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Our Guide to Schools in Kansas City


Article by City Lifestyle

Photography by Shutterstock

Kansas City schools vary in their offerings, but they all do their best to provide a quality education to their students.

Whether you have a child just starting out at the elementary level or you’re looking to transfer your middle or high school student to a more suitable school, the right option for you is available in Kansas City.

Take a look at all the great choices in the area and determine which is best for your family’s needs.

Consider Each Kansas City School District

Each neighborhood is assigned a school district. For many people, it’s easiest to stick with the district you live in because it means bussing is available.

This is necessary for many working families. For others, a signature school or career and technical school would be a better option more suited to your child’s needs. You may have to drive your child daily, but it could be worth it if you’ve found a school that offers a great program.

Some districts in Kansas City include:

  • Kansas City Public Schools
  • Park Hill School District
  • North Kansas City School District
  • Center School District

North Kansas City Schools

More than 20,000 students are part of North School District. It’s an award-winning option in the area.

The district boasts a challenging academic curriculum that has earned it national and state accreditations. The district consists of more than 20 elementary schools, four middle schools, two sixth-grade-only facilities, and four high schools.

It is one of the most diverse districts in all of Missouri.

Choosing Kansas City Public Schools

The Kansas City Public School District is operated with funding from the state and local level. Many children within the city attend public school as it provides a free education to all students in grades Pre-K through 12th.

There are also early education options available for 3- and 4-year-old children. 

Kansas City Elementary Schools

Elementary is the starting level for children unless you choose to place them in an early education school. There are two early education options for KSPS:

Students in kindergarten through 5th grade will attend a typical elementary school.

Most hold hours between 8:20 a.m. and 3:20 p.m., but you will need to check with your specific school regarding the start and end times for the day as these can sometimes vary. Breakfast and lunch are both available to purchase, and you can submit an application to enroll your student in the free or reduced lunch program.

Some elementary schools in the area include:

Kansas City Middle Schools

The middle school level is intended for children in grades 6 through 8. Here, your child will get to gain some independence and start exploring his or her interests.

Some sports teams are available at the middle school level, as are clubs and the choice of band, choir, or orchestra. 

The two main middle school options are:

Kansas City High Schools

High school is intended for students in grades 9 through 12. You will have core classes to focus on, yet students also get to choose some electives.

More sports teams are available, as well as a wider variety of clubs and groups. You’ll still get to select if you want to be in band, choir, or orchestra or as well. The high school options are:

Attending Charter Schools in Kansas City

Public schools are not the only option.

Your student can also attend a charter school in the area. Charter schools are still considered public and receive funding, but they are individually operated. There are smaller class sizes, a more advanced curriculum, and more opportunities for college preparation. Your child may have to wear a uniform at a charter school.

There is also an application process and a lottery held to determine which students will receive spots. Some in the area include:

Attending Private Schools in Kansas City

Private schools do not receive funding from the state. They can operate thanks to tuition fees and private donations.

You will pay a yearly fee for your child to attend. Uniforms are typically required. A private school setting places an emphasis on college preparation. There is less time for distraction and a higher standard to which all students are held.

There are still the common core classes along with the option for extracurriculars, but the student-to-teacher ratio is much smaller than that of a public school setting.  

Private Middle Schools in KC

The middle school level for sixth through eighth grade students focuses on responsible freedom, social responsibility, creative expression, and co-learning.

One private middle school option in the area is Kansas City Academy. World history, religions, young adult literature, pre-algebra, P.E., visual art, and theater are just some of the class offerings.

Private High Schools in KC

High schools for ninth- through 12th-graders will offer even more independence and a wider variety of curriculum. Kansas City Academy also offers a high school experience.

College preparation is a major goal. The school also strives to teach students how to become independent thinkers, wise communicators, responsible participants of the world, and instill a passion for social justice.

Seek Religion-Based Learning at Kansas City Christian Schools

Perhaps you’re looking for a Christian-based curriculum.

Your student can receive a typical education involving the teachings of math, social studies, and science, while also getting to delve deep into religious passages and meanings. These schools are also tuition-based and require an application.

Blue Ridge Christian School is one in the area that allows students of all grade levels.

Seek a Catholic Curriculum at Kansas City Catholic Schools

A Catholic education is necessary for some. If this includes your family, there are plenty of possibilities in the area.

There are Catholic elementary schools, middle schools, and Catholic high schools in KC. Most schools ask that you provide a birth certificate and immunization record during the application process, but St. Gabriel Catholic School prefers if you provide a baptismal record as well, verifying your child has been baptized in the faith and will be dedicated to the teachings.

At St. Thomas More School, your student will be required to attend a weekly Mass. Service projects and mission trips are required as well at different parts of the year.

Finding Boarding Schools in Kansas City

You may opt for a boarding school for your child. This option allows the student to live on campus and attend classes daily.

Your child will sleep and study in their room and have very strict policies for keeping company and following curfew. Students quickly learn to be independent in this type of school setting. Some options are specifically intended for troubled teens, with an emphasis on counseling and therapeutic activities on top of a structured education program.

Kansas City Girls Academy is a female-only option, intended for girls ages 12-17. House of Hope is intended for girls 13-17. You don’t have to stick with your own city, either. You can search for boarding schools within the state and still have your student close by.

Day School in Kansas City

A day school emphasizes an individualized curriculum, strong accreditations, and teaching children strong moral values.

One such option is found at Oakhill Day School. They offer various programs starting with early childhood care for children 18 months to 3 years old. Foreign language instruction is started even at this age, and the iPad is introduced because of the necessity of technology in today’s age. 

Lower school is intended for kindergarten through third grade and the intermediate division is for fourth- and fifth-graders.

The final option is for middle school students in grades 6 through 8. There is an option for your child to attend Kids’ Club, which adds extra time to their day for a special club or activity.

Utilizing Summer Schools in Kansas City

You can often speak with your child’s school about the need for summer school learning. Many will offer an in-house option a few weeks after the normal calendar season finishes. Kansas City also offers a Freedom Schools Program.

This program serves children of all ages, either with summer school options or after-school literacy. The Children’s Defense Fund developed this program to help underprivileged youth in the area. The goal is to improve reading comprehension skills and boost a student’s motivation to learn.

Another option is the Kansas City Ballet School Summer Intensive. Ballet dancers looking to improve their skills and get exposed to other dance disciplines should attend. There are boarding and tuition costs for the program. 

Your child’s school will affect much more than just their education. Find a school that will instill the values and lessons you desire that will have an impact on your son or daughter’s future.

Plenty of Kansas City schools exist, each of which will provide an excellent education to your student. Find the best one for your family’s needs.