2015 Annual Performance Report released by DESE

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released its Annual Performance Reports for public schools, which includes charter schools. The reports are used to show how well school districts are meeting education standards in the state under its accountability system, the Missouri School Improvement Program 5.

“We are pleased that Missouri public schools are meeting state standards while expectations continue to increase,” said Dr. Margie Vandeven, Missouri commissioner of education, in a statement from DESE. “As a state, it is imperative that we continue to focus on high quality education in every school so that all Missouri children graduate from high school ready for post-secondary success.”

Charter schools are public schools that are independent, open to all students and tuition-free. Charter schools have the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for improving student achievement. The schools operate under a legal agreement with a sponsor, such as a college or university. If the school doesn’t meet the performance requirements of the contract, changes are made at the school level or the school is closed. Although charter schools do not legally fall under the accreditation process by DESE, the state does include charter schools in annual accreditation comparisons. There are 61 charter schools in Missouri educating nearly 20,000 students in Kansas City and St. Louis.

“The majority of charter public schools scored more than 70 percent on the APR standards,” said Dr. Douglas Thaman, executive director of Missouri Charter Public School Association. “If you wish to apply a school district term, this equates to being considered accredited. In St. Louis, it equates to nearly 50 percent of the charter public schools, and in Kansas City, it’s 75 percent of the charter public schools.”

Schools and school districts earn a percentage of points based on a series of levels. The range of points earned determines a school’s accreditation level. There are five standards for APR for K-12 districts: Academic Achievement, Subgroup Achievement (free and reduced lunch, African American and Hispanic students, English Language Learners and students with disabilities), High School Readiness and College and Career Readiness, Attendance and Graduation Rate. In 2015, DESE made changes to the annual state tests – Missouri Assessment Program and End-of-Course exams. The changes mean that scores from previous years cannot be compared to the current year. It also means that APR scores from past years cannot be compared to 2015.

Old North, South City and Aspire each earned enough points for provisional accreditation. Grand Center Arts Academy earned enough points for accreditation. No results exist for Elite Academy at CPA because the program started in August 2015; students will test in spring 2016.

The 2015 APR results are:

Annual Performance Report, Confluence LEA*
(Sponsored by University of Missouri-Columbia)
*Local education agency

2015 APR – 43.2%

2015 Accreditation – Unaccredited

Confluence Academy-Old North

2015 APR – 63.6%

2015 Accreditation – Provisionally Accredited

Confluence Academy-South City

2015 APR – 60.7%

2015 Accreditation – Provisionally Accredited

Aspire Academy
(Previously known as Confluence Academy-Walnut Park)

2015 APR – 64.3%

2015 Accreditation – Provisionally Accredited

 Confluence Preparatory Academy

2015 APR – 41.1%

2015 Accreditation – Unaccredited

Annual Performance Report, Grand Center Arts Academy LEA
(Sponsored by Saint Louis University)

2015 APR – 84.3%

2015 Accreditation – Accredited


“Missouri’s charter schools continue to trend in the right direction, demonstrating growth and academic success over time,” said Thaman. “Given that the majority of students enrolling in charter schools enter one to two years below grade level, the significant growth the charter schools are making to move students out of the bottom performance levels toward proficiency is noteworthy.”

“MCPSA urges the community to keep in mind that the two metrics – APR and MAP tests – are only part of the measures of any school’s success. They are important and allow schools to track progress, but should only be part of the equation in any parent’s decision making,” said Thaman.

“We are very proud of what Missouri’s charter schools are accomplishing in their classrooms. The 2015 results show that the charter school sector in Missouri is a quality public educational option for students and families.”