City School Fair will connect families with KC schools

The second annual City School Fair is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Central Library.

Show Me Schools, a nonprofit organization with a mission to help families find the right school for their children is co-hosting Kansas City’s second annual K-12 City School Fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Central Library.

The event will feature 55 K-12 district, charter, private and parochial schools – including the Crossroads Charter Schools in Downtown – along with free food and a performance by the Stone Lion Puppets and library fine forgiveness for all who attend.

Click here for a complete list of schools participating in Saturday’s fair.

With nearly 90 district, charter, private and parochial schools in the Kansas City Public Schools’ boundaries, it can be overwhelming for parents or care navigating the school options can be overwhelming.

“The City School Fair is a high energy event. Parents and caregivers can have one-on-one conversations with school administrators and current school families,” said Tricia Johnson, Show Me Schools’ executive director. “Families can have their questions answered and use this opportunity to collect – and, for some schools, complete – applications.”

For more information, visit the City School Fair online.







Crossroads Academy to cut ribbon on middle school

The Crossroads Academy charter school in Downtown will christen its new middle school facility at 1011 Central on Wednesday morning, and you are invited to the ceremony.

You are Invited!

Crossroads Academy Middle School

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Wednesday, January 7th
8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
The Crossroads Academy will officially open its new Middle School building at 1011 Central with a public ribbon-cutting ceremony, and you and your colleagues are invited to attend.
The event will begin with a brief program at 8:30 a.m. at Quality Hill Playhouse (303 West 10 St). Guests will then walk to 1011
Central at 8:45 for the Ribbon Cutting, followed by student-led building tours.
During the construction project, 1011 Central was transformed from a former office space into a 21st Century Middle School and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)-based facility, according to Executive Director Dean Johnson. The building now features fifth grade classrooms, Middle School Learning Studios, Science Labs, Visual Arts Studios, Performing Arts Studio, multiple Common Areas and Study Rooms along with a Multipurpose Room.
“This is a huge milestone for Crossroads Academy, and we want to share this day with all of you who have been essential to our success,” Johnson said. ” I hope you and your colleagues can join us.”
Downtown Kansas City companies involved with the construction project at 1011 Central included:
  • BNIM Architects
  • McCownGordon Construction (general contractor)
  • MC Realty (project manager)

Thanks to this new facility, Kansas City’s Downtown charter school now has a full and complete campus with buildings at 1015 Central (K – 4th grade classrooms) and the adjacent 1011 Central. Crossroads Academy currently serves 280 students in grades K – 7th. At its full capacity, the school will grow to serve nearly 400 students in grades K – 8th

For more information about the Crossroads Academy or about Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting, visit the school’s website at

Work begins on Downtown middle school

Crossroads Academy has officially launched construction on its new 21st Century Middle School located at 1009 Central.

During an internal school celebration on Tuesday (Sept. 16), 5th-7th grade students helped jump start demolition as they used sledgehammers and mallets to bring down walls in the newly acquired building.

5th grade students at Crossroads Academy stand ready to begin knocking down walls.

5th grade students at Crossroads Academy stand ready to begin knocking down walls.

Guests on-hand for the school celebration included representatives from DST, Americo Financial Life & Annuity, McCownGordon Construction, BNIM Architects, MC Realty and the Downtown Council.

Companies involved with the construction project 1009 Central include:

During the 14-week construction project, 1009 Central will be transformed into a 21st Century Middle School equipped with Science Labs, Learning Studios, a Multipurpose Room, Common Areas, School Kitchen and Performing Arts Studio.

Executive Director Dean Johnson noted the importance of this new facility during the launch celebration.

“This campus expansion at 1009 Central is an essential aspect of our mission to prepare students to excel in high school,” Johnson said. “This Middle School facility will help ensure our students are ready to achieve in high school as they prepare for the 21st Century workforce.”

Construction is scheduled for completion in December 2014 and will open for students when they return from Winter Break on Jan. 6, 2015.

For more information about Downtown’s charter school, visit the Crossroads Academy website.

Students to sell lemonade on Downtown street corners

Six old-fashioned lemonade stands will dot the Downtown landscape on Wednesday, Aug. 27, as Crossroads Academy students take to the streets to sell cups of refreshing, cold drinks.
Crossroads Academy students and teachers will be selling lemonades at six Downtown street corners over lunch on Wednesday.

Crossroads Academy students and teachers will be selling lemonades at six Downtown street corners over lunch on Wednesday.

This week’s hot summer weather is perfectly timed, as the students at Downtown’s charter elementary school play host to the lemonade stands from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. tomorrow.
Make plans now to take time out during lunch on Wednesday to stop at one of the stands and purchase a cup of lemonade for $1. An interactive map of the stand locations is available on the Crossroads Academy’s website.
Downtown lemonade stations include:
  • 10th & Baltimore (Central Library)
  • 11th & Broadway (DST)
  • 11th & Main (Planet Sub)
  • 12th & Walnut (Oppenstein Park)
  • 12th & Oak (City Hall)
  • 13th & Walnut (Power & Light District)

For more information:


Student artists to ‘take flight’ on First Friday

Save the date, as Artists Take Flight on Friday, May 2!

Be sure to add The Roasterie to your May 2nd First Friday gallery list! More than 200 pieces of Crossroads Academy original student art will be displayed at this unique First Friday event from 5:30-8 p.m. at The Roasterie’s Cafe and Bean Hanger, 1204 W. 27th.

Light appetizers and drinks will be provided until 7 p.m. This is a free community event open to the public!

Artists Take Flight is a culminating event for the Crossroads Academy Visual Arts program. Crossroads Academy is wrapping up its second successful year as Downtown’s charter elementary school.

Students in grades K-6 spend two hours every week in the Visual Arts Studio studying curriculum based on the Elements and Principles of Design. Scholars are exposed to a variety of 2D and 3D media with art history and historical information woven throughout each unit. The program strives to help students develop their visual literacy skills so they have a greater understanding and appreciation of art, skills we hope will continue to mature throughout their education at Crossroads Academy and beyond.

Select pieces will also be available for sale for $20, with proceeds benefitting a Crossroads Academy Fine Arts fund for future Visual and Performing Arts purchases.

For more event information visit

DTC, Central Library to celebrate Crossroads Academy’s 2nd year

The Central Library, the Crossroads Academy and the Downtown Council will collaborate on a special breakfast event next week to mark the home stretch of the second full year of successful operations at the school.

The Crossroads Academy is the academically rigorous, tuition-free, elementary charter school in Downtown Kansas City. The school works in close partnership with the  Central Library, the school’s library, the Downtown Council and the Downtown Community Improvement District on many fronts.

You are invited to attend this free event at 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 16, at the library. To RSVP, click here or call 816-701-3407.

Following a light breakfast buffet, a brief program will begin at 8:30 a.m. and feature the premiere of a student-produced video about the Library, plus a song by students in the school’s new performing arts program. Remarks will be made by Dean Johnson and Susan Maynor from Crossroads Academy, Bill Dietrich, Downtown Council president, and Crosby Kemper III, Library director.


Downtown charter school wins support to double its size

The Crossroads Academy charter elementary school in Downtown Kansas City received an endorsement this week on its plan to use $5.5 million in tax incentives to double its size. The endorsement came from a city development agency.

The school, which was founded two years ago in a former office building at 1015 Central St., wants to acquire the building next door at 1009 Central so it can expand to include middle school students. Its current enrollment is 230 students, kindergarten through fifth grade, and the expansion would allow it enroll 270 students by fall, according to The Kansas City Star.

Reporter Kevin Collison wrote in today’s digital edition of The Star:

The Kansas City Tax Increment Financing Commission endorsed the school’s request for $5.5 million in TIF assistance from the existing 11th Street Corridor TIF Plan covering the area.

The Crossroads Academy request now goes to the Kansas City Council for final consideration where it is expected to be approved.

The Downtown charter school has been supported as another amenity to the revitalization of downtown by proving educational opportunities for children of both residents and employees.

Dean Johnson, co-founder of Crossroads Academy and its executive director, praised the TIF Commission support.

“We think it’s not only a great day for Crossroads Academy, but for public education in Kansas City and the ongoing urban revitalization of Downtown,” he said.

Crossroads wants to buy and expand into the Uhlmann Building at 1009 Central. The Uhlmann Co. supports the sale and is considering moving its 10-employee operation to midtown Kansas City. The school also wants to buy its existing building which it now leases. The entire investment is estimated at $7 million.

The $5.5 million in tax increment financing aid would come from the 11th Street TIF Corridor Plan established in 1992 to help fund improvements on the west side of downtown between Ninth and 12th streets. The area has attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment, and part of the new tax revenue has financed the TIF plan’s improvements.

Supporters said a charter school was exactly the kind of public amenity the 20 year-old TIF plan was designed to encourage, but the idea was opposed by TIF commissioners representing Kansas City Public Schools, Jackson County and the Kansas City Public Library when it was first introduced in February.

The TIF Commission delayed their consideration of the Crossroads Academy plan last month because of the concerns expressed by those representatives.

In a compromise that addressed concerns that school district revenues generated by the TIF Plan could potentially be used to support a charter school project, the Crossroads Academy request was amended to remove that funding source.

The revised plan was approved by the TIF Commission on a 7-4 vote, with the two school district representatives, one library representative and one of the two Jackson County representatives opposed. All the city-appointed TIF Commissioners voted in favor of the proposal.

Crossroads Academy supporters say the expansion project still is on track for completion this fall if the Council approves the plan. It is expected to be introduced to the Council next month.

“We want to move forward with all deliberate speed,” Johnson said.

Crossroads Academy honors Downtown Council, CID

Downtown’s newest icon dreamed BIG on Thursday evening before a sold-out audience of supporters at its annual dinner celebration.

The Crossroads Academy, Downtown’s charter elementary school, held its Dreaming BIG in Downtown Kansas City event on Thursday evening to celebrate the school’s successful first full year of operations.

“We continue the big dream of educational excellence in the vibrant heart of Downtown Kansas City,” said Executive Director Dean Johnson. “Your support helps bring our students’ big dreams to life as they receive a high quality urban education among the city’s skyscrapers.”

Johnson presided over a brief program and presented the Downtown Council and the Community Improvement District with special honors for their contributions to the school’s success. Bill Dietrich, president and CEO; Sean O’Byrne, vice president for business development; Mark Rowlands, director of the CID; and 15 members of the DTC and CID staffs were on hand to accept the recognition and received two paintings by Crossroads Academy sixth graders.

Johnson credited the Downtown Council and the CID Ambassadors as being essential partners in achieving the school’s vision: “To be the premier urban school serving Kansas City’s youth and a destination for other educators seeking inspiration and best practices. Graduates of Crossroads Academy will be scholarly, culturally literate and service oriented individuals who will pursue their dreams relentlessly and have a positive impact on their family, their community and the world.”

 The Crossroads Academy began serving students on Sept. 4, 2012, with 190 students in grades kindergarten through fifth. Students originating from 25 different schools enrolled for the inaugural year, forming a diverse student body in terms of socioeconomic, race/ethnicity and levels of preparation indicators.  For the current 2013 – 2014 year, the school has an expanded student body with 230 students in kindergarten through 6th and began the year with more than 60 on the wait list.
For more information on the Crossroads Academy and to find ways you can help the school achieve new heights, visit the Crossroads Academy.

Crossroads Academy to celebrate new year with 6 lemonade stands

Crossroads Academy students and staff will celebrate the beginning of the new school year with Back-to-School Week in Downtown Kansas City next week. The marquee event will be six student-run lemonade stands from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28. Click here for a map of the locations.

Take time our during your lunch break next Wednesday to stop by one of the six lemonade stands. Students will be selling cups of lemonade for $1 each. You will be able to meet Crossroads Academy students and learn more about the school. A Downtown Community Improvement District Ambassador will be on hand at each of the stands.

Stands will be located at:

  • 11th and Broadway (DST)
  • 11th and Main (Planet Sub/Town Pavilion)
  • 12th and Wyandotte (Marriott Hotel)
  • 12th and Walnut (Oppenstein Park)
  • 13th and Walnut (NE corner, parking garage next to Power & Light District)
  • 12th and Oak (City Hall)

As a K – 6th grade charter school set among the city’s skyscrapers, Crossroads Academy utilizes the Downtown neighborhood as an extension of its urban campus. Other Back-to-School Week events will include Downtown Sidewalk Chalk Art on Monday, Adult Recess at Oppenstein Bros. Memorial Park next Thursday and Crossroads Academy’s logo displayed in lights on the Downtown Marriott Hotel this weekend — Friday Friday through Sunday evenings. Click here for more Back-to-School news.

Crossroads Academy is a K – 6th grade public charter school located at 1015 Central in Downtown Kansas City. Its mission is to prepare students to excel in high school by providing an academically rigorous K – 8 education as it strives to be the premier urban school serving Kansas City’s youth and a destination for other educators seeking inspiration and best practices. The school is beginning is second year.

KCPT shines its spotlight on Crossroads Academy

One of Downtown Kansas City’s newest shining stars, the  Crossroads Academy elementary charter school, is basking in the media spotlight this month.

KCPT, Kansas City’s public television channel, is airing an eight-minute feature story on the first-year school on The Local ShowThe story examines how the school’s urban location is providing students with unique cultural and civic educational opportunities and giving parents who live in the downtown area a neighborhood school option.

“Our vision at the Crossroads Academy is to be the premier urban school serving Kansas City’s youth and a destination for other educators seeking inspiration and best practices,” said Dean Johnson, executive director and co-founder, who said he was delighted with the KCPT story.

KCPT is working in partnership with the Downtown Council to identify and produce a minimum of four stories per year on topics of strategic importance to Downtown. The Crossroads Academy story is the second story this that falls under this agreement. The first story on the burgeoning Silicon Prairie tech district in the Crossroads made its debut in March.

Click here to watch the Crossroads Academy segment that began airing on May 16.


Downtown elementary school fills neighborhood need

“For the past 10 years, Kansas City has strived to turn downtown into a real neighborhood. The main ingredients were all there — new loft housing, a vibrant library, parks, cultural amenities, even a grocery store.

But one crucial element was lacking: An all-purpose elementary school.

Now that’s no longer the case.”

This is how The Kansas City Star began its page one article on Downtown’s new charter elementary, Crossroads Academy. The article, written by reporter Lynn Horsley, helped to introduce this outstanding new educational entity to the greater Kansas City area.

Horsley went on to report:

“Since Sept. 4, nearly 200 children have filled and enlivened a 100-year-old office building that has been transformed into the Crossroads Academy charter school.

“The address is 1015 Central St. But in a way, the entire downtown serves as their classroom as the children study at the nearby central library, meet the mayor at City Hall, enjoy recess at Barney Allis Plaza and sit star-struck at Folly Theater productions.

“’We wanted the kids to have access to the arts and culture and civic assets of our city,” said Crossroads Academy Executive Director Dean Johnson. “What a great, rich place for a school to be.’”

“Opening the elementary school fulfills a longtime dream of the Downtown Council, which every two years has surveyed residents on their desires for a revitalized neighborhood.

‘“Clearly at the top of that list is the need for a high quality school for them, close to where they work or live,” said Downtown Council President Bill Dietrich.”

To read the rest of Horsley’s story, follow this link:

New elementary charter school now enrolling

Crossroads Academy of Kansas City is a tuition-free elementary charter school located at 1015 Central in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri with a mission  to prepare students to excel in high school by providing an academically rigorous K-8 education. Their vision is to be the premier urban school serving Kansas City’s youth and a destination for other educators seeking inspiration and best practices. The Crossroads Academy will open September 4, 2012 with 170 students in grades K-5 and will eventually grow to serve 370 students in grades K-8.

Immersed in the civic, artistic, financial and historic heart of Kansas City, Crossroads Academy embraces the exceptional learning opportunities of our urban setting with a  curriculum is aligned with the Missouri State and Common Core Standards and grounded in the Framework for 21st Century Learning. Their highly-qualified teachers establish the expectations, structure, accountability and creative environment necessary for truly exceptional learning.

The Crossroads Academy is enrolling now through March 31. An enrollment fair will be held from 10 am-2 pm on Saturday, March 24 at 1015 Central, the future home of the school. You’re invited to tour the building, complete an enrollment application and learn more about the Crossroads Academy vision for a dynamic urban education.