By Martha Sanders
The decision of where to send your child to school can feel overwhelming for many families. While parents want to ensure that their student finishes school with all the academic tools they need to be successful, they feel an equally strong pull to ensure that their child is supported and guided with kindness and understanding through the famously tumultuous years of Middle and High School. For some families, these two instincts can feel as though they are in inherent conflict.
As Admissions Director, one of my favorite parts of my job is during a tour, I see a parent realize that their child can have a great education AND a good school experience. Their student intensely feels that they have found their place as we tour Kansas City Academy - "Mom," they say, "can I just stay here? Can I just LIVE here?"
These parents often mention to me not only how kind our students are, but also how much they present their authentic selves. Students answer the prospective parents' questions about their experiences at KCA thoughtfully and honestly, even if their answers aren't what they imagine that parent wants to hear. Touring families see students enthusiastically engaged in learning and talking with teachers who know them well. They watch students engaging in learning cooperatively and feeling a sense of ownership over their education. Families learn during their tours that, at Kansas City Academy, their students will be academically challenged while being supported and respected for their authentic selves.
Once a family has decided to apply, our Admissions Committee takes a holistic look at the student. Admissions criteria are largely goodness-of-fit based. We ask questions such as "Is this a student who we can support at KCA?" "Is this student likely to thrive with us?" Besides past school records, the Committee reads references from previous teachers and other adults in the student's life. Which can include coaches, clergy, principals, or counselors - any adult who knows the student well in a non-academic capacity. The Committee asks probing follow-up questions of references and has meaningful Committee discussions about how KCA can serve each student applicant.
As a former KCA student and parent, I know firsthand how life-changing a student's experience in this community can be. I feel so blessed and honored every day to be able to help families find this school and help them through the process of discovering if Kansas City Academy is the correct fit for their students. If you are interested in a tour of the school, please feel free to contact me!