The Missouri State Board of Education voted to give Kansas City Public Schools full accreditation for the first time in a decade.

KCPS has not been fully accredited since 2011, when it was the first school district in the country to lose it. When a district is unaccredited, it’s more likely to be dissolved and students would be assigned to different nearby districts.

Now that the district is accredited, KCPS employees and leaders are hopeful it will attract and retain more families, residents and teachers.

Over the past 10 years, the district has been working to prove itself to the state’s education department, showing areas of growth and improvement. The district’s four-year graduation rate rose from 69% to 78%. It has also increased the number of high school students in advanced programs by 34% and has improved math and English scores.

But the state board said while the district had improved, it’s still not where it needed to be and should continue to improve.

KCPS Superintendent Mark Bedell agreed the district still had plenty of work to do.

“We’re going to celebrate today because we deserve that, but tomorrow we roll up our sleeves,” Bedell said. “We have a lot of work to do and I’m competitive.”

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