It’s well-known that the Kansas City Missouri school district suffers from a poor reputation. As a real estate agent, I am often asked, ‘what about the schools?’. Answering that one in a diplomatic yet informative way can be a challenge. I consistently tour houses for sale where the owners want to move to enroll their children in a Kansas school district. Still, there are options for Brookside/Waldo families…and a group of residents is trying to add another one.
Hale Cook Elementary, at 7302 Pennsylvania, is trying to re-open in the fall of 2011 as a neighborhood school. It would be operated by the Kansas City MO public school system, with heavy parental involvement. I believe 300 students need to sign up before the school district will proceed with the details of re-opening the building. This is GREAT news!
The school would have a pre-K tuition based program, and the elementary classes would run through grade 6. Boundaries for the school enrollment: State Line to Holmes, 75th to Brush Creek. No bussing for these students, but hopefully before and after-school programs, plus art, music and foreign language classes. What is so different about Hale Cook is it’s a community based movement to re-open the school, not a school district directive. Strong parental input and participation will be expected and required, and these parents will have a say in faculty selection and budget. Sounds like a promising formula for success.
As a personal interest, I follow education issues closely. My daughter wants to be a teacher, and at one time, I did as well. In an urban school environment, it’s often the teachers that get the blame for a poor performing student. The pay for performance reform has some merit. I won’t get into the tenure argument here. But the emphasis on learning and importance of a good education must come first from the home environment–and that means parents (or guardians) who take an active interest in the child’s education. By having these local parents band together and actually do something about re-opening a neighborhood school shows the community, and the KCMO school district, that change can happen when parents get involved. Wouldn’t it be nice if this initiative was coming from the KCMO school district? Sure. But I’ll bet you things will move along much faster precisely because the active residents want to make it happen. The big question? How much of a help — or a hinderance–will the school district be?
Everyone is invited to the Open House at Hale Cook on Sunday, January 30 from 3-5pm. Stop by, learn more, tour the building, get involved if you like. This is the beginning of a story that could provide another option for children in the Brookside/Waldo area.