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1982: Middle Schools

USD 500 changes all junior high schools to middle schools, serving grades 6 through 8.

1998: First Things First

KCKPS implemented a comprehensive district-wide school reform initiative called First Things First. Under then Superintendent Dr. Raymond Daniels, the district became the first school district in the country to adopt the reform model to increase student achievement across the district.

KCKPS became a national model for efforts to turn around low-performing schools.

Calling for changes in structure, instruction, governance, and accountability in low-performing middle and high schools, the Institute for Reform and Research in Education (IRRE) developed a model grounded in substantial research on factors contributing to increased engagement and achievement among adolescents. This model also called for organizational change literature and a review of the practices of schools that have succeeded with students who might otherwise be at high risk of school failure.

This was a major district-wide school reform effort by KCKPS that was recognized nationally by other school districts.

2001: No Child Left Behind

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was the main law for K-12 general education in US from 2002-2015. School districts and schools were held accountable for how students learned and achieved. This program was set in to help disadvantaged students reach the same goals as advanced students.

NCLB Mandated high-stakes student testing, helds schools accountable for student achievement levels, and provides penalties for schools that did not make adequate yearly progress toward meeting the goals of NCLB.

2002: Bond Improvements

KCK voters approve a proposed $120 million bond issuance at the Municipal Election to air-condition schools, improve technology and among other upgrades to schools and public libraries.

2012: National Recognition

In 2012, Kansas City, KS (KCK) was named one of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING. This national award was given to KCK to recognize its outstanding and innovative work in addressing the high school dropout crisis and for its programs and services that make it an outstanding place for youth to live, learn and grow.

2014: Diploma+

This District launched a new district-wide initiative called Diploma+ in 2014. The goal of Diploma+ is for each student to graduate with a high school diploma plus one of seven endorsements to give them the experience and skills necessary for college and careers in a global society.

  • At least 21 on the ACT or 1060 SAT
  • Completion of a Qualified Internship or Industry Approved Project
  • Completion of the IB Diploma Programme or Career Related Programme
  • Completion of an Industry Recognized Certificate or Credential
  • Acceptance into the Military
  • Completion of at least one full year of college (18-30 Credit Hours)
  • An Approved Plan for Post-Secondary Transition

This commitment grows out of a decades-long systemic transformation of teaching and learning in KCKPS. The program remains part of the District’s curriculum today.

2015-2019: KCKPS Bond Referendum Touches Every School Building

In 2015, KCKPS had buildings that averaged 57 years of age. Leadership agreed it was time to conduct a facility needs assessment to ensure the district’s educational facilities were meeting the needs of all students.

The district engaged experts in the fields of engineering, architecture, and construction to analyze school facilities and produce a comprehensive facilities study. This 18-month study identified over $500 million in facility’s needs. What was clear was that it had become increasingly difficult for some of the district’s facilities to meet the learning needs of 21st century learners. Subsequent polling of the community indicated that the community was supportive of a plan to address these facility needs, but that the community would only support such a plan if it did not increase taxes.

In order to develop a plan to improve district facilities without raising taxes, the district brought together a diverse, talented and engaged group of community volunteers, including parents, community members, current and retired educators, business people, non-profit leaders and representatives of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, to form a Community Visioning Committee. The committee examined information provided by a team of experts (including architects, engineers and school planners) and assisted the district in developing a long-range facilities plan.

The committee ultimately recommended that the Board of Education ask the voters to approve a $235 million, no-tax-increase bond referendum. The bond included more than 80 projects, including two new elementary and two new middle schools. The Bond Referendum was approved by 79% of voters in November 2016.

New Schools

Welborn Elementary
Welborn Elementary Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

West Park Elementary replaced William Allen White and Parker elementary schools
West Park Elementary Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Lowell Brune Elementary replaced Bethel and White Church elementary schools
Lowell Brune Elementary Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Carl B. Bruce replaced Northwest Middle School
Carl B Bruce Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Gloria Willis replaced Coronado and West Middle Schools

Schools Demolished

Parker Elementary
Old Welborn Elementary School
William Allen White Elementary
West Middle School
Coronado Middle School
Northwest Middle School

Among the many facility upgrades were safety and security enhancements, nine elementary schools received renovations to their school playgrounds as part of the bond issue.

  • Safety and security enhancements at all schools, including new secured entrances
  • Two new elementary schools and two new middle schools, replacing existing buildings
  • High school College and Career Academy spaces and two new modern science labs in each high school
  • Middle school career exploration spaces to enhance student opportunities to discover career options
  • Kitchen construction and upgrades at one middle and six elementary schools
  • Playground improvements at nine elementary schools, specific to the needs of each school
  • Building remodels and renovations

2016 - New Transportation Facility

Due to continued growth, KCKPS constructed an additional transportation facility at 1528 Meadowlark Lane. Today, the school district provides bus service for approximately 11,000 students. This includes field trips, career and college visits, sporting events and other after school activities. KCKPS is the largest district own fleet in the state of Kansas.

2019 - Nutritional Services

KCKPS built a new 21,557 square foot Nutritional Services facility in August.

2020-2021: Pandemic Hits Hard, Closing Schools

On March 17, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced the closure of all Kansas K-12 school buildings for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year due to the coronavirus also known as COVID-19.

"The reality of this pandemic is that it cannot be controlled statewide if school buildings return to normal operations," Kelly said during the announcement at the state capitol.

April 6, 2020, the Wyandotte County Local Health Officer ordered schools to be closed.

KCKPS implemented a Continuous Learning Plan for all students, set up a Grab and Go Curbside Meal program at seven school sites for all Wyandotte County students and families, ensured every student had a working computer, and prepared for virtual learning.

Fall of 2020-21

Due to safety concerns from the increase in the number of cases in Wyandotte County, the district delayed the start of school until September 8. The district implemented a revised Remote Learning Plan for the first nine weeks of school.

Due to extraordinarily high COVID-19 infection cases in the county (43% positivity rate among those tested in January), KCKPS continued in remote learning status until March of 2021. Students return to for a full year of in-person instruction during the 2021-22 school year.

When schools were closed due to the historic pandemic, Nutritional Services served more than 1-million meals to students and families in Wyandotte County from August 2021 to March 2022.

2023: KCKPS By the Numbers

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools has nearly 70 languages spoken and represented throughout the entire district. The top five languages other than English spoken in KCKPS are:

  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Karen
  • Kinyarwanda
  • Burmese

As of 2023:

  • KCKPS serves 21,000 students
  • Nearly 70 different languages are spoken

The district provides transportation for 11,000 students (Preschool to High School).  Almost every student will ride on a school bus this year for some type of activity, field trip, career/college visit, and/or sporting event.  KCKPS has the largest district owned fleet in the state of Kansas. 

48 schools

4 Early childhood Centers
28 elementary schools
7 middle schools
5 high schools
4 Alternative Schools


1,979 certified professionals
1,705 classified professionals
192 administrators.


Hispanic: 55%
African American: 24%
Caucasian/White: 9%
Asian-American: 6%
Pacific Islander/American Indian/Native Alaskan: 6%

Next: KCKPS: Who We Are