KANSAS CITY, Mo. - At a time when many urban schools districts are struggling, one school in the Center Independent School District in Kansas City continues to excel.
Rose Jones has been a fifth grade teacher at Boone Elementary School for seven years. She said the school's philosophy on education is a proactive approach to teaching students.
"We find out where our kids are sooner, than later. We don't try to wait until the end of the year and find out how well we did on the MAP test to see what we need to do with our instruction, we use our data to drive our instruction," Jones said.
Eighty percent of African American students in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade received proficient or advanced scores on map testing. Seventy-eight percent of students on the free or reduced lunch program also achieved that goal.
The school that at one time was only provisionally accredited is considered one of the best urban schools in the nation.
"I pinch myself to make sure this is really happening. I do that a lot. To be nationally recognized as one of the best urban elementary schools is amazing. It is so huge, not for just the school but for our school district and for our community," said Dr. Sheryl Cochran, the principal at Boone Elementary.
Boone Elementary is a finalist for the National Center for Urban School Transformation Award.
Thousands of urban schools apply for the honor. Boone is one of two elementary schools left in the running.
"It can be done. We are a great example of an urban community that said good is not good enough. We want to be great," Dr. Cochran said.
In May, school leaders will travel to Houston, Texas where they will find out if they are recognized as the number one urban elementary school in the nation.