LET CHILDREN DISCOVER THEIR OWN BRILLIANCE
Parent and Board of Directors Chair
Luke Norris is a founding member of Citizens of the World Kansas City’s board. While he still serves as the board chair, this year he also has another very important role with the school - he’s now also a Citizens parent! His daughter is in Kindergarten this year, and Luke and his wife, Tracey, are seeing her excel and thrive. “We’ve seen her ability to sound out, spell, and write words really increase. She’s using techniques like tapping her arm for the number of syllables in the word, and she’s doing better with phonetics and sounding out and spelling words.”
Why did you decide to join the Citizens board and be a founding member of the school?
I’ve spent a significant amount of my time as a civic volunteer, working on issues of diversity and inclusion. The more I learned about Citizens of the World and its core values and its mission, it was apparent to me that the school really embodied and valued the same things that I do and that my family does. The school’s culture is really focused on helping students understand and appreciate differences from a very early age and that stood out to me as a really important opportunity for our daughter.
How have you seen Citizens’ focus on social-emotional learning support your child or benefit your child?
I think we’ve seen her use a variety of those skills - both in being able to describe her behaviors or other kids’ behaviors, but also to recognize her own feelings and how those feelings guide her actions. I think it’s helped us help her figure out how to stand up for herself and how to advocate for herself, but it’s also helped her understand her emotions. Some examples are that she will say, “they’re using their red voice,” when someone sounds angry, or she will ask other kids to step back and “respect her bubble space,” or her personal space.
Citizens’ core values are Excellence, Diversity, Authenticity, Change, and Community. Which value stands out to you the most and why?
I would say Excellence. I think at the end of the day we chose Citizens because we think it’s the right school for our child to learn and to excel as a student. The fact that one of the school’s goals or missions is Excellence stands out to us but what really resonated with us is that at Citizens each student is an individual learner and that she’ll be able to benefit from rigorous academics and grow as an individual learner in a way that works for her and makes sense for her. Just knowing that she’ll be able to explore and figure out how she learns best vs. just being taught the same way as every student - that for us is what we think will create Excellence for her.