A new downtown charter school, Quality Hill Academy, opened to 186 students in kindergarten through third grade Monday in the remodeled historic Virginia Hotel.
The new school, at 1080 Washington St., is the second elementary school launched by the Crossroads Academy, which opened its first school in the heart of downtown Kansas City with 190 students in 2012. Monday also was the first day of classes for Crossroads students.
Academy executive director Dean Johnson said Crossroads recognized the need for a second school when its first kindergarten-through-eighth-grade elementary school at 1015 Central St. had a waiting list of more than 100 students.
Then in 2015, “we had great academic success,” Johnson said. Last year, Crossroads Academy received the highest annual performance report score of any charter school in Missouri. The new school was brought about by “parent demand and academic success,” Johnson said.
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The Crossroads charter school group acquired and renovated the old hotel, once the headquarters for United Way of Greater Kansas City, with philanthropic support from several family foundations and business donations. All told, the price tag was $5.5 million. Crossroads also received a $225,000 federal education startup grant to help cover the cost of furnishings, equipment and technology.
Both schools use a project-based learning curriculum using downtown Kansas City as an extension of the classroom. Students walk to the Central Library, Case Park and Barney Allis Plaza for recess and to other downtown destinations to enhance learning.
Like Crossroads, Quality Hill will add a grade each year up to eighth grade. In two years, Johnson said, the public charter school group expects to open a downtown high school. No location for that school has been selected.