Our Friend just emailed us; he’s heard the KCPS Board will be making a significant announcement today at high noon..
12:30 Update: KCPS just announced an Académie Lafayette/KCPS partnership wherein Académie Lafayette will use Southwest to open an International Baccalaureate high school starting in 2015. Will post the video when it becomes available.
13:30 Update: The Star story. KCTV5 edited down their 30 minute live coverage of the KCPS/Académie Lafayette announcement into a 2 minute vid below:
Below is the complete text of an AL Newsletter released to the Al community:
June 20, 2014
Dear Académie Lafayette Community,
We want to share some exciting news about our school and its future.
First, our three-year capital campaign is nearly complete. With the recent $500,000 gift we received from the Walton Family Foundation, we are just $500,000 away from reaching our $3 million fundraising goal. Once we reach $3 million we will receive the $500,000 challenge grant from the Hall Family Foundation. That is huge. Thank you to everyone who has helped get us to this point
The generous gifts we have received will enable us to break ground this summer on the major classroom addition at Cherry Street, and also restore reliable heat at the Oak campus by replacing the 80-year-old boilers. Over the next fifteen months, we will do a host of other needed improvements to the buildings, play areas, and grounds at both the Oak and Cherry Street campuses. We will improve our academic program by adding the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program and enhanced classroom technology. And we will also continue our outreach and recruiting programs to increase interest in AL in families all across the city.
There is also an exciting development to report in our plans for an AL high school. As you are probably aware, for the past several months, the AL Board has been in negotiations with the Foutch Brothers development company to lease the former Westport High School for the location of AL’s high school. However, a better opportunity has presented itself in ongoing conversations with the Kansas City Public Schools.
Today we are announcing our intention to enter into an agreement with Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) to operate an Académie Lafayette International Baccalaureate charter high school to be located at Southwest High School, 6512 Wornall Road, beginning in the 2015-2016 school year! The Southwest location has many favorable aspects including:
- Southwest has lower utilization costs as compared to other locations;
- Southwest has ample room for growth;
- The building has space to accommodate academic and community partners;
- At the Southwest building, students will not have to share space with private residences (as was the case with our proposed Westport deal);
- The future of the Southwest location is not tied to the finances of a private developer.
The AL high school will be a public charter school autonomously governed and operated by the Académie Lafayette Board of Directors, faculty and staff. Académie Lafayette will have long-term, exclusive use of the premises at Southwest. The extension of this charter will in no way detract from the current activities at Oak and Cherry campuses. An entirely new staff and administration will be hired for the high school and will thus not adversely affect our excellent K-8 program.
AL middle school 8th grade graduates are automatically eligible to attend the high school if they choose. Additional open seats will be filled by students residing within the KCPS boundaries. Because this will be a rigorous, college preparatory program, non-AL students entering the AL high school in 9th grade will have to meet the same academic requirements as students applying for admission to Lincoln College Prep High School.
KCPS students who currently attend school at the Southwest location will be working with the district over the next school year to figure out their best choice moving forward. In order to aid in that transition, two parent forums will be held by the district for families of current Southwest students. Southwest families will receive guidance in one-on-one meetings to help make the right choice for their student. Public forums over the summer will solicit community feedback about this unique opportunity.
For AL families, we have a lot more information to share about these exciting developments and encourage you to attend one of the following parent forums to learn more and ask questions.
- Tuesday June 24 at 5:30 p.m., Oak Street campus
- Thursday June 26 at 5:30 p.m., Cherry Street campus
It is a historic day when the Kansas City Public Schools and a successful charter school like Académie Lafayette can enter into a partnership for the future that will benefit thousands of Kansas City students. This is a progressive move for urban education, unlike anything that has been done before in the Kansas City metro region.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to Académie Lafayette. We look forward to seeing you at one of the two upcoming forums.
David Cozad Elimane Mbengue
P.S. Also attached is Mayor Sly James’ statement about today’s announcement, as well as the joint press release to the media.
- Since they’re busy readying the press release… ↩
- If Our Friend is correct, this news will make the Brookside community extremely happy, solve a pressing issue for noted charter school Académie Lafayette, and shift a significant segment of KCPS scholars elsewhere. We would expect some negative reaction from the KCPS community proper (perhaps even from one or two “enlightened” columnists), but we also expect that the Star has already been quietly notified of the event and are prepared to publish at least 2 or 3 supportive editorials/columns on the subject. ↩
- If Our Friend is in error…we’ll dine on that particular bird later. ↩