Kansas City Schools Superintendent John Covington tried to put a positive spin on alarming news from the state of Missouri.
The district's test scores dropped significantly from last year and the district's students are below state and national averages. Other districts in the metro saw encouraging numbers and in some cases fantastic results.
But in the Kansas City School District, the percentage of students proficient in math and the communication arts dropped significantly. These results are from test scores for the Missouri Assessment Program, which is considered among the nation's toughest when it comes to judging student performance.
District wide, about a quarter of students are proficient in math. That's compared to 53 percent statewide.
In 2010, about 31 percent of students ranked proficient in math.
In 2010, about 31 percent of district students were proficient in communication arts. That number dropped to 29 percent.
Covington described the results as a "momentary dip" that was expected after the rapid-fire series of changes he has made since coming aboard. This includes closing nearly 30 schools.
"They're down but they are not significantly down," Covington said about the test scores. "There should be an expectation that we're going to have a slight implementation dip as a result of all of the changes we've making in the district."
Covington says the results are similar to scores right before he became superintendent.
Andrea Flinders, head of the teachers union, said she too was disappointed by the scores but not surprised. She said she views last school year as a transition year.
"We closed half our schools. So we had to build new relationships between teachers and students, between staff members," she said.
As superintendent, Covington had advocated over protests merging Westport High School into the Southwest campus. The results were numerous fires and fights. Police were called to the school repeatedly last year.
So it's not surprise that the test scores plummeted.
That number plummets even more for students at the troubled Southwest Early College Campus.
That is where just 10 percent of students tested proficient in math.
The state average is over 50 percent, and it's a 30 percent drop from the year before.
One Kansas City School District campus has cause to celebrate Thursday.
Lincoln Prep students not only met adequate yearly progress, but exceeded state standards in math. Lincoln is a college preparatory school.
Students there beat out the district and state, finishing with 70 percent of their kids proficient in math. That's 20 percent better than the state average.
It's a slight decrease from last year, but still far better than many statewide.
"We remain excited about the direction the school district is going and we remain confident that our scores will manage to go up," Covington said. "We're hoping significantly but we're going to have to give time for these changes that we're making to take hold.'
Many school kids across the metro and in Jackson County saw fantastic test scores.
Students in Lee's Summit, for example, exceeded the tough Missouri state testing standards set before them.
The news wasn't so encouraging in the Hickman Mills district.
Hickman Mills students dealt with many changes last year, including the consolidation of two high schools, Ruskin and Hickman Mills.
Just 8 percent tested proficient in math.
Kansas has yet to release its test results.
To read the Kansas City School District's statement on its test scores, click here.
To see how your child's school district, click here to go to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's website.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:44 PM EDT2014-09-03 00:44:29 GMT
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