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Parents, district officials react to KCKPS regaining accreditation

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools leaders, community members share goals for the district going into a new school year with an improved status
Posted: 11:36 PM, Jul 01, 2024
Updated: 2024-07-02 13:58:07-04
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KSHB 41 News reporter Rachel Henderson covers topics important to Wyandotte County residents. Have news to share? Send an e-mail to Rachel.

As the district prepares to enter the 2024-2025 school year, KSHB 41 wanted to check in with Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools and community members about what they’ve been doing in the months since receiving its accreditation status to make sure that the new title isn’t just a title.

In 2023, the Kansas State Department of Education placed KCKPS on “conditionally accredited status” for approximately six to seven months.

This distinction means the school district is in good standing with the state, but “either the system did not provide conclusive evidence of growth in student performance or was not able to provide conclusive evidence of an intentional, quality growth process,” the district explained to KSHB 41.

A Kansas State Department of Education spokesperson confirmed via email the district received its full accreditation status this year:

“KCKPS received its accreditation redetermination in April this year at which time the board voted to fully accredit,” according to the email.

“This was achieved because of the Strategic Framework and Goals put in place by Superintendent Dr. Anna Stubblefield and the Board of Education to ensure that students met state benchmarks and data was provided to support the academic outcomes,” a district spokesperson said in an email.

Community members like Carolyn Wyatt were vocal about the desire to see academic improvement in the district long before receiving a fully-accredited status. Wyatt was born and raised in Wyandotte County and says she wants to see her community thrive both outwardly with clean parks and neighborhoods and inwardly within schools.

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Carolyn Wyatt

“To me, grade school is essential,” Wyatt said.

Wyatt was against the KCKPS not making renovations to buildings until after academics improved, which is what was proposed in the $420 million school bond that community members like Fred Postlewait voted down in May.

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Fred Postlewait

“Items on the bonds were for physical things, and not for direct education, so there was no choice,” Postlewait said.

Postlewait started paying attention to test scores and spending after that. The statistics he found, like KSDE data that showed a decline in ACT scores in KCK schools since 2015, worried him.

“The level of education of most of the students was not good,” Postlewait said.

He and other concerned community members meet to figure out how to best reach students and their families.

“That’s the only way that they’re going to have a better life than their parents,” he said. “They’ve got to be educated. And we are missing the boat in this community at this time.“

The district says it’s taking matters into its own hands to address community concerns.

“The district’s Diploma+ Program provides real world learning opportunities for students outside the classroom,” a district spokesperson said. “Students can graduate from high school prepared for college and careers at every level through Diploma+. We will continue to focus on our strategic plan and goals to achieve our North Star – by 2031, 100% of students who graduate will graduate with a Diploma+ endorsement, with no disparities in race or gender subgroups, while meeting or exceeding the average graduation rate of the state.”

Wyatt says she’s not against the district and actually wants to work with them. She said, however, it’s important for community members to make sure they hold the district accountable.

“A plan don’t give you accreditation, a plan give you time to get it together,” Wyatt said. “So, if it’s written on a plan, then the plan has to be successful.”

She, along with the district, are moving forward as if the ball is in their court. As for the students, Wyatt says their needs are simple.

“They just want to be loved,” she said. “They want to know somebody cares about them. That’s key.”