Quick Links
Skip to main contentSkip to navigation

Missouri Association of Rural Education



Ajax Loading Image


Outstanding Rural School District

Salem R-80 School District

Outstanding Rural School District

Salem R-80 School District

Salem, Missouri

Salem R-80 School District “Home of the Tigers,” is a rural district located in Dent County in South Central Missouri.The district serves approximately 1,100 students in grades K-12.One of the unique features of Salem is that the district receives approximately 270 secondary students who are residents of area K-8 school districts.Geographically, the district is located in the heart of the Ozarks.Attendance centers include a grade K-2 Elementary School, grade 3-6 Elementary School, 7-8 Junior High School, and a 9-12 High School.

The philosophy of the Salem School District is driven by the goal to take a strong team of educators and motivate them into becoming a dynamic cutting edge 21st Century learning facility.The challenge faced by the board of education and administration, was school facilities that were run down, un-kept, and were void of any sense of pride from faculty and students.The “that school was good enough for me when I was a kid” mentality ruled the day.The major obstacle was passing a bond issue that had failed 4 times previously and was deemed by many to be impossible.The able leadership of the district and strong support by the community, was shown in 2013 when a $4.5 million bond issue was passed to support the renovation and additional construction of the district facilities.With the passage of this issue and additional funding support coming from district funds, many new and exciting things are happening in the Salem School District.With the much needed funds, Salem has been able to (either complete or in progress) new classrooms, a library expansion, new HVAC, new restrooms, new security systems for locked down campus, new fire alarm system, administrative offices, teacher’s workrooms, coach/faculty offices, new middle school cafeteria, new doors, windows, tile, and paint throughout older portions of the school.

Academically, the Salem district continues to qualify as the Accredited with Distinction recognition.The district has started the ACT Incentive Program that allows every senior student to take the ACT free of charge 1 time their senior.If they score above the state average, they receive $50 dollars.It was a huge success and was all funded through advertisements on the district message board.Through the message center, the district recognizes a student of the month at all four buildings, an athletic of the week, meet the staff, wish happy birthdays, and more.The district has also started the “Jeans Scholarship” that raises funds providing three graduating seniors a $1,000 scholarship each and it is all coming from the staff.

The Salem School District is a quality district with many things to be proud of. Businesses and organizations in the community have stepped forward providing additional financial assistance.Funds have been used to repair and renovate the track, add score boards, gym floor refurbishing, addition of dugouts and a press-box to the softball complex and adding a drivers’ education vehicle.The district has also worked with the Healthy Dent County group to promote wellness both in the schools and community.

One other special recognition is the Salem community received the Missouri Betterment Award, for the entire state which was directly attributed to all the work that has been done with the campus and other projects around the city.

The community is buzzing with the excitement of all the positive changes and new found school pride. While still a ways away from being a model 21st Century district, the transformation that has taken place is quite extraordinary.Such results are only possible when the Board acts and the school staff and community come together to make it happen.To the Salem Board of Education, the administration, the staff, students and community, we extend congratulations for a job well done and your selection as the Outstanding Rural Missouri School District for 2014.