Today, the State Board of Education voted to classify Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) as fully accredited, effective immediately. The vote followed a presentation by staff at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) outlining the district’s student growth in academics as well as improved instructional systems and processes and stability in district leadership.
“This is an opportunity to commend the really great things happening in KCPS,” said State Board President Charlie Shields. “While this is clearly a significant step in the right direction, KCPS and its leaders still have work to do and must ensure this momentum continues in the district.”
DESE could not base this classification decision on Annual Performance Report (APR) scores, as the agency typically does, since an APR was not generated in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When reviewing other classification factors, it is clear KCPS continues to meet growth targets in both English language arts (ELA) and math, despite the pandemic-related challenges. The district has also significantly improved graduation rates and been an active participant in DESE’s Regional School Improvement Team process, helping to improve the district’s utilization of data to improve curriculum, instruction, professional development, and systems.
“The progress being made in KCPS is thanks to a number of stakeholders working in collaboration, but would not be possible without the hard work of the students and teachers,” said State Board Vice President Carol Hallquist. “Led by Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell, Board Chair Nate Hogan, and the entire KCPS Board of Directors, and supported by so many partners in the Kansas City area, the entire school community has made a real commitment to get better.”
“Kansas City schools should take time to celebrate this milestone of full accreditation while also understanding that the work of educating kids and operating successful public schools is never truly finished,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “DESE has encouraged KCPS to continue taking part in the school improvement initiatives available to the district, and we are optimistic that district leadership will continue to be laser-focused on best practices that strengthen student learning outcomes.”
KCPS was originally unaccredited in September 2011. The state’s accountability system at that time outlined a trend of decline in student performance and instability of district leadership. The district later became provisionally accredited in August 2014 after showing substantial improvement in its operations.