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Columbia Board of Education approves five-year school improvement plan


The Columbia Board of Education approved its five-year continuous school improvement plan at its meeting Monday night.

Superintendent Dr. Brian Yearwood presented an overview of the planning process and the school district's recommended plan.

Elements of the plan include making sure students continue to improve in all schools, promoting a healthy school system and providing conditions essential for students learning.

Columbia Public Schools hopes to achieve some of these goals by improving student attendance. According to the school district, 90% of students attended classes about 89% of the time in 2021. In 2022, that number dropped to 67%.

CPS hopes to increase the number to 90% by the 2026-2027 school year. Starting in the 2023-2024 school year, the district wants to increase attendance by 5% each year.

"Principals and secondary school counselors will create scholar attendance intervention plans," Yearwood said.

The attendance intervention plan is expected to be completed by fall 2024.

Columbia Public Schools attendance improvements:

  • Provide a checklist focusing on the social and emotional well-being of each student.
  • Create a safe and nurturing learning environment that meets the need of each student.
  • Implement the district's behavior education plan when assigning consequences.
  • Outline of the behavioral plan will be completed in May 2023.

The district also wants to lower the number of out-of-school suspensions. In 2022, the school district reported more than 3,000 suspensions, which is up by nearly 2,300 when compared to 2021.

CPS wants to cut the number of out-of-school suspensions in half over the next five years. According to the school district, other goals include improving student grades and retaining more staff.

Noelle Gilzow -- president of the Columbia Missouri National Education Association -- hopes this doesn't come at the teachers' expense.

"While reducing student suspensions is a worthy goal, it cannot come at the expense of dealing with student behaviors appropriately," Gilzow said. "Particularly, if they are violent towards staff and fellow students."

Yearwood assured that suspensions will still be used.

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Kennedy Miller


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