Children all over the metro are going back to school this week – Monday was the first day of school in the Kansas City Public School District.
It’s been a long time since the sound of students echoed through the halls of Hale Cook Elementary School near 73rd Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Shut down in 2009 as the district went through a massive consolidation, parents in the Brookside neighborhood and the district have been working for the past two years to recruit enough families to re-open the building.
Hale Cook is culturally diverse, about half African-American and half white. Which is exactly why Dawn Black picked the school for her pre-K daughter.
“I think it’s important that schools open up where lots of ethnicities can come in,” says Black.
There’s still lots to do.
There’s no playground equipment yet for the school’s 109 students, so principal Julie Lynch had a case of hula hoops delivered.
She says families in the neighborhood are thrilled their kids can walk to school.
“Parents don’t have to pay to go to a private school or charter school," she says. "They’re able to walk and come to this school, a great school that’s right in their neighborhood.”
Hale Cook is pre-K through second grade and will add another grade each year while the district continues to remodel the 91-year-old building.