Elle Moxley | KCUR

Elle Moxley

Missouri Schools Reporter

Elle joined KCUR in 2014 as a general assignment reporter. She covered the 2016 election in Kansas as part of a political reporting partnership with NPR. Today, she covers Missouri schools and politics.

Before coming to KCUR, Elle covered Indiana education policy for NPR’s StateImpact project. Her work covering Indiana’s exit from the Common Core was nationally recognized with an Edward R. Murrow award.

Elle has also reported for The Examiner in Independence, Missouri, and KBIA-FM in Columbia, Missouri. She is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Ways to Connect

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Asha Moore just finished her ninth year teaching. She loves being an educator, but she isn’t returning to the classroom in the fall. Instead, she’ll be taking over the dean of students job at the Academy for Integrated Arts, a Kansas City charter school focused on the arts. 

Moore had been interested in taking on a leadership role for a while. She received her master’s degree five years ago, but she didn’t feel ready until last year, when her principal started in a new program, KC PLUS, or Pathway to Leadership in Urban Schools.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Ahead of a state-mandated redistricting of school board seats, the Kansas City Public Schools Board of Education has put forth its own map suggesting how the boundaries should be drawn.

The proposed map builds on the work of three consultants hired by the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners and incorporates community feedback, KCPS Board of Education Chair Melissa Robinson wrote in a letter to commissioners.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

There were 307 students enrolled at Pitcher Elementary on the last day of school, but that number doesn’t tell the whole story.

Pitcher is about as far east as a school can be and still be in the Kansas City Public Schools – out by the stadiums, mere blocks from the Independence and Raytown districts. Kids come and go constantly as their families’ circumstances change.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Students with disabilities often miss out on opportunities their peers take for granted, like learning a foreign language.

That's why Shawnee Mission West French teacher Katie Bogart works hard to accommodate all different kinds of learners in her classroom.

“They struggle more with some of the grammar that we do, a lot of the written work,” Bogart says. “That can be a little bit more challenging.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City’s first single-gender public school has a sponsor.

The Missouri Charter Public School Commission voted to accept Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy’s application Wednesday morning after an evening of public testimony overwhelmingly in support of the school.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James, who is on the charter school’s board of directors, told the commission most of his staffers are women.

Courtesy Ray Weikal / Kansas City Public Schools

Three schools will get $1.4 million from education nonprofit SchoolSmartKC to improve student performance, Kansas City Public Schools announced Friday.

Principal Dana Carter says she started to cry when she found out on the second-to-last day of school she’d have an additional $600,000 to implement Gladstone Elementary’s strategic plan.

“Literally, tears ran down my face,” Carter says. “It was a very exciting moment. Then when I shared it with our staff, it was screams of joy, everyone applauding.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Friday is the last day of school at DeLaSalle Education Center, a charter high school in Kansas City that primarily enrolls students who haven’t succeeded elsewhere.

It’s also a time of reflection for those who taught them.

At 22, first-year Teach For America corps member Pranav Nanda isn’t that much older than his students. At the start of the school year, Nanda worried students might not respect someone they saw as a peer. But over time, he came to see his age as an advantage.

Josie Hoskins seated in the KCUR studio wearing headphones and with a microphone in front of him.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Few infected convicts in Missouri prisons are receiving newer hepatitis C drugs that are more effective, and more expensive.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

A state-mandated redistricting of the Kansas City Public Schools Board of Directors could result in a complete turnover of seats next spring, injecting uncertainty during a period of relative stability for the district.

Most Missouri school boards have seven members, and a 2013 law requires the nine-member KCPS board to eliminate one sub-district and one at-large seat by April 2019. Because all seven seats will be open at the same time, it’s possible voters will install an all-new board.

Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library

Most cities have a school system. Kansas City has a system of schools.

It’s an important distinction in a metro bisected by a state line, in a city with dozens of charters, in a school district state lawmakers intentionally kept small.  This is a place where the quality of education often depends on parents’ ability to navigate a frustratingly complex system.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

It’s a common refrain in career and technical education: school must prepare students for jobs that haven’t been invented yet.

To do that, vocational training centers are undergoing high-tech transformations, and nowhere is that more apparent than in Lee’s Summit. The gleaming, $64 million Missouri Innovation Campus that opened last fall has been hailed as a game changer for accelerating the time it takes for a four-year degree after high school.

Jimmy Emerson / Flickr-CC

The University of Central Missouri has abandoned a plan to move arts and humanities into its College of Education, instead considering a different kind of reorganization.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City’s most vulnerable students often fall behind when their families move often. And when the kids don’t meet the state’s expectations on standardized tests, their school district gets dinged. That makes it hard for districts with a lot of student turnover to improve their standing.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City-area students joined their peers from across the country on Friday, rallying to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Columbine massacre and pay tribute to other victims of mass shootings.

Students left their schools and made their way to a rally in Midtown's Hyde Park, where students from 10 high schools organized the rally to coincide with the walkouts. It attracted about 150 people. Although that fell short of their goal of 500, the teen organizers said they were glad they got to connect with students from other schools.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

When Paloma Ramos dropped out of school in 2014, she was already a year behind her classmates at Southwest Early College Campus.

Ramos had a plan, though. She would take online classes through the Missouri Options Program, catch up with her peers and graduate within six months. Only that didn’t end up happening. 

National Assessment of Educational Progress

Missouri students scored about as well as Illinois students but trailed their peers in Kansas on a national math and reading assessment, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced Tuesday.

Scores on the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress – known colloquially as NAEP and sometimes referred to as the nation’s report card – remained steady, with Missouri fourth and eighth graders doing about as well as they did in 2015.

Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy

Kansas City’s first single-gender charter school has found its founding principal.

Tara Haskins will lead Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy, which will serve predominantly young women of color in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

Jimmy Emerson / Flickr-CC

Liberal arts professors at the University of Central Missouri say a proposed reorganization that moves them into the College of Education would weaken instruction in the humanities and social science and threaten the school’s standing as a regional comprehensive university.

But it may be the only way to balance a budget that shrinks every year with declining state appropriations, UCM President Charles Ambrose says.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Jeff Sloan knew something was wrong as soon as his 10-year-old son got off the school bus.

Jayden, a fourth grader at Mason Elementary in Lee’s Summit, was limping slightly – and there was something wrong with his speech.

“He’s talking like his tongue’s tied, and he’s telling me, ‘I’ve had the worst day, Dad. It’s just been terrible,’” Jeff says. “I said, ‘So what happened? Why are you talking like that?’ And he goes, ‘I bit my tongue.’”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Eleven months before a gunman opened fire in a Florida high school, students had to evacuate North Kansas City’s Oak Park High School.

They were told to leave their backpacks in their classrooms, walk outside in a single-file line and keep their hands on their heads.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

A 23-year-old man already charged in three south Kansas City homicides has been charged with three more murders.

A grand jury indictment filed Friday accuses Frederick Scott of murdering David Lenox, Timothy Rice and Michael Darby. Scott was charged last summer with killing Karen Harmeyer, Steven Gibbons and John Palmer. Collectively the murders have been dubbed the Indian Creek killings.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The young survivors of a Florida school shooting last month don’t want thoughts and prayers.

They want gun control.

They’ve organized protests, staged walkouts and demanded policymakers do more to protect them. On Twitter, they’ve called out politicians who oppose restrictions on the assault-style rifle a gunman used to kill 17 of their classmates and teachers.

And their activism has resonated with teens across the country.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Can an all-girls charter school with a college prep curriculum help young women of color in Kansas City’s poorest neighborhoods succeed?

Tom Krebs thinks so, though he’s admittedly an odd champion for single-gender education.

“I’m a white guy from the East Coast. Why am I the leader of this effort?” Krebs, founding CEO of Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy, said at a community meeting last week. “I’m hoping long term I won’t be.”

In fact, hiring someone to lead the charter school is “the biggest decision we’re going to make,” Krebs says.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Many local schools remained closed Wednesday in anticipation of an ice storm that could dump up to an inch of snow and sleet on the metro by Thursday afternoon.

But not Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The University of Missouri-Kansas City must figure out how to invest in its students, faculty and staff even as state appropriations decline, Chancellor-designate C. Mauli Agrawal says.

University of Texas at San Antonio / College of Engineering

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 3:50 p.m. to include comments from incoming chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal and MU spokesman Christian Basi.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City’s next chancellor, C. Mauli Agrawal, takes over at a time when higher education funding in the state is under fire and inherits the imperiled promise of a downtown location for the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance.

UM-System President Mun Choi announced Agrawal’s appointment to faculty and staff in an email Tuesday.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 6:10 p.m. with comments from the school district.

Kansas City Public Schools leaders are open to the possibility of reopening Southwest High in partnership with a community coalition that’s been campaigning for months in the Brookside and Waldo neighborhoods.

“To me, what’s going to get support in that neighborhood is a middle school that could grow into a high school with a signature component,” Superintendent Mark Bedell said Monday in a South Zone School committee meeting of the KCPS Board of Education.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Landlords in Jackson County are filing hundreds of eviction requests each month, resulting in thousands of eviction orders every year. And those recorded evictions – 175,000 court filings over 17 years, according to a study by a housing policy researcher – are only a fraction of the landlord-tenant disputes that force low-income Kansas Citians out of their homes.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Children at Ingels Elementary School in the Hickman Mills School District are used to seeing empty desks.

Ingels is a “high churn” school, meaning students transfer in and out frequently during the school year. Often they depart with no notice, leaving their supplies behind and the school staff scrambling to determine their whereabouts.

But the empty desk in Angelica Saddler’s third-grade classroom this week is different. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Missouri families can now use an existing college savings program to get a tax break on private school tuition and other K-12 education expenses, Treasurer Eric Schmitt announced this week.

An amendment added at the last minute to the massive tax overhaul Congress passed in December allows participants in state 529 college savings programs to spend up to $10,000 annually to cover tuition expenses at public, private and religious schools.

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