But in Missouri, SAT scores from the graduating class of 2008 were close to 100 points higher than the national average.
The school celebrated the beginning of its 10th school year in its traditional way - by releasing balloons.
Now privately owned, the Wade School in northern Columbia was once used by 100 pupils. The building has deteriorated since closing in 1968, but memories of the lifestyle shared there are still strong.
Remnants of the time remain: chalkboards, book shelves, window blinds, bathroom doors labeled "Boys" and "Girls," a water fountain and hooks where little coats likely hung. The school has slowly become an accidental monument, important more in memory than in reality.
Property owners in the Columbia school district will pay 2 cents more on their tax levy this year.
Whether it was THE first day for kindergartners and new teachers or just another first day for veteran students and educators, Thursday was the day everyone came together in Columbia City Schools.
Columbia Public Schools total enrollment for the first day of school increased from same time in 2007.
When Nate Hutchings conducted his first lesson at Paxton Keeley Elementary School, he joined the fraternity of male elementary teachers that has shrunk dramatically from what it was nearly 30 years ago.
Russell Boulevard Elementary was alive with the giggles and squeals of children who came back for a preview of the school year, which starts Thursday.
For some students school supplies cost more than their families can afford.
In an interview Aug. 7, retiring Superintendent Phyllis Chase shared thoughts about her time spent as head of the school district and what challenges the district faces.
Ritter appears to have risen quickly to the top of a very short list of candidates to lead the district until a permanent superintendent can be found.
The school board will announce its choice for interim superintendent at 8:30 Wednesday morning. Jim Ritter was the only person to meet with board members in a closed session Tuesday night.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education works with the Assessment Resource Center at MU to review questions on a finance assessment required of students graduating in 2010 and beyond.
Superintendent Phyllis Chase, who has recently come under fire for her leadership decisions and spending recommendations, announced her retirement Tuesday, effective Aug. 31.
This is a letter Phyllis Chase sent out to people in the schools, community members and others about her retirement as superintendent of Columbia Public Schools effective Aug. 31.
A partial list of events in the educational and professional life of Phyllis Chase, who announced Tuesday she is retiring as superintendent of Columbia Public Schools
Phyllis Chase says she's been considering retiring for months as schools superintendent.
In its fifth year, the Salvation Army is providing over 21,000 school supplies to 42 schools.
The 2008 Missouri Assessment Program test results are being released to the public today. Only three of 28 Columbia schools met the Adequate Yearly Progress goal compared to 14 in 2007.
Both their math and reading scores improved in the state's public schools. But more districts and schools failed to meet "adequate yearly progress" goals, though state education officials said that was because requirements were more stringent under federal law.