Niche Ranks R-II Among Missouri’s Top 20

By ERIC X. VICCARO

[email protected]

While faculty and administration were on holiday break, the Ste. Genevieve R-II school district received exemplary distinction.

Niche, a Pennsylvania-based research firm, rated Ste. Genevieve 20th in its list of the year’s best school districts in Missouri.

The top-3 districts in Missouri are all in St. Louis County, with Ladue, Kirkwood and Rockwood R-VI first through third, respectively.

The Kansas City-based Blue Springs R-IV is slotted fourth; however, Niche’s rankings primarily favor the eastern side of Missouri. There are nearly 460 school districts across the Show-Me State.

The website Niche considers itself the “best place to research American colleges, schools, neighborhoods and companies.”

“We are always proud to be recognized through these rankings,” said Ste. Genevieve R-II superintendent Dr. Julie Flieg.

“Ste. Genevieve R-II is fortunate to have dedicated and knowledgeable faculty and staff,” Flieg continued, “who do whatever it takes for our kids. Our students work hard and strive to be the best they can be.”

Flieg acknowledged that Niche, as a ranking organization, uses different types of qualitative and quantatative data.

“Our ranking may differ from year to year,” Flieg noted. “Just like a district’s test scores, these rankings provide us with a high level view of our overall success.”

The Ste. Genevieve R-II school district handles the majority of the county, with two portions served by neighboring Farmington and North County (Bonne Terre-Desloge).

Some county students choose parochial education instead at Valle Catholic (Ste. Genevieve), St. Agnes (Bloomsdale), St. Joseph (Zell), St. Paul (a Lutheran school in Farmington) and St. Vincent (Perryville).

Ste. Genevieve R-II features both a centralized high school and middle school, with elementary centers in both Ste. Genevieve and Bloomsdale. The district also offers Little Dragons Preschool, launching the early childhood education initiative in 2015.

Niche gave Ste. Genevieve an overall “A” grade.

The district received A-plus grades in clubs and activities, administration, teachers and health and safety.

This past summer, middle and high school instructor Dr. Rhett Oldham was named the 2020 Missouri History Teacher of the Year.

Recently, SGHS students have excelled in both speech and debate and bridge construction.

The Dragons also received “A” grades for academics, athletics and resources and facilities.

Niche reported a student-teacher ratio of 13:1. Rankings also took into account students’ proficiencies in both mathematics and reading.

Ste. Genevieve boasts stellar facilities, including the R-II Performing Arts Center (band and vocal music), Dragon Field (football and track and field), Peggy J. Johnson Gymnasium (volleyball, basketball and wrestling), Leon’s Field (softball) and Yanks Field (baseball).

Niche gave Ste. Genevieve a pair of B’s in diversity and college preparation, and a C-plus for food service — with the website noting 48.2 percent of students are on free or reduced-price plans.

The website offers browsers the opportunity to comment on the district, which has received 14 “excellent” reviews, three “very good” and two “average.” There was just one “poor” opinion, and none in the “terrible” grouping.

Also in the region, Jackson was rated 23rd among all Missouri school districts, also as reported in the Southeast Missourian newspaper.

Niche publishes rankings on an annual basis.

BACK TO SCHOOL

Classes resumed in the district on Monday, Jan. 4, with the final day of the first semester on Friday, Jan. 8, for both high school and middle school students.