Click through to take a virtual tour. Lee A. Tolbert Community Academy is a tuition-free K-8 charter school located in midtown Kansas City, Missouri. Students must live within the Kansas City Public Schools boundaries in order to attend. Although adjacent to a church, Lee A. Tolbert Community Academy is not a religious school.
Principal Dr. LaQuanda Carpenter (pictured right) and Ms. Bowens (left) along with the rest of the staff work to make every parent feel welcomed and every child feel safe at LATCA.
LATCA is accredited by The North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement.
Every student at LATCA has a tablet computer or laptop to use when they need it. Many are not yet performing at grade level in reading and math and spend time on their devices to practice skills that will help them to close the gap.
These third grade students are completing math assignments with the help of their computer program.
In the upper grades, students use devices to write papers and complete assignments. This fifth grade student is working on an English assignment.
Students also have computer lab as an elective class and they learn things like how to use Excel and how to write computer code.
At LATCA students also have a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) elective class where they can go and work on projects that interest them. Students are enrolled in a new elective class every 4 weeks. Other electives include choral music, art, Spanish, and Band for grades 5-8.
LATCA has a drill team and marching band program for students. They compete and have won several trophies. Drill team and band are only for students in grades 5-8. They are both electives and after school clubs as well.
Families are welcomed to school on literacy nights where they read with students and learn strategies to support their growth.
LATCA parents also come to game night. There is no technology allowed; families have dinner provided by the school and play board games together.
In addition to the school library, here a teacher has organized her classroom books by subject and reading level. Every classroom has a selection of books for students to read.
Teachers have the freedom to teach content using innovative ideas. This kindergarten teacher built a glass house for her reading “chicks”. She has turned the room into a learning village complete with centers like this one to make learning a more interactive experience for young students.
Teachers decorated this hallway to look like a street as they celebrated students’ road to the state’s MAP testing.
Students are given a cubby or locker to store their belongings. This artwork decorates cubbies in the kindergarten hallway.
LATCA welcomes volunteers. These women are part of the Foster Grandparents Program and are at school to spend time helping students to learn to improve their reading and writing.
Positive messages to students are on teachers’ desks and in the hallway. LATCA uses Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) a behavior system that focuses on highlighting positive behaviors to encourage kids to make good choices.
At lunch, students sit in a large cafeteria with their classmates. They are served free breakfast and lunch daily at LATCA or they may choose to bring their own from home.
The cafeteria also doubles as the school auditorium. Students gather here in the mornings for breakfast before they are dismissed to class and in the afternoon before they are released to go home.
When students need to let off some energy, there is a fenced in playground on the side of LATCA. This space is shared by all grade levels and monitored by teachers at all times.
Students also have a large black top space outside to use when the weather is nice.
PE is the only elective that students have weekly for the entire year. Here the gym teacher and a student are modeling how to do a relay race without using hands to hold the ball.
These kindergarten students are lining up to audition for the school talent show.
Students spend time working on learning in whole groups before being sent to their desks to work on their own. Here a student answers an English question on the SMART board while her classmates watch.
Students wear uniforms at LATCA which include navy or white tops and navy or khaki bottoms. These students stop to have a chat before going back to their individual work in class.
In class students can work with partners or in spaces like this classroom library where they can focus on their own. This student has selected a book from the library based on her interest and will write about it after reading.
Students are taught to self regulate using the Goals for Life. These posters describe expected school behavior.
These two bicycles are an incentive Dr. LaQuanda Carpenter, principal of LATCA gives out every year. Students who have perfect attendance have their names put into a drawing and two win and get to take these home.
Teachers like this one conference individually with students when they need support. When they face challenges with student behavior, LATCA has systems in place to help kids adjust including conferences like this one and a room for kids to cool off when needed.
Messages like this bulletin board remind students of the progress they are making preparing for MAP testing.