Normandy Parents Seek Answers Over Accreditation

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NORMANDY, MO. (KTVI) – School system officials in Normandy met with parents Monday night to discuss how they’re going to handle losing state accreditation for the district on January 1, 2013.  There is plenty of uncertainty among parents who packed the auditorium at Barack Obama Elementary School.

For parents like Susanna Soto it’s tough to stomach.  Her little boy is in the first grade, and suddenly the school system he’s entrusted to is in hot water with the state.

“I don’t want it to be an unaccredited school that people look down at, like, ‘That’s a terrible school.  You don’t want your children going there. ‘ Because that’s not what everyone is,” she said.  

Officials presented a plan to district parents for dealing with the issue.  Beginning January 1st, as an unaccredited district, Normandy will be under the microscope with the state.  At the end of that window, if they’re not showing progress, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education could take a number of actions, including taking over the district or even dissolving it.  The superintendent here doesn’t plan to let it get to that.

“I think we do owe the public, parents, and community members, a chance to understand the implications of this entire process,” Dr. Stanton Lawrence told us.

He and others went on to give an overview that met mostly good reviews from those in attendance.  

Kyla Pollard has twin kindergarteners and a third grader.  

“My biggest concern was about their education and continuing their education,” she said.  “So once they get to that high school level will they be able to get full scholarships and attend those universities as normal?  So they answered all those questions.”  

There are other issues involved.  Most of the state’s unaccredited districts are in low income, high minority areas, and Dr. Lawrence, when asked if the system is fair, was quick with his answer.  

“Not at all,” he said.  “Absolutely not.  In fact, it could not be less fair.  But it is what it is, and we don’t have a choice. If we had a choice we wouldn’t be in this predicament.  I think the system is designed to be unfair and It’s designed to be unfair to certain school districts and we just happen to be one of them.”

Soto believes it can all be worked out, and she plans to be among the parents who spend more time helping the district get to where it needs to be.

“I want to make sure he has the best education possible.  I’m a Normandy graduate so it’s kind of more personal for me.  I was proud to graduate from Normandy.  I want him to have that same pride.”  

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