An update on the Liberty Public Schools, reports on other Northland districts and plans for the next Career Speaker Series were topics for the Northland Education and Business Alliance Feb. 1 meeting.
With approximately 25 members attending, the group first heard from Dr. Jeremy Tucker, superintendent of Liberty Public Schools. The meeting was held at the offices of Northwest Missouri State University– Kansas City and via Zoom videoconferencing.
Dr. Tucker highlighted recent strategies since he joined the district eight years ago, including contact with community groups like NEBA and potential industry partners. He noted the district now has a large range of programs that feature workforce training and career awareness.
“The key question that was developed was, ‘What does it take for students to thrive?’” he said, noting that virtually every area possible was examined for potential.
Theoretical to Practical
One example was development of virtual snow days, online resources that allow for virtual classrooms when bad weather forces building closures. That proved valuable when Covid struck and virtual programming was needed for all the district’s 12,450 students.
Other developments have included seeking district business partners to help with real-world learning. Another initiative involves collaboration with programs like the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) and the Kansas City Tech Academy. Liberty schools were also among the first to join a student-focused effort by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Dr. Tucker said all of this is to better prepare students for what they’ll face after graduation. “We want them to be ready for what they’ll face in the workforce or college,” he concluded. “We’re preparing students by giving them real job exposure and learning opportunities.”
Other NEBA Progress
Led by NEBA Co-Chairs Amy Washam and Courtney Reyes, the group also discussed the successful January Career Series, the ongoing monthly speaker events on career fields featuring local professionals. The next installment will be Feb. 15 and cover health sciences (both human and animal) as well as human services.
An affiliate of the Clay County Economic Development Council, NEBA has become an active link for educators and business leaders to help prepare a highly trained workforce with valuable opportunities in the Northland.
Several noted that, taken together, all of these efforts are unique in the region. “What we do here is pretty special around greater Kansas City,” EDC Executive David Slater said. “It’s pretty special that we can have something like this North of the River.” He noted efforts are under way to create a similar program in Jackson County.For more information, visit the NEBA website, nebaworkskc.org.