Gateway2change Student Summit on Race Returns!


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On Tuesday, October 27th more than 330 high school students from 33 area high schools met again at Ritenour High School to continue their work on the “STL Student Summit on Race.” The theme of this first Gateway2change event of the 2015-16 school year is “Activating Hope” and student participants reflected on their values and self-perception. Using design thinking, compassionate communication and “empathy and hope” interviews students worked together to increase their understanding of different perspectives on race and relationships.

Students will usG2c 1e these acquired interviewing skills in the coming months as they solicit feedback from the greater St. Louis community. As these students gain a greater understanding of different perspectives around regional diversity issues, they will begin transitioning their efforts into Change Agent Projects. These projects will help empower students as they work to actualize their potential as solution creators. Working with their Sibling School, students will use information gathered from the empathy and hope interviews to design their projects together.

The recently released Ferguson Report highlights the need for students to get involved in the national conversation about diversity and racial equity, something that these students began last year as part of the Student Summits on Race. Out of those efforts came the sibling school partnerships, community service efforts, community collaboration, and the Gateway2change movement. For more information including a list of participating schools, visit our website.


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In October the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will release the Annual Performance Report (APR) for school districts across the state. This is the third year of APRs released for the Missouri School Improvement Program 5 (MSIP 5). The purpose of this school district report card is to “distinguish performance of schools and districts in valid, accurate and meaningful ways so that districts in need of improvement can receive appropriate support and interventions, and high-performing districts can be recognized as models of excellence.”

The APR shows how well school districts are meeting the performance standards which consists of:

  • TestingMissouri Assessment Program (MAP) and End of Course (EOC) tests
    • Academic Achievement
    • Subgroup Achievement
  • ACT, SAT, COMPASS, ACT WorkKeys, and ASVAB scores
  • Successful completion of advanced courses
  • Career education placement
  • College placement
  • Graduation rates
  • Attendance rates

In Missouri, test scores count toward half of a K-12 school district’s annual performance score. Statewide test results for the 2014-15 school year were based on the Missouri Learning Standards for the first time, and show a majority of Missouri public school students are proficient in English, but less than half meet the threshold in math. Because this was the first time students took grade-level Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) and End-of-Course (EOC) tests based on the Missouri Learning Standards in those subjects, state education officials say they should not be compared with last year’s scores.

DESE advises school districts to compare test scores with the state and peers in other districts versus comparing scores to past results. “The 2015 grade-level and EOC assessments in English and math set a new baseline with higher expectations for student performance and should not be compared with MAP results from previous years.”

As a result of the transition this year to assessments aligned to the Missouri Learning Standards in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics, and the removal of optional EOC assessments, DESE has decided to change how the APR is calculated. ELA and mathematics within Standard 1 (Academic Achievement) and Standard 2 (Subgroup Achievement) will be “Hold Harmless” which means that the calculation will include either the 2014 or 2015 score, whichever is higher. The same does not apply to science and social studies within Standards 1 and 2, nor to Standards 3, 4, and 5. These standards will be calculated in the same manner as in years past and will include 2015 data. DESE will also exclude optional EOC assessments from prior year data in calculating the 2015 APR.

This school year, children will be tested again on Missouri Learning Standards. But the Missouri legislature is forcing the state to change the tests for 2016 and 2017, which will also produce scores that are hard to compare to earlier test results. Missouri legislators have required DESE to develop its own tests for the 2017-18 school year, which means students will be taking three different tests over the next four years.

Kick it Up a Notch at METC with Featured Speaker Nikki Robertson!

Nikki is a veteran educator, librarian and Instructional Technology Facilitator for James

Nikki Robertson

Nikki Robertson

Clemens High School in Madison, Alabama. She is passionate about 1:1 Digital Initiatives, collaboration with other education professionals, and assisting students in becoming well informed, critically thinking digital citizens.

As a featured speaker at METC 2016, Nikki will be presenting a three-hour preconference workshop on Monday, February 8, as well as breakout sessions on February 9 and 10. On Wednesday February 10 she will be the keynote speaker for the Library and Media Literacy Luncheon.

Nikki is the co founder of EdCamp Atlanta, a free “un-conference” committed to reaching educators in public, private, charter, and higher ed environments to share innovative instructional strategies and pioneering technologies that transform education for all students.

She co-moderates the #TLChat LIVE! Twitter Sessions the 2nd Monday of each month, which provide a forum for school librarians to discuss current teacher-library topics. Nikki also produces and co-anchors TL News Night, a LIVE show presented in news show format featuring a Wrap up of “This Month in School Libraries” and deeper discussion of topical school library issues with special guest experts.

Her latest endeavor is organizing the Google Hangouts for Education website which is a place where teachers with their students can connect, learn, share and grow together as a community using Google Hangouts on Air.

2015-16 Missouri Teacher of the Year Finalists Selected


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Congratulations to the finalists for the 2015-16 Missouri Teacher of the Year award. Nominations were submitted by districts throughout the state and the finalists were chosen by a selection committee appointed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. We are also pleased to share that four of the six are member districts:

  • Kimberly Dailey, special education teacher at Lindbergh High School,
    St. Louis, through Special School District of St. Louis County.
  • Michael Dragoni, visual arts teacher at Buder Elementary School, St. Ann, Ritenour School District.
  • Linda Glasgow, 3rd grade teacher at John Nowlin Elementary, Blue Springs, Blue Springs R-IV School District.
  • Amy Krinke, music teacher at Lee’s Summit West High School, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District.
  • Yulia Kotets, English language learner specialist at Willow Brook Elementary, St. Louis, Pattonville R-III School District.
  • Melissa Nussbaum, 7th grade science teacher at Truman Middle School,
    St. Louis, Lindbergh Schools.

The Missouri Teacher of the Year program recognizes the efforts of teachers in providing a quality education to their students. These educates are highly effective teachers, leaders and collaborative partners. The new Missouri Teacher of the Year will serve as the state’s nominee for the National Teacher of the Year competition.

The selection committee is made up of teachers, business leaders and education organization leaders and will select the teacher of the year following interviews with each finalist in mid-September. The winner and the finalists will be honored later at a banquet in Jefferson City.

Missouri’s current Teacher of the Year is Chris Holmes, journalism teacher at Hazelwood West High School in the Hazelwood School District.

The Department conducts the Missouri Teacher of the Year program with financial support provided by the Boeing Company and the Monsanto Fund. For more information, contact Sarah Potter, communications coordinator at DESE.

Visible Learning Foundations & Practice


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The LearningLab of EducationPlus is excited to share John Hattie expert Ainsley Rose will present in St. Louis on September 28. [Register here]. He is Corwin Press’ lead trainer in North America for Visible Learning, and he will provide the foundation necessary to understand the baseline research and practices of Visible Learning while in St. Louis. Educators will identify and discuss the most important messages from the Visible Learning research, learn about the five strands and know the difference between the influences that ‘do’ and ‘do not’ make a significant difference in student achievement. Following up on Rose’s one-day Know Thy Impact presentation, EdPlus will offer the four-day series, Grow Thy Impact: Visible Learning in Practice. [Register here].

Learning packages will include: Assessment Capable Learner, Feedback, Data Based Decision Making, Creating Effective Common Formative Assessments, Student-Teacher Relationships, Metacognition, Reciprocal Teaching and Space vs. Massed Teaching.

These learning packages will be presented by consultants from the Regional Professional Development Center at EducationPlus.  These regional experts have attended training with Ainsley Rose as well as hours of training at DESE events and have authored and vetted many of the Visible Learning packages being presented throughout the state of Missouri.  Participants will have the opportunity to engage more deeply into eight of the most impactful instructional strategies as described by John Hattie on September 29, November 12, February 23 and April 8. Space is limited, registration [links above] is open now.

Congratulations to the CharacterPlus Members Selected as 2015 National Schools of Character


, , , , , , , , , , , , , recognized 64 schools and three school districts as 2015 National Schools of Character. Fifteen of Missouri’s honored schools and one from Illinois are members of CharacterPlus®, a resource of EducationPlus®. More than 20% of all National Schools of Character in 2015 are members of CharacterPlus.

Missouri once again leads the nation with 18 National Schools of Character.

CharacterPlus coordinates the State Schools of Character program in Missouri and is committed to building strong school communities where students feel valued and can succeed. This work is also sponsored by the St. Louis Rams, advocates of character and youth development. Congratulations to the following schools:

•  Antonia Middle School, Fox School District
•  Bayless High School, Bayless School District
•  Bayless Jr. High, Bayless School District
•  Christian Ott Elementary, Independence School District
•  Cold Water Elementary School, Hazelwood School District
•  Forder Elementary School, Mehlville School District
•  Fox Middle School, Fox School District
•  Grace Early Childhood Care Center & Education Center, Belton School District
•  Mill Creek Upper Elementary School, Belton School District
•  Oak Brook Elementary, Parkway School District
•  Oakville High School, Mehlville School District
•  Point Elementary School, Mehlville School District
•  Pond Elementary School, Rockwood School District
•  Rogers Elementary School, Mehlville School District
•  Selvidge Middle School, Rockwood School District
•  Southwest Early Childhood Center, Jefferson City School District
•  Union Elementary School, Belleville #118 School District
•  William Chrisman High School, Independence School District
•  Windsor High School, Windsor School District

In addition, several State and National Schools of Character present June 16-17 at the CharacterPlus National Conference. The focus of those presentations will be on the The 11 Principles of Effective Character Education.

Missouri Announces Gold Star Schools


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The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced the eight winners of this year’s Gold Star Schools. This program recognizes public schools that perform at high academic levels or that perform at high levels while serving a significant proportion of disadvantaged students.

Established in 1991, the Gold Star Schools program aligns with the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The Gold Star Schools program uses the same criteria for nomination as the National Blue Ribbon Schools program. Recipients of the state’s award were nominated for national Blue Ribbon recognition. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Congratulations to this year’s recipients, including six EducationPlus members:

  •  Barbara Blanchard Elementary, Cape Girardeau 63 School District
  •  Ralph M. Captain Elementary, School District of Clayton
  •  Ladue Middle School, Ladue School District
  •  Truman Middle School, Lindbergh Schools
  •  New Haven High School, New Haven School District
  •  McKelvey Elementary School, Parkway C-2 School District
  •  West Middle School, Parkway C-2 School District
  •  Kennard Classical Junior Academy, St. Louis Public Schools

The U.S. Department of Education announces the Blue Ribbon Schools this fall.

Support Staff Mini-Conference Returns


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SSA-NEW logo The Support Staff Academy Mini-Conference takes place June 10 at the Spellman Center at Lindenwood University. School staff are invited to attend this full-day of professional development, kicked off by speaker Koran Bolden. The mini-conference includes Bolden’s keynote, choice of four breakout sessions, morning refreshments, lunch and a day full of networking, learning and fun. Registration is now open; the price is $114 for members and the standard price is $139 (remember that learning credits may be used). For questions on this event, contact Karen Vaughan at

EducationPlus Scholarship Awards Announced


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EducationPlus is proud to announce the winners of the 2015 EducationPlus Scholarship Awards. Congratulations to these five highly deserving educators who have been selected to receive a $1,500 stipend intended to further the recipient’s professional development with an emphasis on improving student performance. The recipients will also have their names placed on a plaque at EducationPlus and scholarship winners will be honored on June 12 at the EducationPlus year-end celebration.

Robert D. Elsea Scholarship Award
Shannon Crepps, Francis Howell School District
•    6th-8th grade instrumental music (band)
•    10 years teaching experience, 9 in present position
•    Plans to visit Shadow Ridge Middle School and Marcus High School in Dallas, Texas to observe differentiated instruction in an instrumental music setting.

Gerald D. Troester Scholarship Award
Rainah Pray, Francis Howell School District
•    2nd grade
•    10 years of teaching experience, 1 in present position •
Plans to attend the McREL Summer Classroom Instruction That Works Refresh Institute in Denver, Colorado.

Gary K. Wright Scholarship Award
Michelle McKinley, Wentzville School District
•    2nd grade
•    8 years of teaching experience, 7 years in present position
•    Plans to attend The Leader in Me program, and conduct site visits to other schools in the metropolitan St. Louis area that have implemented The Leader in Me and Seven Habits programs in their buildings.

John Oldani Scholarship Award
Brian Santos, Francis Howell School District
•    9th-12th grade Spanish
•    9 years of teaching experience, 8 years in present position
•    Plans to attend one of the following conferences: National Kagan Cooperative Learning Workshop, National Spanish AP Language Workshop or Central State Conference in Foreign Language.

CSD Health Insurance Trust Scholarship Award
Bobby Hughes, Hazelwood School District
•    9th-10th grade science
•    11 years of teaching experience, 1 year in present position
•    Plans to participate in training to learn a variety of effective assessment techniques and use assessment data to improve student performance, particularly in the area of science.

EducationPlus Scholarship Awards Accepting Applications

The EducationPlus Scholarship Awards were established to assist highly deserving teachers to continue professional development. The awards consist of a $1,500 stipend that is to be used to further the recipient’s professional development, with emphasis on improving student performance. There are five scholarships awarded annually:

  • Robert D. Elsea Scholarship— an award established in honor of Dr. Elsea, who served as EducationPlus’s Executive Director for 21 years (1966-1987).
  • Gerald D. Troester Scholarship— an award established in honor of Dr. Troester, who served as EducationPlus’s Executive Director for 5 years (1987-1992).
  • Gary K. Wright Insurance Trust Scholarship— an award established in honor of Dr. Wright, who served as EducationPlus’s Executive Director for 9 years (1992-2001).
  • John Oldani Scholarship— an award established in honor of Dr. Oldani, who served as EducationPlus’s Executive Director for 6 years (2001-2007).
  • CSD Health Insurance Trust Scholarship*— an award sponsored by the school districts participating in CSD’s Health Insurance Trust.

EducationPlus is accepting nominations until March 23, 2015. Each nomination must be accompanied by a completed application showing scholarly achievements, personal accomplishments and professional qualifications. All submissions must include a letter of support from the superintendent. Learn more here.


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