For Missouri’s Jennings School District, one of the CUBE 2018 Excellence Awards winners, the key to their success is simple: have strong board governance and remember to keep students first. For over six years, the district has been an exemplary model of how to successfully implement school transformation.
The 2500-student district has taken their school system from no accreditation in 2015 to aiming to achieve the state’s top rating tier-accreditation with distinction. “It takes a lot more work to sustain excellence than it does to achieve it just once,” says Superintendent Art McCoy. “But we are motivated, and the bar is high.”
The district’s academic turnaround can be attributed to both a 100 percent graduation rate and college/career placement for the past three years as well as introducing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) curriculum that begins at the elementary level. Through their partnership with the National Academy Foundation, the district allows students to graduate with an associate degree or certification as well as opportunities to secure paid internships, mentorships, and earn college scholarships.
In addition to their dedication to their students, the district has taken that same approach with their families and the surrounding community. The district became a national leader in Trauma-Informed School initiatives that help children who were exposed to extreme emotional situations, learn and thrive.
Jennings also opened its second school-based health-based clinic that offers free medical services as well as creating a community harvest that produces thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables every year.
Read more about Jennings School District in the October 2018 issue of ASBJ at https://www.nsba.org/newsroom/american-school-board-journal.