Parents help urban core school compete for $600,000

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Parents are joining their children in the classroom Thursday as part of a competition to win a big grant from the Kauffman Foundation, that many believe will help make their school better.

Wendell Phillips Elementary School faces lots of challenges with children who've experienced violent trauma in their lives, and a lot of children moving across the city that puts kids at different learning levels.

And yet this urban core school is one of the more successful elementarys in the Kansas City School District, because of support it receives from parents and community groups.

Parents are showing their involvement in their kids future at the school as part of a competition to win a $600,000 SchoolSmartKC grant.

Educators here say they would use the money to address the widespread emotional and social needs that often prevent young children from being successful in the classroom.

"In our building we do have a high rate of turnover as many of our buildings in the Kansas City Public Schools do," said Deloris Brown, principal. "But with that (grant) we will be able to hire additional staff so that as our boys and girls come into the building brand new to us, we’ll have resources, human power, to meet our boys and girls right where they are to address their individual needs, both academic and social."

The school already has a partnership with the Fraternal Order of Police, where police volunteers have dinner with kids and their parents twice a month to serve as positive role models and establish better connections to the community.

Eight Kansas City Public Schools are competing for the grant, with two or three expected to be selected.