Start of new school year brings new leadership to Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Friday was the first day of classes for most students in Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, where the urban district has new leadership. There are some ambitious goals set by the new superintendent.

Charles Foust made an unannounced visit to F.L. Schlagle High School Friday to see for himself how new freshman are being welcomed by teachers and upperclassmen.

Foust calls himself a turnaround specialist, having worked in public schools in Houston, Texas. He says he knows the challenges faced by urban core districts with growing Spanish-speaking populations.

Foust says KCK schools are in a good spot, but he thinks he can help make them better, starting with making sure all high schoolers are taking advantage of career and college ready programs the district provides.

"This is awesome being here at the high school because we have upperclassmen working specifically with our freshmen," Foust said. "It’s an honor for kids to be able to see, this is where you will be, this is what it will look like, doing some of that peer tutoring, peer training, peer coaching. Mentoring that’s awesome," he said.

Foust also wants nine out of 10 kindergarten kids to be reading at their grade level. And he has set a goal of improving middle school math test scores by at least 10 percentage points.

New leadership always brings new energy to the schools and teachers genuinely seem excited to work toward improving the graduation rate for all students.