Friends of Hale Cook 2013 Feasibility Study


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The grassroots nonprofit Friends of Hale Cook developed this feasibility study for Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) in support of reopening Hale Cook Elementary as a public elementary school in the Waldo-Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City. This was a labor of love and we thank the entire community for their support of our effort. As a result of this study, KCPS agreed to reopening Hale Cook in August 2013.

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Friends of Hale Cook 2013 Feasibility Study

  1. 1. Hale Cook Neighborhood School Feasibility Study The future starts here.
  2. 2. A very special thank you to everyone who spoke up, lent a hand, and helped us along with the development of this study and throughout our effort to open Hale Cook Neighborhood School. BOARD OF DIRECTORS Ashley Z. Hand, Chair Paul Bartel, Vice-Chair Sarah Darmitzel, Treasurer Susan Stocking, Secretary Sara Wiercinski Carrie Zerillo ADVISORY COMMITTEE Betty Kalahurka Bill Kalahurka, CFP Capital Consultants Dr. Phillip Hickman Genesis School Kate Migneron Children’s Mercy Hospital SJ Miller, Ph.D. Institute of Urban Education University of Missouri-Kansas City Greg Patterson Greg Patterson & Associates Tom Pickert Logan Logan & Watson, LC John Sharp City of Kansas City, Council District 6 Peter Sloan 360 Architecture Richard Wetzel Centric Projects Jennifer Wolfsie Border Star PTA COMMUNITY SUPPORT AECOM This Feasibility Study is dedicated to all the students of our public schools — past, present and future.
  3. 3. Hale Cook Neighborhood School Feasibility Study Prepared for the Kansas City Public Schools by Friends of Hale Cook January 1, 2013
  4. 4. Executive Summary Introduction Our Proposal About Friends of Hale Cook School Vision Study Purpose + Methodology Defining the Neighborhood Year One: Potential for Enrollment Challenges Opportunities Conclusion Appendix A: Letters of Support Appendix B: Survey Appendix C: Survey Results Contents
  5. 5. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children. — African proverb Executive Summary
  6. 6. 7 Executive Summary With 27 superintendents in 35 years, the lack of accreditation and stability in Kansas City Public Schools (the “District”), many have lost confidence in our public schools and believe Kansas City has turned its back on the problem. Countless stories in the media focus exclusively on the controversy, school closings, violence, and failed leadership, prompting many families to figure out a way to pay for private school, relocate to area districts when their children become school-aged, or simply never reside in Kansas City. This does not move Kansas City or the District forward. Losing residents and potential students has significantly impeded the District’s ability to become stronger through socioeconomic and racial diversity because it is directly responsible for the loss of current and future citizens, who would otherwise provide this spark. Improving public education in Kansas City and restoring the District’s reputation is imperative. It must be the number one priority among our city’s leaders and stakeholders. A new approach — Hale Cook Neighborhood School Friends of Hale Cook, an all-volunteer organization, proposes to open Hale Cook Neighborhood School in the Fall of 2013, as a neighborhood district school, with high parental and community involvement for academic excellence. Through grassroots community engagement, Friends of Hale Cook has sought to foster a strong sense of ownership through partnership with the District, neighborhood and other stakeholders by building a vision for a neighborhood school that will not only serve elementary-aged school children but the entire community. At the behest of Superintendent Stephen Green, Friends of Hale Cook developed this feasibility study to justify opening Hale Cook Neighborhood School in the currently mothballed Hale Cook Elementary building at 73rd and Pennsylvania. As part of this undertaking, Friends of Hale Cook conducted an extensive survey of the surrounding neighborhoods. The results demonstrate overwhelming support and interest in opening Hale Cook Neighborhood School, which indicates that the school would sustain organic growth if opened. As such, we propose the District open Hale Cook Neighborhood School as a Pre-K and Kindergarten program in Year One and expanded to a first grade as enrollment allows. With each year, new grades and teachers can be added and the school will fill up as the students grow up. Although the neighborhood school model as proposed is new to Kansas City, it has been successful in other troubled school districts, including the Chicago Public Schools. The precedent for success is there. A successful Hale Cook Neighborhood School will be a concrete example of the District’s responsiveness, its support of engaged parents and communities, and its ability to seek innovative solutions to the many challenges the District currently faces. Hale Cook Neighborhood School is a blank slate. Providing a seat at the table for the community through Friends of Hale Cook ensures a sustained commitment to quality education and partnership with stakeholders. Thus, its success will help restore the District’s reputation and will serve as a model that can be replicated across the District. Hale Cook Neighborhood School will also reconnect a part of the city that has disengaged from the District with the potential to enroll new students and increase the district-wide diversity of the student body. While opening a public neighborhood school will have its challenges, they are justified by the many opportunities. Friends of Hale Cook has shown through two years of outreach and perseverance that NOW is the time to adopt a new approach to public education in our neighborhood and our community is ready. The future starts here.
  7. 7. If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when? — Hillel Introduction
  8. 8. 9 Introduction Hale Cook Elementary is currently a mothballed school at 73rd and Pennsylvania. The vast majority of residents with school-aged children in the surrounding area do not send their children to Kansas City Public School District schools. For nearly two years, Friends of Hale Cook has dedicated thousands of volunteer hours to raise community awareness and support for opening Hale Cook as a neighborhood public elementary school in an area of the city that currently does not use the public school system. If Hale Cook remains mothballed, the District will continue to accumulate deferred maintenance cost, while missing an opportunity to re-engage the surrounding area with an innovative, community-based education model. If the community surrounding Hale Cook continues to dismiss public education as an option for their children, the District will continue to forgo a substantial pool of students. And, if those residents leave the city when their children approach school-age, as suggested by Friends of Hale Cook survey results, Kansas City will lose current and future citizens who contribute to the vibrancy of the city. The following study outlines our process and the results of a multi-year community-driven strategy to open Hale Cook at 73rd and Pennsylvania as a neighborhood elementary school. With testimonials and letters of support from a diverse group of community stakeholders, research pointing to the potential for success with a highly involved parent and community base, and more than 555 survey responses providing feedback on the initiative, we conclude that not only is it feasible to reopen Hale Cook as a viable public elementary school but the timing of this initiative is perfect as new city and District leadership sets a course towards a brighter future for all Kansas Citians. Some minor revisions have been incorporated into this final draft since the original presentation the Kansas City Public School District administration in November 2012 with their guidance and perspective as professional educators.
  9. 9. Our Proposal
  10. 10. 11 Our Proposal Friends of Hale Cook, with the support of our community and neighbors, is asking the District to open Hale Cook Neighborhood School in Fall 2013. This is an unprecedented opportunity to attract new families and students back to the public schools at a time when we must rally behind the District to foster an even broader network of support and resources and progress towards reaccreditation. Friends of Hale Cook proposes the following be adopted for Hale Cook Neighborhood School: • Organic Growth: We propose the District open Hale Cook Neighborhood School as a Pre-K and Kindergarten program in Year One and only expand to a first grade if enrollment numbers allow. With each year, new grades and teachers can be added and the school will fill up as the students grow up. • Principal Autonomy: The District should hire an educator who is committed to the vision outlined by Friends of Hale Cook and who will be accountable for its success. Additionally, the Principal and administrators should be given the autonomy to foster an environment of high academic achievement that is also reflective of the community and its culture. • Teacher Stability: The District should hire teachers to teach at Hale Cook Neighborhood School and provide them and their administrators with the stability they need to make this new school a success. • Community Empowerment: The District should commit to giving Friends of Hale Cook a seat at the table when it comes to the hiring and dismissal of a principal and inclusion in major policy decision- making processes. We are committed to seeing this District flourish and hope to work with the District and school administrators as advocates and partners moving forward. • Academic Success: The District should consider Hale Cook Neighborhood School an opportunity to implement a model for all District schools. With new staff and no legacy of ill-will, Hale Cook Neighborhood School should be considered an opportunity for programs in early childhood development, special education, sister schools, etc. that could serve the broader population while still focusing on teaching the common core and exceeding state requirements for accreditation. • Parents (and Community) as Teachers: Hale Cook Neighborhood School should provide opportunity for parents and community members to become engaged with students and get involved with the school itself. Parent contracts to promote involvement and establish a standard expectation among all parents should be included as part of enrollment. Friends of Hale Cook can help provide support and volunteer coordination as necessary to ensure administrators and teachers are not distracted from their primary responsibility: teaching our children. • Neighborhood School: Based on our study, Friends of Hale Cook recommends the following boundaries for Hale Cook Neighborhood School: Brush Creek to the North; Troost Avenue and The Paseo to the East; 75th-77th-79th Streets to the South and State Line Road to the West (see Figure 1). Elementary-aged children who live within these boundaries should be given the option to attend either their existing District school (Hartman Elementary, Paige Elementary, or Troost Elementary) or Hale Cook. The District should ensure that school boundaries are not altered without a significant change in demand or school population to provide stability. Students enrolled should be allowed to finish their entire elementary education at the same school and siblings should be allowed to attend the same school together. • Community Bridge: Friends of Hale Cook would like the support of the District to create a sister school program to develop opportunities for students to engage across elementary schools as they prepare to enter Southwest Early College Campus. Friends of Hale Cook would like to engage students, parents, and volunteers from across the District to help leverage resources and opportunities for all students and foster a culture of engagement and partnership with the broader community. By incorporating technology such as Google Fiber to connect students digitally and creating unique opportunities to meet and learn on common ground, Friends of Hale Cook can bring greater diversity to the District at-large. • Community Center: The District should consider mixed use alternatives to occupy the building to help cover the initial costs of overhead while the school reaches capacity. Expanding opportunities for community and education-focused programs
  11. 11. 12 Hale Cook Neighborhood School Border Star Academie Lafayette Hartman Elementary School can attract neighbors to Hale Cook beyond the school day and establish the building as a center for civic engagement. The building itself could be easily partitioned if a physical separation of uses is preferred. • Innovation: The District should embrace principles of sustainability, incorporate new technology such as Google Fiber into the classroom, promote community engagement and volunteerism as opportunities to create civic-minded students that will positively contribute to our city as a whole. While the challenge of opening a public neighborhood school may seem daunting, Friends of Hale Cook is committed to providing ongoing support for this school — its teachers, administrators and most importantly — its students. As an organization, we have sought to foster partnerships and build a strong network of community stakeholders that will provide resources and human capital for all of our public schools by creating a model for engagement that can be replicated across Kansas City. Figure 1: Boundaries for Proposed Hale Cook Neighborhood School as proposed by the Kansas City Public Schools.
  12. 12. 13 STRATEGIC ACTION PLAN As Friends of Hale Cook, we are committed to not only the opening of Hale Cook Neighborhood School but to a sustained involvement for future administrators, teachers and generations of children. We commit to the following goals to guide our organization in support of Hale Cook Neighborhood School: Goal 1: Attract new students to Kansas City Public Schools who would otherwise attend private, charter, or relocate to attend schools outside the District. Goal 2: Ensure high performance of all students to maintain accreditation of Hale Cook and bolster accreditation standards for the District. Goal 3: Establish community partnerships with business, institutions, and community groups. Goal 4: Establish culture of high parental engagement, volunteerism of both students and families, healthy individuals, multiculturalism, and environmental stewardship. Goal 5: Improve school facilities to be a highlight of the community to be used as many hours of the days and as many days of the year as possible by all members of the community. Goal 6: Supplement the District’s funds through grants and fundraisers. Goal 7: Establish model pilot program of inclusive special education to improve the District’s performance of special needs students. Goal 8: Increase diversity and awareness of all cultures through local, national, and international sister school partnerships. Goal 9: Increase community awareness of Southwest High School and attract more families to enroll children in the District through high school. Get involved! Goal 10: Building relationships and trust by supporting a vibrant pre-K program to feed the grade school.
  13. 13. About Friends of Hale Cook
  14. 14. 15 About Friends of Hale Cook In Fall 2010, members of the Ward Parkway Homes Association approached their School Board representative with questions about the future of the mothballed school at 7302 Pennsylvania Avenue, located in the heart of their residential neighborhood. Last open in 2009, Hale Cook Elementary School was closed prior to Superintendent John Covington’s 2010 Right-Sizing Plan and retained for future use by the District. Two informal meetings were hosted within the neighborhood to assess community interest in opening the building as a school and each meeting was well-attended by interested parents. By December 2010, the District had provided a target enrollment of 350 new-to-the-District students and agreed to reopen the building if the community could find enough interested parents to enroll their children by March 2011. With that, the committee Friends of Hale Cook was launched to champion this initiative. Over the next three months, community volunteers mobilized, going door-to-door, posting yard signs, hosting community meetings and open houses to raise awareness and facilitate a discussion about the benefits of reopening a public elementary school in the neighborhood. The District-proposed boundaries were expansive - from Brush Creek to 75th Street, State Line to Holmes Street - with no transportation to reduce the cost of school operations. The goal was to attract a population of students who would be new to the District to avoid poaching students already attending area schools such as Troost and Hartman Elementary. While the initial grassroots effort fell short of the target in March 2011, the committee determined there was enough interest in the community to support this initiative and remained committed to reorganizing and starting again for the following school year. In June 2011, Friends of Hale Cook signed a memorandum of understanding with the District to assist in mowing the lawn and build a butterfly garden on campus. With a limited budget and dozens of closed campuses to maintain, the District was only cutting the lawn every three weeks and neighbors were concerned that the property appeared abandoned and blighted. Volunteers stepped up to help regularly maintain the grounds and Friends of Hale Cook started a garden to create a focal point and opportunity for additional community engagement on the campus well before the building was opened. The garden also provided a visible activity to attract neighbors curious to know more about what was happening while gauging BUILDING COMMUNITY In keeping with our vision, Friends of Hale Cook has worked with the City of Kansas City to help promote safe routes to school. In June 2012, we asked the City to restripe crosswalks around the school campus at intersections that did not have a stop sign. With increased activity on campus, this was important to ensure pedestrian safety in accessing the site. In early October 2012, Friends of Hale Cook raised awareness about International Walk to School Day, a global event where parents and students walk to school, through our email and social media network and by staging our own walk to the future school.
  15. 15. 16 support for on-campus, non-academic activities. The garden flourished with very limited resources and countless volunteer hours contributing to its success. Recently, Friends of Hale Cook, in partnership with Kansas City Community Gardens and Giving Grove, received a grant and commitment of volunteer service to build an edible forest and community garden on campus from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership Program. In addition to this partnership bringing resources to campus improvements, all food raised at Hale Cook will be donated to a local food pantry and serve as an educational setting for the neighborhood. InFall2011,FriendsofHaleCookformallyincorporated as a nonprofit corporation to support the enrollment campaign to open the school and provide ongoing community and parental support thereafter. While enrollment forms were posted on the website for Fall 2012, the Board focused on creating a vision for the school based on the feedback from the community and stakeholders. Over the past two years, Friends of Hale Cook has hosted multiple community meetings, inviting parents and other stakeholders to share their concerns about education, ideas and vision for the future. This inclusive process has helped build consensus and support for the effort to reopen the school while identifying some of the potential challenges that might lie ahead. It was increasingly evident that the original goal of 350 new students to the District in Year One was unrealistic considering the building capacity is 364. Additionally, with the departure of the superintendent, several key District administrators, and School Board representative Derek Richey, it was evident that a long-term and more organic strategy for opening Hale Cook, as well as providing stability, would be essential to its success. THE NUMBERS 11 Community Meetings 5 Open Houses 19 Community Work Days on Campus 1 Sunday Fun-Day 3 Waldo Community Markets 2 Brookside St. Patty’s Warm-Up Parades 15 Canvas Weekends 591 Email Contacts 280 Facebook Fans Countless committee meetings, web posts, and newsletter announcements to other organizations.
  16. 16. 17 School Vision Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
  17. 17. 18 School Vision From the onset, Friends of Hale Cook established a priority to create a replicable model for parent and community engagement that could be passed to other schools across the District. The goal is to establish an organizational “toolkit” that will empower parents and community members to mobilize in supporting their local schools; help administrators and teachers provide an environment for academic excellence; coordinate often disparate community efforts to assist schools; and create a constructive mechanism for engaging the District in support of its students. Friends of Hale Cook has focused on developing outreach tools and a process for community engagement while minimizing the resources required. Relying predominantly on volunteer hours, Friends of Hale Cook has accomplished the majority of its work with essentially no budget and minimal use of District resources. Since Friends of Hale Cook first officially organized in a coffee shop on Wornall Road in Waldo, the committee has actively engaged a broad community to develop a vision and outline priorities for a future elementary school. By proactively seeking input from neighbors and parents, Friends of Hale Cook is committed to fostering a strong sense of ownership which will help provide for a successful and sustainable school model. The neighborhood school model originated from the proposition by Dr. Covington that Hale Cook would not provide transportation, allowing more dollars per student to be allocated to academic uses, and therefore students would be drawn from a limited geography around the school. Through research and community feedback, it was determined that the neighborhood school model is increasingly popular in urban districts across the country and has appealed to neighbors involved in the visioning process. Parents are excited about the possibility of having a public option located close to their home that would eliminate the uncertainty of the current options for enrollment while providing them with an accessible venue for engagement. Friends of Hale Cook also sought to create a vision based on an existing model rather than create a
  18. 18. 19 unique model without any precedent. Looking to Chicago Public Schools, the organization studied the Nettlehorst School case study where a group of active parents partnered with school administrators and teachers to revive a faltering school that was generally regarded as a failure and ignored by its neighbors. Friends of Hale Cook determined that combining this high level parent and community engagement in the proposed school, coupled with the already successful pilot of standards-based curriculum that was underway in Kansas City Public Schools at the time, would create an environment of academic excellence in the neighborhood. Feedback also showed that there was a desire to incorporate many community values into programming at the school which Friends of Hale Cook would like to support. By building partnerships with other organizations, local businesses, and volunteers, Friends of Hale Cook envisions a school that can offer extended curriculum in the arts, mathematics, sciences, languages and special needs programming to serve all children in the community. In addition, an emphasis on the “whole child” would foster an environment for healthy lifestyles through physical activity, nutrition, and environmental stewardship. Since community engagement is considered important to the success of this school, each child would be given an opportunity to get involved in his or her community through opportunities to give back to our city. Finally, the neighborhood school model means that the Hale Cook would not only serve the elementary- aged children of the area but would also provide programming and opportunities for involvement for the entire community, serving as a civic center for the neighborhood. By making the facility accessible and open beyond classroom hours, the community would be welcome into the building to become a part of an extended network of support and resources for the school. We moved to the Waldo neighborhood in 2005, shortly before our first child was born. Almost everyone we met warned us about the KCMO school district, and recommended private schools as the only option. It seemed to be an incredibly difficult path to navigate because we couldn’t afford many of the private schools. Even though we loved the Waldo neighborhood, there didn’t seem to be a school that felt like the right choice. After a few years of contemplation, we decided that a move to Kansas would enable our child, who was about to enter kindergarten, to attend a top-ranked public school for free, which was within walking distance of our house. We wanted a school that was supported by the local community, was in a neighborhood with many children, and was close enough to our home that we could walk or ride a bike safely. Had we had access to a community-supported neighborhood public school with an excellent curriculum in Waldo, we’d have stayed. Many parents we talked to have said the same, and have expressed a lot of interest in the possibility of Hale Cook reopening. I hope this school receives all the support it needs and ultimately opens to serve families in Brookside/Waldo who are caught in the same situation we were. — Sarah & Matt
  19. 19. Study Purpose + Methodology
  20. 20. 21 Study Purpose + Methodology In late July 2012, Friends of Hale Cook met with Superintendent Stephen Green to discuss next steps in opening Hale Cook as a neighborhood public elementary school. While there has been substantial community interest, the organization was challenged by the unrealistic goal of opening a building at capacity in Year One. Each year that passed, the group of interested parents would change when, upon notice that the school would not be opened in the fall, they would send their children to other schools and were unlikely to consider Hale Cook again. It was evident that it would be impossible to maintain a high level of interest without a substantial shift in approach. Dr. Green charged Friends of Hale Cook with developing a feasibility study to understand how a new elementary school would be supported by the community, identify the potential student population for the first few years, and delve into the risks and barriers to opening the school. Rather than trying to fill the school on Day One, Dr. Green appreciated the need to grow the school more organically over time. If a case could be made, Dr. Green committed to advocating on our behalf to the School Board to open the school in Fall 2013. Ever since, Friends of Hale Cook, an all-volunteer organization, has been working with the support of its advisory committee and a diverse group of city stakeholders to mobilize and develop a feasibility study to justify opening Hale Cook Neighborhood School. Study Methodology Friends of Hale Cook maintains an active online presence with a website ( and Facebook page ( and an email listserv through Constant Contact. The Friends of Hale Cook Board developed an online survey which launched on August 10, 2012 and distributed through our email contact list, website, and social media. More than 1,000 door hangers were dropped in the immediate neighborhoods adjacent to the school and encouraged responses from everyone, not just families with school-aged children. Outreach at local community events such as the Waldo Fall Festival, Bright Horizons Curriculum Night, the Waldo Farmers’ Market, and a public information session at Coffee Girls in Waldo provided opportunities for people to complete paper versions of the survey. In addition to media coverage on Fox 4 and Channel 41 Action News, a front page article in the Kansas City Star, and a feature story on KCUR’s KC Currents radio show, Friends of Hale Cook engaged survey responders through other organizations and networks such as homeowners associations, parent groups, and Everything Waldo to encourage input and feedback while raising awareness. Volunteers met with interested parents in local coffee shops, the Waldo Public Library, and over the phone to answer questions about the initiative and encourage participation in the survey. Survey results have been analyzed through the use of GIS mapping and this Feasibility Study references several other widely accepted case studies to help illustrate the potential Hale Cook Neighborhood School could offer to Kansas City Public Schools. The raw survey data is also included in Appendix C and this report has been reviewed by a panel of community leaders for its accuracy and completeness. Outreach Friends of Hale Cook volunteers left more than 1,000 door hangers at each home within a half mile of the Hale Cook campus to raise awareness of the effort and drive participation in the feasibility study survey. Outreach at community events, information sessions, and media coverage helped to raise awareness and engage a broad group of stakeholders to discuss the future of Hale Cook.
  21. 21. Defining the Neighborhood
  22. 22. 23 Defining the Neighborhood Friends of Hale Cook analyzed data from the 2010 United States Census and Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to understand the demographics of the study immediate area around the Hale Cook Neighborhood School and then worked with the Kansas City Public Schools to define a catchment area that works in concert with other successful KCPS schools in the area. Focus was given to four census tracts (the study area) comprising the immediate school neighborhood: Tracts 85, 86, 91 and 92. Key highlights from the data identifies these trends among the 14,883 residents in the study area: • Most residents are well educated with higher- than-average median household incomes; • Most residents are homeowners; • There is a lack of racial diversity in the study area; • Total population of children under the age of 5 in the entire study area is 1,053; total population of children ages 5 to 9 years is 849. 63rd Street to Gregory Blvd. State Line Road to Wornall Road Total population: 3,383 Total population under age 5: 261 63rd Street to Gregory Blvd. Wornall Road to Troost Avenue Total population: 5,015 Total population under age 5: 355 Gregory Blvd. to 77th Street State Line to Wornall Road Total population: 2,795 Total population under age 5: 191 Gregory Blvd. to 77th Street Wornall Road to Troost Avenue Total population: 3,690 Total population under age 5: 246 Source: 2010 United States Census Figure 2. 2010 US Census tracts and data within the study area.
  23. 23. 24 INCOME The residents living in the study area have higher-than- average levels of household income as compared to the national and Kansas City median incomes. A low percentage of residents in the study area live below the poverty level. This market could sustain a tuition- based pre-K program. Median household income for the study area is $91,656. PERCENTAGE BELOW POVERTY LINE 3.5% 4.0% 2.8%6.5% RACE Whites make up the racial majority with blacks as the largest minority. NUMBER OF FAMILIES BY CENSUS TRACT Total number of families for study area: 3,794. AVERAGE FAMILY SIZE BY CENSUS TRACT Average family size for study area: 2.82 Figure 3. 2010 US Census Median Household Income within Study Area. Figure 4. 2010 US Census Race Percentages within Study Area. Figure 5. 2010 US Census Number of Families within Study Area. Figure 7. 2010 US Census Average Family Size within Study Area. Figure 3. 2010 US Census Percentage Below Poverty Line within Study Area.
  24. 24. 25 Figure 8.NUMBER OF CHILDREN BY AGE GROUP, BY CENSUS TRACT In the four census tracts examined, nearly all adults age 25 or older are high school graduates and a large majority are college educated. Studies suggest a parent’s education affects the education of his or her child. Figure 9. EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT IN POPULATION 25 YEARS AND OVER WHERE CHILDREN ARE EDUCATED A 2009 report funded by the Kauffman Foundation finds that a very small percentage of school-age children were enrolled in a District School. Though zip codes do not exactly align with the proposed boundaries and the census tracts analyzed in the previous section, it is telling that so few parents in this general area consider public schools as viable option. Source: Kauffman Foundation Figure 10. Map of Zip Code Boundaries.
  25. 25. 26 Figure 11. TOTAL HOUSING UNITS AND TOTAL HOMES SOLD BY CENSUS TRACT Total homes sold, October 1, 2007 to October 1, 2012, for study area: 1,683 Figure 14. PERCENTAGE OF UNITS OWNED Average housing ownership for study area: 85% Figure 12. CURRENT HOMES ON THE MARKET Total homes for sale in study area: 116 as of October 17, 2012 Figure 15. COMPARISON OF HOUSES SOLD IN 2010 AND CHANGES IN CHILD POPULATION Total number of houses sold for study area: 283. Total difference between number of children in age groups for study area: 204 69 290 577 1,135 344 299 589 1,075 - 200 400 600 800 1,000 1,200 Public Pre- Primary Private Pre- Primary Public Elementary or High School Private Elementary or High School 1990 2000 2010 Figure 13. SCHOOL ATTENDANCE An analysis of the 2006-2010 American Community Survey highlights the disparity in numbers of those who attend public versus private schools in the proposed Hale Cook Neighborhood School catchment area.
  26. 26. Year One: Potential for Enrollment
  27. 27. 28 Year One Through an analysis of the survey results and looking at the capacity of Hale Cook, the following outlines the potential to grow the school population organically over the next few years. Based on a 2006 Assessment by the School District, the building is 44,165 square feet with 17 classrooms. The capacity calculations were based on a 3rd through 5th Grade Program which is different from what Friends of Hale Cook is proposing. The calculations are as follows: 2006 Assessment Grade Number of Classrooms Number of Students per Classroom 3rd Grade 8 Classrooms 25 Students 4th Grade 8 Classrooms 25 Students 5th Grade 4 Classrooms 28 Students Vacant 2 Classrooms 25 Students 362 Seat Capacity The assessment also indicates that the building has the potential for three additional converted classrooms. With 25 students each, the total capacity of the building with Grades 3-5 is 437 seats. If early childhood or kindergarten through Grade 2 are included, the capacity calculations change as the number of students per classroom is lower. Kindergarten through second grade classes are calculated at 22 students per classroom and early childhood is calculated at 20 students per classroom. Hale Cook Neighborhood School could potentially attract and introduce 424 new students to the District and continue on to Southwest Early College Campus which is currently operating under capacity. Using these numbers as the basis of our assumption, the capacity for Hale Cook Neighborhood School as a full Pre-K through Grade 6 program would be as follows: Total Potential Enrollment Grade Number of Classrooms Number of Students per Classroom Pre-K (3 year olds) 2 Classrooms 20 Students Pre-K (4 year olds) 2 Classrooms 20 Students Kindergar- ten 2 Classrooms 22 Students 1st Grade 2 Classrooms 22 Students 2nd Grade 2 Classrooms 22 Students 3rd Grade 2 Classrooms 25 Students 4th Grade 2 Classrooms 25 Students 5th Grade 2 Classrooms 28 Students 6th Grade 2 Classrooms 28 Students 424 Total Enrolled POTENTIAL HALE COOK POPULATION In analyzing the survey responses, the following student enrollment can be estimated for the first two years of operation: 2013 Potential Enrollment Grade Year One Classrooms Number of Students (Most & Somewhat Likely to Enroll) Pre-K (3 year olds) 2 Classrooms 52 Students Pre-K (4 year olds) 2 Classrooms 42 Students Kindergar- ten 2 Classrooms 52 Students 1st Grade 1 Classrooms 15 Students 139 Projected Enrolled (32.7% capacity) 2014 Potential Enrollment Grade Year One Classrooms Number of Students (Most & Somewhat Likely to Enroll) Pre-K (3 year olds) 2 Classrooms 53 Students Pre-K (4 year olds) 2 Classrooms 52 Students Kindergar- ten 2 Classrooms 42 Students 1st Grade 2 Classrooms 52 Students 199 Projected Enrolled (46.9% capacity)
  28. 28. 29 23 9 7 3 29 6 2 5 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Kindergarten 1stGrade 2nd Grade 3rd Grade Very Likely Somewhat Likely 23 14 25 20 29 28 28 26 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 2013 Pre-K (3 yrs old) 2013 Pre-K (4 yrs old) 2014 Pre-K 2015 Pre-K Very Likely Somewhat Likely Fall 2013 Enrollment Potential Pre-K Potential Survey responders indicated the likelihood of enrolling their children at Hale Cook Neighborhood School over the coming years as follows highlighted in Figures 16-17. With this response and the additional survey data suggesting more parents are likely to enroll their children at Hale Cook Neighborhood School once it has been open for a couple of years, the school could be at capacity within four to five years. Figure 17. Feasibility Study Potential Enrollment for Pre-Kindergarten. Figure 16. Feasibility Study Potential Fall 2013 Enrollment for Elementary School.
  29. 29. 30 Hartman Elementary Border Star Montessori Southwest Early College Campus OakSt TroostAve MainSt WornallRd HolmesRd WardPkwy StateLineRd 55th St 59th St 63rd St 75th St 85th St RockhillRd Gregory Blvd Meyer Blvd W 47th St GrandAve BrooksideBlvd PennsylvaniaAve Volker Blvd Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd MainSt StateLineRd WardPkwy Ward Pkwy WornallRd MainSt OakSt HolmesRd TroostAve 85th St 63rd St 59th St 55th St 75th St Rockhurst St. Peter's St. Elizabeth Cavalry Lutheran Pembroke Hill High Academie Lafayette Hale Cook Elementary 0 0.25 0.5 0.75 1 Miles Likelihood of Enrollment in Hale Cook Elementary in Fall 2013 Legend Likelihood of Enrollment Existing School No Response Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not Likely Figure 18. SURVEY RESPONSES: LIKELIHOOD OF ENROLLMENT IN FALL 2013 Hartman Elementary Border Star Montessori Southwest Early College Campus OakSt TroostAve MainSt WornallRd HolmesRd WardPkwy StateLineRd 55th St 59th St 63rd St 75th St 85th St RockhillRd Gregory Blvd Meyer Blvd W 47th St GrandAve BrooksideBlvd PennsylvaniaAve Volker Blvd Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd MainSt StateLineRd WardPkwy Ward Pkwy WornallRd MainSt OakSt HolmesRd TroostAve 85th St 63rd St 59th St 55th St 75th St Rockhurst St. Peter's St. Elizabeth Cavalry Lutheran Pembroke Hill High Academie Lafayette Hale Cook St. Paul's Episcopal Day Elementary 0 0.25 0.5 0.75 1 Miles Likelihood of Enrollment in Hale Cook Elementary in Fall 2013 Legend Likelihood of Enrollment Existing School No Response Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not Likely
  30. 30. 31 Challenges Education. Everything is tied to that. A key issue to everything.... We ought to be trying to find a way to make that happen [opening Hale Cook]. Because if we don’t find a way to make that happen, [concerned parents] will find a way to make something else happen. And they may show their displeasure with their feet. We need to be open to change. We need to understand that by sitting back and thinking that we can protect this system in some way, without breaking some eggs, without upsetting the apple cart is simply not going to work. — Mayor Sly James Interview with Steve Kraske on KCUR, July 23, 2012
  31. 31. 32 Challenges Opening a new school in Fall 2013 comes with some challenges which we have identified here. A NEW SCHOOL IS NOT A PRIORITY Kansas City Public Schools administrators, teachers and students are all focused on raising the bar to achieve accreditation over the next three to five years. Improving academic performance and meeting the needs of the current student population is the first priority for the District and is an essential step to reaccreditation. The perception of opening an elementary school when many of the existing schools are not at capacity and following the 2010 Right Sizing initiative that closed 30 school buildings may appear shortsighted and could frustrate stakeholders in communities where local school buildings are now being repurposed. BUILDING START-UP COSTS Since Hale Cook was closed in 2009, the building has had little to no use. In 2011-2012, the building was used as interim storage for District furniture to be auctioned off to the public. Friends of Hale Cook has hosted several open houses in the building but otherwise the building remains idle. The roof of the building is relatively new and generally the structure is in good condition. There is evidence of water damage in a few of the classrooms from mechanical system equipment and much of the kitchen equipment has been stripped from the cafeteria. There are many finishes that need to be replaced in the classrooms, hallways, and other shared spaces including flooring, ceiling tiles, and wall finishes and, according to the District, there are significant mechanical system upgrades required. While the community is eager to lend support in painting and decorating classrooms, opening Hale Cook will require an initial capital investment by the School District to bring the mechanical system and building operations up to code. The School District has done a preliminary assessment of the building under Dr. Covington and has recently returned to Hale Cook to evaluate what might be required to reactivate the building. This assessment is critical to determining the budget for opening Hale Cook as an operational building next Fall. LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN KCPS SECONDARY EDUCATION TheFeasibilityStudySurveyindicatesthat70.2%(264) Having already fostered an environment of high- level parent and community involvement, Hale Cook Neighborhood School could potentially introduce a high-performing student body into the District, attracting families that would not otherwise have chosen public schools. As a model for success, Friends of Hale Cook can be replicated across the city and draw much-needed resources into all of our schools. Since the building has been mothballed to be reopened as a school, the District should weigh the benefits of reopening the building now in lieu of waiting for more deferred maintenance to accrue. Please see the rough estimate of costs comparing the cost of deferred maintenance to reopening the building sooner as provided in the Appendix. of responders would not consider a KCPS public high school for their children, including schools such as the high performing Lincoln Prep Academy and Southwest Early College Campus which is located in Brookside. According to Dr. Richardson, Principal at Southwest, roughly 99% of his students are bused from across the city to attend a high school with nearly no students from the adjacent neighborhoods attending the school. In conversations with community members
  32. 32. 33 in the Brookside-Waldo area, there are many families that did not even realize that Southwest is even open or their awareness is limited to the negative media coverage following the consolidation of the Westport and Southwest student populations in 2011-2012. Through a series of community information sessions, Friends of Hale Cook has found that parents not only consider what elementary school they will choose for their children but they also think ahead to the options that follow. Parents are deeply concerned about the options once their children pass the sixth grade. The Feasibility Study survey also indicates that there is a lot of misinformation about the District accreditation process and the impact this has on graduating high school seniors. According to the survey results, 62% (316) responders did not know that individual schools are still accredited even if the District is not and parents are concerned that their children may have trouble being accepted into colleges if they attend a KCPS high school. LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN KANSAS CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS With 27 superintendents in 35 years, the lack of accreditation and stability in the District, our city has lost confidence in our public schools overall. Countless stories in the media focus exclusively on the controversy, school closings, violence, and failed leadership.TheFeasibilityStudysurveyoverwhelmingly indicates that people are less likely to choose public schools because the district is unaccredited (432 or 84.7%) and because there is a reputation for poor performing schools and/or students (444 or 87%). While many understand why the District closed 30 schools in 2010, the drop of enrollment from 75,000 in 1967 to 17,000 in 2012 is a key indicator of this loss in confidence. The loss of confidence impacts not only school attendance, but also turnover in the community. In reviewing the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a nationally recognized real estate listing service for home sales, only three of 200 (1.5%) local listings actually reference the public schools that potential homeowners could consider if they were to invest in our community. More than 84% (415) of responders have neighbors that have moved from this neighborhood to attend public schools outside of the District which impacts not only potential enrollment but our economic development, neighborhood stability, and growth as a community at large. Additionally, substantial turmoil as a result of the Friends of Hale Cook is committed to building a strong partnership with other District schools, including Southwest Early College Campus. As a Board, we have already engaged parents from Border Star as well as the Principal at Southwest and propose launching Friends of Southwest to help build a comparable culture of community engagement, celebrate the school successes, and provide support as needed. This proposed organization would not replace existing support groups such as the Southwest Faith-Based Coalition or School Advisory Council but provide organizational capacity and resources to leverage the efforts of each of these groups. In addition, Friends of Hale Cook will partner with other Southwest “feeder” schools to build programs and exchanges early in the academic careers to promote a strong culture for academic success and build confidence in the District by serving as community advocates and aligning with the District’s zone model. Building Hale Cook Neighborhood School into a successful public elementary school can help transform the District’s reputation for academic excellence and make public school a strong first choice for educating all of our children.
  33. 33. 34 Friends of Hale Cook is committed to working from within the District to achieve academic excellence and provide much needed stability to the system. In the short term, it may be easier to find a partner charter organization with a national reputation for success but in the long term this community is founded on providing equity to all students in the District by re-engaging the broader public in the success of our schools. The District must come to the table with a commitment to community engagement in the governanceoftheproposedneighborhoodschool. Parents and neighbors should be confident that Friends of Hale Cook will be at the table when making major decisions, including the hiring of school administrators and teachers, establishing the school vision and boundaries, monitoring progress and creating additional programming to meet the needs of the community. In addition, Friends of Hale Cook should remain transparent in its operations and open to community feedback to ensure it reflects the community it represents. Jenkins v. State of Missouri case has left communities asking if all of the money spent has truly desegregated ourschoolsorperhapstheschoolsarenowdividedinto those who can attend alternative, non-public schools and those who are left to attend public schools. While the issue of race is difficult to address in a city that is still physically divided, our public schools have been on the national stage in an effort to systematically address desegregation through busing. When looking at the breakdown of ethnic groups in the area public schools, there is evidence that our public schools are still lacking the diversity that should be more representative of our city. Community indifference and a deeply entrenched negative perception of the District have pushed many families to consider alternatives, if they are available. Many Waldo residents could not locate Hartman Elementary nor did residents of Armour Hills realize that their District School is Satchel Paige Elementary, located at E. 75th Street and US 71. According to a 2009 report funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, less than 10% of school-aged children in the Brookside-Waldo neighborhood attend public school. While this percentage may have changed with increased enrollment at Border Star, a local signature school, in recent years, this is a high average of the zip codes included in this study. Parents in the community are saddled with long waiting lists and competitive enrollment for both Border Star and Academie Lafayette which draw their populations from across the city. Stories of parents lining up at 4AM to enroll their young children at the signature Montessori school or landing 40th on the lottery-drawn waiting list to attend the language immersion charter causes a great deal of anxiety for many young parents each spring as they must consider alternatives when they do not get their first choice. Additionally, parents new to the neighborhood with older elementary-aged children have even fewer options as these two programs require previous enrollment in Montessori schools or French language proficiency to start in the upper grades. Frustrated, these parents are not turning to District schools such as Hartman, Paige or Troost Elementary but figuring out how to afford parochial schools, home schooling children, or relocating outside of the District for better public school options. Hale Cook Neighborhood School can provide a viable alternative for the neighborhood by fostering an environment of academic success that reflects our community values, and help build the overall District reputation to benefit all. CHARTER VS. PUBLIC: THE ACADEMIE LAFAYETTE EFFECT From the very beginning of this process, Friends of Hale Cook considered the governance model for Hale Cook Neighborhood School and the option of adopting a charter or contract school structure in lieu of a public District-led school. With the success and demand for neighborhood charter school Academie Lafayette, there is a strong perception that the District could not run a school as successfully as a charter organization. In many communities, charter schools are a model that does in fact increase access to better public schools and local advocates for this model have suggested that this would be preferable to the instability of the District. Consistent with this feedback, the majority of survey responders would be more likely to support Hale
  34. 34. 35 Cook as a charter school (42.3% or 127) instead of a signature (22.6% or 68) or District school (17.6% or 53). However, the survey also indicates that there is general support for the proposed Hale Cook model, which has always been a District school, suggesting that the differences in the governance structure between a charter, District or signature school may not be well understood. Additionally, according to the Kauffman Foundation study, many of the District’s charters have existed for more than 10 years and are still not able to reach even half of the state standard suggesting that this model may not be resolving the challenges of accountability for academic success and more options are needed. LACK OF STABILITY: VICTIMS OF SUCCESS A major barrier to opening a successful elementary school is the lack of stability in the District and the concern among parents that the school might become a victim of its own success. Because of the uncertainty around the proposed model, the ability to hire and support a strong administrator and teachers, and the school’s overall autonomy within the District, parents are concerned that once the school is open, it may be dismantled by the District. What guarantee does a family have that the boundaries will not change or that siblings will be able to attend Hale Cook together? Alumni of Hale Cook share stories of the many different schools attended over the course of their elementary education – moved from school to school as the District would redraw boundaries, close schools, and shift children around. SCHOOL FAILS: THERE GOES THE DISTRICT’S REPUTATION (AGAIN) Additionally, if Hale Cook Neighborhood School were to fail, the District would lose credibility and may receive backlash from those who may not currently support opening the school. Considering the initial capital investment required to open the building, it would be difficult for the District to “save face” if the school were to be closed again as there are many places where these funds could be allocated. DIVERSITY: A CITY-WIDE CONCERN For many Kansas City residents, the billions of dollars and decades spent on trying to implement policies of integration in public schools is considered an epic failure. While the District may have been left with fantastic school facilities and Olympic size pools as a result of this massive investment, schools are not diverse with large minority populations and a high percentage of low income students. In looking at the racial composition in the proposed catchment area for Hale Cook Neighborhood School, the neighborhood lacks some of the desired diversity although there is some socioeconomic diversity in the locally served area. Ultimately, by reintroducing the population of students that would attend Hale Cook Neighborhood School into a District school, there is an opportunity to make the overall District more diverse by bringing a population of students that would not otherwise attend public schools. Hale Cook Neighborhood School seeks to foster socioeconomic and racial diversity to the District by attracting new students one school at a time. As neighborhood elementary-aged children grow up in Hale Cook Neighborhood School, Friends of Hale Cook will support a sister school program with other city public schools to promote idea and resource sharing across schools and to create regular interaction among future classmates. By reintroducing a population of students that may not otherwise attend a public school, we have the opportunity to introduce more diversity into Southwest Early College Campus, which currently has more than 82% black students and less than 5% white students. As a high-performing and safe school, Hale Cook Neighborhood School will help attract students of all backgrounds and similar reinvestment throughout the District. Essentially, the segregated city we live in is a result of multiple societal factors that are outside the realm of the District. In Freeman v. Pitts, among other cases, the Supreme Court ruled: “Where resegregation is not a product of state action, but of private choices, it does not have constitutional implications. It is beyond the authority and beyond the practical ability of the federal courts to try to counteract these kinds of continuous and massive demographic shifts. To attempt such results would require ongoing and never-ending supervision by the courts of school districts simply because they were once de jure segregated. Residential housing choices, and their attendant effects on the racial composition of schools, present an ever-changing pattern, one difficult to address through judicial remedies.” (Complex Justice, pg 162) Hale Cook Neighborhood School emerged from a conversation among community stakeholders about what it would take to bring them back to District schools - a high-performing school in the neighborhood where they live with guaranteed admittance. The long term vision: create a replicable model for academic success.
  35. 35. Opportunities I think you and the others involved in resuscitating Hale Cook are doing the work of the angels and I really hope you can pull it off. It goes beyond having a near- by school; it’s a step towards invigorating the city. Edwin Williams, Hale Cook Alumnus, 1941-1948
  36. 36. 37 Opportunities It has been a two year process to understand the potential for a new neighborhood elementary school, its vision for success, and grassroots engagement to build awareness and support for creating a new District public elementary school. The following opportunities can help transform public education in Kansas City, Missouri for all students, not just those who attend Hale Cook Neighborhood School. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT & RESOURCES FOR THE DISTRICT A report from the Southwest Education Development Laboratory finds students with involved parents, no matter their income or background, are more likely to: • Earn higher grades and test scores and enroll in higher level programs; • Be promoted, pass their classes and earn credits; • Attend school regularly; • Have better social skills, show improved behavior and adapt well to school; • Graduate and go on to post-secondary education.1 Over the past two years, Friends of Hale Cook has worked with parents, business owners, neighbors and other organizations to create relationships and understand how each stakeholder may become 1 A New Wave of Evidence, Southwest Education De- velopment Laboratory http://www.centerforpublice- Involvement/Parent-Involvement.html involved with the District moving forward. In addition, alumni with fond memories of their years at Hale Cook have reached out to reengage with the school. As an organization, we can foster stronger connections to the broader community as well as District alumni to create opportunity. By building bridges and establishing networks among Kansas Citians outside of the District, we can help foster a stronger community for tomorrow while giving the District the opportunity to focus on what it is meant to do — educate our children. With the support and partnerships leveraged by organizations such as Friends of Hale Cook, the District can rely on programs designed to connect families and schools with limited resources, social services, additional academic support. Finally, by opening another school in the urban core, the District can maximize the use of its resources by seeking opportunities to share assets and talents in the densely-populated city. INCREASE DISTRICT ENROLLMENT The Kauffman Foundation attributes decades of shrinking enrollment in District schools to a result of both declining population in the city as families move to other parts of the metropolitan area, the reduction in the school district boundary, and the migration of students to charter schools. Since base funding is on a per pupil basis, the loss of students means a loss of funds. School Enrollment Trends
  37. 37. 38 Southwest Early College Campus (6512 Wornall Road) 6 153 57 0 2317 806 112 2 44 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 Asian Black Hispanic Indian White 2009 2010 2011 2012 0 186 328 1233 809 0 239 449 1491 981 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Free/Reduced Lunch (FTE) Total Enrollment 291 170 274 359 295 359 230 320 399 312 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Free/Reduced Lunch (FTE) Total Enrollment 1 323 11 4 20 3 263 9 0 37 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 Asian Black Hispanic Indian White 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Hartman Elementary School (8111 Oak Street) Satchel Paige Elementary School (3301 E 75th Street) Troost Elementary School (1215 E 59th Street) 0 456 3 0 111 414 2 0 19 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 Asian Black Hispanic Indian White 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 405 290 278 412 399 470 372 352 446 436 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Free/Reduced Lunch (FTE) Total Enrollment 0 212 2 3 30 273 3 6 6 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Asian Black Hispanic Indian White 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 199 252 217 273 258 218 307 254 293 282 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Free/Reduced Lunch (FTE) Total Enrollment SUBDISTRICT 2 SCHOOL POPULATIONS
  38. 38. 39 With a capacity of 364 students, Hale Cook Neighborhood School is located in a neighborhood that currently has very limited enrollment in District public schools. When successful, Hale Cook Neighborhood School can help improve the reputation of the District and attract new students to attend District schools. The District has the opportunity to retain an active and positive group of parents who are interested in seeing Hale Cook opened. BUILD MORE DIVERSITY DISTRICT-WIDE The number of white students attending District schools has also steadily declined for decades, with record low enrollment among this population of students. At the same time, the District has seen escalating numbers of free and reduced lunch which indicates a lack of socioeconomic diversity as well. See the graphs of Subdistrict 2 school populations on the previous page that illustrate the current lack of diversity. Never before has there been such a grassroots, community-driven initiative that has sought to work with the District to educate their children. While the proposed neighborhood may not be very diverse, as a feeder school to Southwest Early College Campus, Hale Cook Neighborhood School has the potential to introduce a population of students that has historically been opting out of public education in our community. FOSTER A POSITIVE REPUTATION FOR THE DISTRICT Negative press surrounding the District has a lasting impression on the public and has engendered a cynicism about our schools which has consequences well beyond the students and graduates. Rumors and false information make it challenging to put a positive face on public education and drive people away from our city as people are afraid to take a chance on public schools when the reputation is so dismal. Thereismuchtobecelebratedwithinourpublicschools even with the challenges that many students, schools, and the District face. However, when most members of the community are not directly engaged with the District and the only news they hear is negative, this perception lends to even more dysfunction. Friends of Hale Cook, on the other hand, has been a source of relief for many — from the media, District Administration, alumni, and the general public. As an organization, we have sought partnership with the District and formulated a relationship of engagement that will continue once the school is open. By fostering a constructive relationship of partnership and advocacy, Friends of Hale Cook can help bring the good stories from the District to our communities and help shape a new future for public education in our city. A MODEL FOR SUCCESS Hale Cook Neighborhood School is a blank slate — an opportunity to not only attract new families to the District but to start a school without the legacy that many administrators, teachers, students, and communities have faced with the politics of accreditation, the challenges of test scores, etc. Hiring a principal that can be given the autonomy necessary to uphold the vision for Hale Cook Neighborhood School while creating an environment of academic success is an unique opportunity to bring together a team of administrators and teachers that can work together to exceed standards and flourish. Friends of Hale Cook has done the preliminary work to establish a vision for the school and identifying a principal to fulfill this vision will lend to a strong partnership with parents, teachers, and the community. Hale Cook Neighborhood School is an opportunity to fully implement the highest academic standards and best practices without the challenges of a legacy school. Implementing the ideal academic model with high parent and community involvement will lend to the development of a high-performing students. The neighborhood school model has been used successfully for centuries, benefitting entire communities. In developing the vision for Hale Cook Neighborhood School, Friends of Hale Cook looked to several case studies: • Nettlehorst School, Chicago: Neighborhood parents, frustrated by the lack of quality and affordable educational options for their children, organized their community to transform a challenged neighborhood school into one of Chicago’s premier public schools. The reinvigorated school buoyed the surrounding neighborhood: property values increased and local businesses were more successful as a local economy thrived around the school. • Neighborhood School, New York: This public school instills the values of its surrounding community through its curriculum and prepares
  39. 39. 40 students to be good citizens of a democratic society. In this school, students study family, neighborhood and their city as part of the core curriculum. “Children’s learning is about exploring the world and finding their place in it. We provide the opportunities for children to explore the social world, asking and finding their answers to questions about how people live, why people live together in communities, what services neighborhoods provide, how New York City came to be the way it is, and how they can work with others and contribute to a better world and community.” • Seattle Public Schools: This public school district encourages community engagement by providing online resources for potential volunteers, information on forming community partnerships and requests for donations to be directed to specific schools on program areas. RECRUIT AND RETAIN EXCELLENT TEACHERS Hiring teachers who live and work in the area can help establish strong support in the community for the school and in turn foster a strong sense of trust in the District. A future role for Friends of Hale Cook would be to provide teacher support through fundraising for classroom resources and experiences, cultivating a volunteer base and partnering with local businesses to sponsor classrooms. Friends of Hale Cook has a successful track record of fundraising and harnessing support from the community, and would leverage these relationships to assist Hale Cook teachers deliver the highest quality education to students. HELP MEET GOALS OF ACCREDITATION To regain accreditation, the District must increase performance among the students with special needs and Hale Cook Neighborhood School could provide an environment for strong, inclusive special education, similar to models that have been established nationwide. BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS ACROSS THE DISTRICT--AND THE WORLD Friends of Hale Cook sees great potential in a sister school program. By partnering with other Kansas City public schools, Hale Cook students would interact with future classmates and build new friendships. Possible activities include a mutual project on neutral ground, such as a community garden or art or engineering project. The sister program would leverage limited District resources by encouraging schools to partner: they could host shared science fairs, talent shows and spelling bees, as well as take field trips together. Students from sister schools could participate in after-school activities such as swim programs, sports leagues, language studies and art classes, which would extend the potential for learning and growing beyond the school day. An international sister school program would help Hale Cook students develop an understanding of and appreciation for other cultures. These relationships would grow to later encourage student exchanges as students enter high school through Sister City Association of Kansas City, Missouri. These international relationships would promote teacher exchanges to bring in teachers from sister cities to expose students to other cultures in the classroom. Leveraging technology and high-speed access through Google Fiber, Kansas City Public Schools could foster strong collaboration among students, teachers and classrooms to create new opportunity and programs that connect the city. Friends of Hale Cook can help build networks of professionals and community stakeholders to develop innovative programming to take full advantage of this new technology. REACTIVATE A VACANT PROPERTY There are costs associated with maintaining a closed building. Hale Cook was mothballed in 2009 and each year of deferred maintenance will cost the District more when reactivating the building in the future. A general financial analysis has been provided in the Appendix D (page TK) as a reference as a sample of how the school budget may be shaped and compares it to the costs of maintaining the building mothballed
  40. 40. 41 for a seven year period. A NEW CENTER FOR COMMUNITY The community surrounding Hale Cook could utilize the facilities after school hours. More than 77% (385) of survey responders agree that a public school should also be a community center for the neighborhood. Responders put forth several suggestions for uses for the school: • Adult education; • Youth sports; • Parent groups; • Literacy education and tutoring; • Book clubs; and • A polling station. The Year One: Potential for Enrollment section discusses the recommendation to grow the school by opening the lower grades first; cost of the unused school space could be offset by sharing with appropriate education-minded organizations. Several such groups have approached Friends of Hale Cook interested in using the space, including a home school group, a church and a local literacy advocacy organization. CREATE CIVIC-MINDED CHILDREN Studies show that travel time directly impacts civic engagement — there is a direct correlation between the time and distance traveled and the level of involvement. If it requires too much time to join in the activities, people are less likely to get engaged. By creating opportunities for families to send children to a neighborhood school, it increases the likelihood that parents, grandparents, and neighbors will become engaged with the school community. Likewise, over the course of several community meetings hosted by Friends of Hale Cook, parents expressed an interest in cultivating a culture of civic engagement even among the youngest elementary-aged students as a way to foster a strong relationship to their community and neighborhood. Aneighborhoodschoolmodelleadstothedevelopment of civic-minded children by building partnerships with the community. According to the University of Dayton’s Education Systems Change Project: “Forty years ago, students were recognized as residents and representatives of neighborhoods and small towns. Schools provided a showcase for the talents and abilities of neighborhood children. Neighborhood business owners and organizations supported ‘their own’ by passing tax levies, donating money and materials for school programs, and sponsoring school band and athletic team events.”2 Students who attend schools with high levels of community involvement take more pride in their communities and are more likely to serve their communities which is good for all of Kansas City. In addition, engaged students have enriched curricular and extra-curricular experiences which help them develop their skills and talents. PROPERTY VALUES AND ECONOMIC BENEFITS A thriving public school would increase home values in the surrounding area. Eight-four percent of survey responders (416) know someone who moved out of the area so their children could attend public schools in another district. As the graph on page 25 indicates, there is some correlation between number of homes sold and the difference in the number of children aged younger than 5 and children ages 5-9, suggesting school choices may be a reason behind these moves. Some individuals have stated that they would relocate totheHaleCookNeighborhoodSchoolareaspecifically so their children could attend school there. A survey of the current MLS listings indicates only 1.5% of local listings reference the listing’s corresponding neighborhood public school; in contrast, were Hale Cook Neighborhood School open, a successful public school option would be an attractive selling point to potential buyers. 2 “Parent Involvement: Strategies for Success,” Educa- tion Systems Change Project, University of Dayton.
  41. 41. Conclusion
  42. 42. 43 Conclusion As Friends of Hale Cook, our process has been intentionally inclusive and carefully planned to bring stakeholders to the table about the state of public education in our community and city. We have proactively engaged thousands of people over two years to dicuss how we can transform public education in Kansas City together and collaborated with the District to develop a sustainable model for the future. This feasibility study is the culmination of donated time by many passionate volunteers, professionals, and community leaders who hope to see a stronger District for Kansas City. Without successful public schools in all neighborhoods, we cannot provide equitable opportunity for our youth to become the next generation of leaders and citizens. While this is by no means a minor undertaking for Kansas City Public Schools or the School Board, we are asking for your support as representatives of the community you serve by attracting a new generation of students to our public system by opening Hale Cook Neighborhood School in Fall 2013. Now is the time to breakdown an educational environment that divides our city between those who can afford to go elsewhere and those who cannot. Public schools should be the first choice for all Kansas Citians and not perceived as a last resort by many. Together we can chart a new course for public education by re-engaging a community that has fled the District. As partners, we can change the reputation of our District and create an environment of academic success through community and parent engagement. Hale Cook Neighborhood School can potentially benefit not just the future of those students who attend the school but future classmates at Southwest Early College Campus and across the District. Please consider this opportunity to partner with Friends of Hale Cook to make this school a success. Hale Cook Neighborhood School: The Future Starts Here.
  43. 43. Appendix A Letters of Support
  44. 44. 45
  45. 45. 46
  46. 46. 47
  47. 47. 48
  48. 48. 49
  49. 49. 50
  50. 50. 51
  51. 51. 52
  52. 52. 53
  53. 53. 54
  54. 54. 55
  55. 55. 56
  56. 56. 57
  57. 57. 58
  58. 58. 59
  59. 59. 60
  60. 60. 61
  61. 61. 62
  62. 62. 63
  63. 63. Appendix B Survey
  64. 64. Appendix C Survey Results
  65. 65. 68 Figure 19. Did you attend a KCMO public elementary school? Figure 20. If no, where do you go to elementary school? Figure 21. How engaged are you with the Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS)? Survey Results The following charts outline the survey responses to the Feasibility Study.
  66. 66. 69 Figure 22. People are less likely to choose KCMO public schools because... Figure 23. Did you know that less than 10% of school-age children in the zip codes 64112, 64113, and 64114 currently attend Kansas City Public Schools?
  67. 67. 70 Figure 24. Do you have children that will be elementary-aged (K-6) in the Fall 2013 or will you have elementary aged children in the future? Figure 25. If Hale Cook Elementary were to open in 2013, how likely would you be to enroll your child? Very likely Somewhat likely Not likely Figure 26. Respondents with elementary-aged children for Fall 2013: If Hale Cook Elementary were to open in 2013, how likely would you be to enroll your child?
  68. 68. 71 Figure 27. If you are not likely to enroll your child(ren), what would change that decision? Figure 28, If Hale Cook were to open, what type of program(s) would interest you? Figure 29, If you do not yet have school-age children, what schools would you consider?
  69. 69. 72 Figure 30. Would you consider sending your child to a Kansas City, MO public high school? Figure 31. Do you know any neighbors that have moved from this neighborhood to attend public schools outside of the Kansas City, MO public school district? Yes No Figure 32. The neighborhood elementary school model includes geographic boundaries for admissions, no busing, and high level of community support and parent engagement. Other models include city- wide admissions, skills-based admissions (i.e. performing arts), or vouchers for school choice, for instance. Do you support the neighborhood elementary school model? Yes No I don’t know
  70. 70. 73 Figure 33. Do you agree that a public school should also be a community center for the neighborhood? Yes No I don’t know Figure 34. What factors influence your choice in educating your children? Figure 35. What school model would you be more likely to support?
  71. 71. Hale Cook Neighborhood School The future starts here.