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Columbia Public Schools happy with progress on annual reports

Sara Maslar-Donar

A Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman said the district is happy with its overall performance in data released by the state Thursday.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on Thursday released Annual Progress Reports for school districts, which are used to determine districts’ accreditation status. The reports look at performance measures such as standardized test scores, attendance rates and graduation rates.

CPS spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said the district has focused on improving attendance. CPS attendance was at 88 percent in the last school year, which is less than a 1 percent decrease compard to the prior year. However, the district showed improvement in its multi-year average.

“Obviously if you are coming to class or coming to school you care going to be better academically, socially, emotionally,” Baumstark said.

The three-year average for attendance is 88.8 percent, and the target for attendance is 90 percent. The state deemed CPS’s progress in attendance to be below where it should be.

“We’re just shy of where we want to be,” Baumstark said. “We are going to be continuing to work on that, we have a lot of interventions and supports in place in order to encourage our students to attend school on a regular basis.”

The four-year graduation rate last year was 89.4 percent, which is just below the average of the past three years at 89.5 percent, which is on track with the state’s standards.

One issue CPS has been trying to address over the years is the gap between the overall student body and what the state calls subgroups, which are made up of minorities, those on free and reduced-price meals, special education students and English- language learners.

The results were mixed in closing the gap. The difference between overall student achievement and subgroup achievement in English dropped between last year and the year before, from 19.8 percent to 19.6 percent. The gap for math proficiency grew from 18.8 percent to 19.1 percent.

Baumstark said the district is using the data to inform the ways CPS leaders can continue to improve programs already in place.

“Where are the best practices that are most successful? Where are the areas that we can improve on?” Baumstark said, “What sort of interventions and supports would help to be able to meet some of those targets or help students where they are so that we can see growth?”

She said moving forward, CPS will examine the numbers to see how each building and each classroom is doing.

“That takes time when you are given such large sets of data,” Baumstark said.


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