POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - Education Commissioner Dr. Margie Vandeven was the special guest speaker during the monthly Southeast Missouri Superintendents Association meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
This was her second visit to Poplar Bluff within the past few months. Vandeven gave an overview of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) Show-Me Success Plan and asked for feedback from about 75 education leaders in attendance about Annual Performance Report (APR) data changes.
“Our mission comes down to four words: improving lives through education,” Vandeven stated. “We’re providing access to opportunities. We know it’s not the academic gap, it’s the achievement gap.”
Vandeven said that DESE has created a five-year plan through the Hunt Institute in North Carolina, an independent nonprofit that helped identify six key strategies to support public education.
“We know teachers are the No. 1 factor of child success,” said Vandeven, asking: “What is it that makes teaching an incredible calling? What are some supports we can provide?”
Missouri State Board of Education member Mary Schrag of the 8th Congressional District, noted she understands that the majority of school budgets go toward personnel, and that help from the state level would be required in order to fix the teacher shortage.
Vandeven explained that a refined focus on college and career readiness, graduation rate and attendance was intended to serve as a tool for educators, and that an accreditation piece would need to be added in the future for purposes of public accountability.
“We’re getting away from compliance for the sake of compliance,” Vandeven said. “There is good stuff happening in a lot of our districts.”
Region E supervisor, Ken Jackson, mentioned during his district report that Missouri is outperforming the national average in terms of schools that offer gifted programs, and Southeast Missouri is outpacing the state average by 13.3 percent.
The event was organized by R-I Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Fara Jones, who serves the Southeast region of the Missouri Association of School Administrators as secretary and treasurer.
The superintendent group is appreciative that Vandeven has made it an annual tradition to participate in person, according to Jones.