30 W Pershing Rd Suite 402
Kansas City, MO 64108
Kansas City, MO
University of Missouri—Columbia
The MU Office of Charter School Operations monitors school operations throughout the year and provides an annual statement regarding how well a school is complying with its stated charter goals. These web pages provide information about the school, including
- Academic Performance
- Governance and Operations
Based on this and information gathered in other monitoring activities our office conducts, we provide the adjoining Sponsor Statement.
SY 2019 was Frontier’s first year in MU Sponsorship
Frontier Schools Sponsor Statement 2019
Frontier Schools (“FS”) was welcomed to the MU portfolio on March 1, 2019. FS, based in Kansas City, is a college preparatory, PK-12th grade public charter school serving more than 1600 students at four locations. FS implements a well-defined curriculum, supported by research-based best practices and proven resources that align with Missouri Learning Standards. Having a STEM focus, students participate in inquiry-based and problem-solving opportunities, with a strong emphasis on mathematics and science to prepare them for future grade levels and success in the real world.
Previously under the sponsorship of UMKC, MU and FS’ Board has agreed to move forward with expectations set forth in the FS-UMKC Performance Contract developed for the 2019 renewal. In the 2017-18 academic year, FS’ leadership began the renewal process and it worked in collaboration with UMKC to conduct in-depth audits of governance, operations and academics to assess compliance with the FS-UMKC Performance Contract as well as statutory pre-requisites. Following an extensive review, UMKC concluded that FS had met or exceeded all expectations with regard to the implementation of its charter. MU reviewed FS’ application for renewal and UMKC’s audit reports prior to issuing a letter of support for FS’ renewal. The State Board of Education approved FS application for charter renewal on March 26, 2019.
This report is structured by the expectations set forth in the Performance Contract with MU. FS appears to be compliant with the provisions of its Performance Contract in all areas: Governance, Operations and Academic Outcomes. 2018-19 state assessment results in ELA and Math demonstrate that FS is outperforming KCPS in achievement and, significantly, in growth. In fact, FS is outperforming MO in its subgroup Math achievement.
FS engaged in extensive strategic planning in the process of developing the 5-year Strategic Plan and Budget that support its 2019-2025 Performance Contract with MU. We look forward to continued success in the implementation of its Strategic Plan, which includes the acquisition/construction of a new facility to expand PK through 5th grade opportunities south of its Frontier School of Excellence (6-12th grade) location.
- The FS Board of Directors abides by all relevant laws and regulations regarding meetings and conducts business in accordance with accepted business and procurement practices. The board receives monthly updates on school operations and detailed school leadership reports regarding academics, operations and plans for expansion. The diversification of the Board as well as the formation of essential committees has been an item of discussion and we look forward to positive growth and corresponding impact on school operations and academic success.
- FS actively seeks out community partnerships and benefactor/grant opportunities in an effort to increase development of community partnerships. Additionally, FS meets expectations regarding fiscal health and industry norms. The board approved 2019-2025 Budget incorporates a conservative and compliant plan for maintaining healthy fund balance levels throughout the renewal period. FS maintains a very strong fund balance which exceeds 36% and, as such, will comfortably accommodate the acquisition and construction of a Pre-K-5th grade facility to accommodate projected expansion of FS’ elementary program.
- FS meets all federal and state reporting requirements in a timely manner. Notwithstanding overall positive 2018-2019 assessment results, FS was identified per ESSA as Targeted for low growth and/or achievement in its subgroup, Special Education.
- The 2019 Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) underwent significant changes in reporting that proves challenging when working to hold sponsored schools accountable to Performance Contracts tied to APR scores. Nevertheless, FS continues to outperform KCPS. We expect to see continued focus on academic achievement and growth and are looking forward to supporting FS’ leadership’s implementation of a rigorous 5 year Strategic Plan.
Frontier Schools Overview
Frontier Schools is a network of schools serving the entire Kansas City, Missouri school district. The network includes two high schools, two middle schools and an elementary school. The current strategic plan calls for an additional elementary school.
The mission of Frontier Schools is to empower students to discover and develop their gifts and talents;
• in pursuit of college readiness, productive citizenship, and lifelong learning
• within an atmosphere of academic excellence with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) focus
• to prepare for the STEM-related jobs now projected for the American workforce
• meeting the needs of all, including those whose primary interest is non-STEM
• providing flexibility to expand in the future to a STEAM environment by adding an Arts component
The vision of Frontier Schools is to become a vibrant, innovative educational leader collaborating with other academic, business and community institutions.