KCSD Sees Positive Changes
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City School District says its kids are making academic improvements, but the district still has a steep hill to climb. The latest school performance report from the state shows that the district is moving from achievements in three state standards to five.
The report also saw improvements in 10 out of 14 accreditation requirements. After months of turmoil, losing a superintendent, losing accreditation, and now court battles, Superintendent Stephen Green says it’s especially impressive to see this kind of progress. However, Dr. Green also says he needs to be realistic.
“Even with our optimism, the higher you go, the harder the hill, we know that,” he said.
School Board President Airick West agrees that he’s positive but also realistic.
“No one expects 30 years of struggle to be overcome in six months,” he said. “But people do expect to see results, showing us turning in the right direction.”
West adds that one way the district is moving in the right direction is improving teacher effectiveness.
“We’re only hiring the cream of the crop,” he said. “Ensuring that we have the most qualified and competent professionals in the region, they will get the job done for us.”
Dr. Green says the district will spend the school year continuing to meet academic goals but also focus on problem areas like attendance and drop-out rates.
“If a student is absent a phone call will go out,” he said.” If the student remains absent, “A home visit will take place,” he adds.
Dr. Green says if the district can keep up this momentum, it could regain provisional accreditation by next year.
“Not just regaining accreditation but also regaining confidence and optimism of the community for the school district,” he said.
How does KCSD’s progress compare to area charter schools? Those results are a mixed bag. Roughly a quarter of them met all the state requirements but most met five or fewer standards. More than a quarter met one or no standards.
The nearby Hickman Mills School District is under accreditation review this school year and the report did not bring good news. Hickman Mills only met the basic standards in seven of 14 categories. The performance is worse than the previous school year. After review this fall, the district could drop to provisional accreditation status. Missouri school districts must meet standards in nine categories for full accreditation.