KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Public Schools is being recognized nationally for its efforts to tackle evictions of students by helping them stay in their homes and, thus, stay in the same schools through the years.
The Council of Great City Schools awarded its 2019 Research and Assessment Leadership Award to the KCPS Division of Research and Accountability.
"We’re really just trying to affect what is on the ground, what is actually happening in these student’s lives, and one of the ways we can try and do that is student mobility," KCPS Chief Research and Accountability Officer for KCPS Michael Reynolds said.
The district has partnered with the Kansas City Eviction Project, Legal Aid of Western Missouri and the Local Investment Commission to create a data-mining research program.
The program works by syncing the district's data with eviction notices, which are public records.
If a student's family appears to be in danger of being evicted through the court system, the cloud-based process alerts KCPS staff and the family is referred to the Justice in Schools program for free legal assistance.
This system is the first of its type in the country.
"We’re not really trying to be national leaders," Reynolds said. "What we’re trying to do is effect one student at a time in KC and help these kids have better educational outcomes."
When families move frequently, the district said a majority of the time a student falls behind in class and test scores dip.
According to KCPS, the average rate that students change schools in Missouri is 23%, but the average rate within KCPS is 48%.
"We can provide support in real-time," Reynolds said. "Students who are feeling social-emotional trauma over these evictions or mobility, because there is a real effect on students. This is one area where we can actually have an impact on the ground."
The district is reviewing data from the 2018-2019 school district.
For more information on the Justice in Schools program, call (816) 418-2061.