JJ McDonald, Preschool and 1st Grade Parent

I have a first grader and a pre-schooler at AFIA, and it’s my second year as part of the community. When I came to visit two years ago, my family was preparing to move from Minneapolis to KCMO. Everybody asked us, “what about the schools?”, before they started sharing a lot of opinions on the matter. When I looked at the conventional public schools and charter schools in the area I quickly realized that people’s hesitance to send their kids to public schools in KC was based on outdated information and unfounded assumptions. After a few tours I actually found that our real challenge was narrowing down which school we liked best. We chose AFIA because (as I’ve told many people) the school has heart and soul.

I see children at AFIA who are kind, community-focused, and confident. I see teachers and staff who are dedicated; they are always learning, and they are always willing to try out new ways to serve the students. Having been around for a little while, I see this as a natural consequence of the arts-based and community-focused curriculum at AFIA. My family feels like we’re a part of something special. The school has recently moved to beautiful, newly renovated facilities that include communal spaces, a gym, a performance space, big windows, and large classrooms. We take full advantage of all the perks of attending AFIA including free breakfast and lunch, free bus to and from school, yoga class, and inexpensive private music lessons through Base Academy of Music. The arts-based education makes the core curriculum relevant and applicable to daily life, and we’re seeing evidence of that in our children. Our first grader is reading, writing his own books, and showing off his knowledge (of animal habitats) like crazy. Our preschooler enjoys math, and likes to teach us songs from class, yoga positions, etc. My family loves AFIA, please reach out if you have any questions!


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