We were pleased to read the St. Louis Public Schools' announcement that they have earned enough points to qualify for full accreditation. The progress SLPS has made shows that when a community comes together, we make progress that matters. And, having strong schools is a critical part of our region’s capacity to attract companies that invest in St. Louis.
We applaud Superintendent Kelvin Adams, the Special Administrative Board and the entire SLPS team for their achievement. Superintendent Adams has proven what he has been quietly saying since he joined the SLPS in 2008 — that positive change is possible if adults stay focused on the needs of students. His team, working with parents, students, teachers and a wide range of other stakeholders, has addressed the district's most difficult challenges using a data-driven model to develop plans and track progress.
Without the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education creating the Special Administrative Board, this accomplishment would not have been possible. Stability, commitment and leadership by Rick Sullivan, Richard Gaines and Melanie Adams are valuable beyond measure. Appointed in 2007, these leaders are unwavering in their determination to improve outcomes for all SLPS students. The region owes them a debt of gratitude for helping the district qualify for full accreditation for the first time in 15 years.
DESE needs to support this effort by leaving the SAB in place.
As Superintendent Adams always says, full accreditation is not the goal — it's a milestone in a much longer journey. The work of Adams, his team and the SAB is a model for transforming a failing urban district into one that embodies best practices for high student achievement.
George Paz • St. Louis County
CEO, Express Scripts
Anthony R. Tersigni • Clayton