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From demise to rise

Five takeaways from KCPS Superintendent Dr. Green State of the Schools

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Above image credit: Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve talked about the districts progress towards provisional accreditation at the State of the Schools address on Sept. 30, 2014. (Photo by Lindsey Foat)

For the first time in Dr. Steve Green’s tenure as the superintendent of the Kansas City Public Schools, his State of the Schools address was not about what he called the “shackles of un-accreditation.”

During the address at Paseo Fine and Performing Arts Academy today, Green celebrated the district’s Aug. 6, 2014 attainment of provisional accreditation.

Asking the crowd and media to repeat after him, Green said of the district, “We were once in demise, but now we’re on the rise.”

In addition to marking the district’s progress, Green also shared goals for the next school year. Here several of the major takeaways from his remarks.

  1. New schools — This fall the district opened, or in some cases reopened, four schools including the Richardson Early Learning Center, Hale Cook Elementary, Northeast Middle School and Central Middle School. Northeast and Central are part of the district’s “Middle School Project,” which will transition 7th and 8th grade classrooms out of its high schools, where they have been since 2010.

  1. Continued fiscal stability  — For the second year in a row, the district received a clean financial audit, down from a peak of 19 findings in 2008.

“We are on firm financial footing,” Green said. “You can see here (looking at) our revenue and expense ratio that we are working within our means, and spending within our means.”

  1. “What we didn’t do” — In the nearly two months since the district received provisional accreditation from the state, many people have been asking Green how they did it. He said this is the wrong question to ask.

“I think the question is what we didn’t do,” Green said. “What we did not do was cherry-pick kids … what we’re about is all children, and when we touch them, we want them to grow and move. And we’ll meet them wherever they are, no matter how far they are behind.”

  1. Goals beyond test scores — Green identified the “5 C’s,” which will be incorporated into the district’s learning standards and will be measured by a review of lesson plans and classroom visits. The C’s include communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. He went on to say that these keywords cannot be measured by standardized tests, but that these goals go beyond what the state requires.

  1. Community engagement — Toward the end of his remarks, Green said that one of the district’s key challenges will be to change people’s perceptions of the district and get them to reinvest in its success so that community members will help shape a new three-year strategic plan. The district hopes to increase both the number of parent groups as well as volunteers and partnership by 10 percent. Green said that KCPS representatives will begin a canvassing effort Oct. 18, 2014 , going door-to-door to share some of the district’s recent accomplishments.

Major Funding for Education coverage on KCPT provided by Jo Anna Dale and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

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