Kansas City Public Schools

SchoolSmartKC is proud to partner and work closely with Kansas City Public Schools to support a number of District priorities as it seeks to provide and strong and effective educational experience for all students. Partnership efforts are developed in close consultation with District senior leadership at both the administrative and school levels. Our funding, totaling over $7 million in support directly to the District or educational service providers it has requested, goes towards administrative support needs, system-wide investments, and individual school-based projects.

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Our partnership with KCPS has prioritized five key areas:

Recognizing and Amplifying Exceptional Talent

FFormerThe success of our schools and support of our students would not be possible without the exceptional classroom talent and passionate leaders that innovate, educate, and inspire every day. Part of SchoolSmartKC’s mission is to amplify and celebrate the individuals who make our schools a success, and find new ways to collaborate in recruiting and retaining exceptional talent into our schools. In 2019, SSKC founded the Excellence in Education Awards, an award ceremony solely for educators in Kansas City. Over three years, SchoolSmartKC has since directly awarded $150,000 through these awards to teachers in KCPS schools as a “thank you” for their work. The award winners receive $10,000 each and are selected by KCPS executive leaders.

Additionally, SchoolSmartKC is committed to raising the profile of leaders in our schools and education-related organizations. Our Profile in Leadership series recognizes one individual a month, and focuses on amplifying the voices of our leaders. Some of the KCPS leaders we have featured include:


KCPS Administrative Priorities

The health and progression of our schools relies on a continued investment in some of our most critical players – District leaders and systems. SchoolSmartKC has been proud to work with the District to identify several opportunities to support District administrators with both professional development opportunities and system support. Some of our investments include:

Sending 15 KCPS leaders to the School Turnaround Institute at Harvard School of Education
Consulting support for Blueprint 2030, KCPS’ current strategic planning process
Providing support for executive search needs for key leadership positions, including KCPS’ previous Chief Research and Accountability Officer
Supporting research, analysis and recommendations related to HR systems, requested by KCPS superintendent
Funding executive coaching and mentoring for KCPS administrative leaders

Support for Lincoln College Preparatory Academy

At the District’s request, SchoolSmartKC was pleased to invest close to $1.6M to expand Lincoln College Preparatory Academy to allow it to serve more students. SSKC’s investment was a foundational investment to help reopen Lincoln’s middle school building, enabling KCPS to serve an additional 500 students.

Accelerating Improvements at Neighborhood Schools 

Recognizing improvements at KCPS neighborhood schools, SSKC has worked closely with KCPS in supporting third party independent evaluations of nine KCPS schools together with strategic planning support through our Strategic Growth Program. An additional three schools have received grant support from SSKC following evaluation and planning with the District. Schools that received support from SSKC through our Strategic Growth Program included:

  • Gladstone Elementary
  • James Elementary
  • Northeast High School
  • Phillis Wheatley Elementary
  • Primitivo Garcia Elementary
  • Trailwoods Elementary
  • Wendell Phillips Elementary
  • Whittier Elementary
  • East High School

Fortifying Schools with the Most Vulnerable Populations

At SchoolSmartKC, our work is student-first. We are always listening and looking for opportunities to fund and support the students and families that are most vulnerable, and searching for solutions to make the biggest impact where it is needed most. Since our inception we have intentionally sought the opportunity to serve vulnerable student populations, and our partnership with KCPS has allowed us to implement wide-spread support in many of Kansas City’s schools and neighborhoods. Some of the initiatives that we have helped fund include:

Bringing Communities in Schools (CIS) to eight KCPS schools

Investing $780,000 in a Special Education grant, which supported over 100 Special Education students in KCPS schools

Supporting musical therapy in KCPS schools through funding support to the Harmony Project

Bringing family engagement best practices to KCPS schools through the KC Family Engagement Fellowship

Funding a full-time attorney through Legal Aid to support four district schools and support families facing eviction

Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, SchoolSmartKC rapidly worked to deploy emergency funds into schools. Within one month of the pandemic causing schools to close, SchoolSmartKC directly supported over 3,000 KCPS students by investing $611,000 in KCPS schools, with a large portion of funds going towards efforts in closing the digital divide. Our commitment to supporting KCPS with post-COVID recovery is ongoing, as we look to fund strategic projects that will support long-term post-pandemic success in 2021.

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