Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS)

5:40 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Tensions Ease Between Charter Schools And Kansas City Public Schools

Fourth grade students at Gordon Parks Elementary School listen while Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Sly James reads.
Credit 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.

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4:02 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

ACLU Sues Kansas City Public Schools Over Ferguson Protest

The ACLU is suing Kansas City Public Schools over a protest at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy.
Credit Courtesy photo / Kansas City Public Schools

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Monday against Kansas City Public Schools over a November protest at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy. 

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3:13 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

How Did You Decide Where To Send Your Kids To School In Kansas City?

How did you choose your child's school in the Kansas City area? Tweet us with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit 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.

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6:00 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Student Homelessness Spikes In Rural And Urban Kansas City Metro

Volunteers prepare food items from the Harvesters Food Bank at the Gardner Church of the Nazarene.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR

New figures from the U.S. Department of Education show that homelessness among American students has sky-rocketed by 58 percent in the past five years.

While the problem is at its worst in urban school districts the government data reveals that, for the first time, rural and suburban school districts are dealing with homelessness on a large scale. 

There are now an estimated 1.3 million homeless students in this country.

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Election 2014
10:00 am
Sat October 25, 2014

Voter Guide To Missouri Amendment 3 On Teacher Tenure

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 3 would make teacher tenure and pay reliant on student evaluation data.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

A constitutional amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot seeks to drastically revamp teacher tenure based on student performance. 

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 3 would require that teachers' continued employment and pay be based on student performance evaluations and would change teacher contract lengths.

Ballot language:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

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3:09 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Two Kansas City Metro Schools Named National Blue Ribbon Winners

Two Kansas City metro schools have been named National Blue Ribbon schools by the U.S. Department of Education.

Only 337 schools across the county were named National Blue Ribbon winners.

Some were named for excelling in academics and others for closing achievement gaps.

Lincoln College Preparatory Academy in the Kansas City, Mo., school district was named. This is the second time the prestigious magnet school has won a Blue Ribbon. It was last awarded one in 2008.

The other metro school was Our Lady of Presentation Catholic School in Lee’s Summit, Mo.

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2:27 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Superintendent Cheers Kansas City Public Schools Progress In Annual Address

Kansas City Public Schools Board President John Hile, left, and Superintendent Stephen Green announce the state's granting of provisional accreditation in August.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Green celebrated the district's recent successes in his annual State of the Schools address Tuesday.

The district regained provisional accreditation last month after losing its standing with the state in 2012. Green, who took over as superintendent shortly thereafter, says many believed at the time the district couldn't be saved.

But he says that attitude isn't helpful in education.

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New Report
4:33 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

How Many Kids Chronically Miss School In Kansas And Missouri?

September absentee rates in schools are a good indicator of rates for the year to come.
Credit Lauren Manning / Flickr--CC

With all Kansas City-area students back to school, a new report shows just how important attendance is in the first month of school.

A report by the nonprofit Attendance Works calls chronic absenteeism a "national challenge" and says about one in five U.S. students miss 10 percent of school a year.

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6:18 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Scores Show Kansas City, Hickman Mills Schools Doing Better Than Expected

Credit Cynborg / Wikimedia-CC

Friday is the day almost every school district in Missouri waits for all year. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on Friday morning released its yearly evaluation of schools and districts in Missouri.

More like tax day than Christmas, the results produce winners and losers.

Kansas City Public Schools found out three weeks ago that it moved up to provisional accreditation. DESE bases its entire assessment on a complicated 140-point scale, based on everything from academic achievement to graduation rates and classroom growth year to year.

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9:02 am
Sun August 24, 2014

Missouri School District MAP Scores To Be Released This Week

Credit Christopher Sessums / Flickr--CC

Later this week the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will release Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test scores for every school in the state.

The state already released preliminary results for Kansas City Public Schools on Aug. 6 when DESE announced the district had been provisionally accredited. At that time DESE said Kansas City received 86 out of a possible 140 points. Enough for the board to accredit the district for the first time in two years.

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6:04 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Hale Cook Elementary Reopens As Kansas City Kids Head Back To Class

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.

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7:48 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Kansas City's Lean Lab Looks To Entrepreneurs To Improve Education

Lean Lab's Carrie Markel and Katie Boody think outside of the classroom to solve educational problems.
Credit Lean Lab

The Sprint Accelerator, is a sleek, modern communal work space occupying two floors of an old brick building in Kansas City’s Crossroads neighborhood. It has white board walls and tables for entrepreneurs to sketch out their ideas. It features massive oddly shaped chairs, lots of sunlight, and the startup-requisite game room featuring indoor shuffleboard and foosball.

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2:37 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Kansas City Public Schools Granted Provisional Accreditation

Kansas City Public Schools Board of Directors President Jon Hile, left, and Superintendent Stephen Green announce the district's provisional accreditation status.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

For the first time in two years, Kansas City Public Schools can say they're accredited.

The Missouri State Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon to grant the district provisional accreditation after what the board described as two years of improvement. But both the state board and district officials emphasized there is still work to be done.

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1:45 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Missouri State Board Not Ready To Grant KCPS Accreditation Request

The Missouri State Board of Education says there's not enough data to approve Kansas City Public Schools' request for provisional accreditation.

The district says its test scores should be good enough to qualify for provisional accreditation next month when its annual performance review is released. But the district asked the State Board to act early, before the school year starts, so it won't lose more students to other districts.

As long as the district remains unaccredited, state law permits students to transfer to neighboring schools.

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2:23 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Here's What You Need To Know About KCPS-Academie Lafayette Plan

The old Southwest High School building is the proposed site of a new foreign language-centric high school. Kansas City Public Schools would partner with Academie Lafayette to open the school.
Credit 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.

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Kansas City Public Schools
8:32 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Fellowship Projects Seek To Reinvigorate Kansas City Schools

Cecilia Belser-Patton is one of the Lean Lab fellows who has been working on innovative ways to help public schools in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR

A new program is taking an entrepreneurial approach to tackling the longstanding problem of education in Kansas City, Mo. 

The Lean Lab at the Sprint Accelerator will announce six projects to help area schools Friday afternoon. 

For the past four weeks, fellows at the Lean Lab have been cooking up practical, simple ideas to reinvigorate education in Kansas City.

For example, one fellow is working on a grading system that will use smartphones and tablets to help track students' progress assignment by assignment. 

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Public Schools
3:29 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

A Look Back At The Plan That Tried To Unify Kansas City Public Schools

The future of Kansas City and St. Louis public schools is uncertain, but unification could be a potential solution.
Credit Liz / Wikimedia Commons

In 1967, Missouri Rep. Jim Spainhower was tasked with creating a bill that would reorganize public school districts throughout the state.

Known as the Spainhower Commission, the plan would've cut the total number of school districts down to 20.

Reactions to the Spainhower Commission were almost uniformly negative at the time, as many Kansas City and St. Louis suburb residents thought it was a ploy for tax money and desegregation. 

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Beyond Our Borders
10:37 am
Fri June 27, 2014

School Slated For Demolition In The Historic Northeast Gets Community Support

Community leaders in the Historic Northeast want to preserve the 115-year-old Thacher School off Independence Avenue. But the district is ready to demolish the school, which closed in 2009.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

A rusted metal "No Trespassing" sign hangs on a post outside the boarded-up Thacher School in the Historic Northeast in Kansas City, Mo.

On the other side of the tall fence, the grass is neatly trimmed and the empty parking lot is litter-free. The brick exterior, once a popular canvas for graffiti artists, has been scrubbed mostly clean. A single blue doodle is the only evidence of vandalism neighbors say was once common at the vacant school.

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1:42 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

School District, Academie Lafayette Planning New Charter For Southwest Campus

Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent R. Stephen Green speaks at a press conference to announce a new charter school partnership with Academie Lafayette.
Credit 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.

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Central Standard
3:12 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Historic Northeast Neighborhoods: People, Art, Food

The Northeast Concourse Fountain is a gathering place in the historic northeast neighborhood of Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Charvex / Wikimedia Commons

As part of KCUR's Beyond Our Borders series, Central Standard met with a handful of residents of Kansas City's historic Northeast to hear about the people and projects shaping the future of that part of town. In particular, artist Hector Casanova told us about his project working with students to transform a boarded-up old school building in the neighborhood by treating its surfaces as a giant canvas.

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Beyond Our Borders
8:04 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Kauffman Charter School Sets High Bar, But Can It Be Replicated?

A student at the Kauffman School shows his work to Principal Hannah Lofthus. Lofthus, who has been principal for three years, will transition to the school's chief executive officer this summer.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

It’s a lofty goal for any charter – be the premiere public school in Missouri and a model for the rest of the country.

And for a new school, it’s especially bold. Yet that’s been the vision of the Kauffman School since before it opened.

This week while other metro-area kids were enjoying that first taste of summer, sixth graders at the Kauffman School were sitting in science class. It's quiet except for the scratch of pencil on paper.

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Student Transfers
11:29 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Gov. Nixon To Veto Student Transfer Bill With Private Option

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is planning to veto a law that would have created a 'private option' for students in unaccredited school districts in Kansas City and St. Louis.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon plans to veto legislation that would have allowed students in the unaccredited Kansas City school district to transfer to private schools.

In a statement Friday, Nixon blasted state lawmakers for failing to fix the current school transfer law.

“Throughout the legislative session I repeatedly made it clear that any effort to send public dollars to private schools through a voucher program would be met by my veto pen,” Nixon said. “The General Assembly ignored my warnings, and this veto will be the result.”

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Up to Date
4:26 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

School Boards: Helping Or Hurting Local Districts?

A new survey examines whether school boards are helping or hurting classroom learning.
Credit Brad Wilson / Flickr-CC

When you think about schools, you picture classrooms, teachers and students. But where do school boards fit in?

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk about the elected representatives of school districts, who can be a critical part of educational planning and the new survey that's questioning whether these leaders are helping or hurting the cause.


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7:43 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Kansas Citians React To Proposal For School District Overhaul

A new proposal for Kansas City Public Schools would dismantle the current system in favor for largely autonomous, non-profit schools.

People who care about public schools in Kansas City are reacting to a recently released plan from consulting group CEE-Trust to transform the district.

While questions remain about the process by which the consultants were hired, Kansas Citians are now debating the merits of the proposal, which is unlike anything any other school district in the country has tried.

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1:00 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Consultants Propose ‘Non-Profit’ District For Kansas City Public Schools

A fifth grade classroom at James Elementary in Kansas City Public Schools. All schools would be turned over to non-profit management under CEE-Trust's proposal.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

The education consulting group CEE-Trust (Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust) presented a proposal Monday afternoon to restructure Kansas City Public Schools. The consultants recommended a small, state-run district office which would set up and monitor a network of largely autonomous non-profit schools. 

These schools could be started and operated by current school administrators and teachers, local non-profits, or surrounding districts.

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7:47 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Consultant's Proposal For Kansas City Public Schools To Be Unveiled

Troost Elementary School is one of the KCPS schools that could be transformed by the new proposal.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Kansas Citians will get a glimpse of what might be in store for Kansas City Public Schools Monday afternoon when a consultant’s recommendations for the unaccredited district will be presented to the Missouri State Board of Education.

State education commissioner Chris Nicastro has said she’s looking for a major transformation of the state’s chronically under-performing districts.  In August, the board hired consultant CEE-Trust to research the history and status of school reform in Kansas City, and effective practices from around the country.  

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Up to Date
11:25 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Controversy Brews With Court Ruling, KCMO School Plans

Controversy is ripe in the Kansas City Public Schools over the recent transfer law decisions and plans for the future.
Credit MyTudut/Flickr-CC

You might have guessed that the Kansas City, Mo., schools aren’t happy with the recent ruling that will make them pay for students transferring outside their district. Now, they’re channeling that fury through the courts.

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, we discuss the details of that and take a look at the controversial and secretive long-term plans from the education commissioner for the unaccredited district.


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9:54 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Proposal To Slow Student Transfers Expected In January

A proposal to circumvent thousands of potential student transfers in the Kansas City area may be considered by the Missouri General Assembly next year.

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Central Standard
10:37 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Superintendent Of Kansas City Public Schools Discusses Court Decision

This is the Missouri Supreme Court building where an important decision affecting KC Public Schools was made.
Credit Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons - CC

On Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the law that allows students in unaccredited districts to transfer at district expense to accredited schools in neighboring districts.

Kansas City Public School district Superintendent Stephen Green and the neighbors of the KCPS district are afraid that the impact will be detrimental.


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Kansas City Public Schools
2:47 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Court Upholds Law Allowing Transfers Out Of Kansas City School District

Troost Elementary School, in Kansas City Public Schools, is one of the schools from which students could transfer.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

The Missouri Supreme Court has cleared the way for students to transfer out of the unaccredited Kansas City Public Schools. Starting 2014-2015, KCPS will be required to pay tuition and transportation costs for students who transfer to neighboring school districts.

Five Kansas City area districts had challenged the 1993 state law allowing the transfers. They argued it is an unfunded mandate. But the Supreme Court ruled that the law just shifted responsibility for educating students among school districts.

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