U.S. Poet Laureate to speak at Central Library on Friday

The U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, a Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry in 2012, will visit Downtown Kansas City on Friday evening to present a free program at the Central Library.

An Evening with Tracy K. Smith will begin at 6 p.m. Friday. There’s a certain poetry to Tracy K. Smith talking about poetry. Click here to RSVP.

“I feel like a poem draws us, draws me, into a quieter space, a decibel level that sits below the register of the media that we live with,” she said shortly after being named the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States a little less than a year ago.

On the heels of the release of her latest book, Wade in the Water, Smith visits the Kansas City Public Library to discuss her life and poetry and read from her works. Director of the creative writing program at Princeton University, she also is the author of a memoir, Ordinary Light, and three previous books of poetry including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Life on Mars.

Crossroads High School to locate in historic Thayer Building

The historic Thayer Building at Ninth and Broadway will be the new home of the Crossroads Preparatory Academy. (Photo courtesy of CitySceneKC.com)

Crossroads Charter Schools has identified the Thayer Building at 816 Broadway as the permanent site for Crossroads High School.

The Thayer Building, which dates to the late 19th Century, continues Crossroads’ tradition of converting historic properties in the heart of Downtown Kansas City into dynamic 21st Century schools, where students engage in authentic learning through civic partnerships and access to nearby cultural and artistic resources.

Dean Johnson, executive director of Crossroads Charter Schools, said the 71,000 square foot building, plus 36,000 square feet of undeveloped land at 9th and Washington, is currently under contract with an expected closing in May 2018.

“The building is in excellent condition and needs only modest renovations. Students and teachers will begin classes in the Thayer Building in August 2018,” Johnson said, noting the building is large enough to accommodate both high school and middle school students.

The inaugural class of Crossroads High School studies at the Downtown campus of Park University, until the Thayer Building is ready for its first class of students.

“The building will open with 190 students in grades 7-10 and grow over time to serve 600 students in grades 7-12,” Johnson said. “The six-story building is large enough that we can create unique learning spaces for our 7th and 8th graders on one floor, 9th and 10th graders on a separate floor, and 11th and 12th graders on the top floor.

“The visual arts, performing arts, STEM labs, maker spaces and other common spaces will be located on the lower floors.”

Phase II plans include construction of a gymnasium on the vacant land at 9th and Washington.

Crossroads High School opened in August 2017 with 35 9th graders in Park University’s Downtown Campus in Commerce Tower, 911 Main St. Kirsten Brown, founding principal of Crossroads High School, is excited to expand the school’s original vision to include middle school.

“With this expansion and relocation to the Thayer Building, we will become Crossroads Preparatory Academy, with the goal of preparing students for post-secondary college and careers. Crossroads Prep will foster an entrepreneurial spirit within students and staff with project based learning and collaborative experiences with community leaders. During their Junior and Senior years, students will be able to take dual credit/AP classes, and our location will allow students to engage in authentic learning experiences.”

Crossroads Charter Schools was founded in 2012 with the goal of reducing the gap between the number of “high quality” school seats in Kansas City and the number of children seeking those seats. Crossroads has grown from one school serving 190 students to three schools serving 690 students. At full-capacity, Crossroads will serve 1,300 students. Enrollment applications for the 2018-19 school year are due on Thursday, March 1.

Increasingly, parents are seeking out an education with Crossroads’ core values of high expectations, authentic learning, creative culture and educational equity.

“It’s our goal that Crossroads graduates are college and career ready, well-rounded, love learning, develop their full potential, are exposed to the many cultural resources of our dynamic city, and dream big for the future,” says Tysie McDowell-Ray, co-founder and Chief Academic Officer.

 

Enrollment fairs begin Saturday at Crossroads Charter Schools

The Crossroads Charter Schools – recently named the Missouri Charter School of the Year is now enrolling for the 2018-19 school year! Be sure to register by March 1st for the enrollment lottery.

Crossroads to launch Downtown high school at Park U. urban campus

Crossroads Charter Schools will open a Downtown High School at a temporary location on the Park University Downtown campus beginning in fall 2018. (Courtesy of The Star.)

The dream of a Downtown Kansas City high school is about to become a reality.

Earlier this year, Crossroads Charter Schools, a network of three schools in the heart of Downtown Kansas City, Mo., revealed the launch of Crossroads High School. Today, Park University and Crossroads announced a partnership for Crossroads High School to utilize the University’s Downtown Campus Center as its temporary home through July 2019.

This fall, the first class of 30 Crossroads High School freshmen, along with five faculty and staff, will occupy three of the University’s classrooms during the day on the third floor of the Commerce Tower redevelopment at 911 Main Street. Crossroads anticipates 70 more students will be added for the 2018-19 academic year while a permanent high school building is prepared to open in fall 2019. Also, as part of the partnership, Crossroads students will have opportunities to visit the University’s flagship campus in Parkville, Mo., to gain additional exposure to college life.

Crossroads will host an open house for its students and parents on Friday, June 9, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Park’s Downtown Campus, to provide a sneak peek of the opportunities they will have to engage in the downtown community and its accessibility to the city’s streetcar line, which has a stop outside the building.

“We are excited that Crossroads students will expand their studies in this newly renovated, high-tech, university setting,” said Dean Johnson, executive director of Crossroads Charter Schools.

Crossroads opened its first elementary school in 2013 in an office building in Downtown Kansas City and by 2017 enrolled roughly 570 students in kindergarten through eighth grade in two Downtown locations.

“Park University is excited to work with Crossroads Charter Schools as it expands to provide education to high school age students,” said Kena Wolf, associate vice president for campus center operations at Park. “These students give the University a unique opportunity to partner in creative and innovative ways, and support our mutual desire to bring convenient education opportunities to the downtown community, which Park has provided since 1974.”

Kirsten Brown, a current teacher at Crossroads, will be the founding principal of Crossroads High School. For more information about Crossroads Charter Schools, visit www.crossroadsschoolskc.org/.

To read more about the Crossroads High School announcement, visit The Kansas City Star at http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article152737769.html and The Kansas City Business Journal at http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2017/05/25/crossroads-high-school-temporary-location.html.

Founded in 1875 in Parkville, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City, Park University is a nonprofit, private institution that is a national leader in higher education. In 2000, Park achieved university status and now serves 17,000 students annually at 40 campus centers in 21 states and online, including campus centers in Parkville, Independence and Downtown Kansas City, Mo.; Austin and El Paso, Texas; Barstow and Victorville, Calif.; and 33 military installations across the country. www.park.edu

Crossroads Charter Schools, which opened in Downtown Kansas City, Mo., in 2012, prepares and inspires students to build a better tomorrow by providing an academically rigorous K-12 education in a creative, collaborative, community-focused environment. Crossroads Academy – Central Street, is a K-8 school at 10th and Central, and Crossroads Academy – Quality Hill, is a K-3 school at 11th and Washington. www.crossroadsschoolskc.org

 

Crossroads Academy: Enroll students by March 31

Do you have school age children and live Downtown?  Then you may be interested to know that the Crossroads Academy of Kansas City, located at 1011 Central in Downtown Kansas city, is enrolling grades K-8 for the 2015-2016 school year. Open enrollment lottery deadline is March 31.

Applications can be found at www.crossroadsacademykc.org. All enrolling families must live within the KCMO public schools boundaries. Of these families, those that live or work in the Greater Downtown Area receive priority in our admissions lottery.

Crossroads Academy of Kansas City is a tuition-free charter school located in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Their mission is to prepare students to excel in high school by providing an academically rigorous K-8 education. The school opened in 2012 with 190 students in grades K-5 and will eventually grow to serve 370 students in grades K-8. Their mission is to develop graduates who are 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.

Immersed in the civic, artistic, financial and historic heart of Kansas City, Crossroads Academy embraces the exceptional learning opportunities of our urban setting.

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 crossroadsacademykc.org.

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.

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.
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: crossroadsacademykc.org/backtoschool/

 

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 crossroadsacademykc.org/artiststakeflight/.

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.