Tag Archives: apr

JeffCo School APR Scores 2017; Sunrise Rises, Followed by Fox

19 Nov

Once again, the state has released the yearly Annual Performance Report (APR) scores for each Missouri school district, and once again I will compile scores for the districts in Jefferson County. Here is my report from last year. The state has also released the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) scores; these tell us how students did on the subject standardized tests. I will look at the MAP numbers in a separate post.

Here is a table of this year’s APR data:

2017 apr table.jpg


As you can see, Sunrise R-9 school district made a big jump, from 89% all the way up to a perfect 100%, one of eight area districts to achieve this score. Sunrise is a K-8 district near Desoto that is considering expanding to K-12. From what I can tell by looking at the raw data (which is hard to find and a bit hard to decipher), Sunrise’s increased score is entirely due to improved performance on the science portion of the state standardized test. Sunrise went from 64% proficient or advanced in that subject last year to 76% this year. As you see from the chart, Sunrise also saw a big jump in APR score from 2015 to 2016.

In other news, Fox jumped ahead of Festus, who led the ratings each of the past three years. This year, the difference between Fox and Festus is one point on the 140-point scale. Jefferson, who was 4th last year, also jumped ahead of Festus by half a point. Fox’s score went up four points from last year.

Desoto, which has been rocked by the controversial departure of a principal and two resignations from the school board and is facing a state audit, came in last place in the county for the third year in a row. For comparison, a score of 70% or more is required to be considered fully accredited; Desoto scored an 87.1%.

As the Post-Dispatch explains, “Missouri’s Annual Performance Reports score school districts on measures such as academics, college and career readiness, student attendance and graduation rates.”


2016 APR Rankings and School Poverty Rates

7 Jan

I am a bit behind here on posting the results of local schools in the 2016 Missouri Annual Performance Report (APR) rankings, which came out in November. So you may have already read about this. In order to add a little value, I am including the percentage of students in each district eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, which is the proxy for poverty rate generally used in the education business (income eligibility table here – it’s a Texas link but the numbers are the same). This will give us an indication of how poverty plays into the JeffCo school rankings.

For review, APR is a method of ranking schools in Missouri that takes into account test scores (and their changes over time), graduation rates, attendance, and college/career readiness. Here is my table:


The top three districts in the county for APR are unchanged this year, except that Windsor is tied for 2nd instead of being in 3rd place. Jefferson continues to improve, moving up to 4th this year while Northwest remains 5th. Hillsboro and Dunklin are slowly getting better. Sunrise and Desoto had bounce-back years, returning to their score from two years ago after big drops last year. Crystal City is stagnant, and Grandview dropped big; the district went from 4th in the county last year to 8th this year.

For statewide comparison, the Post-Dispatch reports that “about 67 percent of districts in the state got at least a 90 percent score, which is similar to last year.”

Free/Reduced Lunch Rates

There is definitely a correlation between APR score and free lunch rate in JeffCo; the five districts with the highest free lunch rates occupy the bottom five spots in the rankings, though not in order. Dunklin has the highest free lunch rate at 55.9%, followed by Sunrise and Desoto (which has the lowest APR). The statewide percentage of students eligible is 51.7%. Free lunch rates and other data are available here.

Interestingly, Festus, the best district in the county by the APR and MAP measures, has only the fifth-lowest free lunch rate. Facts like this show that a district can overcome a higher poverty rate, at least to some extent. The lowest free lunch rate is at Fox, at 32.6%, 23 percent less than at Dunklin.

Comparing Small School Districts

5 Jan

The Post-Dispatch had a story on New Year’s Day about the Strain-Japan School District in Franklin County, which consists of just one elementary school but has had great academic success:

The school is one of about 70 elementary-only, mostly rural, single-school districts in Missouri that receive little attention in the education arena. When they do, they’re often cited by education reform advocates as proof of what they think is an expensive, excessive number of school districts in Missouri.

But Strain-Japan’s test scores regularly rival and even best those of St. Louis’ wealthy and renowned school districts, while operating at a fraction of the cost.

This brought to mind JeffCo’s elementary-only school district, Sunrise, south of De Soto and 55 miles southeast of Strain-Japan. This district doesn’t do so well, showing up in the bottom half of county schools in performance ratings, though it ticked up in 2016. I thought I would compare some numbers between the two districts. These are from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website:


Along with the test scores, the other numbers definitely favor Strain-Japan: less poverty, higher tax rate, more spending per student. Taken together, these certainly explain some of the discrepancy, but the difference in test scores is quite significant. People in the Sunrise district will want to study the P-D article, and maybe take a field trip out to Sullivan, MO, to learn more about how Strain-Japan has been so successful.

Note: Sunrise just passed a bond measure in August, so the district will be getting more money soon, which will be spent on district buildings and infrastructure.

JeffCo School APR 2015; Festus on Top, De Soto Plummets

4 Nov

This year’s Annual Performance Report (APR) scores have been released by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), so it’s time to see how Jefferson County schools performed. Here’s a table showing the results of all St. Louis area schools. JeffCo schools were as follows:

District                  2015           2014

Festus                    97.9            97.5

Fox                         95.7            89.6

Windsor                  95.0            92.9

Grandview              94.3            93.9

Northwest               93.9            83.9

Hillsboro                 89.6            88.6

Jefferson Co.          88.1            86.3

Crystal City             86.8            89.6

Dunklin                   83.6            80.0

Sunrise (no HS)      81.9            88.8

De Soto                   75.0           85.0

Festus retains the top spot in the county for the third year in a row (this is the third year of these APR rankings). Fox moved up to second from a tie for fourth last year. Crystal City moved from a tie for fourth last year down to 8th; Crystal City, De Soto, and Sunrise were the three JeffCo schools that declined from last year. Northwest shot up 10 points and went from 10th last year to fifth in the county this year.

De Soto experienced a 10-point drop this year. If you look at the regional table, you see De Soto third from the bottom, behind St. Louis City and ahead of only Ferguson-Florissant and Normandy. The Leader states that De Soto was in the bottom 8% in the whole state. The district’s superintendent, Trish Burkeen, placed blame in several areas: resistance to teaching to the curriculum and Common Core, lack of familiarity with computers among elementary students, and changing American Government from a freshman course to a junior course (does that explain why the district had a 12.5% pass rate in Social Studies on the MAP test?). She states “I think this will prove to be a catalyst for change.” But what about change in the front office?

%d bloggers like this: