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Superintendent Cheers Kansas City Public Schools Progress In Annual Address

Elle Moxley

Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Green celebrated the district's recent successes in his annual State of the Schools address Tuesday.

The district regained provisional accreditation last month after losing its standing with the state in 2012. Green, who took over as superintendent shortly thereafter, says many believed at the time the district couldn't be saved.

But he says that attitude isn't helpful in education.

"Just when you're about ready to give up a child, I've seen it happen," Green said. "A child will turn and begin to show signs of improvement, begin to make good decisions, begin to climb out of whatever direction he or she was heading. You should never give up on a child. You should never give up on a district."

Green says that even after KCPS reached state benchmarks to regain accreditation, the State Board asked for evidence of continued improvement and sustained growth. One of the doubters was current Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro, a picture of whom in Green's presentation drew chuckles from the crowd.

But Nicastro is retiring at the end of the year, and Green says he thinks KCPS can achieve full accreditation in 2015.

KCPS Board President Jon Hile also pointed to the reopening of two middle schools and a new elementary school, Hale Cook, as signs of progress in the district.

"They are amazing accomplishments and reflect the value that this district places in our students," said Hile.

Besides accreditation, one of Green's goals for this school year is to increase parental involvement. He wants to see more district parents volunteering at schools. KCPS also hopes to get at least 65 percent of parents to school for parent-teacher conferences this year.

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