This year has been very exciting as Friends of Hale Cook has worked with KCPS on how to cultivate a school culture, transform a vacant building into a thriving center for learning and community, and evolve from a grassroots campaign into a more sustainable nonprofit to support Hale Cook students, families, teachers, administrators and friends for years to come.
We have a lot of great updates to share with you below and encourage you to consider volunteering with us in 2014.

Friends of Hale Cook and our perspective on education in KCMO

With extensive coverage and multiple plans being brought forward, Friends of Hale Cook looks forward and remains positive about the future of public education in our city
Without question, there has been extensive coverage in recent months about proposed plans to change how our public schools are administered and under what authority as well as the potential impact that might have on KCPS, our public school district. We agree that while even more work needs to be done to truly transform public education in Kansas City, Missouri, we can be part of the success of the District.
In early January, the Friends of Hale Cook board of directors met and agreed to send a letter to Commissioner Nicastro, the State Board of Education, our Kansas City representatives in Jefferson City as well as a copy to KCPS leadership. Sometimes news coverage can take a very negative tone and we felt it was important to share our perspective as parents and community members who have been working hard to make a difference in partnership with the District.
We can assure you that we are tracking the entire process very closely. Friends of Hale Cook is confident that an effective model for community and parent involvement in education is critical to the sustained success of not just Hale Cook Elementary but for all schools. We believe that you are all part of that effort. Please do not hesitate to send us your thoughts on this issue as we always welcome your feedback.

Best Committee EVER: Brookside St. Patty’s Warm-Up Parade

We’re going to have a lot of fun planning for this one!  
Please join us on Sunday, January 26 from 2pm-4pm at Bier Station to brainstorm ideas for our float in this year’s Brookside St. Patty’s Warm-Up Parade. This year’s theme: Shamrock Shenanigans. Everyone is welcome!
Please note: this is an establishment that serves alcohol and there will not be special activities for kids. However, we would love to hear what the kiddos would like to do for the parade so they are welcome with adult supervision!
Save the date for March 15 and join Friends of Hale Cook in the parade!

Culture Committee: Building a partnership with KC Healthy Kids

Among many activities, we are working to build a solid relationship to help us meet our goals 
At the last Culture Committee, KCPS partner KC Healthy Kids presented their Farm to School Academy which aims to expose children to locally grown food, including a service that might allow us to use the food grown in our gardens for student lunches at Hale Cook Elementary. We were thrilled by their initial proposal and many of the other programs they offer and KC Healthy Kids will be investigating next steps for implementation.
The committee is also working on a parent-teacher agreement to set expectations and create a collaborative learning environment. Please join in the conversation to help us shape this proposed document by attending the next Culture Committee meeting on Tuesday, February 4 from 8PM-9:30PM at the Friends of Hale Cook Office (11 E. Gregory, Suite 200).

Fundraising Committee: Bringing a Playground to Hale Cook

Kick-off of a crowdfunding campaign coming soon – we’re looking for volunteers!
 
We have a great campaign in the planning stages to raise funds to bring a playground back to the school grounds and are still looking for volunteers. No previous experience with fundraising necessary – we are looking for all skills (from creative to social media to downright enthusiasm). If you’re interested in participating, please email Paul Bartel or attend the next Fundraising Committee meeting on Tuesday, January 28 from 8PM-9:30PM at the Friends of Hale Cook Office (11 E. Gregory, Suite 200).

School Grounds Committee: Working around the Campus

Join us for our next meeting where we will learn more about best practices for making Hale Cook Elementary a bike-friendly neighborhood
 
BikeWalkKC will be sharing ideas for how KCPS might make the school campus more bike accessible and safe for riders of all ages at our next meeting. We will also be planning two community workshops (February dates to be announced next week) for the campus masterplan. Join us if you’d like to help determine how to manage the bus drop-off and parking areas, green the campus, locate the new playground, and many other opportunities we’ve begun to identify for this multi-year improvement strategy. Our next School Grounds Committee meeting is Tuesday, February 11 from 8PM-9:30PM at the Friends of Hale Cook Office (11 E. Gregory, Suite 200).

Pre-K enrollment underway!

KCPS has already received several applications and we are very excited by the response!
We have updated the FAQ section on our website with even more information about the new Pre-K Program to be offered at Hale Cook Elementary. KCPS is still working on some of the specifics (including selecting the curriculum model) but we have a great deal of new information that we hope will make your choice even easier.
The enrollment process is the same for the Pre-K program as for kindergarten through second grade – just use the form (see link to the right). With only 20 spots in each Pre-K classroom, we encourage you to get your application in to Julie Lynch as soon as possible.
3 more information sessions announced
Join us next month to learn more and enroll for Fall 2014
Julie Lynch, the KCPS Hale Cook Transition Coordinator, will be hosting with Friends of Hale Cook three more information session next month. She will be available to provide you with an overview of the school, answer your questions and accept your enrollment applications.
Please join us for any (or all) of the following information sessions and, as always, children are welcome!
  • Tuesday, February 4 from 6PM-7:30PM at 11 E. Gregory, Suite 200
  • Monday, February 10 from 6PM-7:30PM at 11 E. Gregory, Suite 200
  • Thursday, February 27 from 6PM-7:30PM at 11 E. Gregory, Suite 200

Are you ready to enroll today?

Julie Lynch is also available on scheduled Monday mornings at Hartman Elementary School (8111 Oak Street) to receive your completed applications. Avoid the hassle of going downtown by visiting Julie on Mondays with your completed forms! Please check our calendar for the days that she is available.
Here’s a link to the enrollment form and checklist of supporting documentation for your convenience. More information is available at kcpublicschools.org