School choice in Kansas City: the K-12 City School Fair

My son is nearly 2 years old. Like all parents, I think he’s the smartest kid I’ve ever met. He loves books, puzzles, coloring, and more books. So of course, he’s the smartest kid ever(ish). My partner and I constantly wonder what he’s going to be like once he’s in school. And like all parents, we both look at each other and say “Oh school is still a while away. He’s not even 2 yet!”

Stop laughing. I know what you’re going to say: “It’ll go by faster than you can blink!” And you’re right. We realized how naïve we were being if we kept putting off the school discussion just because he’s a toddler. I’ve even lost sleep over it. That’s why we registered for the upcoming K-12 City School Fair happening at the Kansas City Public Library Central Library, November 12th from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

City School Fair

Full disclosure, I work at the Library in the role of media relations and marketing, so it’s my job to promote all of the great things happening here. But I’m a mom first, (a first-time mom at that), and the idea of choosing the right school for our son sounds as easy as juggling jellyfish while riding a unicycle. And I’m no doubt not the only parent who feels this way. That’s why I’m so happy the Library, the amazing Show Me KC Schools organization, and the Office of Mayor Sly James are working together to co-host the City School Fair.

My partner and I love Kansas City, and like many parents and caregivers in this area, we are committed to living in the city limits, investing in our urban community, and raising our family here. There are many good schools in the city. Turns out our school options are larger than we thought. Did you know Kansas City proper is home to about 90 different schools – public, parochial, charter, and more? With so many different enrollment deadlines, application deadlines, and requirements, it can be overwhelming. I know from our perspective we’re not even sure when we need to start the process. Once we do, there are about a million other questions:

Do the benefits of a private school outweigh those of a public school? Will our son do better at a school that focuses more on arts or athletics? What exactly IS the difference between a “magnet” and a “signature” school?

The City School Fair will bring together representatives from 50 Kansas City schools – K-12, public and private – to give families like us the answers we need. It’s a one-day, one-stop shopping experience I cannot wait for.

Sessions include:

  • Kindergarten, Here We Come! – Focuses on the transition from pre-school to kindergarten, not just for the kids, but also for parents and caregivers who are having a hard time adjusting.
  • Best Brain Building Apps for Kids – If they’re going to be on our tablets, let’s at least make it educational.
  • Preparing for College Now, Rather than Later – No, birth is not too early to start saving. College advisors offer a how-to for any age.
  • Your Library Card: Unleashed – Your Kansas City Public Library card goes beyond books. Learn how to get homework help, access to streaming videos and music, use historical databases, learn how to speak foreign languages, and much more with that little card we keep in our wallets.

Children of all ages are welcome to attend. There will be family friendly activities going on all day so little ones don’t get bored: Mr. Stinky Feet will perform (what’s a family friendly event without this Kansas City institution), there will be a balloon artist, music from the Paseo Jazz Band, free food, wall to wall books for the kids to read, and Mayor Sly James will speak.

FREE parking is available in the Library’s famous bookshelf garage at 10th and Baltimore. For more information on the school fair, you can go to two websites: or

I’m learning that it’s never too early to start thinking about school for a child of any age, and the City School Fair will no doubt give us the tools to help us make the best decision we can, and hopefully it will help me sleep again.

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