Gordon Parks Elementary Partners with local KC artist

      KANSAS CITY, Missouri, July 15, 2019 – In the stairwell at Gordon Parks Elementary, students helped create, in the 2018-2019 school year, a beautiful, unique, metal framed, hanging art piece called the Mobile Project.

         Starting over a year ago, local artist, sculptor, and designer, Chris Duh and members of the Gordon Parks staff began brainstorming a hanging mobile project involving our students.

         A group of Gordon Parks staff members including Gordon Parks’ Child Therapist, Evan Linville, and Third Grade Teacher, Sean Klippel, began meeting with Duh in the Fall of 2018 and they drew up the concept for this mobile. From there they started to involve the students in their classrooms and had lessons about animal adaptations and how they adapt to survive.

         Duh said, “I got to see dedicated teachers and board members work to make a positive change for those that went through the curriculum based project.”

         This art piece reflects the learning, creative process, and development that occurred in our kindergarten and third grade classrooms. This project allowed students to learn about approaches to research different animals and their unique attributes that allow adaptation and survival. Students participated in a guided visualization where they identified three animals and their attributes, and then created their own one-of-a-kind animal. The students drew a picture of their animal and wrote a short story about how their animal can adapt to survive.

         “One of the great things about this type of project is how it enriches the students’ learning experiences,” Linville said. “Not only were Missouri teaching standards fulfilled throughout the project, but kids had hands-on, community-based experiences that also encouraged them to reflect on their own identities, challenges and attributes – a practice which has the potential to deepen understanding and shape each child’s character.”

         While the kids were working on this project in the classroom, Duh worked with Alex Espy at Paul Mesner Puppets. Espy hosted our students for workshops which related to the project and social-emotional development. At these workshops, the third grade class was able to make puppets out of paper bags and draw their invented animals. They wrote stories of origin which shared how their animals got their attributes.

         “I loved the process of making something that leaves a positive impression with children especially,” Duh said. “I feel like we achieved that with this project.”

         To finish this project in the spring of 2019, Duh took the drawing of the animals, scanned and digitally processed them, and had them printed on fabric. The fabric was framed into panels that make the mobile. Duh worked with Robert Zahner, Vice President of A. Zahner Company, a local family owned, world renowned metal fabrication company.

         Duh said, “I also learned a lot about different fabrication processes that allowed me to grow as an artist.”

         Zahner and his team installed and fabricated some needed pieces for hanging this project. This mobile is now on display in our stairwell at Gordon Parks Elementary.

         Linville said, “The kids worked really hard and had a great deal of fun, and our school is more beautiful because of that effort.”

Ms. Terrie awarded for Food Safety Excellence

Terrie Parker is the Kitchen Manager at Treat America and works with Gordon Parks to provide a breakfast and hot lunch for the kids every single day. She keeps our kitchen clean and up to standards year round. For that, the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department has awarded her two years in a row with the Food Safety and Excellence Award.

The award is valid for one year and is based on cumulative inspection reports throughout 2018. The Health Department recognizes that excellence is most fully achieved when food service management fully endorses employee education and training. Therefore, the 2019 award goes to establishments that have exhibited excellence in sanitation and food safety, as well as employee education. Those receiving the excellence award, approximately nine percent of the City’s 3,900 permitted food establishments, substantially exceeded the standards of the food code.

Parker has worked with Gordon Parks off and on for six years. The last three years she has been here full-time. She comes in the morning around seven o’clock to prepare the kids’ sacks for breakfast and then heads back to Treat America to gather the food needed to provide lunch to the students at Gordon Parks.

Parker said, "I love the kids and I love the teachers. I’ve got know everybody really well. We’re just one big happy family.”

Four Finalists for Gordon Parks Elementary

KANSAS CITY, Missouri, May 15, 2019 – Gordon Parks Elementary has four finalists selected for the 2019 Excellence in Education Awards by the Missouri Charter Public School Association (MCPSA). There is a total of five awards given and Gordon Parks has a finalist in three of those five categories.

The Excellence in Education Awards celebrate the work of Kansas City’s most impactful charter public school educators. MCPSA has partnered with SchoolSmart KC to provide teachers and leaders with well-deserved recognition and a monetary award to raise awareness of the importance of high-quality education in the Kansas City region.

Our four finalists at Gordon Parks Elementary are Jennifer Hagemaster - the Academic Officer and Principle, Kirsten Lipari-Braman - the Operations Officer, Megan Green - Kindergarten Teacher and Pam Justus - Behavior Specialist.

Board President, Keli O’Neill Wenzel said, “Gordon Parks Elementary School is growing from strength to strength with a lot more coming. We have a very focused team that is executing on a robust plan.”

Hagemaster and Lipari-Braman are nominated for the School Leader of the Year Award, Green is nominated for the Elementary Teacher of the Year Award and Justus is nominated for the School Leader TEAM of the Year Award. Nominees will attend an awards dinner on May 30, 2019. There they will announce the winner of each category. Winners are eligible to receive a $10,000 personal award.

Gordon Parks Elementary School family is very proud of these nominations and we wish the best of luck to all teachers and leaders who were nominated for these awards.