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 Kansas City, KS students in high school for higher education preparing for health careers.

Why build a program?

There was and continues to be a need to increase the number of students from urban areas into higher education and into health/STEM careers. The K-12 Initiative fills this gap by providing hands-on STEM learning and community engagement. This prepares students for the future in a world where they are the healthcare providers and STEM professionals in their communities. 

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 60% of alumni. 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 an independent organization and continues to serve Kansas City, KS students.

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