KCPS to unveil revised long-term plan after initially saying it wants to close 10 schools

Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 5:45 AM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The Kansas City Public Schools Board meets Wednesday night to share revised recommendations for its Blueprint 2030 Plan, following public outcry over an initial plan to shutter 10 schools by 2026.

The school district said the new plan is based on feedback from the community after months of hearing complaints of potential school closings and declining enrollment. KCPS administrators said they are looking at ways to combat the declining enrollment by using this Blueprint 2030 Plan as “an academic vision for the district giving students the experiences they deserve.”

KCPS presented the plan in December that consisted of closing eight metro elementary schools and two high schools by the year 2026. Those schools included Troost Elementary, Longfellow Elementary, James Elementary, Central High, Whittier Elementary, Wheatley Elementary, King Elementary, Northeast High, Faxon Elementary, and Melcher Elementary.

The district hosted several community engagement meetings giving communities the chance to share their disagreements with that plan, mostly concerning the school closings. Community members who attended in person, and responded on social media, argued against closing schools with historic value and worried for their children’s safety having to go to schools in unfamiliar neighborhoods.

The Board meets Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the district offices at 2901 Troost, but that will be an executive session not open to the public. The Board Workshop Meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 6:30 p.m., with limited seating on a first-come, first-served basis. It will also be live-streamed on the KCPS website. Wednesday’s meeting will also not have a public comment timeslot, but those wanting to speak can attend the Board’s regular monthly business meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Here are some draft goals and strategies on the previous draft of the plan, via KCPS’ website:

Goal 1C: by 2025, the four-year high school graduation rate will be 80%, increasing to 85% by 2030

  • Dropout prevention and recovery specialists employ strategies to address habitually and long-term absent students and engage parents/guardians as partners in improving student attendance.
  • Increase access to non-traditional school options and credit recovery opportunities, including grad labs, graduation coaches, Missouri options, middle college, evening academy, Kansas City virtual academy, summer school, CTE, early college academy, and success academies.

Goal 1E: by 2025, the proportional attendance rate will be 80%, increasing to 85% by 2030 through an enhanced student experience.

  • Expand course offerings at all elementary, middle, and high school levels, with an emphasis on fine arts, world language, and advanced coursework in math, science, technology, and engineering electives.
  • Increase extracurricular clubs and activities in all middle and high schools beyond traditional athletic activities
  • Develop/expand partnerships with local organizations and the city (I.E., local housing authority) to support families in crisis and discourage mobility.

Goal 3A: KCPS will increase our teachers of color to 40% by 2025 and achieve a goal of 45% teachers of color by 2030

  • Build and strengthen the KCPS student pipeline of future educators through programs and pathways by establishing a “grow your own” student pipeline, providing tutoring and scholarship opportunities for teacher certification programs/assessments.
  • Maintain diversity recruiting partnerships and establish targeted recruiting initiatives with historically black colleges & universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-servicing institutions (HSIS), and the Historic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACUS).

Goal 4C: by 2025, grow k-12 enrollment to 15,000 students, increasing to 17,000 students by 2030.

  • Implement retention strategies, especially targeted at transition grades, I.E., pre-k to kindergarten, elementary to middle school, and middle school to high school