The Eldon School District scored a 97.1 percent, earning 136 of 140 points, on its APR by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

Hard work and dedication to education appears to be paying off for Eldon Schools. The district’s 2017 annual performance report reflects a long-term improvement in student achievement.

The district scored a 97.1 percent, earning 136 of 140 points, on its APR by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

Subgroup achievement was the main area where the school saw improvement between 2016 and 2017 to improve their overall score.

“The reason we continue to improve is all about our people. They’re passionate about making this district one of the best in the state and take that challenge seriously. They know a great school means a great community,” says Superintendent Matt Davis.

Over the last few years, Eldon’s overall student population has meet the district’s state-mandated goals for academic achievement, as shown through state standardized tests such as MAP. It is not only typical for Eldon to earn all 56 points in this category, but their MAP scores are among some of the top in the state, according to Davis.

Where the district misses points, however, is subgroup achievement. Subgroups considered by DESE can be based on minority racial or ethnic status, but for Eldon, this category mainly covers students on free and reduced lunch and students in special education.

While Eldon missed one point in subgroup achievement in 2017, receiving a 13 of 14 for a 92.9 percent, this score more than perhaps any other category reflects the strides the school is taking to educate all.

In 2015, the school scored 11 points out of 14 in subgroup achievement, and in 2016, it was 11.5 out of 14.

While each district has individual goals from the state for the number of students meeting proficient and advanced scores on state tests, the goal is always to have all students score proficient or advanced, says Davis.

Making the jump from good school to great means hard work and attention to detail both in the traditional class period and out of it, and says Davis, Eldon sees every staff member doing that in everything they do, whether it’s academics, athletics, band, choir, cheerleading or any other program.

Over the last several years, the Eldon School District has implemented a variety of programs to boost student success both in school and after graduation, offering afterschool tutoring and enrichment, summer school and individual student interventions.

“The focus on excellence through attention to detail and hard work - all of that is starting to pay off,” Davis says.

In addition to academic achievement, the school also got the perfect point value on its graduation rate, earning all 30 points.

On the flip side, Eldon saw point deductions in the categories of college and career readiness and attendance.

In college and career readiness, the school held steady, scoring 29.5 points out of a possible 30, for a 98.3 percent rating. According to Davis, the school lost a half of a point because students taking the ACT averaged slightly below the national average.

The APR report shows a 2017 ACT participation rate of 94.1 percent with an average composite score of 19.

Davis says the high school will continue ACT preparation work to try to obtain a better average.

The largest point deduction for the district, however, was in attendance. They got 7.5 points out of 10 possible.

Attendance is judged on the state goal of having 90 percent of students at school 90 percent of the time. DESE implemented this standard in recent years, focusing more attention on the small population of students who miss a lot of days. Previously, an average daily attendance of 90 percent was required, allowing districts to make up for those students with great attendance by other students.

According to Davis, the district hovers around 87 percent of students attending 90 percent of the time.

Eldon is continuing to try to address attendance issues through well checks. When students start missing days, there is a call by a staff member to the student’s home to see what the issue is. If they’re not able to make contact by phone, staff go to the home for a visit to see what they can do to help get the student to school.

Sometimes that means working with a bus driver, the parents, even buying the student an alarm clock if necessary, says Davis. If some situations, the district also works with social services to help sort out whatever issues might be stopping the student from attending school.

Missouri school districts are evaluated utilizing the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP). MSIP was established as the state’s accountability system for school districts in 1990 and is now in its fifth cycle. Student learning standards are set for each school building as well as each school district forming the basis of the APR, which determines accreditation.

Eldon and all other schools in the Lake area were accredited in 2017. Only five schools in the state were only provisionally accredited and one not accredited.

This is part three of a series reviewing how Lake area schools scored in their annual performance reports with the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE). This overall score is comprised of scores on performance standards including academic achievement, subgroup achievement, college and career readiness (K-12 districts), attendance rate and graduation rate (K-12 districts).