Throughout its history, the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools (KCKPS) has continued growing and evolving to adapt to the changing elements of the urban core of the city — socially, politically, domestically, and educationally. The cornerstone of the community, it remains focused on achieving its goal of becoming one of the top 10 school districts in the nation. Among its more recent achievements are:
- Reading achievement has risen from 11 percent of students meeting proficiency in 1996 to 62 percent of students meeting proficiency in 2009.
- Math achievement has risen from 3 percent of students meeting proficiency in 1996 to 63 percent meeting proficiency in 2009.
- To ensure that students are "school ready" by the time they enter first grade, KCKPS implemented all-day kindergarten at all elementary school sites in 2007.
- In 2007, paving the way for students in an era of technological advancements, KCKPS became the first district in the Kansas City metropolitan area to lease a laptop computer to every high school student. The Laptops for Learning Program is preparing students for the 21st century.
- Sumner Academy of Arts and Science was ranked #62 on U.S. News and World Report's list of top high schools in the country. It was the only school in Kansas to receive a gold medal ranking and was the top ranked school in Missouri and Kansas.
- The district's preschool program has grown more than 275 percent since its inception in 1997. Decades of research show that children who attend high-quality pre-K programs are academically stronger in reading and math. They also have more social skills and are better prepared for school.
- Three KCKPS high schools offer nationally certified Project Lead the Way (PLTW) programs. PLTW is a national program designed to create a pipeline of students prepared to be leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
- The KCKPS Board of Education is a recipient of the Magna Award, a national recognition program that honors school board best practices and innovative programs that advance student learning.
- The Family Advocacy System is in place at every school building. Through this system, students are paired with a competent, caring adult at their school who stays with them for a period of years, getting to know them and their family and guiding them emotionally, socially and academically.
"The Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools is a leader in the Kansas City region in holding their improvement strategies in place over time, as well as innovating in order to transform their urban high schools."
President and CEO
"The Kansas City, Kansas public school district, where 79 percent of students are minorities and 74 percent live below the poverty line, was struggling with high dropout rates and low test scores when it adopted the school-reform model called First Things First in 1996. This included setting high academic standards for all students, reducing teacher-student ratios, and giving teachers and administrators the responsibility to improve student performance and the resources they needed to do it. The district's graduation rate has climbed more than 30 percentage points. These are the kind of results you can get when you design high schools to prepare every student for college."
Philanthropist/Co-Founder of Microsoft
Remarks from a Speech at the National Governors Association/Achieve Summit