GCA-Kansas City Expands to Serve More

Great Circle opened its Great Circle Academy (GCA) in Independence in 2017 for eight students from three area school districts. With this current school year, GCA has moved into a larger space so it can serve more than 70 students from 29 area districts. That’s not surprising given the growing need for services not just in the Kansas City area but throughout the state, says Mike Golden, Great Circle’s vice president of education.

To accommodate its growing enrollment and broader geographic footprint, GCA-Kansas City is more centrally located in the western Missouri metropolis. “Our original building in Independence served us well for the first few years,” says Golden. “But as other districts saw the success we were having with students, they wanted to partner with us. So, in our new school, we have eight classrooms for this academic year and room to grow.”

Lindsey Ray, GCA-Kansas City’s associate director of education, confirms the growth doesn’t surprise her. “The schools see how students thrive at GCA, and that makes them want to send more kids to us as the need arises.”

The positive benefits of GCA also are very easy for parents to see. “Parents appreciate the transparent communication with teachers and the compassionate, team-oriented approach we offer,” she says.

All GCA staff are highly trained in trauma-informed care. Strong trust relationships between staff and students add impact, along with therapeutic interventions that are positive and proactive, Golden adds. "I have worked on both sides of the issue, including in public school settings, and I know what it means to witness a student overcoming challenges to become successful. So, we want to reach as many young people as possible."

Partnerships with school districts and parents have been the key to GCA-Kansas City’s strong growth. Golden says area educators and families recognize “how GCA brings life-changing hope to families who might not otherwise have it. "Our program alleviates stress on the districts, students and parents. We meet kids where they are. And get them where they deserve to be."

For more information about Great Circle Academy, visit www.greatcircle.org/education.