Our Mission:


We give underserved students the tools to break the cycle of poverty and become innovators in the fields of engineering, science, technology, arts and mathematics.

Powered by Black & Veatch - Global STEM Education Partner

kcua wonder crop2.jpg
kcua kids.jpg

KCUA Mission

The purpose of KC Urban Advantage (KCUA) is to help break the cycle of poverty in Kansas City by increasing confidence and ability in academic achievement for underserved students. Our mission is to provide access to holistic STEAM education and unlock opportunities for higher learning and future STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) careers.

The Museum at Prairiefire administrates and funds the development and implementation of KCUA programming, resources, and partnerships to provide comprehensive, world-class STEAM experiences for students and educators throughout the greater Kansas City Metro where resources are scarce.

Learn More

Our Impact

KC URBAN ADVANTAGE is a standards and research-based collaboration between underserved schools and youth, the Museum at Prairiefire and partnering Kansas City metro cultural and learning institutions such as museums, science centers, cultural organizations and zoos.




1.  High-quality professional development for teachers and administrators

2. Classroom materials and equipment that promote scientific inquiry and authentic investigations

3. Access to Urban Advantage Partner institutions through free school and family field trips

4. Outreach through family events, celebrations of student achievement, and parent coordinator workshops

5. Capacity-building and sustainability structures, including a network of demonstration schools and support for the development of lead teachers

6. Assessment of program goals, student learning, systems of delivery, and outcomes




J.A. Rogers Elementary KCMO

Phillis Wheatley Elementary KCMO

Troost Elementary KCMO

Wendell Phillips Elementary KCMO

Quindaro Elementary KCK

Welborn Elementary KCK

Ridgeview Elementary Olathe

Apache Innovation School SMSD

Kids TLC Olathe

Mark Twain Elementary KCK



Thousand children Impacted

Over 6,000 underserved students from 10 schools participated between 2016-19

KC Urban Advantage hosts ALL GRADE LEVELS from each participating school

KC Urban Advantage also reaches under-served children and their supporters through partner institutions such as:

Boys & Girls Clubs of Kansas City

Big Brothers Big Sisters

City Year

5 YEAR GOAL: Provide access for all under-served schools in the KC Metro, along with their students, educators, families and care givers

Watch to get insights into KCUA and learn more about our mission. Hear directly from some of our KC Urban Advantage educators and children.

The Need

Kansas City Urban Advantage (KCUA) was founded to address the educational divide by providing quality, standards-based STEM learning experiences to Kansas City’s most under-served elementary schools. Kansas City benefits from a vibrant STEM economy, however many students lack access to the quality STEM learning experiences necessary to prepare them to participate in the rapidly expanding STEM workforce. For example, less than a quarter of KCMO 5th graders scored proficient or higher in science or mathematics in 2017.



The need for more STEM-related education in American schools has been recognized for some time. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “In a world where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know, it’s more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information… Yet today, few American students pursue expertise in STEM fields—and we have an inadequate pipeline of teachers skilled in those subjects.” 


Unfortunately, many schools don’t have the resources to bolster STEM education. When education budgets are cut, teachers look for outside resources to help provide the learning opportunities that will not only support their students’ academic achievement, but also prepare them to participate and thrive in the 21st century economy2. This challenge is particularly exacerbated by the inequity of STEM resources in schools serving students of poverty. A recent study found students of high poverty schools are least likely to have access to STEM resources and experiences throughout K-12, with the greatest disparities in elementary education.


Education is the key to empowerment and sustainability. Education is a right which is the key to the rest of the rights of life in society. Education is the key to social justice.”

- Kailash Satyarthi



Our Team

The KC Urban Advantage Education Team is funded by the Museum of Prairiefire Foundation. Directed by Dr. Kathryn McKinney, the Education Team provides STEAM and Project Based Learning expertise and facilitated educator support for all programs including Project Lead the Way and KC Urban Advantage.

KC Urban Advantage school trips and educational programs support Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core, and Show-Me State Standards.

Cross-curricular resources are available for all current and upcoming exhibitions as well as the Discovery Room and Great Hall. Additional KCUA educational opportunities and resources are available with our partner institutions.


become a kcua school

Click below to download the KC Urban Advantage School Application.


Click below to download information on KC Urban Advantage Field Trips.

Make a Donation

Help us help the kids. Your support will change a child’s life.