Merriam Park elementary receives $110,000 grant from Kauffman Foundation

The presentation of a replica check was cheered by hundreds of students at Merriam Park Elementary.
The presentation of a replica check was cheered by hundreds of students at Merriam Park Elementary.

Merriam Park Elementary will become the latest to adopt the Community School model in Kansas thanks to a $110,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

School principal Cho Druen was presented with an oversize replica of the check Tuesday at an assembly in the school gym. Hundreds of kids cheered when their principal announced their school had received the grant.

The money will be used to create a comprehensive program for helping students succeed that includes their academic, health, family and emotional needs.

“We look forward to building our community school together with the input and collaboration of our parents, students and community,” Druen said.

The program brings together partners to evaluate assets, develop infrastructure and build a community of support for the school. The model will serve more than 500 students at Merriam Park and serve as an example to the entire school district.

Amy Gale, education program officer at the Kauffman Foundation, said Merriman Park is the 12th school to receive a grant and more will be chosen next year.

The event opened with a rousing performance by the Shawnee Mission North drum line and a presentation by the SM North color guard. The children sang “America the Beautiful” as the high schoolers displayed the flag.

The Community School program will be developed in the current school year and implemented in the 2017-18 school year.

We will transform our learning community with the evidence-based Community Schools model,” Druen said. “It will create a place where all feel welcome and come together to support current and future generations.”

The Shawnee Mission North color guard began the school assembly at Merriam Park Elementary.
The Shawnee Mission North color guard began the school assembly at Merriam Park Elementary.