By LESLIE COLLINS
November 27, 2013
“As a district as we move forward in our individual schools, I want to assure those that are here today that we are poised and perched for another year of improvement,” said Dr. Stephen Green, Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) superintendent.
Green spoke to a packed room at the North-East Public Library Nov. 27 as part of the On the Scene with Green series which features an overall school district update and community question and answer session with Green.
Green said there’s still a “steep mountain to climb” for improving academic achievement, but added the district has come a long way. Under the new MSIP 5 (Missouri School Improvement Program) guidelines which range from 0 to 140 points, KCPS initially scored 27.5 points, Green said. To qualify for provisional state accreditation a school district must earn at least 70 points, and for full accreditation, a district must score a minimum of 98 points.
When the final results were tallied from the 2012-2013 school year, KCPS had earned 84 points, he said. Green said he believes the district will make more gains this year.
To improve academic achievement, the district will track the progress of individual students throughout the year and has created SMART goals, which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time sensitive. The school district has broken down those goals into six categories which include student achievement, college and career readiness, graduation rate, student attendance, business and finance and parent/community engagement.
During the question and answer session, one Historic Northeast parent asked how the implementation of the Common Core State Standards would affect the district’s progress.
“The reality is every district in the state is going to take a hit with the Common Core, and it’s not because students are doing any less well,” Green said. “The goal posts are going to change.”
Expectations and rigor will increase, which will set back not only KCPS but other school districts as well, he said.
“I encourage the community to brace for that,” he said.
Common Core will be implemented in 2015 and KCPS is preparing students for the change by introducing Common Core elements throughout the school year.
“The reality is once we go full Common Core, every school district in the state will probably see some sort of setback,” Green said.
Other concerns shared by attendees included how to bolster school spirit, supporting the language programs at Foreign Language Academy, improving school facilities, among other topics.
For the final meeting item, Green asked attendees to give him a drum roll.
For the first time in years, KCPS will be hosting a recruitment and retention fair Dec. 7 to promote the school district.
“It will be a total Kansas City Public Schools showcase,” he said.
All 34 individual schools will host a booth and be given a chance to shine during the “Cruise to Achievement” event. Each booth will provide personal contact and direct information about the effective teaching and learning occurring in KCPS. KCPS administrative officials will also be on site to answer questions regarding Common Core State Standards, college readiness, health and wellness, extracurricular activities and social services.
The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Paseo Academy, 4747 Flora Ave. Students and families are welcome to attend this free event which will also include free pancakes in the morning and hot dogs in the afternoon.
“We still think we have things to offer,” Green said, “and we think we’re moving in right direction.”