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West County earns Distinction in Performance award

For the fifth time in six years, West County School District has earned a Distinction in Performance designation, Supt. Stacy Stevens announced Thursday during the monthly school board meeting.

“We’re very pleased about that,” Stevens said. “We know it takes everyone associated with the school district — parents, guardians, kids, staff, administrators, the board, everyone — to make this happen.”

Distinction in Performance is based on each district’s Annual Performance Report (APR). The reports, tabulated each year by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, is based on several criteria including Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test scores, attendance and dropout rates.

The designation is something the community should be proud of, Stevens said.

“It means that when our kids are coming to school, they are ready to learn and staff and building administrators have done what is necessary to give them the knowledge they need.

“When it’s all said and done, they are getting a quality education.”

During Thursday night’s meeting, the board voted to buy a new wheelchair accessible bus from Ponder Equipment, the school board decided on Thursday.

“The bus we have now is more than 20 years old,” Supt. Stacy Stevens pointed out.

The new bus will cost $61,676 and will be paid entirely with special education stimulus money. The bus will be built to the district’s specifications. It will carry 15 to 18 students and a wheelchair. All the seats will be removable for transporting only students in wheelchairs if necessary. One seat will have a built in child seat for preschoolers, Stevens said.

The new bus should be ready in eight to 12 weeks.

The board also agreed to pass a resolution saying the district wants to be included in any Race to the Top stimulus money that comes to the state.

The $4.35 billion Race to the Top fund will be shared among states that apply and meet certain criteria, including comparisons of student achievement with teacher data. At least 36 states, including Missouri, have applied for the first round of funding.

If Missouri gets Race to the Top funds, districts that have passed resolutions will have the chance to apply for money if they choose to do so.

In other business, the board agreed to consider letting World Changers use one of the district’s buildings to house its members July 19-24 while they work in the area. The program is for Christian students who have completed sixth grade or higher and their adult chaperones. The members work on light construction projects and repairs as part of week-long, hands-on mission.

World changers typically stay at schools, colleges or churches. Local churches provide lunch on the work site and other meals are provided by the lodging site.

Stevens said he will meet with a representative of the program to discuss their needs and available options.

Paula Barr is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 172 or at


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