Kansas City Neighborhood Academy, a STEAM school focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and math, will serve 154 more students, pre-K through fourth grade, in the Wendell Phillips neighborhood with a two-year, $500,000 investment.
KCNA now serves pre-K through second. The investment provided by SchoolSmartKC will cover early-stage costs and provide financial sustainability for efficient staff and student services as grade levels and enrollment increase. SchoolSmartKC is an education nonprofit that invests in enhancing school quality and engages in policy advocacy.
“From an economic and workforce development perspective, there’s no better return on investment than strategic support of our schools,” Terry Bassham said in a release. Bassham, CEO of Great Plains Energy Inc., is a board member for Urban Neighborhood Initiative, a product of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Big 5 ideas that allies with neighborhood, business, government and community organizations to restore the urban core.
Kansas City Neighborhood Academy (KCNA) is supported by Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) and the Urban Neighborhood Initiative.
“KCNA is an innovative approach where KCPS partnered with UNI in their efforts to ensure a quality school is the centerpiece of critical neighborhood revitalization,” KCPS Superintendent Mark Bedell said in the release.
According to a nationally normed assessment, during the first year of service, more than 90 percent of KCNA students improved in reading and math, and 94.5 percent of families attended at least one parent-teacher conference.
These advancements are attributed to KCNA’s model, based on Drew Charter School in Atlanta, which is now the highest performing school in Georgia after being the lowest in 2000.
By 2025, KCNA foresees reaching more than 500 kids, educating students through sixth grade.
“KCNA represents the best of our city – where critical stakeholders have come together to support our local youth and their neighborhoods,” SchoolSmartKC CEO Awais Sufi, said in the release. “We are thrilled to support this partnership as it begins to show real results.”