Parents looking for a safe, open-minded environment in the Historic Northeast where their daughters can flourish might soon have an ideal option.
The Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy (KCGPA), which has recently gained approval by the Missouri Board of Education, was founded with the goal of preparing young girls from the 5th to 12th grades for college and beyond.
According to CEO Tom Krebs, KCGPA is a place for students to “strengthen their identity and purpose.”
The preparatory academy aspires to create a safe learning environment for young women and be a shelter from the sexism and racism that they might face in another learning environment. It provides the opportunity to go to an all-girls school for students that couldn’t otherwise afford it.
The school aspires to support girls who come from low-income areas, and to give them an education that they might be discouraged to pursue.
“It helps girls write a narrative in a society where girls are told that there’s already a narrative written for them,” stated Principal Tara Haskins.
The school’s college preparation curriculum will include a STEAM program that encourages young women to pursue a career in a field where voices like theirs are not often heard. This program will add arts to the traditional science, technology, engineering, and math education program.
The founders of the school believe that the STEAM program will teach girls persistence and resilience; skills that will help them if they ever face challenges in the world beyond academics.
KCGPA will work to help their students through every step of their academic journey. According to Haskins, the school will work to personalize their learning, and teachers will be trained with the understanding that each child will have different educational needs.
“Their experience will be coming into a tight-knit and loving community,” Krebs said.
The school anticipates opening up in the Northeast area, although a specific location has yet to be identified. Still, those who are founding the school believe that teaching young women the values of equity, growth, and community will help to fight the negative perception of education in the Northeast.
An example of how the school is showing their values is their efforts to integrate into the community that surrounds them. Even though the school hasn’t yet opened its doors, they are already engaging with the local community by hosting public forums and inviting potential school families to be involved with the charter application design.
According to Haskins, something that struck her about the school is their determination to incorporate the local community into the foundation. For instance, community members were encouraged to participate in the search for a founding principal.
Both Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James and Kemper and Company founder Christine Kemper serve on the KCGPA board. The school is part of the Young Women’s Leadership Network, an organization that has been working to provide excellent education for young girls from lower income areas since 1996.
KCGPA expects to open its doors – wherever they end up being located – in the fall of 2019.