Laura Miller and her two sons feel at home at Citizens of the World Kansas City, and part of that feeling comes from the community that has been created at the school. Laura said one of her favorite things about the elementary school is the weekly gathering on Fridays – Friday Sing – where she gets to come and participate in the all-school assembly. “I’m there every week!,” she said. “Being able to come every week and for my sons to see me there, it provides an opportunity for me to be present in their academic setting.”
Friday Sing is a time when teachers, students and staff gather together to sing and celebrate each other. Students are recognized for embodying the school’s core values of: Excellence, Diversity, Authenticity, Change, and Community. The feeling in the room is joyful and focuses on positivity and community. For Laura, this weekly tradition continues to provide a way for her to be a part of her sons’ school experience.
Why did you choose to send your children to Citizens?
I liked that there was just as much emphasis on emotional behavioral health as there is on academic education. I also like that it feels like a neighborhood and community school. We love seeing people from school at the park or at our favorite restaurants. It really feels like a lot of people are really invested there and like the school is a true community. I’ve also noticed that when a family might be in crisis at Citizens, in addition to the school supporting the family, other Citizens families also step in and help. Everyone cares about each other.
Excellence is one of CWC’s core values: There is a focus on rigorous academics as well as a focus on the fact that there is a lot that contributes to a kid’s success beyond test scores. How have you seen this ring true with your child?
I love the way they teach reading! My boys are in Kindergarten and first grade, so I haven’t been around kids learning to read since I learned how to read! At Citizens, it just seems very hands-on and palatable. I also love that they separate into specific reading groups from early in Kindergarten so students are able to be challenged where they are in the reading process.
You mentioned valuing the focus at Citizens on social-emotional learning. How have you seen your children develop confidence in talking about their emotions and understanding their emotions?
Specifically with my first grader, he’s able to use “I feel” statements when talking to his brother and sister about situations. Last year he was able to verbalize things he was learning from the school’s core values of Excellence, Diversity, Authenticity, Change, and Community. He would talk about authenticity and being able to roll with change and things like that. He is learning very important skills.