KCPS kicks off new school year with new superintendent whose goal is to lead the district to full accreditation

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. --Summer is over for many kids in the metro as parents in several school districts start the new week by sending their kids back to school.

Districts opening up Monday include Raytown, Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo.

KCPS administration moved into a new building at 29th and Troost  over the summer, and besides getting a new building, the staff also is adjusting to a new superintendent who has big plans to keep the district headed in the right direction.

Kansas City Public School's new Superintendent Mark Bedell came from Baltimore, and he began his new job July first. He took over for former superintendent Dr. Stephen Green, who moved on to lead a school district in Atlanta, Ga.

Dr. Bedell says his goals include leading the district from partial accreditation to full accreditation, and to do that he will have to continue the recent trend of students earning higher test scores.

"I want the teachers to customize the learning experience for our students," Dr. Bedell said. "I want us at central office to be able to provide a customized professional development program, which will meet teachers where they are and allow them to continue to grow."

He also wants to do a better job of getting kids in school by assigning an adult advocate to those kids who miss 18 days or more of school, to get them back on the right track to graduation. And he plans to empower teachers to take risks in the classroom, to inspire the students to work hard to learn new things.

"This gives us the opportunity to have an adult advocate in their lives," Dr. Bedell said. "We believe that will really help us as a school system, but then making sure we are offering robust professional development that is truly making sense."

The biggest adjustment for some students will be the new schools. The district closed the Southwest Early College Campus last spring, so all those kids will be going to East High School now. Elementary school students who attended Phillips Elementary will now be going to Attucks Elementary.

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