Elevating the Voices of Pioneers in Diversity

The Story of a Community


Why Citizens of the World Came to Us: Citizens of the World Charter Schools challenge students to realize their full potential and thrive in a diverse society by being deliberate about embedding diversity within their schools while providing a rigorous and joyful learning environment. The school network came to us seeking creative ways to highlight their unique model as reporters across the nation expressed interest. One of their main concerns was shoring up support in neighborhoods where they had existing schools, but where their work was not clearly understood. This included in New York City and Los Angeles; and where they were opening new schools, specifically looking to establish a groundswell of support for their new campus in Kansas City.


Our Strategy for Citizens of the World: We first helped Citizens of the World hone in on their vision and bring consistency to the way they talked about their model and the success of their schools. By telling their story over time and raising community awareness, enrollment in their schools increased and teacher recruiting efforts improved. This increased visibility helped prepare the organization to expand into Kansas City at the local community’s request. We helped spearhead this effort by capturing the story of a community eager to create a new school system that reflects the full diversity of Midtown, a historically segregated part of Kansas City. Then we elevated Citizens’ voice and the voices of community members who pioneered the effort to establish a high-quality school that would encourage families to stay in Midtown, rather than leave for better schools outside the community. From there, we built momentum with the local news media to highlight Citizens’ vision for Kansas City. To prepare for this exposure, we worked with Citizens by media training their top leaders, developing speeches, talking points and presentations for key stakeholders to take a vision and a concept and help turn it into a thriving public school.

Why It’s Worth Talking About


Over the course of several years, Citizens of the World has gone from a school system that was not widely understood but embraced by their committed parents to a national model of success. Today, Citizens of the World schools are in strong demand: most recently they had 10 times more interest than space available in their current schools. Their leaders are regularly asked to speak about their model and how it provides both a high-quality education while being deliberate about embedding diversity within their school sites. The organization now receives regular requests across the country from communities eager to open up a Citizens of the World school.