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Kansas City Public Schools becomes fully accredited Tuesday: what it means

Posted at 2:53 PM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 18:29:29-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Public School system now has full accreditation status again. It's been a journey more than two decades in the making, but what does it mean?

“It signals stability, which is an important thing,” Evan Rhinesmith, an education professor at Saint Louis University said.

Rhinesmith walked the KSHB 41 I-Team through what it takes to become fully accredited in Missouri.

"There's a couple of standards that school districts have to meet to be accredited. That just means that they're compliant with the state's rules and regulations regarding schools around a variety of different topics,” Rhinesmith said.

Some of those topics include academic performance, graduation rates, financial status and stability in district leadership.

The KSHB 41 I-Team spoke with the deputy superintendent of the St. Louis Public School System, who went through a similar journey.

“We felt pressure. We felt stress. We felt like everyone was looking at us, which they were,” Cheryl VanNoy, Deputy Superintendent for SLPS said.

SLPS became unaccredited in 2007 and earned provisional status in 2012. The state board voted to restore full accreditation in 2017.

VanNoy was there throughout the process. She explained what it was like when the district regained full accreditation status.

“It was jubilation. It was relief. It was celebration, but then you drive back from Jeff City and you have to start working again,” VanNoy said.

Out of 517 school districts in Missouri, nearly all are accredited, according to the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education.

After Tuesday’s vote, KCPS joins 510 other districts with full accreditation.

Six still have provisional status. None are unaccredited currently.

Rhinesmith explained how difficult it is to regain accreditation.

“It's a tough row to try and get back to the fully accredited level. You have to show quite a bit of progress," Rhinesmith said.

The state board said they’ve seen progress with KCPS. It was one of the many reasons why they granted full accreditation.

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