Mehlville school board approves revisions to districtwide school improvement plan

Staff Report

A revised Comprehensive School Improvement Plan, or CSIP, that incorporates many of the Mehlville School District’s Vision Points was approved last week by the Board of Education.

Board members voted unanimously Dec. 8 to approve the revised CSIP. The five-year CSIP originally was approved by the school board in December 2010. The document is reviewed and revised annually before being submitted to the Board of Education for approval.

Every school district in the state is required to formulate a five-year CSIP as part of the Missouri School Improvement Program.

The plan sets the direction the district will take over the next five years by serving as a guide in making resource and process decisions designed to lead to improved student performance and other districtwide objectives.

The revised CSIP was presented to the board by Assistant Superintendent Supervision of Schools Lisa Counts.

Of Counts, Superintendent Eric Knost said, “She’s done a great job of doing the annual revisions to the CSIP that you approved — the five-year document that you approved last year and it very appropriately better defines many of the things in my vision points — actually all of the things in my vision points …”

The overarching CSIP goals, which are set by the state, are:

• Student performance.

• Highly qualified staff.

• Facilities, support and instructional resources.

• Parent and community involvement.

• Governance.

The overarching goals include strategies with specific action steps to measure the progress being made toward achieving the goals.

Of those overarching goals, Counts said, “… We simply use those as our broad umbrella, if you will, then to set the objectives and the strategies and the action steps that are specific to our district initiatives and the work we’re doing here specifically in Mehlville.”

The revised CSIP incorporates the same measurement tools Mehlville is using for the district’s Vision Points — Readiness, Action and Full Implementation.

“… We’ve incorporated this same measurement tool into our CSIP plan and the point of this really was to drill down in a more specific manner to show where we are on any given action step,” she said.

Each of the measurement tools includes descriptors identifying the amount of progress achieved on each action step.

“So we included those descriptors … We felt that it made it a little more descriptive to see how we are measuring ourselves and how we’re holding ourselves accountable in each step of the process, whether that’s readiness, action or full implementation,” Counts said.

Board Vice President Larry Felton noted that he compared the previous CSIP to the revised plan and said the language is “much better” in the revised document.

“… There’s a lot of placeholder statements that were just kind of statements of belief and those have been removed and we have some much more actionable work … I really like the way the measurements went in. It makes it read a lot better. It gives you better context,” he said.

Board President Venki Palamand told the Call that he’s pleased with the CSIP.

“Our CSIP is a solid plan that incorporates many of Dr. Knost’s vision points,” he said. “We will continue to work to integrate technology into our curriculum and instruction in order to improve student performance. In addition to offering more Advanced Placement classes, one of our goals is to increase course offerings in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — STEM.”

Regarding the revised CSIP, Knost told the Call, “You’ll see more specificity … We just really tried to clean up exactly what we were trying to increase, especially in the way of the student achievement — the metrics of what we were trying to increase.”

For example, under student performance, the revised CSIP states the target is to increase the number of students scoring proficient and advanced on the Missouri Assessment Program and End of Course exams by 3 percent. That goal previously did not include the 3-percent target.

“What I’m proud of though is the fact that we still have this all-encompassing document, whereas a lot of other school districts can put their CSIP on one page …,” Knost said. “That document truly represents everything we’re doing and practicing on a daily basis. It represents really what we’re all about.”