By Jeff Murphy, May 13, 2021
WARRENSBURG, MO – After becoming one of the state’s pioneering higher education institutions in the sponsorship of charter schools, the University of Central Missouri has announced its role as charter school sponsor will be coming to an end effective by June 30, 2022. While taking this step, UCM will continue to work with all seven charter schools that it currently sponsors as they transition to new sponsors.
The mission-driven decision to transition away from charter school sponsorship was made by UCM’s Board of Governors. Through the UCM Office of Charter Schools in the College of Education, the university currently provides oversight in areas that include academics, finance, governance and operations for seven charter schools that serve students ranging from pre-kindergarten level to 12th grade. These schools and the grade levels currently sponsored are Academie Lafayette, Pre-K-9; Crossroads Charter Schools, Pre-K-12; Gordon Parks Elementary School, Pre-K-4; Guadalupe Centers Schools, Pre-K-12; Hope Leadership Academy, K-4; Kansas City International Academy, Pre-K-8; and Scuola Vita Nuova, K-8. Each of these schools is located in Kansas City.
Action by the university’s governing board allows UCM to more closely align its resources to pursue its mission, which is focused on providing a quality post-secondary education to students in Missouri and beyond.
The university reached out to lead administrators at each of its sponsored schools this week to let them know about its plan and to offer support as needed between now and through their transition to a new sponsor. State law requires charter schools to have a sponsor. UCM is confident that these charter schools can work collaboratively with other authorized charter school sponsors to continue to successfully serve their communities. The university will provide an opportunity for potential sponsors to meet with charter school boards and administrators to discuss the possibility of transitioning sponsorship.
“We appreciate the opportunity to have played an instrumental role in the education of Missouri primary and secondary students as a longtime sponsor of charter schools. It has been a tremendous experience working with many administrators, board members, faculty and staff at these schools, and we’re grateful for their commitment and dedication to student learning,” said UCM President Roger Best. “We also thank the faculty and staff in our College of Education, and particularly our Office of Charter Schools, who have sought to make a positive difference in the lives of charter school students. They have committed countless hours of service to students for more than two decades, and we’re proud of their efforts.”
The university, which was founded as a Normal School in 1871, has a 150-year history of preparing exceptionally qualified educators for the State of Missouri and continually seeks opportunities for innovations to benefit schools and students. Its College of Education partners with schools and school districts through initiatives such as "Grow Your Own Future" and provides undergraduate, graduate, and Education Specialist degrees for aspiring and current teachers and administrators.