Kansas City and education don’t always receive positive press, but this week, the tides have changed.
Kansas City is one of 27 “education innovation clusters” worldwide recognized by digital publication Education Week. Included for multi-district efforts to improve education, Kansas City was recognized by Education Week in particular for partnerships among the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Think Big Foundation, Blue Valley CAPS, the Lean Lab, and Blue Hills Community Services.
Many clusters from around the nation converged this week at Chicago-based incubator 1871 to share their own ideas of education and innovation. Representing Kansas City were The Lean Lab, Kauffman Foundation, Blue Valley CAPS and Think Big Partners.
Lean Lab CEO Katie Boody said that the education clusters were brought together with the U.S. Department of Education and representatives from major universities to conceptualize collaborative and innovative work within education.
After working with leaders from clusters in cities like Boston, Chicago and New York, Boody affirms the momentum of education innovation in Kansas City.
“One thing that was really cool to see was that we are recognized on a national stage and we are big leaders in education innovation,” she said. “You have a major foundation, all the big names and the Department of Education at the table talking about change and it was really cool to see that KC was represented at such a level that it was.”
As Kansas City leaders return from Chicago, Boody said that they have high hopes to use the opportunity to further improve Kansas City.
“(The cluster) needs to keep the momentum going and leverage the resources that we’ve been given,” she said. “It’s validating to know that we’re actually a center of entrepreneurship and innovation and that we’re onto something in Kansas City.”