Get involved with school district through online forum

Many parents interested in improving the Kansas City Public Schools find it hard to attend meetings.

But there’s a new option.

You can now weigh in on important issues from home.

The Kansas City School District is soliciting ideas for improvements to the educational system. It has a Mindmixer site where people can discuss topics and describe their visions for better schools.

All you have to do is go to the site, read the questions, and give your thoughts.

This week, several topics are getting discussed on the site. Here’s a sampling of the questions and some of the ideas put forth by the community.

Combining early childhood education programs and community services in the same building.  The district says it is planning to create centers that include classroom space for 3-and-4 -year-old pre-K students – with community service providers housed in a separate portion of the building. It’s asking the community what kinds of community services they’d like to see.

  • The responses so far: There are several votes for housing PTAs in the buildings. Others like early parenting classes or a senior center, nutritional education and opportunities for children with disabilities.

What a reopened Hale Cook Elementary School would be like. The district is working with the community to reopen the school at 7302 Pennsylvania. It’s asking for feedback about how the school will look, desirable qualities in its teachers and staff, parental and community involvement.

  • The responses so far: Those giving advice have suggested that the district work with organizations like KC Community Gardens and Sprint (through its green curriculum) to encourage  students to “think green” in their daily lives. They have voted up the idea of involving parents as much as possible and to having an open and accessible staff.

Which classroom tools to fund:  The district is asking the community if, in order to increase student achievement, it should increase tools such as computers and books at the expense of other tools such as field trips and new furniture.

  • The responses so far: One person says the district should invest in teachers rather than computers. Another says give every student a computer and integrate the technology into the learning experience.

 Most important activities or programs for a successful middle school: The district says it is exploring options for changing middle school programming.

  • The responses so far: One popular response says the district should develop a Montessori middle school. Others have suggested keeping kids in the same school longer to build their confidence before high school. Those weighing in also like the idea of extra-curricular activities that offer leadership opportunities, creative and physical outlets, chances for teamwork, a sense of commitment and responsibility to others.


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