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Charter Board Partners

Collaboration makes schools, city better

July 28, 2018 | by David Connerty-Marin
Crissy Dastrup

“I have no doubt that good things are to come for schools in this city,” says Crissy Dastrup, who serves on the board of Académie Lafayette, a K-8 charter school in Kansas City, Missouri. “That’s my main drive for getting involved in education. I’m passionate about seeing things work better for our city… Good schools drive good cities.” 

On the board of Académie Lafayette, where three of her four children attend (her 3-year-old is too young), she chairs the Development Committee and also serves on the Governance Committee. The school is expanding; enrollment is increasing and the school has plans to open a high school. The board is evolving as well:  recent board accomplishments include updating the school’s bylaws, adopting a new strategic plan, purchasing a building to accommodate growth and expansion, and more. “We have a very busy board,” she says.

Dastrup is pleased about what she sees as growing collaboration among schools and between the city’s charter schools and traditional district schools.

“Charter schools help families in the city that are looking for schools that are performing well,” she says. “Education is not a zero-sum game. If you think like that, I’m not sure whose interests you have in mind,” Dastrup says. She credits SchoolSmartKC as a “game-changer.” Launched in 2017, the organization underwrites significant initiatives to support high-performing school options for students, including through a partnership with Charter Board Partners to recruit and train charter school board members in effective governance. Dastrup hopes to see future partnerships and collaborative efforts between the district and charters, similar to cities like Indianapolis, Baltimore, and Houston where they are making progress on similar complex educational issues.

Dastrup attended CBP’s Governance Academy twice, as well as all the other CBP trainings offered in Kansas City. “CBP is by far the best training I have ever received as a school board member,” she says. “This stuff isn’t always obvious.” 

One session she particularly appreciated focused on gauging school culture, a critical component of school success. “CBP went over ways we can be accountable for school culture without getting into the weeds and micromanaging our school administrator,” she says. 

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