Our History

A brief History on the K-12 Initiative

The K-12 Initiative (formerly known as Saturday and Summer Academy), began in October of 1999 with a HRSA grant for a Health Careers and Opportunities Program. A founding group (Dr. Gene Fite, District #500; Ms. Iral Porter and Ms. Marcia Pomeroy, Health Careers Pathways Programs/KUMC; and Dr. Ed Kremer, Dean, Science, Math and Technology Department, KCKCC) came together to begin an enrichment program preparing KCKPS District #500 Under Representative Minority (URM) students in high school for higher education preparing for health careers.

Why build a program?

The University of Kansas School of Medicine through the Health Careers Pathways Programs found that only 5% of physicians in Kansas were people of color. The Saturday Academy was the first pipeline program developed to begin to provide a response to this need. Marcia Pomeroy was hired to develop the KCKPS collaborative and program development.

In 2020, we celebrated 20 years!

How have we changed?

The program began as a physician development initiative. As it grew, it added STEM programs through the program's first SEPA grant and continued health career development through local and state grants. Various careers within STEM (Engineering, Nursing, Public Health, Research, Teaching, etc) became a component of the program's career development.

Through the success and longevity of the program, staff consists of over 70% of alumni. This makes a huge difference in mentorship and continuity of care for the KCK community. Students are able to literally see themselves in staff as future professionals in those fields.

Previous Programming

Family Genetics Night through SEPA grant

The KCK Organic Teaching Gardens is now under a new parent funding organization but continues to partner with our high school community service program.

Name Changes throughout the Years

1999-2006: KC Mentoring Initiative

1999-2013: Health Career Pathways Program

2006-2014: KCK Urban Academy

2014-Present: K-12 Initiative