STRATEGIES IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Citywide Education Progress Reports

KANSAS CITY: New Organization Invests $5 million, Creates Fellowships to Engage Families 

SchoolSmart KC, an education-focused nonprofit, launched in spring 2017 with support from local foundations. The organization aims to increase access to quality schools by expanding capacity at high-performing schools and investing in good schools that have the potential to improve and to close the proficiency gap between the city’s schools and the state average by 2026.

In the year since their launch, SchoolSmart KC has invested significant resources in over half of the city’s schools across the district and charter sectors, as well as directly in KCPS. They have invested over $5 million into expanding and improving schools, created a fellowship to help seven schools develop and pilot plans for engaging families around academics, and started important conversations with critical stakeholders about issues ranging from providing wraparound services at schools for needy families to creating a common framework for holding all city schools accountable.

It is too early to identify the impact of SchoolSmart KC’s investments and work in the community, but conversations with community, education, and civic leaders suggest appreciation for the resources and coordination SchoolSmart KC brings. Stakeholders share hope that SchoolSmart KC can build bridges within the fractured education community and provide needed leadership on strategy for improving education citywide.

View Kansas City’s citywide education progress report.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education is a research and policy analysis center at the University of Washington Bothell developing systemwide solutions for K–12 public education. Questions? Email crpe@uw.edu.