charter schools

Courtesy photo / Kauffman School

Education insiders in Kansas City have been closely watching the Ewing Marion Kauffman School  ever since it started in 2011.

Now, the rest of Missouri may perk up. 

This week, the Missouri Charter Public School Association named Kauffman its Missouri Charter School of the Year, citing its "strong academic performance," "innovative professional development" and "daily efforts to build community and engage parents." 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

After 18 months of study Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) released its master plan Wednesday night in a long and contentious board meeting.

The plan covers which buildings will be closed, an overhaul of the transportation system, a plan for year-round class for low-performing elementary schools and the rejuvenation of high school extracurricular activities with an emphasis on sports.

The district says about 2,000 children, 15 percent of the district, would feel the change of school closing and the resulting boundary changes.

knittymarie / Flickr-CC

Educators behind two proposed elementary charter schools in midtown Kansas City are eagerly awaiting approval next week by the Missouri State Board of Education.

The Midtown Community School Initiative approached Citizens of the World Charter Schools last year in hopes of opening two schools in Kansas City. CWC operates charters in New York and Los Angeles. They hope to open the Kansas City schools next fall.

Crossroads Academy

One of the more successful charter schools in Kansas City says it plans to open a second campus in time for the next school year.

Crossroads Academy is on Central Street just around the corner from the main branch of the Kansas City Public Library.

It opened in 2012, has doubled in size since that time and now educates about 350 students.

Executive Director Dean Johnson says the school will look for a building to buy downtown that will eventually serve about 400 students in  kindergarten through eighth grades.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Name: Devon Teran

Number Of Years In Education: 8

Role: Assistant Principal, Alta Vista Charter High School (Kansas City)

Devon Teran grew up in Wichita with parents who were educators. In fact, his father served as superintendent of Wichita Public Schools before moving to Grandview nearly a decade ago. (Ralph Teran recently announced his retirement from that post.) 

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

On a recent Friday afternoon, once students had left for the weekend, the fifth-grade team at the Kauffman School in Kansas City stayed behind and practiced walking down the hallway. 

They were working on how to lead students from class to class during passing periods. While six or so teachers played the role of (relatively compliant) students, one teacher would lead them down the hall giving instructions. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR

In a heated two-hour debate, the Kansas City Public Schools Board of Education voted Wednesday night to get into the charter school business.

The vote was the next step in the process for a partnership between KCPS and the Urban Neighborhood Initiative (UNI). 

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Kansas City's newest charter high school opened Wednesday. Well, not totally new. 

The Ewing Marion Kauffman School has been on the Kansas City charter landscape for four years now.

It opened in 2011 with a lone fifth-grade class and gradually expanded, adding a grade each year. Now, the school is opening a brand new building on its campus near 63rd Street and Paseo Boulevard.

And that original fifth-grade class will become Kauffman's first set of ninth-graders. 

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

The Kansas City school district may be getting into the charter school business.

The district says it received the OK from the state board of education on Tuesday to become a charter school sponsor.

Kansas City Superintendent Steve Green says if the charter schools are going to continue to play a bigger role in education, the district should be part of that discussion.

"This gets us to the table and allows us to be an active and equal participant in the conversation about charter schools in our community," Green said in a statement.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Last week a group of parents in Midtown Kansas City realized a dream: they raised enough money to get two new charter schools off the ground.

There was a time when such an announcement would be met with suspicion and perhaps even hostility from the Kansas City Public Schools.

Superintendent Steve Green says the district saw itself as a target.

"We isolated ourselves. It’s sometimes a typical response when you’re wounded or in some way hurting you isolate yourself. But it’s probably the last thing you should do," he says.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Maybe it's a decision about which side of the state line to live on. Maybe it's public school versus private, or district versus charter. For some, there may not seem to be a choice in the matter at all. A range of issues factor into where Kansas City families send their kids to school; meanwhile, difficulty discerning myth from reality looms large. Our callers and guests help break it down.


The state auditor blasted two Kansas City, Mo., charter schools Tuesday for mishandling their 2012 closures.

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich gave both the Urban Community Leadership Academy and the Renaissance Academy for Math and Sciences "poor" ratings for wasting money and failing to keep adequate records as the schools shut down.

File photo / KCUR

As we explore state line in the Kansas City area as a uniter and divider in our Beyond Our Borders series, this issue continues to crop up — schools.

Parents are very passionate about how and why they've chosen certain schools in the metropolitan area for their children. 

With charter schools, private schools, public schools and application-based specialized schools on both sides of the state line in the region, we're curious about how you reached your decision.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

For years, district schools, charter schools and private schools have all competed for students in Kansas City, Mo.

This fragmented education system is a result of years of mistrust between district residents and the struggling Kansas City Public Schools.

Now the district is provisionally accredited and pushing back against its reputation. It's launching new initiatives in hopes of winning families back.

Kansas City Public Schools

Kansas City Public Schools wants to close Southwest Early College Campus and transform the site into a new high school in partnership with French-immersion charter Academie Lafayette.

The district has been holding parent and community meetings this month to get feedback on the plan, which would require most current Southwest students transfer to other district schools. The next meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Paseo Academy, 4747 Flora Ave., Kansas City, Mo.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City Public Schools is partnering with French immersion charter Academie Lafayette to open a new high school at the Southwest Early College Campus.

The new school will be both a public charter and a "signature" school, the designation KCPS gives to buildings with selective enrollment criteria. The district will provide the facility, and Academie Lafayette will run the school.

Courtesy / Kauffman Foundation

The Board of Directors of the Ewing Marion Kauffman School announced Monday that Hannah Lofthus will be the next CEO.

Lofthus is the founding principal and chief academic officer of the charter school and will transition into the role of CEO over the next several months.

In a release, board chairman Robert Strom said the promotion puts the strongest and best leader for the school in place while providing continuity of leadership.

Payne Roberts / KCUR

Fifth grade graduation at Gordon Parks Elementary school this week was an especially emotional event. 

The 13-year old charter school was founded to serve some of the most disadvantaged kids in the Kansas City area, but the school has some of the lowest scores of any public or charter school in Kansas City, Mo.

The Missouri Court of Appeals' Western Court ruled Tuesday against the Kansas City, Missouri School District, now known as the KCPS.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Artist Allan Winkler’s whimsical paper and metal cut-outs of people and animals are instantly recognizable. A 1975 graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, his style has been described as "deliberately naïve."

Missouri Supreme Court To Hear Charter School Case

Apr 14, 2010

St. Louis, Mo. – The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on a suit challenging the constitutionality of the way Missouri funds its charter schools.

The lawsuit filed by the Kansas City School District and two residents argues that the whole system of charter schools violates the state constitutional ban on unfunded mandates. The state directly pays the charters the state funding that would have otherwise gone to the local district.