Kansas City, MO – At the beginning of July, John Covington started his work as the new superintendent of the Kansas City Missouri School District. He comes with a track record of boosting student achievement in Pueblo, Colorado and in a small district in Lowndes County, Alabama, which is near where he's from. But in Kansas City, most people agree; Covington has his work cut out for him.
Covington is inheriting a district with complicated and longstanding problems. Only 46% of students graduate from district high schools, and student achievement lags behind other area school districts. The district is working on a "turn-around plan" in order to regain full accreditation, and avoid a state takeover.
Covington has spent his first weeks in Kansas City listening - to parents, teachers, students and other community members. And on Friday, he joined KCUR's Susan Wilson to talk about how he plans to approach the challenge before him.