KCPS community celebrates earning full accreditation

Dr. Mark Bedell, Superintendent of KCPS congratulates students, staff and community on earning full accreditation on January 11, 2022 at JA Rogers Elementary. Photo by Abby Hoover

After years of hard work, Kansas City Public Schools today received full accreditation from the Missouri State Board of Education, effective immediately.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for our students, our staff, our families and our community,” said KCPS Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Schools can’t do it alone. Thank you, Kansas City, for believing in us. Together, we’re building a school district that works for all families.” 

The board voted unanimously in favor of the status update at the Tuesday, Jan. 11 meeting in Jefferson City. Tuesday’s vote followed a presentation by Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education staff outlining the progress KCPS has made since 2014, when the district was provisionally accredited.

In six years, KCPS improved its four-year graduation rate from 68.7% in 2016 to 77.8% in 2021. 

In 2019, KCPS students exceeded the state’s expectations for academic growth in English Language Arts. In 2021, KCPS students exceeded the state’s expectations for academic growth in math despite the COVID-19 pandemic. (State tests were not administered in spring 2020.) KCPS continues to outpace state expectations for student growth, particularly among students of color. 

KCPS has been an active participant in DESE’s Regional School Improvement Team (RSIT) process, helping to improve the district’s utilization of data to improve curriculum, instruction, professional development and systems. 

KCPS has increased the number of high school students taking Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and dual credit courses by 34% — and quintupled the number of students scoring 3 or better on these tests. 

“Kansas City schools should take time to celebrate this milestone of full accreditation while also understanding that the work of educating kids and operating successful public schools is never truly finished,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven.

KCPS was unaccredited from 2012 to 2014. The district regained provisional accreditation in 2014 and has retained provisionally accreditation ever since. Many KCPS schools are individually accredited. 

“We still have work to do,” Dr. Bedell acknowledged. “But now that KCPS is fully accredited, we can really focus on building the equitable education experience Kansas City kids deserve. We must make sure our students have access to the same resources as every other student in the state, whether that’s academics, activities or facilities. Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we continue setting new goals.” 

KCPS held a press conference at J.A. Rogers Elementary following Tuesday’s decision. In the immediate future, the district is focused on becoming more agile, creating a broader range of learning options, and improving proficiency. More information will follow in next week’s issue of the Northeast News.

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