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State: BONCL sees strong performance in high school readiness, slight decline overall

Posted on Monday, February 18, 2019 at 1:09 pm

The BONCL R-X School District saw a slight dip in the state’s annual assessment of its performance in 2018, the first time since 2014 that the K–8 district received less-than-perfect results.

At 97.3 percent, the district is tied at 220th out of 554 schools and districts rated.

“We didn’t get a perfect score on academic achievement, but I think the district overall did very well,” Cassie Huckstep-Spangler, the district’s superintendent and principal, said. “There’s always room for improvement, and that’s the attitude and direction that we’re taking. Ninety-seven percent is a pretty strong percentage, but we’re always looking to improve.”

Huckstep-Spangler said in an interview last week that the district took the results seriously, but cautioned that state-designed tests of academic performance had changed from previous year’s, perhaps accounting for the district’s changed results.

Given the small size of BONCL’s student body, the performance of only a few students in the two grades taking the state tests could substantially skew the results — another reason to be cautious about over-reading the 2018 report, according to Huckstep-Spangler.

“Last year, we tested 32 students. Obviously, as one out of 32, a single student can represent a significant shift one way or another,” Huckstep-Spangler said. “Having one or two students improve could be a significant improvement in our percentages.”

Missouri’s Annual Performance Reports grade public school districts and charter schools based on their performance in several categories: academic achievement, the achievement of often-underserved subgroups of students, attendance, and, for K–8 schools, student readiness for high school.

“Being a K-8 school district, it is important that we continue to ensure that we are preparing out students for success in high school and beyond,” Huckstep-Spangler said. “We are pleased that the 2018 AR continues to reflect that we are adequately meeting this standard.

Of the four categories K–8 schools are evaluated on, BONCL received less than perfect results in two: academic achievement (95.9 percent) and subgroup achievement (96.3%). In both areas, the school was given full marks for its performance in English and language arts but lost points in mathematics.

Huckstep-Spangler said that the school would focus on making sure its curriculum was preparing students to meet state standards in the wake of the report.