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September 12, 2011

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MRH Earns “Distinction in Performance” Award

Last month, the State of Missouri released school district data that included test scores and other assessment indicators like attendance and graduation rates. The bottom line?  MRH has a lot to celebrate.  Quite a lot.

“I am thrilled to see all the hard work of our students and teachers paying off,” said Superintendent Linda Henke. “The MRH community should be very proud of their schools.”

Looking at the Missouri Assessment Program (or MAP test), one of the most striking results is the fact that MRH saw the greatest increase in the number of students scoring proficient or advanced in both communication arts and mathematics, from 50% in 2010 to 60% in 2011. This was a greater increase than all other districts, more than 50, in over six counties including St. Louis County, St. Charles, Jefferson, Warren, Franklin, and Lincoln.

In addition, MRH earned the highest score of 14 on the state’s Annual Performance Report, which measures performance standards based on student achievement, Missouri state testing scores, ACT entrance exams, and more. This means MRH qualifies for the “Annual Distinction in Performance Award.” This is the second straight year MRH earned a 14 score.

Another result worth crowing about is at the high school level, where MRH High School was recognized for achieving all the state’s Annual Yearly Progress goals.  Only four high schools in St. Louis County and St. Charles County met all the goals, and MRH was one of them.  (The others were Brentwood, Lindbergh, and Valley Park.)  Principal Kevin Grawer had praise for both students and teachers.  “It is a testament to what a spirit of teamwork and selflessness can do to raise student achievement,” he said.

MRH Elementary saw extraordinary improvements in math scores over the previous year. The school ranked first in improvement in the surrounding counties, and seventh most improved in the entire state. “I am proud of the hard work of our students and teachers from last year,” said Principal Tony Arnold. “I know there are still areas to work on and I trust we’ll see even more improvements this time next year.”

MRH Middle School also saw increases in scores. Communication arts proficiency rose above 60% and math proficiency above 50% for the entire school for the first time. “Our students deserve a lot of credit for their focus and dedication to excellence throughout the testing cycle,” said Principal Robert Dillon. “We are excited about the momentum that we have built, and we are looking forward to the possibilities that lie ahead.”

At the high school, the number of students who scored advanced or proficient in Algebra II jumped 30% from the previous year, and Algebra I scores soared 17% over 2010 figures.

Of course, not all scores improved, and even those that did still have room for improvement. “We’re already digging into the data to determine other ways to boost success for our students,” Henke said.

The Maplewood Richmond Heights School District prides itself on helping students achieve—in the classroom, in college, and beyond. The district does this through differentiated instruction, highly skilled teachers, and a rich curriculum that stresses creative thinking and problem solving skills. The goal is not, however, to just have top scores.

“Our goal is to give students the tools they need to succeed,” said Henke. “We are pleased that student learning is reflected in the state scores, but we feel strongly that there is so much more to learn than what’s on the Missouri tests.”

This article was originally published in the fall 2011 SchoolNews newsletter.

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.