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Board Workshop Highlights Academic Growth, School Safety

July 27, 2022

Student academic achievement and school safety were the focus on the Lindbergh Schools Board of Education workshop on July 21, 2022.

Additional topics covered during the board’s regular meeting, also on July 21, included approval of a guaranteed maximum price for a Gifted Center on the Lindbergh High School campus, and school boundary review for a new housing development on the site of the former Crestwood Mall.

Academic Growth Report

During the annual Assessment Report, Lindbergh’s Teaching and Learning team presented student academic achievement data for each grade level. In recent years, the district has transitioned to nationally normed assessments that measure student growth, including Fastbridge for reading in grades K-3, iReady for elementary math, NWEA MAP Growth for English language arts in grades 4-9 and math in grades 4-8, and ACT and advanced placement tests for grades 9-12. 

Using growth-based assessments allows teachers to closely monitor individual student progress and tailor instruction to meet their needs. On a broader level, the district can also compare trends to national benchmarks to ensure that students are progressing across grade levels as well.

“What makes these tools so valuable is that they hold us accountable for all students’ growth, not only our students who are struggling, but even our high performing kids,” said Superintendent Dr. Tony Lake. “These assessments show us not only where kids are in their achievement, but also if they are growing, and that’s what we want.”

Overall, Lindbergh elementary and middle school students are outperforming nationwide trends,  maintaining pre-pandemic norms for reading and math, and even outpacing national norms in some cases. At Lindbergh High School, Advanced Placement test scores are rebounding after a pandemic setback that was mirrored across the country. AP tests are administered in 29 subject areas. In all, 76% of students scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam; and in 12 subject areas, 90 percent of students scored 3 or higher. Even more impressive, on five of those subjects, 100 percent of students scored 3 or higher. According to the College Board, the mean score nationwide for 2021 AP Exams was 2.80 and more than 60% of all exams taken earned a score of 3 or higher. 

LHS students are also outperforming the ACT’s college readiness benchmarks in math, science, English and reading, earning a 24.2 composite score for the class of 2021 (Class of 2022 data has not yet been released). Dual-credit programs continue to grow as well. Last year, students filled 652 seats in 14 courses at St. Louis Community College, 221 seats in 12 courses at St. Louis University, and 59 seats in two courses at Missouri State University, saving more than $800,000 in tuition all while attending high school. Students also participated in Project Lead the Way Engineering and Biomedical Science through Missouri University of Science and Technology, and dual enrollment at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Keeping Students Safe at School

District Safety and Security Coordinator Terrell Baker also provided the Board of Education with an update about programming, training and facilities improvements that support safe learning environments at all of the district’s schools.

“Safety is everybody’s responsibility, and my goal is to empower everybody in our community with the knowledge they need,” Baker said.

All Lindbergh schools now have a single point of entry with a secure entry vestibule and transaction window to keep staff and students safe. All visitors are registered using a visitor management system. In addition, law enforcement have direct access to buildings in case of emergency, and the district has established rally points and reunification sites with local community partners. 

Building relationships is another key in promoting school safety. Programs such as the Police Athletic League use sports to connect students with St. Louis County Police officers. In addition, the district promotes the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Courage2Report service, a confidential hotline to report threats of school violence.

Lindbergh Safety and Security will sponsor a Parents Night Out Safety Summit on Sept. 22 in the Lindbergh High School auditorium. All are welcome to attend and details will be shared soon.

Hiring, Training Audit Supports of Student Safety

Lindbergh Schools is committed to student safety, and takes steps to screen potential employees, train current staff and monitor for criminal behavior in order to protect the students we serve.

Chief Human Resources Director Dr. Brian McKenney outlined these procedures during the Board of Education meeting on July 21. He also shared that the district has hired a company called HR Innovations to conduct an HR process audit. This independent auditor is reviewing records and files to ensure that Lindbergh is taking every necessary step in its hiring and employment process to keep students safe and protect them from predators. 

“We hope this independent audit will affirm the strong practices we have in place, but we expect to learn some things as well and shore up our procedures as a result,” Dr. McKenney said. 

Board Approves Gifted Center Project Pricing

Lindbergh Schools will have a dedicated Gifted Education Center in the near future, following Board of Education approval of a Guaranteed Maximum Price amendment for the project on July 21.

The board approved the amendment presented by Construction Manager at Risk BSI Constructors Inc., in the amount of $5,543,293 for the Lindbergh Gifted Center located on Lindbergh High School Campus, and authorized district administrators to negotiate and enter into a contract for the stated amount. This project is funded from 2022 Certificates of Participation.

Over the years, gifted education programs have been housed in various locations around the district, depending on space available. The St. Louis Program for Exceptionally Gifted Students is currently located at Kennerly Elementary School, and LEAP is housed at Sperreng Middle School. This new plan will renovate the existing LHS library building to create a dedicated, permanent home for LEAP and PEGS. 

The Board of Education voted in December 2021 to approve BSI as the Construction Manager at Risk to oversee this project.

Board Considers School Boundaries for Former Crestwood Mall Site

The Board of Education is considering a plan to zone 81 residential lots on the site of the former Crestwood Mall to attend Sappington Elementary School and Truman Middle School. This plan takes into consideration available space at all six elementary schools, and how to add such a significant amount of new homes with minimal disruption to existing boundary lines.

During the July 21 Board of Education meeting, Chief Human Resources Officer Dr. Brian McKenney shared a study of available classroom space districtwide that was presented to parents, students and employees serving on the Facilities Board Advisory Committee last year. Based on this report, the committee recommended that Sappington Elementary School be zoned as the elementary school for this new neighborhood.

While the neighborhood is zoned within Crestwood Elementary School boundaries, Crestwood is currently using 91% of its available classroom space and would experience overcrowding with a significant number of additional students. The same is true for Long Elementary School, which is operating at 95% capacity. Sappington is the closest school to the site with available classroom space, as it is currently using only 72% of available classroom space and has eight available rooms.

Based on the most recent demographic study, the district expects continued enrollment growth over the next 10 years. This plan would allow the district to use available classroom space and accommodate future growth without disrupting existing elementary school boundaries.