Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – After 15 frustrating years, the St. Louis Public Schools system has attained levels needed for full accreditation.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on Friday released the Annual Performance Reports (APR) for districts and individual schools through the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) Cycle 5.

Based on DESE’s data, SLPS received 106.5 APR points, eclipsing the 98 points required to qualify for full accreditation.

The district last qualified for full accreditation in the 2000 school year.

“This is really good news for St. Louis,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay during a ceremony marking the occasion Friday morning at Farragut Elementary School in north city. “Good news for St. Louis neighborhoods, St. Louis families, St. Louis children.”

SLPS has now increased its APR points total by at least 75 percent for two consecutive years.

The district’s 106.5 level is an increase of 76.1 percent from last year’s 60.5, which itself was a 75 percent increase above the 34.5 points earned in 2012-13.

Looking at results from the 2014-15 school year, 12 city schools earned at least 90 percent of the possible APR points to qualify for “accredited with distinction.”

An additional 22 district schools earned at least 70 percent to reach “full accreditation” status.

As a district, Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams said now that they’ve achieved full accreditation for the first time in 15 years, they’ll concentrate on staying at that level.

“Really every week we look at this data,” he said. “Every Tuesday at one o’clock we have data meetings to look at data, we call principals in to question them around their data, and we are monitoring the data every single week.”

Dr. Melanie Adams, vice president of the Special Administrative Board for the SLPS, said other important improvements factored into the return to full accreditation, as well.

“The district earned 100 percent of all possible attendance points with 83.3 percent of students attending school regularly,” she explained. “The St. Louis Public School attendance committee is working diligently to impress upon families that regular attendance is key. If you aren’t in school, you can’t learn.”

SLPS is also graduating more students, with the five-year rate climbing from just over 67 percent in 2013 to 76.4 percent this year.

“Teachers, students, parents, administrators and the central office staff have worked extremely hard to get us to this point,” said superintendent Adams. “I want to sincerely think them for their long hours and dedication to SLPS. We still have a long way to go in our work to create a system of excellent schools, but it is important to celebrate and recognize the significant progress this district has made.”

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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