A national model for innovation: school leaders from Colo. visit KC to learn from MCC

A group of administrators from the St. Vrain Valley School District in Denver, Colo. are the latest in a series of school officials who have looked to MCC as a model for educational and workforce program innovation.

Eight representatives from St. Vrain Valley visited Kansas City last week to explore four programs, some of which have already gained national attention.

The group’s first stop on Thursday was a visit to MCC-Business & Technology to talk with leaders about the campus’s Early College  program, a partnership with the Independence and North Kansas City school districts and Alta Vista Charter Schools that allows high school students to complete college credits towards a technical degree or certificate.

Leaders from St. Vrain Valley School District listen to MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute Dean Lester Hardegree describe the authentic clinical environment of the Health Science Institute's surgical technology suite.
Leaders from St. Vrain Valley School District listen to MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute Dean Lester Hardegree describe the authentic clinical environment of the Health Science Institute’s surgical technology suite.

Next, the group went to the MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute for a tour of the award-winning nursing and allied health education and training facility. At the HSI, students learn in an integrated, experiential learning environment, including a virtual hospital that is one of only about 25 facilities of its kind in the country.

The St. Vrain leaders kicked off the second day of their visit at Summit Technology Academy in Lee’s Summit, where they learned from MCC leaders and other partners about the renowned Missouri Innovation Campus program. The MIC, which launched in 2012, is an early-college program produced by MCC, the University of Central Missouri, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and a handful of industry-leading employers. The program was at the center of a presidential visit in July, during which Pres. Obama hailed it as a program that other communities around the country should emulate.

The final leg of the visitors’ tour included a stop at MCC-Maple Woods to learn about the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies and a second stop at the Blue Valley Center for Advanced Professional Studies.

The guests from St. Vrain Valley included: Mark Mills, assistant superintendent, Area 2 (K-12); Regina Renaldi, assistant superintendent of priority programs; Patty Quinones, executive director of innovation programs; John Steckel, program director, Innovation Center; Travis O’Hair, program manager, Innovation Center; Thom Ingram, instructional technologist; Deniece Cook, principal, Career Development Center (CDC); and Bill Anthony, welding instructor, CDC.