Kansas City school district surging forward, superintendent says

The Kansas City School District has emerged from a troubled past and is moving toward full accreditation, school superintendent Steve Green said today.

At his annual state of the schools address, he led the audience in chanting, “It’s morning, it’s a new day in KCPS.”

The speech comes as the Missouri Board of Education considers granting the district provisional accreditation.

Getting that is critical because it would prevent the district from being subject to a new transfer law – a law that allows families in unaccredited districts to enroll in accredited ones while the unaccredited districts would pay for it.

Green noted that the district’s recent performance scores more than doubled to reach 60 percent – 10 more points than needed for provisional accreditation and only 10 points short of what is needed for full accreditation.

“We’re right there knocking at the door,” he said. “We’re on the cusp (of full accreditation).”

“No district in the state, perhaps in the country, has exhibited the kind of turnaround this district has.”

He announced that a committee will seek public input as it works on a master plan for five years of capital improvements.

The overall goal will be to increase student achievement, he said, and the master plan will mesh planned programs with needed work on buildings.

Among things planned are pre-kindergarten education at a school in Midtown and one in south Kansas City, he said.

The pre-kindergarten program now serves 1,700 students but that is not enough, he said.

The district is also returning to middle schools next year.

“We will leave this notion of 7th and 8th graders caught up in a high school climate not meeting their special needs,” he said.

There will be much more effort in teaching English language arts, which the district scored poorly on, Green said, and more will be done to cut the 20 percent truancy rate for high school.

Don’t condemn the district for what it was in years past, he said. “We will raise student achievement and we will be a district you can be proud of.”

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