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December 2016

State Board Grants Provisionally Accredited Status to Riverview Gardens School District
The State Board of Education reclassified the Riverview Gardens School District as provisionally accredited during its December meeting, following a Department presentation outlining the district’s improvements over the past few years. The classification will be effective Jan. 4, 2017, which is the first day of the second semester of the Riverview Gardens school year.

“This accreditation classification is the result of improvements gained through hard work from students, teachers and leaders in the Riverview Gardens School District and community,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “We are pleased with their efforts to help students succeed.”

Read DESE’s official announcement here.

Goal #1 - All Missouri students will graduate college and career ready.                       

Kansas City-Area Students Reach for the Sky
Using a dual-enrollment aviation class offered by the Blue Springs School District and the University of Central Missouri, students at several Kansas City-area high schools have received the opportunity to study principles of flight, weather, and aircraft systems and performance, as well as learn about airplane performance charts and graphs. Currently, students from five schools – Blue Springs, Blue Springs South, Grain Valley, Oak Grove and Truman – are participating in the program.

Missouri Students Get Creative to Assist Local Youth
November is a month focused on giving back, and two Missouri school districts saw that play out firsthand behind student-led initiatives. In Affton, fifth-graders at Gotsch Intermediate hosted a carnival, with all proceeds benefiting Gateway180: Homelessness Reversed, which is the largest 24-hour emergency housing organization in Missouri. Meanwhile, in Warsaw, third through fifth graders organized a stuffed toy bear drive that resulted in 350 bears heading to local law enforcement for use during stressful situations for children.

Local Parents as Teachers Program Awarded $250K Grant
The Parents as Teachers program in Springfield received a quarter-million dollar grant by the Missouri Foundation for Health, doubling the existing funding for the program and securing two-thirds of a total amount sought as part of a five-year initiative. The Parents as Teachers program helps increase parents’ confidence and improve their parenting skills, allowing them to better support their children’s education and development before and after school entry.

Goal #2 - All Missouri children will enter kindergarten prepared to be successful in school.

Save the Date for Conference on the Young Years
Join us on March 9-11, 2017, at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach for three action-packed days of professional development focused on building the foundation for learning. This year’s keynote speakers are experts in the field of early childhood and include New York Times bestselling author Eric Litwin, whose Groovy Joe series shares his love of music as a way to enhance literacy in the classroom and bring stories to life. We recognize the important role you play in shaping Missouri’s future and invite you to participate in this unique conference experience. Visit the Early Learning webpage for registration information!

Is the Art Room the new Play Room?
A recent article from the Washington Post suggests that being able to access art supplies can improve children’s problem-solving skills and enhance their play. Rather than planning craft experiences, which are adult-directed and result in all children creating similar projects, a new concept sets up “invitations to create.” Learn more about how adults can set out different types of art supplies and allow children to use the supplies as they choose.

Integrating STEM Vocabulary to Preschoolers
Introducing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to young children sounds challenging, but can actually be quite easy when done in a developmentally appropriate manner. Young children learn best through play and hands-on exploration, and educators can expand upon learning by engaging in meaningful conversations with children as they explore materials. These resources can help you identify which STEM vocabulary words preschoolers should know and how you can introduce them in meaningful ways.

Goal 3 - Missouri will prepare, develop and support effective educators.

Powerful Learning Conference Registration Underway
The 2017 Powerful Learning Conference will be held Jan. 30-31, 2017, at Tan-Tar-A in Osage Beach. Early registration is already underway, so educators are encouraged not to miss out on the opportunity to collaborate with more than 1,500 other Missouri educators during the event! This year’s conference will feature more than 60 breakout sessions and three nationally acclaimed keynote speakers. Learn more information by visiting the conference website.

2017 Interface Conference Now Taking Registrations
Educators across the state have the opportunity for high-quality professional development by attending the 2017 Interface Conference, held Feb. 23-25, 2017 (grades K-6), and Feb. 26-28, 2017 (grades 7-12), at Tan-Tar-A in Osage Beach. This conference allows participants to learn more details about core STEM concepts in science, technology, engineering and math. Visit the conference website to learn more. 

Edcamp Hosted at Nixa’s Mathews Elementary
Nine different school districts attended “Edcamp,” hosted by Nixa Public Schools, to collaborate and share ideas. Teachers got the chance to learn about various projects and talk together about adapting to new technology in the classroom. Take a look at this video recap of the day.

Educators Learn how to Better Understand Trauma
Faculty and staff at the University City school district hosted other St. Louis-area educators and community advocates to learn how to recognize and advocate for someone living with the effects of trauma. A total of 13 school districts and more than 65 participants attended this training, focused on students, parents and stakeholders within local districts.

Leadership Development System Providing Additional Support for Principals
DESE’s Office of Educator Quality is currently developing the next stage of the Missouri Leadership Development System for March 2017, which will offer principals the chance to receive ongoing professional learning opportunities and additional support year-round. More than 150 Missouri principals are currently completing the first year of the program.

Representatives from higher education, MAESP, MASSP, MASA and regional professional development centers helped develop this program, which combines online, small group, mentoring, and state-level sessions for greatest impact. For more information, contact Jim Masters (jim.masters@dese.mo.gov) or Paul Katnik (paul.katnik@dese.mo.gov) in DESE’s Office of Educator Quality.


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