Click through to take a virtual tour. Kansas City Neighborhood Academy is a PK-4 (growing to K-5) charter school sponsored by Kansas City Public Schools. KCNA is open to any child living within the KCPS boundaries and priority for enrollment is given to families living within the boundaries of the Urban Neighborhood Initiative (Truman Road - 52nd and Troost - Prospect). Transportation is provided within those boundaries.
Dr. Robin Wilson is the founding principal. She knows every student by name and their families too. KCNA is focused on supporting students who need it most and they do it through an emphasis on students’ social and emotional learning needs, family connection, as well as providing heavy academic interventions.
At KCNA students have the opportunity to practice growing their own food through these raised bed gardens. When the food is harvested, students take it home to their families. The entire school is centered around real world project based learning experiences like this farm to table one.
After thinking about their work in the garden, 2nd grade asked themselves about food production in general. Here is the work they did researching the digestive system, food sources, and food availability.
Next, they took a field trip to a farm to explore more thinking around where food comes from. They documented their findings here and focused on the effects of good food on the body.
Finally they took their learning one step further and thought about the impact of healthy food choices on community health overall.
Students participate in Project Based Learning at every age. Here a student talks her parent through the process she used to create her birdhouse. Instruction at KCNA is hands on. Teachers look for every opportunity to give students ownership and autonomy.
This first grade student talks to his family about the baby carrots grown in the garden.
Pre-kindergarten students at KCNA designed buildings using recycled materials as one of their projects. They displayed their work and described it in their own words for parents and teachers to see; this student made a grocery store.
Parents are an important part of daily school life at KCNA. Here parents and siblings crowd in to hear pre-kindergarten students present their projects. It is standing room only.
This student sets up and prepares to explain her project to parents, teachers, and other students who have come to see the presentation.
Here parents and students look on as a staff member gets his head shaved in fun. He told preschoolers that when they finished their projects he would shave his hair. Parents showed up to support this as well.
After hearing the Pre-K presentations, these first graders get ready to go back upstairs to class. Dr. Wilson reminds them here that she will spend time in their room later in the afternoon. A regular feature in all classrooms, students welcome her presence and her hugs.
Parents and other family members are an important part of the KCNA community. This parent came to see what kids made during their design unit. She says that she chooses KCNA because Dr. Wilson knows each child’s name and has gotten to know the neighborhood.
This grandmother said Dr. Wilson greets her granddaughter by name and takes time to work with her when she needs it.
These Pre-Kindergarten students sit in a family style circle to enjoy snack after a long morning of presenting their projects to family and teachers.
In class, these kindergarteners are working on iPads. Technology is available for every student at KCNA to use during the day. Students often have a choice about finding a space to work that works best for them. The goal at KCNA is to see that all children are challenged with rigorous instruction in an environment that feels safe.
KCNA uses focused small group instruction to deepen student learning. These kindergarteners are working with their teacher in a writing group.
In first grade this student works independently on spelling. The flexible seating options at KCNA allow her to choose her most comfortable work space and be her most productive.
In the pre-kindergarten class students work in centers. Here are two students working on art and one working on his class project that he will present to his peers when the next group comes to class.
These two Pre-Kindergarten friends chose to read together.
This is Ms. O’Connor’s first grade class. They are working with her in a small reading group. These groups are intentional and allow teachers to focus on reteaching the skills kids need most.
Reading literacy is a big focus at KCNA. Modeled after the Drew Charter School in Atlanta, GA, KCNA has trained literacy instructors that support students daily in reading and math. These literacy teachers are working with a small pullout group of students on decoding sight words by painting the letter sounds.
In math lab, students work with plastic blocks called manipulatives to improve their math computation skills. Here students are assembling their blocks to show their lab teacher before moving on to the next step of the problem.
At KCNA students are encouraged to bring their experiences and their families into the classroom. Here is a tree showing that every student in this class is connected.
In music class, students take a dance break before they set up for choir practice later. Students also have Upper Room after care, chess club, gardening club, choir, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts as after school activities.
This playground is for students grades K-4. During the day classes like this one come here for recess.
There is a separate playground just for PreK students too.
Kids can also swing or run around blacktop area. It is fenced in and the whole playground is visible to the adults in charge.
KCNA has an open play grass area too. Kids and teachers go here to play when the weather is nice.
The gym is another space students enjoy. Each class has physical education class weekly.
In partnership with Kansas City Public Schools, breakfast and lunch are free every day to children at KCNA. Children also have the option of bringing lunch. All meals are eaten in the cafeteria.
KCNA has wraparound support professionals on staff for students and families including a special education coordinator, a social worker, and full time reading and math interventionists.
Parents and volunteers are regular partners in the work at KCNA. Here is one listening to his son think aloud.
Teachers like these help make sure students learn and feel loved.
This bulletin board is near the front of the building and its message is one that KCNA staff take to heart daily.
These three students are definitely enjoying their learning. KCNA mission accomplished.