Missouri's education department has released the latest scores for its Annual Performance Report that determines accreditation for non-charter public schools, and the Jefferson City Public Schools and Blair Oaks R-2 districts have once again maintained their full accreditation — JCPS by a wider margin than last year.
JCPS this year earned a score of 80 percent, and Blair Oaks 98.9 percent.
Last year, JCPS earned 76.1 percent, and the year before that 70.7 percent; the cutoff for maintaining full accreditation is 70 percent.
"We're excited about the improvement, but not satisfied with where we are," JCPS Superintendent Larry Linthacum said.
Linthacum said the district has a goal of scoring 85 percent next year and 90 percent the year after that, but he added district leaders acknowledge the challenge of maintaining significant of gains each year.
He thanked teachers and staff for their work and said the district will continue to focus on curriculum, data and creating strong and structured school environments.
JCPS earned 112 out of 140 possible points on the APR, and Blair Oaks 138.5 out of 140.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's APR scores measure districts' performances in five areas: academic achievement, subgroup academic achievement, college and career readiness, attendance and graduation rates.
A district can earn three types of points in each category's score — status, progress and growth — each calculated with different averages and comparisons of scores and student achievement.
Sixteen points are available on the performance standards of academic achievement in each of the three areas of English, math and science. Social studies can earn another eight possible points.
Subgroup achievement can collect four points each in English, math and science, and two in social studies. Subgroup achievement measures the performance of students like those who receive free or reduced-price lunch, have diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds, are English language learners and are students with disabilities.
JCPS' increased score over last year came from improvements in the overall social studies standard, the subgroup social studies standard and students' performance on the assessments of the ACT, SAT, COMPASS, ASVAB and WorkKeys.
Students' level of performance on those assessments can earn a district a possible 10 points, as can indicators including Advanced Placement and dual credit classes and post-graduation placements.
Linthacum said the district would like in particular to improve reading, writing and math, and he added he hopes to see positive outcomes through the district's new math curriculum.
Attendance can earn another possible 10 points on the APR, and a district's graduation rate can garner 30 possible points.
Blair Oaks last year earned an APR score of 99.3 percent, and 96.4 percent the year before that.
The district's score slipped 0.4 percent this year because of lower scores in a couple areas of subgroup achievement.
Superintendent Jim Jones said he's "extremely pleased" with the district's score, and added "we focus on every group," including what he said were Blair Oaks' primary subgroups of students — those with Individualized Education Plans or who receive free or reduced-price lunch.
Charter schools in the state are not accredited but do receive performance reports through the APR.