ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced a historic partnership on Tuesday between nearly two dozen St. Louis area school districts. The goal is to help the Normandy Schools Collaborative and the Riverview Gardens School District to regain accreditation.
Ever since Missouri students began transferring out of unaccredited school districts two years ago, some have labeled the program a complicated, costly burden. But this new regional partnership between 24 St. Louis area school districts puts an entirely different spin on these student transfers.
Pattonville Superintendent Mike Fulton says, “I think now, people are at the point where the bottom line is, we just need to work together to help Riverview Gardens and Normandy become fully accredited school districts. And that’s now where everybody’s energy is starting to really focus, and I think that’ll be good for the whole region.”
All 22 local school districts that receive these transfer students will now offer those unaccredited districts resources, ranging from teacher training to curriculum design, to reducing transfer students’ tuition.
Normandy Superintendent Charles Pearson says his district is grateful for the reduction in tuition costs. Plus, he adds, “The access to expertise that we may have difficulty attracting to the district is a big one.”
Fulton says, “This is what they’ve said they need, so our job is to support them in their efforts.”
This plan won’t only benefit the unaccredited districts, but the region, as a whole. It’s all in the hopes that someday soon, there would be no need for the transfer program at all. Pearson explains, “For me, the real shift here is that we’re now starting to talk about how all of us can serve all children. And that’s exciting.”
Governor Nixon also announced Tuesday that he’ll provide $1 million in state funds to help Normandy and Riverview Gardens children with intensive reading instruction.