Our School

Our Mission

Acting on its conviction that every child has promise, Gordon Parks provides urban-core children, including those who are at-risk, an individualized education that is balanced to develop character, intellect, creativity and physical well-being.


Gordon Parks Elementary School is a kindergarten through second grade charter school serving just over 80 students in 2013-2014. Founded in 1999 by Dorothy Curry and Sue Jarvis, Gordon Parks was named in honor of the groundbreaking African-American photographer, who proudly endorsed the school’s mission of educating urban core children to reach their full potential.

With its exceptional teachers, small classes (no more than 18 per class) and a vision of a holistic curriculum integrated with the arts, Gordon Parks offers an outstanding education to all children. With its intensive support services in special education, counseling, and social skills development, Gordon Parks is particularly well established to serve students whose education is hindered by various risk factors.

Each year:

  • 98% of Gordon Parks’ students qualify for the free/reduced lunch program, a common indicator of low-income used by schools. 
  • Many of our students are pained by broken families or exposure to violence in their homes or neighborhoods.

Despite these obstacles, Gordon Parks’ students inspire others with their intelligence, creativity and determination to learn. Like our school's namesake, they are overcoming challenges to realize and contribute their unique genius to the betterment of the world around them.

As a charter school, Gordon Parks receives public funding. But to maintain our small classes, curriculum and intensive support services we also depend on the generosity and dedication of donors and volunteers, who are all essential members of our Gordon Parks team. Collectively, this team provides the environment, resources and high expectations necessary for our students to thrive.

Gordon Parks is sponsored by the University of Central Missouri (UCM), and accountable to both the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Schools (DESE) and the U.S. Department of Education. Gordon Parks is a registered 501(c)3 organization and is governed by a board of directors.

Annual Reports: