Should Kansas City middle schools reopen? Officials ask for community input

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City school officials need your help deciding whether to reopen middle schools in the district.

The middle schools were casualties of the 2010 'Right-sizing Plan' that closed 26 of the district's schools. But now, superintendent Dr. Stephen Green says he wants to get middle school students in the best environment for them -- and out of the same halls as high schoolers.

"Especially some of the seventh and eighth graders, they are so small. They are still elementary school students," Green said.

Green wants parents and community members to help begin this discussion by applying for a new Middle School Advisory Committee. Under consideration for reopening are Lincoln Middle School, Northeast Middle School and Kansas City Middle School for the Arts.

The age mix, Green says, isn't the best environment behaviorally or academically because of what younger students are exposed to from older students.

"Juniors and seniors are talking about prom and graduation," Green said.

That exposure ranges from benign to dangerous. Back when the 'right-sizing plan' first took effect under then-Superintendent John Covington, middle schoolers were roaming the halls of Southwest Early College Campus amid a string of fires and fights. The police had to be called several times. Middle schoolers are still students there.

To join the advisory board, you can fill out an application online or at the KCPS Board of Education at 1211 McGee Street, as well as at all district schools beginning Friday, Jan. 11.

The deadline to submit an application is 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24. Selected applicants will be contacted by phone.

The committee will meet at least once a month in Jan. through May. Middle schools could reopen by the 2014 school year.

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