Parents in the city of Kansas City have one more option when it comes to elementary schools that are not apart of the Kansas City Public School system.
Kansas City Neighborhood Academy is a new charter school that will open on Aug. 2. The school will be at the old Wendall Phillips Elementary School at 1619 E. 24th Terrace.
KCNA is the result of a partnership between the Urban Neighborhood Initiative and Kansas City Public Schools. The school is based on the model of Charles R. Drew Charter School in Atlanta.
KCPS will sponsor the charter school, which means it will monitor the governance structure of the school. KCPS will not be a part of the day-to-day operations. However, KCPS will be credited with the success or failures of the charter school, which is expected to have a positive affect on district-wide test scores.
Robin Henderson is the principal of KCNA. She says the unique partnership will benefit the district, the charter school and the surrounding neighborhood.
"It's been a really beneficial partnership for us, allowing us to have the autonomy of a charter school but also access some of the services that are the benefits of being a part of a larger district," said Henderson.
The new charter school is part of Kansas City's Urban Neighborhood Initiative, one of the "Big 5" ideas for prosperity. The target area is bounded generally by Troost Avenue and U.S. 71, from 22nd to 52nd streets.
Diane Cleaver is the executive director of the Urban Neighborhood Initiative. Their hope is to create mixed-income housing around quality schools to break the cycle of poverty in Kansas City's urban neighborhoods.
"You can't have a really healthy neighborhood without a really healthy school and education system," Cleaver said.
KCNA is still enrolling students in grades kindergarten through second grade. The pre-K classroom is already full.
Lisa Benson can be reached at email@example.com.