The first day of classes after the summer break included a drumroll and high-fives in Kansas City, and the debut of a new elementary school in Kansas City, Kan.
The Chiefs’ K.C. Wolf, the Rumble drum corp., and pom-pom-waving cheerleaders greeted students on their first day Monday morning at Central Middle School in the Kansas City Public School District.
Donning signature red jackets, members of City Year, a group of young educators trained to work as mentors and tutors in urban schools, joined new district Superintendent Mark Bedell and several school board members to welcome students with fist-bumps and cheers.
“This is really exciting to have everyone out here to greet them and to encourage them, and let them know that there are people who care about them and their education,” said Raven Wilson, whose 13-year-old son, Jaris Wilson, is entering eighth grade at Central Middle School this year.
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The biggest first-day-of-school problem arose at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, where buses were “exceptionally late,” said Natalie Allen, chief communications officer for the district.
Even Bedell had to drive his two children, who attend Lincoln, to school Monday morning. “He was right in the thick of it with the late buses,” Allen said.
In the Kansas City, Kan., school district, students and their parents poured into the brand-new Frank Rushton Elementary School.
The district began building the new school adjacent to the old 1950s-era building last year. Superintendent Cynthia Lane said students, parents, teachers and the community were excited about the new school at 2605 W. 43rd Ave.
“We had outgrown the old building,” Lane said, explaining that the new school was built to accommodate 550 students. It opened Monday with 370 students enrolled. “We expect that to grow over 500,” she said.
Classes also began Monday in the Raytown school district and for students attending the new Citizens of the World Charter Kansas City public school, at 3435 Broadway.
Citizens of the World Kansas City is part of a public charter school network that currently serves more than 1,800 children across five schools in California and New York, where 60 percent of the school populations are students of color and half qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.
The Kansas City charter was started by a group of midtown residents seeking a diverse, high-achieving grade school for their children. The school, which aims to serve an economically and racially diverse student population, is sponsored by the Missouri Charter Public School Commission.
Citizens of the World opened with about eight classrooms of kindergarten and first-grade students. Executive director Kristin Droege said there are about 192 students enrolled. School leaders have said they hope to reach about 1,800 students after expanding to all 13 grades in four schools, including elementary, middle and high schools, in 12 years.