Parents working to reopen Hale Cook Elementary in Waldo - KCTV5

Parents working to reopen Hale Cook Elementary in Waldo

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It is the opposite move from the storyline people have seen lately in the Kansas City Public Schools of shutting down and scaling back.

One neighborhood is fighting to reopen its elementary school.  But in a district with no accreditation and an image problem, the task now is persuading people to trust and come back.

Two-year-old Cohen might not know what he is signing up for, but he is already excited to give it a shot.

And one could say that is the case for a lot of parents considering sending their children to Hale Cook Elementary, as the district moves ahead with plans to re-open the school.

District leaders know they need to re-engage in the community, re-earn the trust and confidence in people do to draw them back to the district.

"You get people to restore trust by taking small steps, and I think that is something that Hale Cook is doing," parent Christine Cowan said.

Superintendent Stephen Green and the community group "Friends of Hale Cook" met Sunday to begin that process, trying to drum up enough families to meet the minimum requirements for re-opening.

Twenty new first graders and 35 kindergartners enrolled in the district Sunday.  They are apart of the young families who are proud of their Waldo neighborhood, and eager to attach that pride to a neighborhood school.

"It seems like they've got some good ideas, and they're on the right track. Hopefully, they'll have learned from their mistakes and the future should be good," parent Brian Martig said.

By starting with just kindergarten and first graders in the 2013-14 school year, and growing one grade at a time from there, they would reconstruct the school, as they rebuild trust with the system at the top.

"A public school system is ideal.  It is what communities need to keep them together," Cowan said.

Green said as long as Hale Cook meets the enrollment requirements set up, it will re-open.

Students would spend their first year at Hartman Elementary while work is underway at Hale Cook, then move there in 2014.

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