Kansas City’s first all-girl public school finds a home

Tara Haskins is the founding principal of the Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy charter school, set to open next fall.
Tara Haskins is the founding principal of the Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy charter school, set to open next fall.

Kansas City’s newest charter school, the first all-girls public school planned for the city, has found a location.

By next fall, the Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy will move into the Hogan Preparatory Academy Elementary School building, 5000 E. 17th St., off Van Brunt Boulevard.

Girls Prep had been looking throughout the city for two years for the right location. It just so happened that Hogan was set to move out of its space at the end of this school year.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have found this location, right in the heart of the community we wish to serve,” said Tara Haskins, founding principal of the charter school. “It is a wonderful property, and we look forward to welcoming our first class of students.”

The old Hogan school was built in 1915.

“We are still a little starstruck that we got this building,” said Christine Kemper, the new school’s founding board chair. Funding came from local and national donations and a series of national grants.

Hogan Prep Elementary, which is also a charter school, will relocate to the Mary L. Kelly Center, part of the nonprofit Upper Room at 2803 E. 51st St. The center serves students after school and during the summer, so it is available during the day to accommodate Hogan’s classes.

“Having Hogan Prep Elementary utilize our space for its instructional needs is a perfect complement to our offerings and it enables us to share resources that will greatly benefit both organizations,” Tonia Gilbert, executive director of the Upper Room, said in a statement.

The announcement comes seven months after Girls Prep named Haskins its principal. She had been an assistant principal for KIPP Voyage Academy for Girls in Houston.

Kansas City’s only single-gender public school will open with about 100 fifth-grade students and then will add a grade each subsequent year. The plan is to eventually have a full enrollment of just under 750 students for grades five through 12.

Tom Krebs, chief executive officer for the girls school, said its founders did extensive research on the community and held focus groups before proposing the single-gender school.

In their charter application, founders wrote that the girls school “seeks to ensure that young women growing up in neighborhoods negatively impacted by de jure and de facto racial segregation achieve equitable educational outcomes.”