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18 August 2011

Lichtenegger: Knowing Your Missouri State Departments: Department of Elementary & Secondary Education

Before I report on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as part of my Knowing Your Missouri State Department series, I would like to commend teachers everywhere for their dedication and hard work. Educating future leaders is not an easy task –especially given the countless classroom distractions, needing the cooperation of parents in the educational process and the pressure for students to perform on state tests. It’s a daily grind of hard work, exhausting hours and endless patience. God Bless all of you!

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education exists primarily to oversee the public schools’ role in educating the state’s residential youth. Their mission statement: The mission of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is to guarantee the superior preparation and performance of every child in school and in life.

There is valuable information at every turn on the DESE website. In fact there is so much information I recommend you start with the DESE website map to explore available information. There you will find information of interest to parents, teachers and even the general public.

Information in the form of public school data - MAP and even ACT scores- can be accessed through what’s called the Missouri Comprehensive Data System (MCDS) a data portal for all things DESE. Follow the hyperlink below to view what’s in the eight categories of interest. When you hover your pointer over each of the categories, you can read a description –to the right- of what information is provided. The example below describes the information contained in the State Assessment data.

Since most of my Capitol Report readers are from Cape Girardeau County, I provided a direct hyperlink here to the Cape Girardeau Public School profile and to the Jackson R-II Public School profile.

Want a one-stop-info-shop for any Missouri school districts? Link here to the School Statistics webpage and use the Make a Selection to scroll and select the school district of your choice. These pages give what is called Planning Profiles for every school district. This type of profile gives you everything from student test scores to disciplinary issues. Below is the page for Jackson R-II school district.

In addition to the DESE website, teachers may want to visit the Secretary of State’s Missouri Kids! web-page to download teaching tools such as the School Packet, games and fun facts.

I encourage every constituent to be informed about the public education system so that you understand how and when to influence legislators to keep what works and eliminate what doesn’t.

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