• building of foreign language academy
    Foreign Language Academy is a full language immersion K-8 school and part of Kansas City Public Schools. It is a signature school so students throughout the district may attend but applications are required. Because it is a full immersion Spanish and Chinese language school, students at Foreign Language Academy are only admitted in grades K-1. After that, students must pass a language placement exam to demonstrate grade level mastery of the language.
  • poster about leadership
    FLA is a school where students learn to appreciate who they are and share that with the world.
  • vegetable garden
    And a green space for container gardening. These vegetables are harvested and prepared by the cooking club. They can also take vegetables home. 
  • basketball and tennis court
    FLA also has outdoor basketball and tennis courts.
  • second playground
    ...and this one as well. This playground is specifically for K-2 students.
  • playground
    Despite being located in the heart of Kansas City, FLA is not landlocked. Students have several areas to play including this playground...
  • empty gym with basketball court
    The gym and auditorium are one in the same at FLA, and like the rest of the building, the space highlights the diversity of the student body. These flags represent FLA students (past and present) and their home countries.
  • empty cafeteria
    As a part of Kansas City Public Schools, every student at FLA gets free breakfast and lunch. All meals are eaten in the cafeteria. 
  • poster with graph of read books
    Students across the building hold themselves to high expectations. In this 5th grade classroom, students have entered a friendly competition with other classes to see who can read the most books. 
  • collaborative open area decorated with trees
    Each floor of FLA has open collaborative spaces for teachers and students to use as they see fit. Teachers can move classes out to these areas at any time during the day and students can work here with teacher permission.
  • smiling students in common area
    Those consistent expectations mean that classes are free to use common areas like this one to practice for World Cultures Day. Students are trusted to stay on task and exhibit appropriate behavior in common areas. 
  • bulletin board about expected behavior
    FLA is a Leader in Me School. This means that they focus on teaching students to self manage and exhibit leadership traits using specially designed curriculum from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Students have consistent behavioral expectations building wide from Kindergarten to 8th grade.
  • teacher and student with tuba
    In band, this student is working with his teacher to clean his instrument. In addition to art, computer lab, PE and band students at FLA have debate, cooking/gardening class, and drama club. All electives are taught in English. There are many free after school clubs for students to choose from as well. Like all elementary schools in KCPS Before and After School care are free to every FLA student. 
  • quote be yourself because an original is worth more than a copy
    And here is a quote that middle school students really liked, designed in art class, and decided to display in their hallway.
  • masks made by students
    Here are examples of masks that lower elementary students made.
  • eighth graders in art class
    These 8th grade students work on multimedia designs in art. These projects will go up in the hallways like other projects they have completed.
  • two girls in computer class
    In computer class, these students pause from  their work with coding and web design. Their teacher encourages them to use a combination of class instruction and experimentation to see their visions come to life.
  • eighth graders working on project
    In 8th grade, students are working on a report about their recent trip to Costa Rica. Each year, 8th grade students go on a trip abroad with their teachers and peers for a full language immersion experience. 
  • students on carpet
    These students use hand signals to show their teacher they understand his expectations for their collaborative group work time. Students are encouraged to work together in many classes.
  • students dancing
    In class, these students practice their moves for World Cultures Day. Each year, FLA hosts a festival that celebrates the different cultures present in the building and in the community. Students and families participate as do vendors, food trucks, and dance troupes.
  • dr ramsdell showing a students project
    Fourth grade students studied the Taino indians and created infographics about their culture. Dr. Ramsdell also serves as a classroom collaborator and gives critical feedback on projects like these.
  • upper elementary student lockers
    Upper elementary students and middle school students have lockers.
  • book bags in classroom
    In lower elementary, students store their book bags and papers in their classrooms. This student is going to her “mailbox” to get her assignment for class. While they work on language mastery simple routines and procedures are emphasized to help students focus on coursework.
  • dr ramsdell with a student
    Dr. Ramsdell is a (non-native) Spanish speaker himself and can often be found in classrooms assisting students. All students at FLA have computers to use in class. They are used on a regular basis to research new ideas, complete projects, or practice 21st century skills.
  • native language speaking teaching with student
    In class, teachers are native language speakers. At FLA teachers come from countries all over the world including Puerto Rico, China, Honduras, Portugal and Mexico. (Do you see Principal Ramsdell in the back? He is a regular visitor in all classrooms and many students love to give him hugs!)
  • first grade bulletin board
    In addition to language immersion, FLA has an advanced elementary IB curriculum. The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is an advanced international education curriculum that only some schools are authorized to teach. Students at all grade levels are challenged with units of instruction developed around deep inquiry and key concepts that are meant to encourage both personal and academic achievement. Here is a bulletin board explaining a unit first grade recently completed.
  • students working on chinese project
    Here, kindergarten students work with friends to complete their work in Chinese. Their teacher assists in mostly Chinese, but she will use English as well until students understand what to do.
  • chinese characters on chalk board
    In Chinese class, the teacher has written “hanzi” or Chinese Characters on the board to help students retain their meaning.
  • bulletin board in chinese and spanish
    At FLA (Foreign Language Academy) student culture is front and center. Bulletin boards and posters line the hallways in Spanish and Chinese. This one is in Spanish and welcomes people to school. 
  • principal dr joell ramsdell
    Dr. Joell Ramsdell is the building principal. He has been at FLA for five years.

Foreign Language Academy (K-8)

Foreign Language Academy

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Categories: ,
3450 Warwick Blvd
Kansas City, MO 64111
816-418-6000 Visit School Website

School Leader(s)

Joell Ramsdell, Principal
  • NO Tuition
  • Availability for 2021-2022
  • Transportation provided
  • Before and After-Care Available

Quick Facts

Our Mission

At Foreign Language Academy, we prepare students to enter high school having met or exceeded state standards in all tested areas; to be proficient readers, writers and speakers of the target language (Spanish or Mandarin); and to be responsible citizens.

The ABCs of FLA: Academic Excellence, Bilingual Leadership; and Critical and Compassionate Thinkers

Points of Pride

  • Kansas City’s only fully authorized International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program
  • Partnership with UMKC whereby our 8th grade students earn 3 world language credits upon successful completion of coursework and assessments
  • Annual capstone field trip to Puerto Rico to immerse students in the language and culture of Puerto Rico

School Hours

  • School Hours: 9:15 am - 4:15 pm
  • Before Care Hours Start: 7:00 am
  • After Care Hours End: 6:00 pm

School Details

  • Year Established: Information not shared with SMKCS
  • Total Enrollment: 697
  • Specialized Focus: Language Immersion, IB
  • Affiliation: KCPS-Neighborhood
  • School Type: KCPS-Signature


  • Tuition: NO Tuition

Our Demographics


Receive Special Ed Services


English Language Learners

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Programs and Features

Specialized Programs

  • IB
  • Language Immersion

Arts Programs

  • Band
  • Costume Design
  • Drama + Theater
  • Drawing
  • Drum/Percussion
  • Jazz
  • Literature
  • Painting
  • Poetry
  • Sculpture
  • Visual Arts
  • Vocal Music

Sports Programs

  • Basketball (Boys)
  • Basketball (Girls)
  • Cross Country (Boys)
  • Cross Country (Girls)
  • Soccer (Boys)
  • Soccer (Girls)
  • Track and Field (Boys)
  • Track and Field (Girls)
  • Volleyball (Girls)

Clubs + Activities

  • Chess Club
  • Coding
  • Debate
  • Journalism/Newspaper
  • Math Team
  • National Honor Society
  • Robotics
  • Step Team
  • Student Government

Family Engagement

  • Classroom Volunteers
  • Evening Family Events
  • Field Trip Chaperone
  • Parent Communication App
  • Parent Education Programs
  • Parent-Teacher Association
  • Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • Schoolwide Volunteers
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Application Process

Application Details

Although many schools have application deadlines, most continue to accept applications for available seats on an ongoing basis.

  • Application Open: December 6, 2021
  • Application Close: February 15, 2022
  • Kindergarten Cutoff: July 31
  • Offer Date: February 25, 2022
  • Decision Date: March 7, 2022
  • Residence: Students must live within the KCPS boundaries.

How to Apply

Grades 2-8: Students entering after 1st grade must pass a grade-level appropriate test in either Spanish or Mandarin.

All students must have a GPA of 2.5 or better, a 90% or better attendance record, discipline record with 3 or fewer Class 3 or 4 violations.

Submit applications online here, or in person at the Board of Education building, 2901 Troost Ave., Kansas City, MO 64109. Applications CANNOT be submitted at the school.

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Student Performance

Standardized Test Results



Why It Matters

Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests are scored (or graded) according to four achievement levels: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. The number shown here is the percentage of students who scored Proficient or Advanced. When comparing scores between years, please remember that the test Missouri gives has changed several times.

Please note that private schools are not required to participate in these exams.

In 2019, the average English score in Missouri was 48.7%; the average Math score was 41.9%, source

Attendance Rate 90/90


Why It Matters

Schools strive to have at least 90% of their students achieve a 90% attendance rate because kids learn best when they’re in school.

In 2019, 87.3% of Missouri students were in attendance at least 90% of the time, source.

Third Grade Reading Scores


Why It Matters

Third grade is the important time when kids switch from learning to read to reading to learn and is an important benchmark for a student’s educational development.

In 2019, the average 3rd grade reading score in Missouri was 48.7%, source

Student Growth

English Language Arts


Why It Matters

This data determines if individual students, compared to their peers, are making achievement gains over time in English Language Arts.

There are three categories possible: Floor (minimum), On Track (doing just fine), and Exceeding (outperforming their peers).



Why It Matters

This data determines if individual students, compared to their peers, are making achievement gains over time in Mathematics.

There are three categories possible: Floor (minimum), On Track (doing just fine), and Exceeding (outperforming their peers).

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Parent Perspective

Michelle Aguirre-Hill, Parent

My kindergartner loves attending the Foreign Language Academy. Even though he has only been there for one year, the high quality academics, along with the student-focused administration, both have convinced us we made the right choice. Our family thought long and hard about where we would send our children to school and FLA was easily our first choice. Not only is our son gaining a life-long skill in learning another language, but the academic standards and excellence of FLA set it apart from other schools in the area. Not only has the school attained full accreditation on their own, but they are currently a candidate school in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, putting them on a path to international recognition for excellence.

The school provides two, age-differentiated playgrounds and tons of green space for kids to enjoy– despite its urban location. We also noticed the district’s commitment to upkeep since they just renovated the HVAC system the year our son started.

Although we are new parents at the school, we have noticed an active PTO group and events that highlight the work of the students and multicultural nature of the school. Our son’s teacher is always inviting us to engage in the classroom during events and sending home resources to help empower us to further our son’s education at home.

The school has many opportunities before and after school. The Local Investment Commission (LINC) provides high-quality enriching before and after school care at no cost to families. The school also offers clubs to students that are targeted at a diverse set of interests.

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