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COLUMBIA - The Cradle to Career alliance shared its annual community report card at a luncheon Monday at the Stoney Creek Inn.

Cradle to Career Alliance is a part of Strive Together, a national nonprofit network of more than 70 community partnerships in 32 states and Washington, D.C. The alliance was started in Boone County a few years ago by local community leaders.

This year’s report focused on youths finishing school without the skills they need to succeed in college or career training. The alliance looked at all different school grades to come up with its report.

The report showed that in kindergarten readiness, CPS' pre-literacy assessment showed a declining trend from 2013-2016 across all student populations arriving to kindergarten with fundamental skills.

Low income students were almost three times as likely to be rated by teachers as academically unready.

The alliance also took a closer look at third grade reading. Last year, half the district showed an increase in student scores on the MAP assessment for English Language Arts.

For CPS, the third largest disparity appeared under third grade English language arts, with a 41% percent gap by race and 36% gap by income.

The largest disparities for CPS across every area came within the 6th grade milestone. The largest gaps were in English language arts and math. The alliance also looked at attendance as a major mark for student success.

Attendance rate fell the most between sixth and eighth grade. The largest drop off in 2016 was from low income students whose 90% attendance rate fell by 6.3% between the two grades.

The alliance uses a cycle of continuous improvement to help fix these numbers and make a plan going forward. It bases the planning process upon the power of collective voices and action.

President of Moberly Area Community College, Jeff Lashley, and Superintendent for Columbia Public Schools, Peter Stiepleman, spoke about the results in Boone County.

"We would like to see children get ready for school, Stiepleman said. "We looked at all different aspects to come up with our results." 

Lashley talked about how important coloration was in the process.

“Today we talked about the collaboration occurring between MACC and Columbia Public Schools and that we are going to have some shared ownership of programs together,” Lashley said. “Collaboration allows our programs to remain strong and viable and will provide more opportunities for students moving forward.”

“The most important thing is for us to be able to take an honest look at all the opportunities and challenges that we face especially because we are focusing on kindergarten through college.”  

The alliance hopes to get kids in the community prepared for middle skill jobs.

Middle skill jobs are jobs that you need more skill beyond high school to be eligible but you don’t necessarily need to finish college.

“For most of these jobs it is in the mission of community colleges to provide certificates and degrees so these students can pursue employment,” Lashley said. “We have programs at our schools where we train students for these jobs.”

The schools in Columbia will continue to work together to improve the education in the community.

“The report shows how important the work is and that it needs to continue to be ongoing and I hope the community becomes more aware, supportive and involved,” Lashley said.