Mehlville on the upswing, board member says; ACT scores improve

Letters+to+the+editor

Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

A Jan. 17 letter stated, “Since 2015 there has been a significant decline in the composite ACT score from Mehlville School District.” While technically true, this same sentence could have substituted 90 percent of 438 Missouri public school districts and included their average 8-percent decline.

The reason is a 2016 statewide change that increased ACT testing from only college-bound juniors to all juniors. Over 45,000 additional students took the ACT for the first time, most of whom were more focused on career readiness and less on taking classes for a college entrance exam.

The result was a new ACT baseline in 2016 and an incompatibility from 2015 to later years. Prior to 2015, Mehlville’s ACT scores had been on a multi-year uptrend, and that resumed in 2018. We also received positive news with 2018 MAP scores and a topline APR score of 99.6 percent, the highest in our history.

A holistic view of our 2018 ACT scores ranks us in the top 10 percent in Missouri and ninth in St. Louis city and county. With the second-lowest spend per student in these same districts, we are living up to our reputation of providing the “best bang for the buck.”

This is not meant to give an impression that we are content. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe the letter writer’s intent was to rally our community to focus on improving academics, and he is in good company. Our board, administration and teachers are all focused on extending our positive academic trends.

When we discuss steps to further improve academics, an open and honest assessment of the challenges our students face and resources our teachers need is required.

Leading into 2015 we saw MAP scores trending down as budget cuts got deep enough to affect student achievement. Overwhelming community support for Prop R provided classroom resources that have turned these metrics back up.

This effective and efficient use of resources is a testament to the skill and dedication of our teachers. Together, we will all see the Mehlville School District continue our march to be a destination district.

Kevin Schartner
Oakville
Member, Mehlville Board of Education
Editor’s note: Mr. Schartner will be sworn in to his second term in April after facing no opponent for election this year.