For over 10 years, Teach For America Kansas City has worked hand in hand with partners and advocates throughout our city to create opportunities for children in our most underserved communities.
Teach For America Kansas City finds and supports a growing movement of leaders dedicated to expanding educational opportunity across the city. Alongside the communities they serve, Kansas City alumni and corps members have played an integral role in supporting the academic gains and educational progress Kansas City has made since 2008.
Making Progress in Kansas City
Kansas City is making remarkable strides in education and has achieved notable improvement in student attendance, graduation rates, college readiness, and student scores on state tests. In 2019, Kansas City Public Schools District received its highest scores ever in the state’s Annual Progress Report, making it eligible for full accreditation by 2020.
While there is still much to be done, this achievement proves Kansas City is making remarkable strides on the path toward educational equity. Teach For America Kansas City’s nearly 500 corps members and alumni are among the countless educators, families, and community leaders who have pushed to raise the bar for educational excellence in our city since 2008. And we remain committed to this work.
Fostering Educational Excellence in KC Schools
Kansas City’s progress in education wouldn’t have been possible without public schools that challenge the status quo. Learn about the Teach For America Kansas City partner schools that are proving what’s possible for students:
Ewing Marion Kauffman School
The Ewing Marion Kauffman School is a free public charter school founded in 2010 by alumni Hannah Lofthus. The Kauffman School is three-school campus that serves over 1,000 students in grades 5-12 in two middle schools and a high school. Students are accepted by a lottery that prioritizes the six highest-need zip codes within the district, and they are on track to achieve extraordinary outcomes. Ewing Marion Kauffman School was selected for Teach For America’s 2018-2019 Schools To Learn From program to serve as a “learning laboratory” on pedagogical best practices and vision for other educators across the nation.
School Leader: Hannah Lofthus (New York '07)
University Academy was founded by Tom Bloch, Lynne Brown, and Barnett and Shirley Helzberg with the belief that students living in the Kansas City Missouri School District deserve the opportunity to have an excellent college preparatory education. University Academy became the first public charter school in Missouri to be named a National Blue Ribbon School from 2013-2017. Forty percent of their teachers, leadership, and staff are Teach For America corps members or alumni.
School Leader: Tony Kline
Carver Dual Language School
At Carver Dual Language, students develop proficiency in their second language by hearing and using it to learn all of their school subjects rather than just by studying the language itself, and they’re expected to be bilingual and bi-literate in both Spanish and English by the end of the sixth grade. In 2019, five Teach For America Kansas City alumni teachers from Carver Dual Language were recognized as finalists for the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teacher Leadership Award for their rigorous multi-year work to reinvent the school's curriculum, teacher support, and staff training.
School Leader: Mike Coulter
Kansas City Classrooms
Meet Our Corps Members
Our 2018-2019 corps is redefining what’s possible for students in Kansas City.
Kansas City '18
High School English Teacher
Teach For America Kansas City
Cydney joined Teach For America Kansas City from Texas, where she attended Southern Methodist University and studied Political Science, Public Policy, and Human Rights. She found a passion for working with students as an orientation leader in college and is excited to continue that passion as a high school english teacher in Kansas City.
Kansas City '18
Teach For America Kansas City
While Kayla was working toward her master’s degree at Mississippi State University, she became interested in the K-12 education system and its role in preparing students for higher education. Committed to bringing the skills she learned in graduate school back home to KC, Kayla joined the Kansas City corps in 2018 as a history teacher.
Our Alumni Leaders
Teach For America Kansas alumni are lifelong advocates in all fields that shape the lives of students, families, and communities. They are leading as teachers, school system leaders, policy and advocacy leaders, social entrepreneurs, and elected officials, all driven to create opportunity for every child in Kansas City.
Kansas City '13
Carver Dual Language School
Juan Carlos joined Teach For America Kansas City in 2013 after graduating from the University of California-Davis. He remains in Kansas City and works as a math and Spanish literacy teacher for his 4th grade class at Carver Dual Language School.
Kansas City '08
Co-founder and CEO
Katie is a Kansas City native who joined Teach For America in 2008 and went on to help found the C.A. Franklin Elementary School middle school team and, Alta Vista Charter Middle School. She then founded LEANLAB Education, an organization that builds communities and launches transformational innovations into K12 schools
Kansas City '10
Lauren joined Teach For America in 2010 and taught English Language Arts at Urban Community Leadership Academy. Today, Lauren is currently serving her first term as a State Senator for District 17. As a state legislator, Lauren advocates for a number of policy issues, including funding for early literacy programs.
Innovating in the Field of Education
Over the past few years, Teach For America Kansas City has launched several innovative initiatives and events to develop talent in Kansas City and elevate the teaching profession in our city:
In 2016, Teach For America Kansas City launched the Green Fellowship to attract talented TFA alumni teachers from other regions to move to and teach in KC, while also providing high-performing local alumni with opportunities to expand their leadership beyond the classroom. Green Fellows receive professional development that helps them connect with local leaders, learn together and work toward a capstone project that benefits their community.
Shark Tank: Teacher Edition
Every year, teachers across the country spend $1.6 billion out of their own pockets to support their classrooms. That’s why Teach For America Kansas City launched Shark Tank: Teachers Edition in 2016 to help bring together educators and community leaders to fund different projects conceived by corps member and alumni. Now an annual event, Shark Tank: Teacher Edition gives Teach For America Kansas City teachers the opportunity to pitch ideas for projects to improve their classrooms, schools, and communities. A panel made up of local corporate and civic leaders help by directly investing in these projects. Past sharks have included: Mayor Sly James, Hailee Bland-Walsh, Shirley Helzberg, Julee Jonez, Angela Cervantes, Kansas City Royals All-Star catcher Salvador Perez, and many more distinguished guests.
Code the Block
Co-founded by math and coding teacher David Persley (Kansas City ‘14), Code the Block’s mission is to provide high-quality computer science education programs to underrepresented students in Kansas City and increase minority representation in the Kansas City tech landscape.
Teach For America Kansas City in the News:
Teach For America Kansas City’s impact has been recognized in a number of local and national media publications, including:
Kansas City business leaders must lead the fight for educational equality
The Kansas City Star
November 13, 2018
KC entrepreneurial educator: ‘Zip code shouldn’t determine success’
October 17, 2017
Innovative Ways to Raise Awareness Around Advocacy Issues
Merrigan & Co.
May 7, 2018
Teachers take the plunge to get funding for school activities in Teach For America Shark Tank: Teacher Edition
FOX4 Kansas City
October 24, 2016
Teach for America working to bring more Hispanic teachers to KC
January 3, 2019