Kansas City

The Learning Collaborative in Kansas City supports teachers across the greater KC region in delivering place-based, experiential learning experiences in partnership with cultural and community institutions

Our goal is to ensure that all students grow up with the sense of belonging, connection, community and agency that they need to succeed and thrive. 

Kansas City is the pioneer model of a Civic Learning Collaborative, bringing museums and schools together to deliver the kind of learning that will help young people thrive as citizens and participants in their community.

The Learning Collaborative launched in 2020 after years of successful work by the Kansas City Social Studies Consortium and the Museum Educator Roundtable in response to the historic challenges we face as a community.

In partnership with THE HISTORY CO:LAB we launched this Collaborative to increase our impact on student learning experiences in our region and to strengthen the social fabric of our community.

How do we work?

We host co-creation workshops, learning (PD) sessions and community building events between teachers, museum educators and students.

Why the focus on history?

We are focused on transforming the practice of social studies and history teaching, because the methods used at present are not only preventing many young people from feeling included and empowered, they are not building the skills we so urgently need, such as civil discourse, the ability to detect fake news and creative problem-solving.

Why the focus on pedagogy?

We are spreading the model of place-based, inquiry-based, experiential learning, because:   

  • Learning science and psychological research have proven that they work at preparing young people for success
  • By learning in their community, young people experience history as a topic that is complex and multifaceted, that opens up one’s understanding of oneself and of others and that shapes how a community defines itself and sets priorities for the future.
  • It builds skills and competencies that are vital to their thriving in a complex world. 

We do not prescribe one interpretation of the past: 

our system for real world history teaching encourages careful research, the construction of thoughtful arguments, respectful listening, civil disagreement and reflected action. This--more than a canned helping of civic trivia and historical knowledge-- is learning that enables young people to succeed and will strengthen our democracy. 

Why is this so important?

Activating the full ecosystem of community institutions as active partners in preparing young people to succeed not only supports the psychological growth of youth, but engages the adults in these institutions in learning, and in playing a new role as changemakers.