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Innovative Education

by Angela Orr | Feb 26, 2018
The below excerpt and images are from the 2016-2017 edition of KC Options. Read on Issuu.

CAPS-minThe Blue Valley School District's Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) in Kansas and Northland CAPS, which serves several Missouri school districts, are both changing the way high school students learn. The programs allow pupils to explore professional areas of interest through an industry-based, experiential-learning method, driven by changing workforce needs. 

“CAPS is very intentional about fast-forwarding students by giving them real-world, professional work as their curriculum,” said Blue Valley CAPS Executive Director, Corey Mohn.  “Students quickly adapt and develop critical professional skill sets - or “soft skills” - that propel them with confidence to discover their passions and reach for their dreams.”

The Lean Lab, another K-12 effort, is a nonprofit education incubator for educators to develop new school models, services or products that improve learning for Kansas City, Missouri, students. 

The Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Missouri, is an independent college preparatory school serving students age 2 through 12th grade, while Crossroads Academy in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, is a tuition-free charter school that offers a rigorous K-8 education with a focus on civic, artistic and cultural amenities. Crossroads Academy opened the Quality Hill Academy in August 2016. The new elementary school is currently open to students in kindergarten through third grade. 

Preparing Kansas City's urban students for college and careers is the focus of PREP-KC. Working with five bi-state, urban school districts and two charter schools serving mostly low-income students, PREP-KC supports a more advanced math curriculum, provides the opportunity to earn college credit in high school and offers career-readiness experiences.   

Innovative Ed blog-minThe Olathe School District's 21st Century High School Program was the first in the region to offer an innovative approach to learning. From aerospace engineering to sports medicine, the program provides experiential learning through its four-year customized curriculum.   

The Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) has designed a bridge from high school to college. This partnership between the Lee's Summit, Missouri, R-7 School District University of Central Missouri; Metropolitan Community College and numerous business partners enables high school juniors attending Summit Technology Academy to earn an associate degree at approximately the same time they graduate from high school.   

The University of Kansas' Degree in 3 program helps students reach the workforce faster. Available at its Edwards campus in Overland Park, Kansas, the program gives high school students an early start to a degree, ultimately earning a bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas in three years. Students like the access to internships the program provides and fast-tracking into a job they enjoy. For working professionals,the KU Edwards campus offers late afternoon and evening classes for more than 30 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. The Edwards campus is also home to the KU Professional & Continuing Education program. It provides non-credit professional development opportunities in aerospace, architecture, behavioral sciences, continuing legal education, leadership and management, engineering, law enforcement, and fire and rescue. These trainings are presented in multiple formats, including workshops, webinars, and online courses. KU Professional and Continuing Education also offers academic conferences, research dissemination support, new employee training programs and other services.   

Park University has more than 60 degree programs for undergraduate and graduate studies. The school is known for its affordable tuition and flexible class schedules. Students can take classes at the Parkville, Missouri, campus,online or at 40 other campus centers nationwide. Besides traditional 16-week classes, they alsooffer accelerated eight-week terms for most degree programs.They have many benefits and resources for members of the Armed Forces, such as a 25 percent discount on graduate courses for active duty military. They have programs that help veterans with topics such as transitioning to college, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, education and finances.   

The Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) encourages and supports entrepreneurs and innovators. Their programs help to cultivate early startups from idea to launch. Enrolled UMKC students across all disciplines have access to formal education options including two doctoral degree programs, MBA and Executive MBA programs, a specialized master’s degree in entrepreneurial real estate, an undergraduate program and certificate programs. They also offer community programs for early-stage entrepreneurs and those looking to grow an already established business. These include intensive workshops and seminars, mentoring and an incubator. The UMKC Small Business & Technology Development Center provides entrepreneurs with resources, tools, expertise and contacts.They are the local affiliate for the Kauffman Fast-Trac program, which includes specialized trainings designed for budding entrepreneurs, technology and science-based entrepreneurs, and those who want to grow an existing enterprise. The Center's experienced counselors provide coaching at no cost to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Their ScaleUp! Kansas City initiative helps seasoned small business owners tackle the challenges of expansion by giving them the chance to connect with peers, mentors and resources.   

LaunchCode is a nonprofit organization that matches developers and technologists with jobs and paid apprenticeships. They also offer free, in-person computer education and skills training. Jim McKelvey, co-founder of mobile payments company Square, co-founded LaunchCode in 2013 to address the rising demand for tech talent in the United States. The organization's Kansas City office is inside the Sprint Accelerator in the Crossroads Arts District. LaunchCode's local employer partners include UMB Financial Corporation, blooom, Venture360, Univision Communications, Inc. and Fusion Marketing. UMKC serves as an education partner. Participants in the LaunchCode program must submit an online application and complete an interview. LaunchCode pairs successful candidates with companies for 12-week apprenticeships. During the apprenticeships, LaunchCoders receive mentoring and work side-by-side with experienced tech professionals. Ninety percent of apprentices are hired for permanent employment. 

The KC Animal Health Corridor, the world's largest concentration of animal health companies,introduced the Manufacturing Technician 1 (MT1) Certification program to Kansas City in August 2015. MT1 provides workers with basic skills in manufacturing and production. The credential-based certification comes from the Manufacturing Skills Institute. It covers core competency areas of math and measurement, spatial reasoning and manufacturing technology, and quality and business acumen. The National Association of Manufacturers endorses MT1, and includes it in the National Skills Certification system. Many of the largest animal health companies in the KC region give preference to job candidates who have the MT1 certification. Workers can obtain their MT1 certifications through Missouri Western State University, Metropolitan Community College, Lee’s Summit R7 School District (partnership with Summit Technology Academy), Kansas City Public Schools or the Innovation Stockyard (partnership with Hillyard Technical Center in St. Joseph, Missouri).

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