Foundation opens its own charter school

After years of funding education causes, the Kauffman Foundation has opened its own charter school in Kansas City to serve an area with no high-performing schools, reports the Star.  The first class of 100 fifth graders start the day shortly after 7 am and leave at 5 pm — a nearly 10-hour day — unless they’re required to stay another hour for detention. Eventually, the school will educate 1,000 students in fifth through 12th grade.

With $10 million in startup funds, school leaders studied successful urban schools. They decided students needed more learning time and a strict homework regimen.

Longer breaks are built into the day. Longer planning periods for teachers. Students will have physical education every day. Holiday vacations will be longer.

But in the end, everyone will have to embrace the sentiments of teacher Sandy Gelrach, who said, “I want to be at a school where you stay as long as it takes.”

Teachers will take students’ calls about homeowork till 8 pm.

They’re going to burn out their teachers very quickly.  The kids too.


About Joanne


  1. No disagreement about the teachers burning out Joanne. Why doesn’t the school hire private tutors for the time from 5pm to 8pm?

    Why not use the extra time during the day to also give students time to do guided practice? Sending kids who have no space at homework with extra homework to do, and giving them less time to work on it (because they have a longer school day) makes no sense to me.

    On the other hand, I do like the increased physical education time, and longer breaks. Your mind needs down-time when it’s working hard and trying to learn, and exercise helps your brain function (not to mention, it helps you get healthier).

    • For the students, it’s not so different from what my 5th grader is currently doing. She’s in school from 7:45 am – 2:30 pm, takes a break when she gets home, then does homework for another hour.

      This can work for teachers too, if they team teach and one teacher takes the early shift and a different one takes a later shift. I agree that it probably won’t work very well with one teacher going from 7 am straight through to 8 pm.

  2. Cardinal Fang says:

    So the kids are at school from 7 to 5, and then they have homework on top of that?

  3. TFAers think that anyone who wants to spend her entire career as a classroom teacher is either a weirdo or a washout. You do your time, then it’s onward and upward–grad school, finance, starting a charter school, a nonprofit, a consultancy, etc. “Burnout” is built into the model.

  4. I agree with the first two sets of comments…teaching in shifts or bringing in tutors in the afternoon…both make sense…I wish the schools the best of the luck…for the sake of the kids!