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Struggling Schools, Hungry Children & Investment Policy on KCK School Board Agenda

Art Credit: KC Education Enterprise | Photo Credit: 123rf stock image | Logo Credit: Kansas City, Kansas School District

Kansas City, Kansas Public School District’s Board of Education will meet Tuesday, May 22, at 5 p.m.

In addition to routine agenda items — such as giving permission for an out-of-state student trip and purchasing diesel oxidation catalysts to clean up school bus emissions  — board members will hear a report on struggling schools, review an agreement to provide free breakfasts for some students and will consider revising district policy.

During tonight’s meeting, two principals will provide a report to the board on student progress in their buildings, which are recipients of federal School Improvement Grant. Two years ago, the Obama administration budgeted $4 billion for these grants in an attempt to improve education at 5,000 of the nation’s lowest-performing schools, which produce half of America’s dropouts. Emerson Elementary and Northwest Magnet Middle Schools are two of them. Both are Title I schools, which means they receive special federal financial assistance, because they have large percentages of students from poor families. At Emerson, almost 94 percent of students and at Northwest almost 98 percent of students fall into this category. In exchange for the School Improvement Grants, both were required to replace their principals and take steps to improve student learning through changes such as curriculum reform and professional development. Also, Emerson was required to replace at least half its teachers.

Also tonight, board members will review a memorandum of understanding with four agencies that would provide free breakfasts for all students in at least a dozen district schools. This would be a three-year agreement. Breakfast in the Classroom is a national program supplying nutritious meals to help hungry students.  Research has shown that students who are hungry or undernourished may perform poorly on IQ tests for the rest of their lives. They also may have trouble paying attention in the classroom, act irritably, be too tired to learn and have trouble concentrating. In addition, undernourished children get sick and are absent from school more often.

In other business, board members will consider revising the district’s Investing Funds policy. According to the agenda, Superintendent Cynthia Lane and her staff are recommending changes to require “the quarterly review of financial solvency of all banks holding District funds.”

Tonight’s meeting, which is open to the public, will take place in the board room of the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Central Office and Training Center; 2010 N. 59th Street; Kansas City, KS 66104. The next meeting will take place Tuesday, June 12.

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About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.

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