Genesis School pushes back against intentions to shut down school

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 6:58 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The Missouri Charter Public School Commission announced it intends to shut down Genesis School, citing low test scores. But Genesis School said the data proves otherwise.

Just days after a revocation hearing was held, the school said the commission would be making a huge mistake if it revoked its charter.

“Five of the eight years that Missouri has measured growth, Genesis has scored above the state average in growth, said Genesis School executive director Kevin Foster. “Three of those years, we’ve scored exceeding growth.”

Foster said that would put his school in the top 20 percent – in terms of taking students from where they were at the beginning of the year to their current level.

But the Missouri Charter Public School Commission wants more, notifying Genesis of their intention to revoke its charter on June 30th.

“A lot of the students have actually come to me concerned already,” said teacher Rachal Young. “I have a kindergartner who’s gone through four of our Kansas City schools already.”

The K-8 charter school has long been tied to at-risk communities – offering free transportation, free meals, before and after school care, as well as mental health and counseling services.

“The commission staff made a statement during the hearing that our board cares more about social services than they do about academic learning,” Foster recalled. “Some may say that’s offensive. We have a model, and we don’t believe that you can disconnect those two.”

The commission said its decision is based on clear evidence of underperformance. Genesis School leaders said the accountability system is frequently changing as they try to improve and figure out the best mix of resources and curriculum.

“It’s always about the kids,” said teacher Trena Walls. “They don’t turn anybody away and it’s in their community. We respect the child, and they respect us. When they come here, they need help, they need guidance. They need to be in their community.”

Today, the school board requested a mediation session with commissioners. The Missouri Charter Public School Commission plans to notify the school of its final decision next Wednesday, February 15.