Unique show hosted by teachers explores ‘Life after KCPS’ for graduates

Education

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Public Schools is producing what the district believes to be a first-of-its-kind Youtube show connecting teachers and former students to find out what happened to them after they left high school.

The idea came to Chris Odam during the pandemic and virtual education, watching talk shows go to a Zoom format. He spent 16 years teaching English at Paseo Academy, and now serves as an English as a Secondary Language director for the district.

He’s also a Lincoln Prep grad who said students from his own bus went on to be doctors, producers and hold other powerful positions.

“I realized how much of a story there is after your first story, and we never really hear the follow up of what happens after you finish high school,” Odam said.

So he pitched the idea to host a show to the school district.

“What I saw was the TV gold in this. How often do you get a chance for students to talk with their former students, to say when you did this, when I was in class I hated it, but really later on it really benefited me,” KCPS Director of Communications Justin Robinson said.

A pair of teachers now catch up with former students on the daily homeroom show “Life after KCPS.”

“Some of them are muralists in our city, musicians. I interviewed a student who is now the Dean of Students at Penn Valley,” Odam said.

The show is geared toward high school students still trying to figure out how to forge their own path.

“In that moment where you are finishing high school and there’s something that’s supposed to happen next, how did you know what to do?” Odam asked one student in an episode.

“I would say write out the goals you really want to see manifest into your life,” former student Cheyenne Melton said in a separate episode.

Odam said the show is also helping recharge other teachers that get to see the small part they played in students’ achievements and serve as a message to those who already have their minds made up about the quality of a Kansas City education as the district continues its efforts to regain full accreditation.

“We are capable in this district of having success, and we also are full of success that we may not hear enough about,” Odam said.

If you are wondering if the show can continue on with Zoom calls becoming less frequent and dozens of successful students already interviewed, Odam said there’s no slowing down. He just booked 11 new guests Monday morning.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Latest

More News

Digital First

More digital first