A joint funding initiative of the H&R Block Foundation, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, the Hall Family Foundation, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Collaborative strives to increase the number of quality seats in area schools.
Collaborative members share the following beliefs:
- The solution is bigger than one person, program, or organization.
- We, as adults, are accountable for ensuring that all children have the educational opportunities they deserve.
- We have an abiding interest in, openness to, and commitment to learning from what works in other cities – and in our own.
- We are unwilling to wait for whole-system reform to improve the quality of education for low-income students. We can do something now.
- Student and school achievement data must inform decision-making.
Collaborative members have advanced the following initiatives:
In 2011, the Collaborative began funding small matching grants to individual teachers through Donors Choose. Through June 2014, the Collaborative had funded 541 projects, serving a total of 37,340 students.
Since the 2012-13 school year, the Collaborative has focused on improvement efforts by providing Kansas City area schools with an opportunity to utilize an school-improvement tool called the 5Essentials.
Based on more than 20 years of research by the University of Chicago, the 5Essentials reliably measures changes in a school through an annual survey of teachers and students, predicts school success through data, and provides individualized actionable reports for each school.
More than two dozen Kansas City area district, charter, and private schools serving lower-income students are participating, at no cost, in the 5Essentials program.
The Collaborative is offering the 5Essentials evaluation to:
- Provide schools a research-based approach to identify strengths and challenges to improve student outcomes.
- Gather data from the 5Essentials evaluation to compare all schools, regardless of their status as charter, district, or private.
- Identify shared strengths and challenges among schools that may benefit from potential shared professional development.
- Inform future grant-making strategy for the Collaborative.