Crossroads Academy to Celebrate the Opening of New School Building

Kansas City, MO, August 16, 2012 --( On August 18, Crossroads Academy of Kansas City will host a community celebration at its new location at 1015 Central. The Family Picnic and Ribbon Cutting will begin at 5:30 p.m. for students, families, staff and community supporters. The festivities will mark the transformation of a former commercial building in the heart of Downtown Kansas City into our community’s newest elementary school.

The building at 1015 Central is owned by DST Realty and most recently housed the offices of 360 Architecture. The building renovations have been made possible by the support of numerous community partners, including Broadway Square Partners, Mark One Electric, W.L. Cassell and Associates, Moody Nolan Architecture, Redeemer Fellowship Church, Bob D. Campbell and Company Structural Engineers, Vireo Urban Planners and IFF. Christmas in October, a Kansas City nonprofit organization, is leading the construction project. Renovations have included the installation of an elevator to provide accessibility throughout the building, the addition of handicap accessible restrooms, and the creation of fourteen classrooms, including a science lab and art studio.

Crossroads Academy is an academically rigorous charter school sponsored by the University of Central Missouri. The program design of the school includes drawing on the learning and enrichment opportunities available by its Downtown location, the adoption of a more stringent set of academic standards than other Missouri public schools, and increased instructional time made possible by extending school hours to a full eight-hour day. In February, the Missouri State Board of Education voted unanimously to approve Crossroads Academy’s charter application.

The Downtown Council of Kansas City was among the earliest supporters of the school, formally endorsing its opening as a significant contribution to the continued revitalization of the Greater Downtown Area. Among those offering support was Crosby Kemper, III, Executive Director of the Kansas City Public Library and Chair of the Council’s Education Committee, “Crossroads Academy will provide a rigorous education that draws on the opportunities of its location in the heart of Kansas City to expand students’ horizons. The founding vision is grounded in principles I trust will result in a high-achieving school – holding students to high expectations, equipping them with 21st Century skills for effective communication and problem solving and extending the learning environment beyond the walls of a traditional classroom.”

In preparing for its launch, Crossroads Academy has received generous philanthropic support totaling nearly $600,000 from individuals, businesses, and foundations throughout the community who are committed to expanding opportunities for Kansas City’s children. Institutional donors to the school’s launch campaign include the 11th Street Corridor Neighborhood Cooperative, William T. Kemper Foundation, the Kirk Foundation, JE Dunn Construction, the Louetta Cowden Foundation, the Gottlieb Charitable Trust, the R.A. Long Foundation and Target. The school was also awarded a competitive federal grant administered through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to underwrite a portion of planning and startup expenses.

Early fundraising is allowing the school to provide students and teachers with top-notch resources to support learning from day one. Classrooms will be equipped with robust libraries to allow students to build literacy skills and extend their learning based on individual interests in each subject area. Educational technology, including SMARTBoards, mobile computer labs, and wireless connectivity, will be available throughout the building.

“We are humbled by the generosity and enthusiasm with which our school has been greeted,” noted Co-Founder and Executive Director Dean Johnson. “The response of the community speaks to the importance Kansas Citians place on high performing schools serving our children. Our city needs a public educational system parents and employers have faith in if our community is to achieve its full potential. Our hope is that Crossroads Academy can be part of the answer in transforming both the expectations and reality of our public schools.”

Crossroads Academy of Kansas City is fully enrolled, with 190 students in grades K-5 and a growing waiting list. Co-Founder and Principal Tysie McDowell-Ray attributes this to the strong relationships that are already forming among teachers, parents and students. “When parents met the Crossroads Academy teachers at our open houses, they knew this was the right school. Over the summer, our teachers have visited the homes of every single student. Building this rapport early is critical in establishing a strong school culture.”

Over the next five years, enrollment is projected to grow to 370 students in grades K-8. The school’s mission is to prepare students to succeed in high school by providing an academically rigorous K-8 education. Its vision is to be the premier urban school serving Kansas City’s youth and a destination for other educators seeking inspiration and best practices.
Crossroads Academy of Kansas City
Tysie McDowell-Ray