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Old 12-22-2011, 07:54 AM
 
216 posts, read 525,165 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viva kc View Post
How about area school districts have a 10 year plan to take over specific schools over time. Center School district could take over Southwest high and incorporate their culture and academics into that school. It would be a bite size amount of work rather than trying to recover the entire school district at once. Independence could take over another few schools, and so could raytown. Heck lets add a couple schools to the north kansas city school district that are close to downtown KCMO.
I don't know that those other school districts would be happy to be saddled with the problems, but this actually seems like it could be a starting point. Maybe the mayor's proposal will have something hopeful in it. I haven't had time to look at it in any depth yet.
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
3,572 posts, read 6,198,795 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viva kc View Post
How about area school districts have a 10 year plan to take over specific schools over time. Center School district could take over Southwest high and incorporate their culture and academics into that school. It would be a bite size amount of work rather than trying to recover the entire school district at once. Independence could take over another few schools, and so could raytown. Heck lets add a couple schools to the north kansas city school district that are close to downtown KCMO.
I know what you said sounds good, but the districts surrounding the KCMO district have troubles of their own and don't need to be bogged down nor do we want to incite white/middle-class flight even further from the core.

A better idea to tackle the troubles that plague the KCMO district and best serve the students is to create multiple microdistricts out of the current boundaries, each with their own superintendent and school boards and a focus tailored to the needs of the particular area.

Envision a Country Club district engulfing the Plaza through Waldo, perhaps as far east as Paseo. The emphasis would be providing existing middle-class families a public option as well as attracting middle-class families to the city. This could result in gentrification east of Troost, helping erase Troost as a divide. Imagine Southwest renamed JC Nichols High School.

A Swope Park district with Southeast renamed Swope Park High school could provide a smaller district that's not in the worst parts of the city but that black families who don't want to move to the suburbs could move to and embrace when seeking a better education for their kids.

A Northeast district engulfing all of Northeast and far east KCMO (Van Brunt Corridor, probably north of 40 highwayish), perhaps with 2 high schools, could focus on English as a 2nd Language and any other immigrant related programs.

A Westport district using Westport High could serve all of midtown east to Paseo and perhaps could help lead to gentrification east of Troost and further blurring of the Troost divide.

As for downtown, not sure how to handle that area. If there aren't enough kids it would probably be best lumped with the above.

And finally, there would have to be a central district with the current Central High possibly as the high school. This district would encompass the most troubled part of the city and would need really good employees experienced with urban issues and would need a hardcore emphasis on doing everything possible to set kids from poor home environments on a decent path. Name the high school MLK for inspiration and make a connection with his dream and AA's doing well in society.

A hard to manage student populace with varying needs and urban issues would benefit from better management and I think "microdistricts" would accomplish that. We like to say throwing money at it won't fix the problem, but in regard to paying more teachers for smaller class sizes, money could go a long way. It would lighten the load for teachers and help them connect with and give attention needed to as many students as possible. The schools need an emphasis on career education, like clerical training and good connections with the technical school and community college system. They need to have kids thinking about careers as early as 8th grade and need to be explaining how colleges and universities work taking away the intimidation factor.

It's time for drastic measures.

Last edited by MOKAN; 12-22-2011 at 10:33 AM..
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,498,983 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ykamom View Post
I want to respectfully disagree with the posts about good students being competitive regardless of the schools they attend. I understand that may be the case for the posters and their children, but I have seen lots of students who did very well in very poor high schools and get the jolt of their lives when they get to college. It is a sad situation. I have encountered students in remediation in college, who tell me they were in honor classes in their schools. And the saddest part, the variation is vast on a school to school basis, not simply district to district.
I agree, lots of learning goes on at home. And this is where the inequality really comes in. I would never let my kid think they were doing well in a school that didn't challenge them. I would make them do more, have higher expectations for them. But when a student doesn't have family members who can help them discern the true quality of the education they are receiving, the results can be disastrous.
This probably won't affect the OP at all... you know what you are doing in your school search for your kids. I respect that. And I understand and respect your position as well TabulaRasa. I am simply saying, lots of kids are being "left behind." I think the numbers are actually pretty shocking. And the KC school districts on both sides of the state line are probably guilty. It is a disgrace that a city like KCMO cannot get it together to provide decent schooling for kids in its public system. I wish someone could explain how it got this bad. I have definitely seen bad schools in other places, but the difference here is how pervasive the problem is. Aside from a handful of charters, I don't see anyone getting a really good education in the KC district, and that is a disaster for the city.
I know this conversation is pretty much over, but this is an issue that haunts me every day. I love my home in KCMO, but I often wonder how wise it was to buy a house in a neighborhood where I could not send my kids to the public schools if I had to. Not to mention what it does to my resale and property values. But, we had our reasons and we feel good about our decision, so we just have to hope for the best in the future. We will find a way to work it out, no matter what. But many people in this city, without our resources, don't have the choice that we have. And they are the people that are getting a bad deal. I hope the mayor or someone can get this under control, because no city is really great with a school system that doesn't take care of its citizens at every level.
I pretty much agree with this. I was mostly speaking of districts that don't rank quite as high as say lee's summit or blue valley. For example, Raytown or Independence may not be ranked near as high as some other districts, but I'm confident that my kids would do just as well in a district like Raytown as a district like Blue Valley. Just because district doesn't have the cream of the crop of demographics, doesn't mean the district is not as good for kids with involved parents.

KCMO School district is a different animal. I wouldn't send my kids there with the exception of a few schools and even then I would take a serious look at alternatives.
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
27 posts, read 43,838 times
Reputation: 11
Great thread, I am currently occupying a rental house in Bales Avenue, Kansas city and I can see here in the map this top schools near my area which are Phillis Wheatley Elementary School, Seton Academy, Attucks Elementary School, R. J. Delano School,Central High School.
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Old 10-22-2013, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,498,983 times
Reputation: 5415
Nice little graphic/map in the KCBJ

Like all the other data, don't take this too seriously, but it's yet another way to compare schools which are just not easy to do because of all the variables involved. As typical, the higher the demographics, the better the schools. So some districts like Blue Valley will and should score very high while others (KCMO/Hickman Mills/KCK) will score very low. However if you took out the kids in districts like Raytown and NKC, you have to understand that those districts are more economically diverse yet I still don't see how kids in those districts under the same scenario (good home/parents) would not get just as good of an education as those in a district like Blue Valley that has very few kids from troubled/non-english speaking/poorer homes that bring down stats.

Anyway...

How the KCBJ School Index works, and how you can use it - Kansas City Business Journal

http://media.bizj.us/view/img/123431...tricts*600.jpg

[img]http://media.bizj.us/view/img/1234341/abouttheindex*600.jpg[/img]
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
3,572 posts, read 6,198,795 times
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It's interesting that they ranked Piper (suburban KCK) #4.
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Old 10-06-2016, 03:38 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,498,983 times
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Well, this thread got old again. Anyway, I have seen a few people mention that the Blue Springs schools are no longer very good, which I have always disagreed with based on people I know that still send their kids there.

Here is some proof that the Blue Springs schools are still a very good public district. Blue Springs ranked very high in all categories in the Missouri MAP test. Now I'm sure the test is not the only way to compare districts, but I think you can at least determine from the results that the schools in Blue Springs are still quite strong and among the best in the metro area.

http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascit...t-results.html

On a side note, the both Blue Springs high schools now rank 8 on greatschools, which I'm not sure how much that means, but they both went up since I started this thread. (I'm not doing all the schools in the metro again right now). My point is, the Blue Springs school district still seems quite good to me despite some negative posts about the district.

Last edited by kcmo; 10-06-2016 at 03:49 PM..
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Old 10-06-2016, 06:46 PM
 
172 posts, read 98,543 times
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Greatschools is a relative scoring system. In Blue Spring's case, an 8 corresponds to 80th percentile when ranked against other Missouri schools. It exclusively relies on test scores for most states, including KS and MO. For some states, the score captures additional metrics beyond test scores. To me, this is a major improvement.

Of course, the other flaw with a relative percentile approach is that in theory, one state could have strong schools overall. In this case, a school scoring 5 in a "strong" state could be the equivalent of a 7 in a "weaker" state. Most won't use these scores to compare across state lines, but in areas like KC, it probably happens more often, and it's not a completely apples-to-apples comparison.

http://www.greatschools.org/gk/wp-co...ogy_Report.pdf

I believe Greatschools is overused and overrated. On the other hand, it's a reasonable start to assess a school's health.

Last edited by nycrite; 10-06-2016 at 06:48 PM.. Reason: typo correction
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Old 10-07-2016, 06:30 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,498,983 times
Reputation: 5415
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycrite View Post
Greatschools is a relative scoring system. In Blue Spring's case, an 8 corresponds to 80th percentile when ranked against other Missouri schools. It exclusively relies on test scores for most states, including KS and MO. For some states, the score captures additional metrics beyond test scores. To me, this is a major improvement.

Of course, the other flaw with a relative percentile approach is that in theory, one state could have strong schools overall. In this case, a school scoring 5 in a "strong" state could be the equivalent of a 7 in a "weaker" state. Most won't use these scores to compare across state lines, but in areas like KC, it probably happens more often, and it's not a completely apples-to-apples comparison.

http://www.greatschools.org/gk/wp-co...ogy_Report.pdf

I believe Greatschools is overused and overrated. On the other hand, it's a reasonable start to assess a school's health.
I agree. Greatschools can probably be used along with several other factors, but not by itself. The Blue Springs high schools for example are only ranked 8, which is lower than many high schools in Lee's Summit and the Northland, but the Blue Springs schools rank higher in the MAP tests (which is probably another bit of info that you can't use by itself to rank a school).

School averages are generally a terrible way analyze if a district or school is good or bad anyway because there are so many other variables such as how diverse the social demographics of the school are. You need to figure out how well your kids in your specific situation would do in a school, not how well the average is for everybody in the district.

This quote is a better way to go about it:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hueffenhardt View Post
I remember when you did this a few years ago. In fact I have referred to it many times as I contemplated where to move to in the Metro. Thanks for updating it.

Unfortunately, as I have done my own research, I have found that I really don't find Great Schools ratings very useful to me, especially when comparing schools across state lines because the ratings are based on scores of each state's standardized test scores. And from what I've read, it appears MO state assessment is a little more rigorous than KS. For example, see this report: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard...es/2011458.pdf

And for me personally, I don't care as much how the entire student population did on a standardized test, as I care about how well my kids will do there. My kids are likely to be participating in the gifted programs. I want to know that they are not going to be slowed down or held back in their learning to wait for struggling students to catch up. I want to make sure they have lots of interesting elective offerings in high school. I want to make sure my kids are properly prepared to compete with other kids from great schools back East at the best universities. I want them to have a global perspective. So, I don't really care that 90% of the students were deemed proficient (a very low standard) on that state's standardized test. I want to know how many AP or IB classes are offered and how well the kids did on AP and IB tests as an indication of how well the teachers prepared them. I also want to know what the school environment is like (i.e., how much violence and intimidation is there, how bad are cliques, how much diversity, etc).

Now a lot of that information is available. One can find the number of AP offerings on the Great Schools website, and one can find out additional information by reading each school's handbook online, etc. But, there is no single metric by which to compare schools this way, at least not for the schools around here. Those magazines that list best schools in the nation list at most a small number of schools from our area and their criteria is often of limited usefulness to me as well.

With all of that said the Great Schools rating is one data point. In general, I think my kids are likely to do better in a school rated 9 or 10 than a 4 or 5 school, but can the top performers at a school rated 6 get as good of an education as the top performers at a school rated 9? Maybe, it depends on other factors.

Then one has to factor in things such as Lincoln Prep being a great school in the middle of a district that is not fully accredited. Might that cause problems in getting accepted into colleges or scholarships? And what does one do if one's kids don't get into Lincoln Prep and has to go to another school in the district? Also, what kind of experience are the kids in for at the crappy elementary schools waiting until they are old enough to go to Lincoln Prep? Do I really want to pay for private school for four kids for the chance to go to a great school like Lincoln Prep? There is that free French immersion school, but again what if your kids don't get in because there isn't space.

Similar questions can be asked about Sumner High in Wyandotte County.

How does one compare say Park Hill South with Shawnee Mission Northwest or South? Can a top performing child really get as good an education and experience in both? And what about Lee's Summit schools?

I think I have pretty much decided that if I end up getting a job in the Metro, I'd like to live in the Park Hill School District, preferably Park Hill South. I like the personality of the area, and one can buy nice houses at a good price, and taxes aren't as high as they are in Johnson County.

But, I understand that other school districts and other considerations might be a better fit for others.
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