• A Month to Remember the Innovation, Perseverance of a People

    Posted by Dr. Charles J. Pearson on 2/28/2019

    We have come to the end of our annual recognition of the contributions of African Americans/Black people to not just American culture, but the world’s culture.

    The reason for this annual commemoration is something we need to remember year-round. Black History Month is more than a celebration of a moment in time or recognizing the many innovations that the African-American/Black culture has made in the lives of others. February is a reminder of the inventiveness, the innovative spirit, the perseverance, and character of individuals who have made the quality of life better for others through the solutions they developed.

    Black History Month is also a testament to the sheer will to excel that so many have demonstrated. This celebration is a reminder that we as educators, must exemplify that will, teach and reinforce exemplary character traits and inspire the current generations to aspire to the same greatness as our ancestors.

    pearson with student in library Earlier this week, I spent time with this second grader, our future. Behind me are pictures of men and women from earlier generations. Each of these individuals left an indelible mark on the world. We must inspire this second grader and equip her to be a part of this legacy. We must help her to know that the purpose of her life is to make life better for others, and that she has the mind, strength, will, and the character to make a difference.

    We must teach her that no one is better than her; that no one has greater value than her because of the color of her skin, or her gender, or the zip code she is growing up in. Then, one day, she too will see problems that need to be solved. She will apply herself with the same confidence that she approached me to read with her, and the world will be better for her having lived.

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  • State APR Score Continues Trend for Future Growth

    Posted by Dr. Charles J. Pearson on 2/1/2019

    Normandy Families, Staff and Community –

         The Normandy Schools Collaborative scored 81 of a possible 120 points on the 2017-2018 Annual Performance Report (APR). This score equals 67.5 percent of the total points possible and places us in the range of “Provisional Accreditation.” This score keeps us on track to perform in the fully accredited range (70 percent or higher) by the 2020-2021 school year. We remain committed to achieving that target over the next two years.

         Due to changes in state legislation (which resulted in a change to the state’s learning standards), districts are not able to compare this year’s results to previous year’s results. Missouri has experienced four new tests in five years. As such, the scores from this year’s tests are to be used as a baseline for districts to use to review future APR results.

         Despite the changes, we are able to compare our scores to other districts statewide. We are also using this data as a starting point to measure future growth. You may have heard your child or his/her teacher talk about STAR testing in English Language Arts and Mathematics. STAR is one of the internal assessments we use to guide our classroom instruction, and we can also use the STAR test scores to determine student academic growth and where they need additional supports.

          Even with the unique circumstances of the recent testing, we are encouraged by the baseline scores in Academic Performance, Graduation Rate, and Subgroup Achievement. (Details of the APR score are available on the DESE website, www.dese.mo.gov.)

         Our current results provide a strong foundation for the exciting updates and additions coming next school year. Thanks to the community’s support of our 2017 bond issue, we will open our new Early Learning Center for our early childhood and kindergarten students this fall. And though we will bid farewell to the Normandy 7th-8th Grade Center, we are confident the move to our ‘EleMiddle’ configuration will help improve student academic performance, and help us better address some of the behavioral/social emotional issues that occur with this age group. We are also expanding our career and college readiness programs to provide more career opportunities to our high school students, seeking out more partnerships with local businesses and education institutions.   

          We are embracing these student-centered changes as an opportunity to do more to improve student academic achievement. Your support and cooperation are needed to continue the progress made so far. Our community and – most importantly – our children deserve the best.

         Again, I thank each of you for your support and commitment to our students. #NormandyStrong! 

     Changing Lives Today. Educating for the Future!

     

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  • Prelude: State to Release APR Scores Feb. 1

    Posted by Dr. Charles J. Pearson on 1/30/2019 8:00:00 AM

    Normandy Families, Staff and Community –

         On Friday, Feb. 1, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will release the 2017-2018 Annual Performance Report (APR) for districts statewide. The APR is the tool the state Board of Education uses to measure academic performance in school districts throughout Missouri. Normandy has made consistent progress in the APR with the points earned in the last three years due to strategic efforts to improve the literacy and math skills of our students, while implementing systems and methods to ensure the district functions in an efficient and effective manner.

          However, the way we examine the results are different for districts this year. Because of the changes in state legislation (which resulted in changes in the state’s learning standards), Missouri has experienced four new tests in five years. As a result:

    Districts are not able to compare this year’s results to previous year’s results.  
    The scores from this year’s tests are a starting point for districts to use as a baseline for future results.
    The state also did not include the Science score in this year’s calculation of points, which accounts for the reduction in the total number of possible points a district can earn.
        Despite the changes, we are able to compare our scores to other districts statewide. We are also using this data as a starting point to measure future growth. Another tool we are using is the STAR testing in English Language Arts and Mathematics. STAR is one of the internal assessments we use to help determine student academic growth and where they may need additional supports.

         Normandy will continue to focus on increasing the literacy and math skills in our students as these are the foundation for academic success. We will look for ways to bolster our science and social studies curricula and student performance in these areas. To do this we will provide additional professional development for our teachers as well as seeking out partnerships to expand resources to improve student aptitude in these critical subject areas.

        We have a lot to look forward to! Because of the community’s support of our 2017 bond issue, we will open the new Early Learning Center for our early childhood and kindergarten students this fall. And though we will bid farewell to the Normandy 7th-8th Grade Center, we are confident the move to our ‘EleMiddle’ configuration will help improve overall student academic performance, and help us better address some of the behavioral/social emotional issues of this age group. Normandy is also expanding career and college readiness programs to provide more career opportunities to high school students, seeking out more partnerships with local businesses and education institutions.    

          We are embracing these opportunities to improve the student academic performance of our students and families. Our community and – most importantly – our children deserve the best. Again, I thank each of you for your support and commitment to our students. #NormandyStrong! 

     

    Changing Lives Today. Educating for the Future!

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  • A Time to Reflect

    Posted by Dr. Charles J. Pearson on 12/20/2018

    To the Normandy Community,

         Wow! It is the end of the first semester and the beginning of Winter Break. With all that is going on, it is difficult to imagine that we are now half way into the school year. I again thank each of you for the spirit of partnership that you share with us each day as we work to change the lives of the children we serve. Please take some time to celebrate in whatever tradition that you honor, enjoy family time, reflect upon goals to set for the New Year, and celebrate this gift called life.

         Teachers will return from Winter Break to two days of professional learning experiences, January 3 and 4, 2019. We are being very intentional in using this time to tend to the learning of the teachers themselves. Everyone in a successful school system has to be a learner, always working to become better at what they do. This is true of both the adults and the children.

         People often laugh at the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, but I use the beginning of a New Year as a time to reflect upon what I have learned, what to celebrate, and where I can improve. Adults have to model this type of thinking for young people and share with them.

    In this first semester, we saw:

    • Several schools recognized as Healthy Alliance Schools
    • The introduction of Breakfast in the Classroom at elementary schools to support better nutrition for our students
    • Five of our students selected to participate in the City of Music All Star Chorus
    • Two students who were winners in the Metro St. Louis Metroscapes Art in Transit Contest
    • Three high school students already notified that they are receiving full-tuition scholarships from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to continue their education as members of the UA Marching Band

    As we reflect on these moments and more, there is much to celebrate, to be thankful for, and so much more to do!

     happy holidays

    In the spirit of this holiday season…and best wishes for you and yours in the New Year!

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  • A Reason to be Thankful

    Posted by Dr. Charles J. Pearson on 11/20/2018

    When I became Superintendent three and a half years ago, I had a specific vision about education in the Normandy community, in the Normandy footprint. What if our children could envision attending our Early Childhood Center, then Kindergarten, then go to an elementary school, middle school and high school in this footprint, but not stop there? What if there were majors, programs, scholarships, grants, fellowships, and opportunities at the University of Missouri that would support them attending that four-year institution, and then they have an internship and later, a career at Express Scripts, or some other corporation or business in our footprint?

    This vision for our young people exists now and I am incredibly thankful.

    Two months ago, while sitting with an Express Scripts executive and discussing the UMSL Bridge Program, I was informed that this program offers scholarships to UMSL that our students can apply for. To truly appreciate this, the UMSL Bridge program was developed with Normandy students in mind. In essence, it prepares students for success in college and also trains parents in strategies to support their future college students.

    I stood on that hill neighboring UMSL, looking at the foundation and rising walls of the new Normandy Early Learning Center. To the east of the site is Lucas Crossing Elementary Complex, soon to be a 1-8 Elemiddle School. To the north of the Early Learning Center site is the UMSL North Campus. In addition to the four years spent at the high school, at this site, I can see the vision I have for the Collaborative — from early learning to college to career, all within our footprint.

    I am thankful for the privilege to be alive now. At this time, in these challenging days ripe with opportunity, I get to serve as the Superintendent of Schools in the Normandy Schools Collaborative and work with a team of committed adults who refuse to settle for low aspirations for our children. I am thankful for the families who trust us to do the right thing for their children, to find ways to support families and teach children. I am thankful for collaborators and community partners who have come alongside us to do what can be difficult. I am thankful for the chance to make a difference.

    As I stood on that hill looking down at the walls of the new Early Learning Center rising out of the ground, the footprint of the building is clear now. I can imagine the space completed and filled with our youngest scholars. This was the vision: lay a solid foundation for our youngest learners, create an educational experience that both they and their families will value. This is the foundation that will change our future for the better.

    In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to thank each of you for helping make this vision a reality. May your thanksgiving be a joyful start to the holiday season.

    --Dr. Charles J. Pearson, Superintendent of Schools

     

     

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