A well-rounded educational experience at an early age provides a valuable boost for children, which is why the Joplin School District opened the state-of-the-art Joplin Early Childhood Center in 2018.
About 260 students ages 3-5 are educated at the 38,000-square-foot center, with about 51 percent of the students requiring special education services.
The early childhood center includes 20 classrooms, plus common learning spaces, activity areas and a learning grove that is situated in the middle of the building.
“We have so many features that are different than other preschools in the area,” said Mindy St. Clair, JEC director. “Some of these features are a huge sand and water table, center space outside of the classroom that can be changed to follow each unit the students study, bathrooms for every room and small group learning spaces. Also, we have the most wonderful staff to help educate our youngest learners.”
Joplin started its early childhood program in 1990 and hopes to grow the number of students it serves even more in the coming years.
The $10 million cost of the JEC was funded equally by the federal and state governments. The building also won two awards for architecture and design: International Interior Design Association Mid-America – Silver Award in K-12 Education; and American Institute of Architects Kansas City – Citation Award in Interior Architecture.
JEC is just one of the impressive aspects of the Joplin School District, which serves more than 7,800 students from per-kindergarten to 12th grade in 11 elementary schools, three middle schools, one high school, a career and technical center and an alternative center.
Technology is incorporated throughout the curriculum. The student-to-computer ratio is 2-to-1 for grades K-7 and 1-to-1 for upper grades.
Serving as the largest district in the area, Joplin Schools offers a plethora of course offerings and extracurricular activities. Joplin High School students have the ability to graduate with an associate degree. They can engage in technology education, and take classes in per-engineering and robotics to name a few. Also, the high school offers Advanced Placement courses, dual-credit courses, Project Lead the Way courses and online learning opportunities. In addition, Franklin Technology Center offers students opportunities to prepare for the workplace directly after high school.
Among the honors, the district, leaders, staff and students have achieved:
- A long-standing history of recognition with Top 100 Missouri Scholars, state and national qualifiers in SkillsUSA, FBLA state, DECA state, along with many state and national qualifiers in fine arts and athletics.
- Students with perfect scores on the ACT, with averages from the 2017-18 school year:
– Top 15 students composite score was 31.95.
– Top 40 students composite score was 29.22.
– Top 50 students composite score was 28.58.
– Top 150 students composite score was 24.86.
- 100 years of JROTC.
- Continued success at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Regional Science Fair for high school students, including a first-place winner who competed at the international competition in 2019. Another JHS student was second place overall in the same competition.
- Six Joplin High School graduates recently earned associate degrees from Crowder College through a partnership with Joplin Schools and Missouri Southern State University.
- The district has adopted the Missouri Seal of Biliteracy to recognize and celebrate students who acquire biliteracy skills and sociocultural awareness.
The primary focus of Joplin Schools is its “3 to Achieve” initiative, which drives its strategic plan:
- Helping students reach goals set for achievement and critical thinking throughout the K-12 education journey that will help them as they advance within the district and into college/the work world.
- Encouraging student ownership of learning, which encourages them to be aware of their academic status, participate in classes and engage with fellow students.
- Building student-centered relationships, attracting and retaining quality staff and obtaining technology tools and instructional resources.
EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT:
- Prioritizing learning time.
- Providing a safe, nurturing environment.
- Engaging and informing parents and other stakeholders.
- Practicing fiscal responsibility.
Joplin Area Catholic Schools
Joplin Area Catholic Schools has a legacy in Joplin going back to 1885 when the Sisters of Mercy founded St. Peter’s School. The system now encompasses three schools: St. Mary’s Elementary School, St. Peter’s Middle School and McAuley High School. The schools are accredited through the Missouri Nonpublic School Accrediting Association and educate the heart, mind and soul of their students as Christian values in the Catholic tradition are included in all studies as well as weekly church services. The schools are one family, one community educating children for life.
St. Mary’s is the home to the early childhood program where children ages 2-5 experience the joys of learning at an early age, and continue at St. Mary’s with kindergarten through fifth grade. Children in grades 6-8 attend St. Peter’s and their high school career continues at McAuley with the opportunity to take Advanced Placement and dual-credit courses.
The JACS system is a member of MSHSAA and is in the Ozark Seven Conference. The girls’ volleyball team earned the 2018 district championship. Students in the JACS system have a greater opportunity to play varsity-level sports from freshman to senior year at McAuley in sports such as volleyball, soccer, cross country, basketball, track and golf. Students at St. Mary’s and St. Peter’s actively participate in athletic activities. JACS student/athletes have won 31 district championships.
The 2018 graduating class at McAuley completed more than 2,600 hours of community service, and earned more than $1 million in scholarships. Approximately 99 percent of students graduate and attend four-year universities and colleges across the country.
College Heights Christian School
College Heights Christian School recently celebrated its 40th year as a college prep non-denominational school in Joplin.
The school, which has an enrollment of approximately 550 in preschool through high school, is a Christ-centered learning environment where students attend weekly chapel and have Christian values and Biblical lessons incorporated into all studies.
CHCS competes against area schools in sports such as cross country, track, basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball, tennis and golf as a member of the Missouri State High School Activities Association. The school also offers drama, academic bowl, acclaimed programs in vocal and instrumental music and visual arts.
All students follow the college prep curriculum with additional options including Advanced Placement calculus, biology and lit and comp along with 33 hours of dual credit classes. The Spanish program is taught from preschool through high school dual-credit Spanish 4. The Missouri A+ scholarship program was recently added to numerous other collegiate scholarship opportunities.
National Merit Commended and Finalist students are commonly named from College Heights. Upon graduation, students attend a variety of colleges across the country.
Martin Luther School
Martin Luther Christian School is an accredited early education, elementary and middle school in Joplin.
The school educates students from preschool through eighth grade. It provides whole child education, linking curriculum to the real world, helping students become problem solvers, good stewards and active citizens.
The early childhood center features a flexible schedule for families, along with classrooms that are also safe rooms in the event of inclement weather. The school offers half-day and full-day kindergarten and first through eighth grades. There is a low student-to-teacher ratio because of class size limits.
Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School
Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School opened in August 1993, and today has more than 350 students enrolled in grades PreK-12.
Students are engaged in a rigorous liberal arts college preparatory curriculum, with all students taking several Advanced Placement courses during their upper school years. Extracurricular activities include performing and visual arts, academic and athletic competitions, field trips and clubs. Enrollment is open to all, and financial aid is available to qualified students.
The school awards more than $1,000,000 in financial aid annually to approximately 50 percent of the student population. In addition, significant privately funded merit-based scholarships are available. The school has graduated more than 330 students, with virtually all enrolling in four-year institutions immediately following graduation.
The school’s classical Western civilization curriculum emphasizes study of classic texts – both modern and ancient, the humanities, foreign languages, studio and performing arts, mathematics and the sciences. Technology is fully integrated into the school’s program. A board of trustees governs the school, and the school is directed by the head of school.