By Jennifer Collier, Ed.D., PHR, Interim Superintendent
Kansas City Public Schools
We always knew that the work would continue when we regained accreditation, and we are fully committed to maintaining the momentum and progressing toward greater success. — Jennifer Collier, Ed.D., PHR
At Kansas City Public Schools, we want every child to have the resources they need to thrive socially, emotionally and academically. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on students of color and their families. As school starts this fall, we know that we must address that trauma as we teach our students. My five focus areas as Interim Superintendent — my “big rocks” this year — are centered around child wellbeing:
- LITERACY: Next month, we will kick off “KCPS Loves to Read,” a literacy campaign that encourages students and their families to read together. It is imperative that we prioritize literacy and do more to prepare our students as readers, writers and effective communicators, as literacy is the passport to a promising future.
- NUMERACY: We know that to maintain accreditation, we must continue to improve student achievement in math. This year, we will be working toward our NUMBERS (3Ls) endorsement. This will help us ensure every KCPS student graduates with the foundational skills needed to pursue college and jobs.
- CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE PRACTICES: Our students deserve to see their identities and culture centered in their learning. This doesn’t always happen for children of color. Together, KCPS staff will be reading Zaretta Hammond’s “Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain” during our district book study.
- SOCIAL EMOTIONAL WELLNESS: All students in grades 10-12 will complete a “Mental Health First Aid” course. All students in grades 7-9 will engage in conflict resolution training. We have also increased our trauma support staff so that schools are adequately served.
- PARENT/FAMILY ENGAGEMENT: KCPS has hired family and community engagement liaisons at all schools. Our “FaCE” liaisons can help connect our families with the many resources available to them through KCPS.
Our theme this year is “Dare to Believe.” By nurturing our children, their families and this community, we can and we will achieve great things.
Dr. Jennifer Collier, Interim Superintendent, is entering her 23rd year as an educator in the Kansas City Public School district. She has served in several roles over the years, including, teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, Chief HR Officer and Deputy Superintendent. She has a passion for seeing students, staff and families thrive through collaboration, collective will, and strategic action.