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November 11, 2021



At Northeast High School, JROTC drill practice is student-led. Senior cadets give commands, check their classmates' form and offer encouragement.

'COVID Wiped Us Down But Not Out': Rebuilding Northeast High School's JROTC Drill Team

The Northeast High School cadets stand in two rows, backs ramrod straight. Senior Lesley Xolot-Rosas walks between them in his brand-new Class of 2022 hoodie. “Don’t fix yourself,” he coaxes. “Let it happen.”


Eventually, this will become second nature, but for most of the students in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, it isn’t yet.


“COVID wiped us down but not out,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Lewis, the JROTC sponsor. “We lost a lot of senior cadets during the pandemic, but we have a few who have stepped up. They’re really dedicated to making sure the program survives.”


He and Lt. Col. Richard Hilliard watch the drills from a distance, letting Lesley and fellow senior Michael Stivers lead.


“They are self-supporting,” Lewis said. “We like to tell them they’re not here for us. They’re here for each other and to support each other. While they’re winning trophies, they’re having fun meeting other cadets throughout the region.”


Even though the drill team’s first competition isn’t until February, junior Bryce Stivers is already looking forward to it. He joined JROTC his freshman year, before the pandemic, and it’s the thing he missed most during online learning.


Northeast High School students and JROTC cadets Bryce Stivers and Madelyn Villeda said they're happy to be back at school practicing with the drill team again.

“Being here now in-person has done a lot of good. JROTC is my escape,” Bryce said.


Bryce called COVID-19 “a wake-up call” that made him realize how soon he’ll be graduating from high school. He says while he’s considered joining the military, he’d rather pursue a career in journalism.


That’s typical, said Hilliard. Few Northeast JROTC cadets ultimately decide to enlist.


“The purpose of drill isn’t to teach you to go into the Army. It’s to teach you self-control and self-discipline,” Hilliard said. He wants students to graduate with skills that will help them no matter what they do next.


Senior Madelyn Villeda wants to study psychology at the University of Kansas. After joining the drill team last year, she asked Hilliard to help her with her organizational skills. She said she's doing much better now than she was then.


“I’m living in Hillcrest, a special situation for students who don’t have families,” Madelyn said. “In JROTC, I’m working on my leadership skills and my responsibility skills. I’m learning here how to be myself."


Central High School Principal Anthony Madry with students Shamar Conrad Jr., John Gooden and Princess Awulono, all of whom participated in a Cybersecurity Internship Signing Day on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. The students will be working with KCPS robotics teams.

KCPS Celebrates Central Students' Internships

Three Central High School students are helping their classmates build cybersecurity skills — and cool robots.


In partnership with the Cal Poly California Cybersecurity Institute, the Black Chamber of Commerce, McCownGordon and Siemens, KCPS recently hosted a cybersecurity internship signing day at Central High School.


“Someone said, ‘Oh is it like an athletic signing?’ And no, it’s not, but we want to make sure things like this are as important as athletics,” said Crystal Everett, KCPS Manager of Career and Technical Education. Continue reading ...

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Lincoln Blue Tigers Take on Nevada #ForTheCity

The undefeated Lincoln College Preparatory Academy football team takes on Nevada in the Class 4 State Tournament Friday at home. Lincoln advanced after beating Harrisonville 41-14 last week in the semifinals. The winner of Friday's playoff game will go on to compete for the state title. We are so proud of our KCPS student-athletes for all they have accomplished this season. Go Blue Tigers!


Questions About COVID-19? Ask the Experts

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5-11. As we have throughout the pandemic, KCPS is partnering with Children’s Mercy Hospital to get our families the most accurate COVID-19 information.


Please join KCPS and Children's Mercy Hospital for a virtual town hall at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16. This is your chance to learn:


  • What schools are doing to keep students safe during the pandemic
  • Why testing is important and how to enroll KCPS students
  • COVID-19 vaccine facts and where to get children vaccinated

We hope to see you there!




The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the vaccine for children 5 and older. KCPS strongly recommends eligible students be vaccinated; however, demand for pediatric COVID-19 vaccines is high. Children's Mercy Hospital and some local pharmacies are already scheduling pediatric vaccine appointments. Check CVSWalgreensHyVee and Price Chopper for availability. The Kansas City Health Department has placed an order for pediatric COVID-19 vaccines but has not started scheduling appointments yet. It will take time for pharmacies and health departments to receive these shipments.


KCPS will let you know about pediatric vaccine opportunities through our community health partners as they become available.

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Fall Break: Free Child Care Available Nov. 22 & 23

KCPS is partnering with Camp Fire, Boys & Girls Club, The YMCA, the Upper Room and Turn the Page to provide free child care from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 22 and 23. These are the partners KCPS worked with last year during virtual learning.


Click here to sign up for child care on Nov. 22 & 23.


Child care is available at the following locations. Please indicate your preference while signing up.


Camp Fire

Garrison Community Center (1124 E. 5th St.)

Tony Aguirre Community Center (2050 W. Pennway)


Boys & Girls Club

Thornberry Unit (3831 E. 43rd St.)

J&D Wagner Unit (2405 Elmwood Ave.)


The Y

Linwood YMCA (3800 Linwood Blvd)

Cleaver YMCA (7900 Troost Ave.)


Upper Room

Calvary Temple Baptist Church (2940 Holmes Rd.)

St. James United Methodist Church (5540 Wayne)


There are 600 seats available on a first come, first served basis.

Submit Your Nominations for Board Recognition

Four times a year, Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell and the School Board recognize extraordinary students, staff and administrators. We are seeking nominations now for individuals to be honored at the Dec. 8 Board of Directors meeting.


Click the links below to complete short nomination forms for each of the categories:

Nominations will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 1.


Need to Finish Your College Degree? Apply Now

KCPS staff, paraprofessionals, parents/guardians and community members who have started college but not earned a degree are eligible to apply for the KC Scholars Adult Learner Scholarship. This opportunity is also available to community college graduates who want to earn bachelor’s degrees. The Adult Learner Scholarship provides $5,000 of financial support for up to five years.


Eligibility requirements


  • Age 24 and up (as of Aug. 31, 2022)
  • Live in one of the six eligible counties (Kansas: Wyandotte, Johnson. Missouri: Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte)
  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculation on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) of $12,000 or less.
  • Previously earned at least 12 college credits at an accredited, Title IV, postsecondary institution & has not earned a degree OR previously earned an associate degree & will use the scholarship for a bachelor’s
  • Not currently enrolled in a postsecondary institution 
  • Lawfully present in the United States OR DACA eligible and DACA applied/approved


The deadline to apply for the KC Scholars Adult Learner Scholarship is Friday, Nov. 19. Visit for more information.