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Flipping The Script And Teaching From The Women's Perspective

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Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy
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KCUR
Tara Haskins, school leader of Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy

Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy opened in 2018 as the only single-gender charter school in Kansas City.

KC Girls Prep came about from when a Kansas City police officer realized that some of the behaviors that she was seeing in the community started in the schools.

That officer got in touch with the Young Women's Leadership Network, an experienced developer of single-sex schools. The result was the academy opening its doors and that officer sitting on the school's board.

Tara Haskins is school leader of KC Girls Prep. Early on in the process of launching the academy she connected with community members to see how they felt and what they wanted from the institution.

"I remember having lunches and dinners with families," Haskins recalls, "and one thing that they share was, 'I really want my daughter to be in a space where she is loved and affirmed.'" The school leader realizes that "Love is one of the hardest things to operationalize but it is the core driver all things."

At KCGPA injecting love isn't an easy task. It begins with faculty and staff getting to know each student individually and learning what's special about them.

KCGPA's mission is to build a truly anti-racist and feminist space where all voices are valued. Haskins says, "We start with our curriculum. We're asking ourselves, 'Are our students reflected?"

KC Girls Prep knows it has to fight against racism but as school leader Haskins observes, "We're not going to undo 400 years of oppression in one school year . . . but I guarantee we are going to actively work against it so that when our scholars leave our space they have the tools necessary to dismantle the system."

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Reginald David is an assistant producer with Up To Date. You can reach him at reginalddavid@kcur.org.
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