PHONE (636) 586-6660



Dear Parents,


            The Sunrise School District received notice on August 4, 2008 that we are a “district in need of improvement” as per the federal mandates of No Child Left Behind.  As a requirement of the federal regulation, the district is sending out notification to all our parents.  The administration, staff, and Board of Education are certainly apologetic, disappointed and quite honestly, frustrated with the whole process.  It is difficult to try to explain why we are on the “in need of improvement” list and not sound like we are making excuses.  I want to assure you that we are dedicated to improving our performance by raising test scores and increasing student learning. 


            Where are we falling short?  No Child Left Behind requires school districts to meet a level of “proficiency” in all sub groups.  The sub groups include all our individual racial minority groups, students on Free and Reduced lunch, and all our students in special education with IEP’s.  We had one or more of these individual sub groups that fell short.


These Federal regulations of NCLB are requiring proficiency levels to rise until every student in every subgroup (100%), (that’s one hundred percent) reaches proficiency by 2014.    


2007 = 42.9%                          2011 = 75.5%

2008 = 51%                             2012 = 83.7%

2009 = 59.2                             2013 = 91.8%

2010 = 67.4                             2014 = 100%


            The US Department of Education recognized Missouri as one of 3 states in the country with the most rigorous state testing.  Every state develops their own test and sets their own level of proficiency.  Naturally, states like Missouri with the highest standards on testing and the most demanding will have the most difficulty moving 100% of our students to proficiency.  Here’s a hypothetical: Missouri sets a standard for our students at 90% for proficiency and in Arkansas, their standard is 40% for proficiency.  What a wonderful situation!  The question will be, “Do we lower standards or fail to comply with Federal requirements and be placed on the need to improve list?”              


The Sunrise School District, Board of Education, staff and your superintendent support Missouri’s Department of Education in developing one of the most rigorous tests in the country.     We believe rigor is critical and the community is blessed with a teaching staff which rises to challenges and lives for lofty ideals.    They are the most dedicated group of individuals I have ever been associated with in my thirty four years of educational service.  They take tremendous pride in what they do and yes, we take it personally when we report an area of concern. 


            The Sunrise R-IX School District will continue to strive for quality schools with world-class results.  A plan will be developed to facilitate the changes necessary to meet the requirements of NCLB.  We will not support changing our state testing, lowering our expectations, or lowering the bar for our school, sub-groups, or individual students simply to meet these federal guidelines.  As always, we appreciate your support, confidence and trust.  If you have any questions about NCLB or other school issues, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 636-586-6660 or  We welcome your thoughts, ideas and suggestions.







Clay Whitener
Superintendent of Schools