When Katie Boody and Carrie Markel looked at Kansas City, they saw a city that was bursting with entrepreneurship and the arts, but lacking in education. Now they’re trying to fix that with an education-focused incubator called The Lean Lab. The Lab is the subject of a new KCPT digital series, “Show Me,” showcasing six innovators shaping Kansas City.
Boody, The Lean Lab’s founder and CEO, worked in public education in KCMO for six years at C.A. Franklin Elementary School and Alta Vista Charter School. Markel, who joined the Lean Lab in 2014, was a Teach For America corps member in 2012 and taught second grade at African Centered College Preparatory Academy.
The Lean Lab started informally in 2013 and incorporated in February of last year.
Markel said the Lab’s main goal is to close the achievement gap, and all of the innovators should be working towards that goal.
“I don’t think education will ever be solved or fixed,” she told KCPT’s Cole Blaise. “I think our framework leaves the door open not just to solve problems but to truly innovate, to come up with some amazing ideas that transform education.”
The Lab consists of two programs for aspiring education innovators.
The first, the 101 program, is a tuition-based summer crash course. The second, the 201 fellowship program, is a chance for the innovators to pilot their ideas in Kansas City, Missouri, schools. Right now, there are 5 people in the fellowship program who will present their ideas to low-level investors and the public at the Lean Lab’s demo day on April 16.
Overall, Boody said Lean Lab is looking for innovative ways to improve education in Kansas City.
“We’re not a silver bullet, nor do we claim to be,” Boody told KCPT. “What we are is a community with a framework that helps the students, the teachers, the educators, the citizens go through the process and find solutions to their individual, unique problems”
See the Show Me website to learn more about the digital series. Look for a new Show Me video every Monday for the next six weeks.