Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS)

Elle Moxley / KCUR

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan stopped at Kansas City’s Woodland Early Learning Community Monday morning to advocate for high-quality preschool for low-income families.

“We have to make sure our babies are entering kindergarten ready to be successful,” Duncan said. “In education, we spend lots of time playing catch-up, and frankly we don’t often play catch-up well.”

Duncan says the average child from a disadvantaged neighborhood starts school at least a year behind. In Missouri, 80 percent of 4-year-olds don’t have access to a high quality early education program.

How important is it for kids to have teachers who look like them, or share their culture? And if they don't, can teachers be taught to teach across culture? 

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). 

Sam Zeff / KCUR

The Kansas City Public Schools board wants to get into the charter school business.

The board of education is slated to vote to move that process forward Wednesday night.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

School districts across Missouri found out Monday how they did on last year's standardized tests.

For Kansas City Public Schools and the Hickman Mills districts, both provisionally accredited by the state, the news was mixed.

Missouri changed its test so it's impossible to accurately compare scores year-to-year. However, both districts scored below 50 percent proficient or advanced in all four subjects tested —English, math, science and social studies.

Brad Wilson / Flickr-CC

When Missouri releases its standardized test scores, it’s always a tense week for some school districts.

But this year two area districts are both tense and confused.

The confusion for Kansas City Public Schools and the Hickman Mills School District comes because the state changed its standardized tests.

Both districts are provisionally accredited and hoping for full accreditation following this year’s results which will be publicly released Tuesday.

However, the state says because of the change, a year-to-year comparison would be almost useless.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Several dozen Lincoln College Preparatory Academy alumni met with a small group of current students Saturday to celebrate the historic school's 150th anniversary.

The alumni met the students at the Centennial United Methodist Church in Kansas City's 18th and Vine District to show their support and talk about how the school influenced their lives.  

Courtesy photo / KCPS

Kansas City Public Schools has reached inside the district for an interim superintendent to fill the shoes of outgoing Stephen Green.

The school board Wednesday night tapped Chief Financial Officer Al Tunis as interim head of the 15,000-student district.

Green is set to leave the district in a few weeks to go to Georgia. Green spoke with KCUR's Steve Kraske last week about his departure on Up To Date.

An update on plans to repurpose about 30 vacated schools in Kansas City. Plus, the challenges, joys, and enduring impact of finding new uses for buildings that have outlived their intended functions. The transformation of gas stations, old theaters, churches and post offices.

Esther Honig / KCUR

It was a tearful, dramatic day five years ago, when the school board of Kansas City Public Schools decided to close 21 buildings in order to adjust to a shrinking student population. That was in addition to nine previously closed schools, leaving the district with 30 surplus buildings.  

Kansas City Public Schools

Stephen Green became interim superintendent of the Kansas City Public School District in September 2011, then superintendent in April 2012.

Nearly four years later, his time in Kansas City has ended. Green recently announced that he is leaving the district to be closer to his children and grandchildren in the Atlanta area. He will lead the Dekalb School District starting this year.

Green has led the district through the loss of accreditation and the threat of a state takeover. He has brought stability back to the district with his focus on curriculum, instruction and student achievement.

Green spoke with Up To Date host Steve Kraske about the struggles the district faced under his tenure, how it has rebuilt, and how it will successfully transition and regain accreditation.

Boston Public Library/Flickr -- CC

Recently, the superintendents of the Kansas City Public Schools and the Blue Valley School District announced that they're leaving their posts. What does that mean to their school districts? We explore the role of the school superintendent.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Ask WABE education reporter Martha Dalton about the school district she covers, and you might think she’s talking about Kansas City.

“In 2012, they were put on probation by their accrediting agency. They had a lot of problems with their board, their board was having a lot of governance issues, their accreditors stepped in and said, ‘This has got to change,’” says Dalton.

If what Dalton's saying sounds familiar, it's because Kansas City Public Schools also lost accreditation in 2012.

Kansas City Public Schools

Updated, 7:20 p.m.:

It's official: Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent R. Stephen Green is leaving the district to take another position in Georgia. 

Green has been a stabilizing influence in the district in the years since it lost state accreditation in 2012. But he says he's not worried his departure will stall efforts to regain full accreditation.


Lincoln Preparatory High School started the year with a big honor and now it's ending the school year with another.

The premier magnet school in the Kansas City Public Schools was named the best high school in Missouri by U.S. News & World Report.

Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library

Between the world wars, as new subdivisions filled out the map of Kansas City, educators built schools to keep up with the growing and moving population. Two new high schools – Southwest and Southeast – would anchor what was then the southern end of Kansas City. In the minds of students, each would create its own version of the mythical Camelot.

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.

According to a study done by the University of California-Los Angeles’ Civil Rights Project, Missouri Public Schools rank #1 for the highest suspension of black elementary school students. Missouri’s gap between suspension rates of black and white elementary students also is the nation’s largest. 
  One study found that students suspended or expelled for a discretionary violation are nearly three times more likely to be in contact with the juvenile justice system the following year.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

It’s time to rethink summer.

At least that’s what educators are now telling parents and students. And academics, it turns out, is just one part of the new plan.

Here’s what’s true about summer, especially in the Kansas City, Mo., public schools: Students slip academically, they eat awful food and they often get in trouble.

But there’s a solution, says Kansas City Superintendent Steve Green. Just keep kids in school.

The Civil Rights Project / UCLA

Missouri suspends black elementary school students at a higher rate than any other state in the nation, according to a new report out Monday from the Civil Right Project at the UCLA.

The Kansas City, Mo., public school district is one of four Missouri districts singled out.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.