant provisional accreditation to the district. Normandy had fallen within the range of provisional accreditation for the last two  years, but the state considers more than one year when making its decision, according to the department of education.

The district's score went from 7.1 percent in 2014 to 62.5 in 2017, according to the department of education. The state award points for things like academic performance, attendance, college-and-career readiness, graduation, and other factors.

The district's English/language arts proficiency rates went from 24.4 in 2015 to 34 percent in 2017. Math proficiency rates remain very low, with the rates of 12.3 in 2015 and 19.2 in 2017, according to state data.

Since the state took over, a new board and new superintendent were appointed. As the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported, the early days of the takeover were rocky, with the hiring of inexperienced teachers and the cutting of Advanced Placement and honors classes at Normandy High School. 

Financial agreements with neighboring school districts have reduced transfer and tuition costs, easing the district's financial burden.

The designation will become effective on Jan. 2.

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