KCPS Board of Directors Set Framework for Education Collaboration

Board-Adopted Principles Will Guide Partnerships with Community Groups, School Operators

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Kansas City, January 25, 2018: To establish guidelines for community groups and school operators interested in partnering with Kansas City Public Schools, the KCPS Board of Directors has adopted a set of principles that describe core values and priorities for collaboration. The Board Principles for Education Collaboration were approved by the School Board at its January 24 meeting at the Board of Education.

“The Board Principles for Education Collaboration are intended to provide a framework for strengthening educational opportunity and accountability in public education within the KCPS boundaries,” Board Chair Melissa Robinson said. “These new guidelines will promote equity and improve financial sustainability and efficiency across the school system.”

The guiding principles were developed through the KCPS Board and administration research and study of the KCPS public education landscape, which has become increasingly fragmented, posing challenges for families to understand and navigate. This landscape does not provide families a clear path through the K-12 system, and enrollment and population data show that many families continue to leave the KCPS area for surrounding school districts even as the number of school options has grown.

Robinson said the KCPS strategic plan and other work undertaken in 2017 pinpointed inequities and inefficiencies in the current landscape, and solidified the Board and administration’s interest in improving the educational system overall.

“It is the KCPS Board’s responsibility to ensure that the district’s educational efforts help us achieve the KCPS mission and vision — which places student growth and learning at the core,” Robinson said.

The guiding principles recognize that collaboration and/or coordination between KCPS and community and neighborhood groups or school operators can help the district achieve its vision and mission. The principles emphasize the importance of collaboration, data-sharing, academic and financial accountability, educational knowledge and capacity, and commitment to student, parent and staff involvement.

Using the framework provided by the Board Principles for Education Collaboration, the administration has outlined a process that will be used for the exploration and evaluation of collaboration opportunities that are proposed by community groups and school operators.  Collaboration opportunities may include:

  1. Sharing best practices — Examples include shared professional development, programming for English Language Learners and special education services, and other program needs.
  2. Contracting for KCPS services — Examples include nutritional, custodial and technology services, transportation, student assessment and other service needs.
  3. Forming a school model partnership — Examples include partnering via contract or other arrangement (Co-location of school program, community-developed project, KCPS-sponsored charter) to meet an educational need within the current system.

Superintendent Mark Bedell emphasized the fact that the guiding principles will function as part of the school system’s singular focus on serving KCPS students.

“Our KCPS kids will continue to be the center of everything we do every day in our schools,” Dr. Bedell said. “They are the centerpiece of all our strategies, programs, structures and processes. That is unchanging and non-negotiable.”

The full set of guiding principles is available at www.kcpublicschools.org under the “Community” section of the website.

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