KCPS students get a chance to ask MO Education Commissioner Dr. Chris Nicastro about accreditation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - As the Missouri Board of Education gets ready to vote on a plan to fix the troubled school district, a group of students got a chance to ask about the district's future from one state education leader.

The students who were part of Camp Fire represented eight Kansas City Public Schools. Students got a couple minutes to ask Missouri Education Commissioner Dr. Chris Nicastro questions they themselves came up with.

One of the students grilled Dr. Nicastro about why her district is still unaccredited after showing significant progress in the last year and making enough of an improvement for provisional accreditation.

 Student asks, "Why was the St. Louis School District treated differently than the KC School District if we did score higher on those testing scores?" Dr. Nicastro answers, "We've transitioned from one system to another."

Other students questioned how one plan could fix both urban and suburban unaccredited schools.

"We'll have to come up with an intervention plan that applies strictly to Kansas City because every district is different and every set of circumstances is different," Nicastro said.

Some of the students had mixed reactions on the answers they received. "I thought that her answers were some were kind of helpful and some of them weren't," said Britenee McMillian with Success Academy .

Even though some of the answers weren't what the students hoped for they did agree on the process. "They got to really talk with the commissioner about how they feel about the school board with the state and how could the plan help," said Danan Nuckols with Success Academy.

Camp Fire Heartland, a youth development agency, organized the event to give students a chance to get involved in the process that affects their education. "And let them talk and decide what feedback they want to offer, what questions they want to ask so it truly is their voice and what they care about and what's important to them," said Greg Simms with Camp Fire.

Camp Fire plans to take a group of these same students to Jefferson City on Friday, March 21st for the State Board of Education meeting where the finalized plan will be introduced.

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