The A+ Schools Program was created in 1993 by state law as an incentive for improving Missouri’s high schools. The primary goal of the program is to ensure that all students who graduate from Missouri high schools are well-prepared to pursue advanced education and/or employment.
“The A+ Schools Program will mobilize an intensive partnership among high schools, community colleges, students, teachers, parents, labor, businesses, and communities to give these students the motivation, skills, and knowledge to graduate from high school. It will create an innovative and well-designed path from high school to high-skill, high-wage jobs.”
Excerpt from a speech on World Class Schools for Missouri
given by Gov. Mel Carnahan, May 1992)
The impact of this program has proven to be phenomenal. There are now 231 designated A+ high schools across the state that have graduated more than 65,000 eligible students since the program began in 1997. At least one semester of the A+ Schools financial incentive has been utilized by more than 28,000 eligible students. More than $16 million was paid by the A+ financial incentive for tuition to community colleges and career/technical schools during the 2005-2006 school year, and more than $18 million was appropriated for the 2006-2007 school year. There has been a reduction in the dropout rate and an increase in the graduation rate at designated A+ schools as compared to the state as a whole. A+ high schools are providing more rigorous coursework as a result of the program, and students are rising to the challenge. The A+ Schools Program has produced thousands of successful students.
One student used his A+ eligibility to attend St. Louis Community College, where he enrolled in the Ford ASSET program. He graduated and is now a Ford Transmission Specialist and Diesel Certified Technician. He used A+ to obtain a degree that led him back home, where he was gainfully employed at a local company.
Another student used her A+ eligibility to attend Moberly Area Community College and earn an associate’s degree in nursing. She then went on to enroll, at her own expense, at the University of Missouri, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in December 2006. She is now a registered nurse in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital in Columbia.
For more information, contact the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at (573) 751-9094.