Alta Vista and Kansas City’s Westside: Education and Community in Latinx Kansas City

Kenan Brown

Education for the Latinx community in Kansas City has seen many changes over the past several decades.  Although the challenges have moved beyond de facto and overt segregation, the systemic problems are still very real.  These problems have included white washed curriculums in the public schools, discriminatory common practices for student placement in special needs classrooms, high dropout rates, and low college attendance rates.   These are but a few examples of the struggles the Latinx KC community has fought in their journey to provide their children with equal opportunities in a system that is, in many ways, unequal. 1 One of the important solutions to the education problems faced by the Latinx community was the creation of Alta Vista High School, which now a charter school predominately serving Kansas City’s Latinx students, by the Guadalupe Centers in Kansas City’s Westside.  Initially created to address the high rates of Latinx student dropouts, the Guadalupe Centers aimed to provide a broader approach to education by providing supportive learning environments as well as community support networks.  The school has evolved with the times and now aims to not only help students to graduate high school but also to secure futures in different career fields and as college students.  Yet, even with the great strides forward, the Westside and Latinx community in Kansas City still have a fight ahead of them against the achievement gaps dividing urban and suburban schools, and against the discriminatory policies of state and national governments. 2

Prior to the civil rights legislation of the 1960s, there were various forms of educational discrimination against the Latinx population in Kansas City.  Kansas City native Frank Hernandez remembered in 1977 the different ways he witnessed discrimination against Latinx students.  Born in 1917 in Kansas City, Missouri’s Westside neighborhood, Frank recalled the discrimination he experienced while a student at John J. Ingalls elementary school before going to Central Junior/Wyandotte High School for middle school and his eventual transfer to Argentine High School.  He described how the community faced “quite a bit of discrimination.”  There were segregated learning environments where “all the Mexican kids… were all down in the basement” and “were not allowed up on the second and thirds floors.”  When the Mexican students came to schools they “had to come in through a side door” and even their recreation times were segregated as they “had to play in our certain area on the playground.”  The discrimination went beyond issues of space.  Mexican migrant students faced especially harsh realities as they were frequently pulled from the classrooms to work in the beat fields and only attended school for part of the year.  Whenever they came back they were “way back, behind in their classes” and it was not unheard of that students would be sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen years old and still in the fifth grade. 3

Magdalena Rodriguez, born in 1933 in Kansas City, Kansas, remembered similar examples of discrimination during and beyond her elementary school years.  She also remembered the elementary schools being segregated when she attended Major Hudson Elementary School.  She recalled discrimination in the quality of facilities between the Anglo students and the Mexican annex, unequal quantity of teachers and quality of education (the Mexican students had only 1 teacher for the whole K-6 annex), and she remembered physical abuse from the principal.  She remembered thinking the principal hated the Mexican students because “she used to hit us.”  Because of such hate, as well as the life challenges faced by many students, she said that students were “lucky” if they made it to the seventh grade.  Most dropped out due to discrimination or because they had to work.  She herself had to drop out of high school from 1949-51 to help with her family after her mothered died.  While she was at Rosedale for high school, she noted that it was not officially segregated in the late 1940’s or in1955 when she graduated.  Yet, she recalled clear discrimination.  She noted that there “was a lot of racism from the teachers…because of our language,” and that some teachers would tell the Mexican students “if you want to speak Spanish why don’t you go back to Mexico.”  Magdalena recalled that this was one of the reasons her father sought to become a citizen in around 1945; to fight for his children to have the same rights as the Anglo students. 4  Despite the attempts to fight for the civil liberties of Mexican children there was frequent segregation and stigmatization of Mexicans in Kansas City as “not real Americans.” 5

Despite attempts in the 1960s and 1970s to address segregation across the nation and locally, many Latinx students’ needs were overlooked and de facto segregation still occurred. Latinx students experienced high dropout rates in the public schools, low rates of college enrollment, and continued poverty even for the second and third generation Latinx families. 6

In response to the continued problems students faced, Charles Lona, Chicano activists, and other Latinx students organized walkouts in 1969 at West High School. 7  The protest was in solidarity with walkouts in other cities, such as “San Antonio, Los Angeles, and Denver.” 8  The students were specifically protesting a white washing of the school curriculum which ignored non-Anglo students as well as the unaddressed need for bilingual instruction. 9  Although speaking a foreign language was a sign of prestige for adults, it was treated as a handicap for students in 1975. 10  Many of the tests which set the paths for student achievement did not take into account language differences. 11  This oversight was also seen in other areas, such as the racial paradigms resulting in Anglo and Latinx students being lumped together for comparisons to African American students. 12  This cultural blind spot contributed to the discriminatory practices of IQ testing and placement of Latinx students into special education classes into the late 1970s. 13

Although Kansas City public schools implemented bussing and desegregation policies in 1977, the problems faced by the Latinx community in Kansas City were still not being addressed.  To add insult to injury, the Westside side lost their Junior High and their hopes for a high school by the 1980s. 14  The community continued to see a 50% or higher drop our rate even with the bussing policy. 15  It was not until after the independent research of Gilbert Guerrero in the 1980s, which noted the high rate of Latinx student dropouts, that Gilbert and Cris Medina (head of the Guadalupe Centers) set out to face the problems they believed the Kansas City public school district was not addressing.  They partnered with De La Salle Alternative High School to create Alta Vista High School, in 1989, to address the challenges of high dropout rates and lack of bilingual education on the Westside. 16

Born before Gilbert Guerrero’s study in the 1980s, Ed Mendez (an eventual teacher and current principal at Alta Vista) was born in 1974 on the Kansas City, Kansas side of the river. Growing up in the Latinx community north of the river, Ed remembered feeling fortunate to attend private schools, such as Bishop Ward High School, thanks to the sacrifices of his parents.  Although recalling a generally positive school experience, Ed did recollect instances of discrimination during his school years.  He particularly recalled the discrimination faced by members of the community as they shifted to a new parish.


In the midst of such examples of discrimination, Ed said that “I really loved childhood.”  He noted that at Bishop Ward High School “there just wasn’t a big Latino population there” and that his experience wasn’t like other Latinx students he met. 18  He reminisced about his high school friends and said they “knew each other from grade school” and that “we were all friends.” 19  It was actually while in high school that Ed first recalled learning about the Catholic ethos for social justice and about civil rights leaders such as Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr.  He remembers one teacher, in particular, being crucial in challenging him to be an activist and make a positive difference. 20


As a result of such inspiration to get involved, Ed Mendez participated in several activist organization operating in Kansas City during his high school and college years.  Organizations such as the Kaufman foundation were working to provide Latinx students with support to get college degrees. 22  Ed also participated in the Hispanic Leadership Opportunity Program through the League of United Latin American Citizens, LULAC, and worked alongside high school students in Kanas City who were opposed to the California’s 1994 anti-immigrant legislation Proposition 187.  It is through this program that Ed met Cesar Chaves as well as local activists such as Ana Meldoz, who would eventually connected him with Alta Vista. 23  He also participated and was an officer in the early formation of the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  While at UMKC he got a bachelors in business. 24  After working for GE capital, Ed would leave corporate America after realizing it “really wasn’t my mission… my life’s purpose” and took a 45% pay cut to join Gilbert Guerrero and the teachers at Alta Vista to work with at risk youth in 1999. 25

Despite taking his findings to the Kansas City school district in the late 1980s, Gilbert did not see enough being done to help the Latinx community address the dropout rates.  Thus, with the support of Cris Medina and De La Salle, Alta Vista started in 1989 with “ 1 teacher, 20 kids,and Gil”. 26


From the 1989-90 school year until 1998 it was an at-risk students school primarily, prioritizing high school graduation.  But in 1998 “when the charter school legislation passed, Gil knew it was incumbent upon himself, and Cris, and the board to apply to become a charter school. 28


In 1999 the school became a charter school. 30  It was at this time that Ed joined the Alta Vista team.  He began teaching social studies and government and was part of a team of nine teachers and two counselors. 31  As the principal at Alta Vista now, Ed noted the significant growth of the school from 100 high students in 1999 to 930 elementary-to-high school students in 2017. He commented that the school was projected to have  around 1000 total students when Kindergarten was added to the total population, which had expanded far beyond its high school focused beginnings.  This was because of the proven need to provide stable foundations for college bound students before high school. 32

Yet before such growth in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Alta Vista was still trying to address problems with dropout rates in Kansas City.  With signs of improvement for student retention ever growing within the school, Alta Vista received a charter from University of Central Missouri. 33  Alta Vista alumni Nubia Rede, born the year after Alta Vista opened in 1990, recalled how education trends outside of Alta Vista in the Kansas City public schools still struggled to address the high dropout rates at the time Alta Vista was becoming a charter school.  For example, prior to her arrival in Kansas City, her older brothers and sisters who were living  in the city had all failed to complete high school.  She also recalled a friend who had to drop out due to a loss of a parent, similar to the pre-civil rights legislation example of Magdalena Rodriguez. 34  Nubia would be the first of her siblings to graduate high school, after joining Alta Vista in the early 2000s and graduating just as the school was beginning to expand to a career and college prep education around 2008. 35  She is part of the reason her younger siblings graduated, as she signed them up for school after she joined Alta Vista.  Although one of her sisters went to another school to graduate, both of her younger sisters did complete school.


To address the dropout rates, Alta Vista called their teachers and school community to higher investment.  While observing Ed Mendez’ government class Pitch journalist Joe Miller, in his 2003 article on Alta Vista, observed how Ed had to invest his own money to provide white boards for his class. 37  Miller noted that such sacrifice was not unique to Ed Mendez at Alta Vista as he noted that science teacher Dan Goff also took a pay cut and saw his work as akin “to a mission of service.” 38  In the early days of Alta Vista as a charter school, finances were tight.  The school fighting for the Westside community was “separate and unequal by almost all standards” during its early years. 39  Ed recalled having to spent part of the year under the gymnasium of Sacred Heart while the Holly building (where the school was located for its early years as a charter school) was being made suitable for students.  During that time, Ed remembered having to tear down and set up for classes every week since the space was shared with the church. 40


Even once the Holly building was ready, it hardly could compare to the improvements made by the school today.


Yet even the difficult early beginnings as a charter school held great promise as Alta Vista offered a sense of community for Latinx students “unlike any they’ve experienced in a school, public or private” at the time. 43

Beyond the sacrifices and challenges of the early charter school days, Ed Mendez spoke of how even then Alta Vista’s approach went beyond good supportive teaching to include a wider range of services from the Guadalupe Centers. 44  This wider range of support helped, as did the existing closeness of the Westside community, to create a family feel at Alta Vista. 45


Such a family feel helped build higher levels of investment and involvement between teachers and community members, which translated into student retention. 47  Nubia Rede recalled only learning of the extent of resources available to the Latinx community in Kansas City after joining Alta Vista. 48  She remembered even the simple convenience of her parents being able to come into the school office and be understood as an impossibility until Alta Vista. 49

Latinx students were facing problems with uninvolved teachers who would ignore them in many cases, but Alta Vista sought to engage students with higher community investment and bilingual education. 50  Nubia Rede recalled that the teachers at Alta Vista went the extra mile and that more of them spoke Spanish and engaged with the Latinx students then in her previous school experiences at Our Lady of Guadalupe for Fifth grade and East Middle School for Sixth through Eighth grades. 51 Alta Vista however required parents to attend parent teacher conferences.  Although frustrating at times, such commitment to connecting with the school community was appreciated.  Nubia recalled having to translate for her parents at parent teacher conferences sometimes, but also noted that students felt closer and more connected as a result of the school’s efforts. 52

Teachers at Alta Vista also fought to help newcomers to Kansas City by providing, not only language and teaching support, but community support tools as well since the environmental factors of education are so different for students new to the U.S.  According to Ed Mendez, the ELL population and newcomer population has grown significantly over the past couple decades:

“I remember learning about—back then it wasn’t called ESL, but you know, for students who are coming over from other countries—what support services did they have in terms of just public education.  That area has also grown quite a bit in the decade. In fact, I feel like we have a pretty strong program here at Alta Vista, and that’s who we serve.  About 8% of our student population we consider to be Newcomers, which means that their new—typically within 1-to-2 years or less—having come into the United States.  Its critical to be able to provide the supports and scaffolds for them to adjust not only to the academic environment, but just socially.  It’s very different from the countries… well, the education system is very different.  Having all those supports in place are important for all of them to thrive.” 53

Nubia Rede can sympathize with such student experiences, having shifted from a small rural Mexico elementary school to the urban Kansas City environment.  She remembers losing some of her former freedom of mobility and needing to drive everywhere, as well as struggling to learn the language. 54  When starting school in Kansas City, Nubia remembers examples of both systemic and overt discrimination.  While in elementary school she and her younger sisters used to be mocked by a student on the bus for not speaking English.


Beyond the harassment of her peers, Nubia sister’s lunchroom experience demonstrates the pain and embarrassment of being a newcomer struggling against the systemic discrimination of an education system which lacked sufficient resources for English Language Learners. 56


Yet Nubia used such challenging circumstances and experiences to fuel her to help the community.  After graduating from Alta Vista in 2008, Nubia would go to Maple Woods to take a course to become an interpreter.  She remembers her volunteer work, desire to be an interpreter, and pursuit of a job with the Guadalupe Centers as being fueled by the negative experiences she had in her early school years before Alta Vista.


The school year Nubia would graduate from Alta Vista, in the 2007-2008, the school had achieved such comparative progress in graduation rates, that the school began to expand beyond high school graduation to a college and career focus.  This began the year before Ed Mendez became principal of Alta Vista. 59  Made possible by grant money from “Jobs for the Future” and the National Council La Raza (NCLR), the Guadalupe Centers was able to shift Alta Vista to career and college prep. 60  Alta Vista’s partnership with NCLR’s “early college project” started in 2004. 61 From 2008 until 2013, under principal Mendez’s leadership, the school’s math scores went from 10% to 70% on their proficiency exams and the received the Charter School of the Year award for the state of Missouri in 2013. 62 Thanks to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA change) many students in 2013 were also able to pursue college like never before (although more recent legislation threatens such students). 63  Alta Vista was increasingly able to partner with Manual Tech, Penn Valley, and UMKC to provide their students with career and college training.  Alta Vista was also able to offer AP courses, college credit courses, and dual enrollment. 64

The shift towards college and career prep was not without its detractors.  When the school began moving towards college prep, many teachers did not believe the students were capable of such aspiration. 65


Yet the students and school have risen to the challenge over the last decade and boast students going to college and excelling in ways many of them did not before imagine. 67


Despite a general trajectory of growth, Ed believes there is a need for continued improvement.  He points out that in certain test score areas there are still hurdles to climb.  Alta Vista has taken a little dip in some score areas in the past school year, yet they are still achieving in the top 3 to 5 schools in the city. 69  Ed notes, however, that when compared to suburban schools there exists a large gap between even the best urban schools and their suburban counterparts.  Ed explained:

“What you’ll see, if you look at the data, is that by far (in most of those areas), when you do a comparison with inner city schools (including ourselves) with some suburban districts, there’s still a huge gap.  When people talk about the achievement gap…. Its real, it’s a real thing.  You don’t have to look far to see that.  Really our goal, and the goal of a lot of the charters and the districts should be to close that gap and we have done that.  We are not where we need to be, we’ve kinda fallen.  Last year we took a dip.  But we’re achieving in the top 3 to 5 of schools in the city.  We’re comparing ourselves to schools that are up there, outside of the district as well as well in suburban areas.  There are schools like University Academy Charter, other charters that are doing that, Lincoln Prep (part of the Kansas City District) has for years done that.  University Academy, Charters… I mean they’re closing the gap.  Now there’s new schools, Kauffman’s up here, KIPP, a lot of other schools; with the goal of providing a quality education that gets kids ready for college and career.” 70

Despite the best efforts of Alta Vista and quality urban schools, the resources and achievements made by urban schools still falls behind their suburban peers.  This does not diminish the achievements urban schools like Alta Vista have achieved, yet as Ed described it, the achievement gap “still exists” and there are still bridges to cross. 71

Notwithstanding the decreasing dropout rates and the continued fight to shrink the achievement gap, recent legislation has assaulted some of the progress made and the academic futures of some of the highest achieving children in the Kansas City Latinx community.  In 2013 the DACA policy offered as many as 35-40% of Alta Vista students the chance to go to college and excel. 72  However, Missouri Senate Bill 224 and House Bill 3 attempted to (and for many students did) put an end to such improvements for the Latinx community.  Bills such as these are, in Ed’s view, the “bigger challenge” that are “negatively affecting our kids’ ability to even go to college.” 73 The two bills cut A+ scholarships (scholarships that saved thousands of dollars for other college bound Missouri students) for DACA students and “basically triples the cost of a student who’s undocumented or on DACA.”  This legislation felt particularly targeted towards newcomers in the Latinx community.  For many in Kansas City’s Westside, such legislation “was mean spirited and targeted to keep undocumented and DACA students from going to college.  That has greatly impacted our kids…negatively. We see what happens when this legislation went through.  We had kids that were really disillusioned.  I mean, they no longer felt that they had an opportunity to go to college.  Some of our brightest kids.  Some of the smartest kids that we’ve had.” 74

Before the bills were passed Ed Mendez, like the inspirational people and activists who influenced him, took students to get them involved. Alta Vista students shared their stories with Governor Nixon, who said later (at the NCLR conference) that due to these students he would be vetoing the bills.  Despite his veto, the Missouri General Assembly overturned it and passed both pieces of legislation.  Ever the activist and teacher, Ed found a silver lining in such setbacks as experience showing students “how to advocate for their rights.  I have great teachers that believe in that and that give our kids the opportunity to do that.  This is really, for me, the opportunity to do what I love doing and really do my best to try to meet the vision and mission that we have for the school and for the Guadalupe Center.” 75

Although teachers at Alta Vista fight to turn challenges into learning opportunities, the most recent source of challenge for the Latinx community have caused greater anxiety for many students, families, and members of the Alta Vista family beyond what the Missouri legislation did.  The recent election caused immense fear for students wanting to go to college, but was even more frightening for issues much closer to home.  Ed described how after the election members of the community “worried about being deported, and not knowing what’s going to happen from day to day. If their mom or dad gets deported, even though many of our kids were born here.  I’m glad, at least for the moment, that President Trump isn’t really focusing on DACA students… as far as his immigration efforts for deportation.  But that anxiety still exists and is very present in our families.  And you know that’s the things that start to impact our student’s mindsets, especially as they get closer to graduation.” 76  Nubia also remembered the days after the election and going to school and the uncertainty among the students and the faculty, even in ways she did not expect.  Many families who were second or third generation members of the Kansas City Westside worried for loved ones and the collective future of Kansas City’s Latinx community.


As emotions ran high Nubia remembers that even civil rights activists like Gilbert Guerrero found the election discouraging.  But as she recalled him telling her that “he was still going to fight” she was able to take inspiration that “as long as we were still here, we could fight and we could still do something.” 78  The determination of such statements provides a feeling of safety at Alta Vista, even in the midst of uncertainty.  It is each member of the community (administration, staff, students, and families) at Alta Vista reassuring each other that they belong and will be defended which provides some sense of peace to staff and students alike.


In recent weeks the anxieties have died down from the boiling point they were at right after the election to a relative simmer at the end of the 2017 school year.  Students are still filling out college applications. 80  Schools like St. Teresa’s are still offering scholarships and kids are still applying. 81  Even as the Alta Vista family and Kanas City’s Latinx community faces financial struggles, legal discrimination, and internal fears, the students and faculty support each other as they engage in acts of protest and activism, such as participating in the “Day Without Immigrants” event. 82  The community is still holding tight and defending each other and ready to keep on fighting, much as when Alta Vista first started in the late 1980s after the ups and downs of protest in the 1960s and 1970s. “Knowing that I have the school to support me, even though I’m not a student any more” Nubia said, “I know that I can count on them.  I know that I have someone here that would help me.  We made that feel to our students too, that they are not alone, that we’ll help them in any way that we can.” 83  Alta Vista High School provides a safe space and community for it’s Latinx members and is, similar to Ed Mendez’s inspirational high school teacher, a place which encourages activism to make a positive change.

The Alta Vista staff are, in many ways, examples of how Alta Vista has provided safe haven and fueled activism.  Yet some, like Nubia Rede, may not recognize the activist qualities at first when looking at themselves.  When asked about activism, Nubia said she wasn’t active while a student.  She instead discussed the activist actions of inspirational figures such as the recent Gilbert Guerrero or the current actions of Principal Mendez.  However, she is in fact, and in many ways has been for a long time, an activist.  After high school, she volunteered her language skills to help at the local Jaydoc free clinic.  She currently works at Alta Vista as a bilingual receptionist, providing a comfortable environment her older siblings and parents would not have found in a school prior to Alta Vista.   Even before she graduated from Alta Vista, Nubia was inspired to take action and fought to get her family into an environment which would support them as she has been.  From helping enroll her siblings in Alta Vista when she was a student, to now enrolling her own daughter and helping her nephew get enrolled, Nubia represents the fighting hope of Alta Vista’s familial activism. 84

Principal Ed Mendez described the context for that familial activism, and its important value to the community as they continue to fight in the days ahead, when he closed his interview saying:

As far as here at Alta Vista, it really is a privilege to get to work with the students and the families that we serve.  I think that’s the mindset that we need to come to, is “we’re here because their choosing to come here” and we’re really serving them.  Putting your mind frame in a servant position as a teacher, as a principal, I think really changes the way you approach things.  I’ve been really fortunate and blessed to have teachers and staff that have that mindset and that really treat our kids as their own.  I’ve always said that “I want my own kids to come here,” because if we’re not good with sending our own kids to the schools that we work in, that’s an issue… These are our kids and we should make this place good enough for our own kids, and that’s it. 85


  1. Joe Miller, “La Familia: Neglected by the Kansas City School District, Latino Students Gradaute from a Home of Their Own,” The Pitch (January 23, 2003), 5-6.
  2. Discussion of the achievement gap in Ed Mendez, “Alta Vista Interview with Ed Mendez, parts 1 and 2,” By Kenan Brown, March 27, 2017, MP4 video file, LaBudde Special Collections, University of Missouri-Kansas City.  Kansas City, MO  Mendez, “Alta Vista Interview”; the discussion of House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 224 is also in the transcription pages 20-21.
  3. Frank Hernandez, Interview by Irene Ruiz, May 19, 1977, SC69-1, Tape 22, CD 22, MP3 disc 19, Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO. The experiences Mr. Hernandez witnessed were not unique to his experience or to his school.  Other individuals such as Magdalena Rodriguez, Julia Gutierrez, Sally Magana Ramos, Elida Cardenas, Dan Torres, and Elvira Ramirez interviewed by Irene Ruiz between 1977-1781 recalled different forms of discrimination.  Although some recall overt segregation and other do not, the general sentiment of discrimination and some level of systemic and de facto segregation and discrimination is recounted in almost all of their memories of education in Kansas City.
  4. Rodriguez, Magdalena, Interview by Irene Ruiz, April 20, 1978, SC69-1, Tape 54, CD 54, MP3 disc 49, Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO.
  5. Steven L. Driever, “Latinos in Polynucleated Kansas City,” In Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places: Community and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary America, edited by Daniel D. Arreola (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2004), 209.
  6. Theresa L. Torres, “The Kansas City Westside: Home of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” In The Paradox of Latina Religious Leadership in the Catholic Church (New York, NY: Palgrave McMillan, 2013), 40.
  7. Ibid, 43.
  8. Leonard David Ortiz, “La Voz de la Gente: Chicano activists Publications in the Kansas City Area, 1968-1989,” Kansas History 22, no. 3 (Autumn 1999): 234-35.
  9. Theresa L. Torres, “The Kansas City Westside,” 43.
  10. Ortiz, La Voz de la Gente,” 237.
  11. Lynn A. O’Leary, “The Effects of Family Structure and Family Integration on the Academic Achievement of Economically Disadvantaged Anglo, Black and Chicano Elementary School Children” (Master’s Thesis, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1975), 6-7.
  12. Ibid, 51.
  13. Jaylene Kent, “IQ as Predictor of Academic Achievement Among Anglo, Black, and Chicano Third and Sixth Grade School Children” (Master’s Thesis, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1977), 7, 9.  Many Mexican American students were unfairly labeled as “mentally retarded” due to their language struggles as opposed to Anglo American students who were placed in the same special needs classes, despite demonstrating far greater cognitive gaps.
  14. Torres, “The Kansas City Westside,” 43.
  15. Some who were close to Gilbert Guerrero, such as Ed Mendez, recall his study into the high dropout rates and remember the numbers being well over 50% and closer to 65% or more.
  16. Ibid, 43.
  17. Mendez, “Alta Vista Interview”; Shift to St. John the Evangelist
  18. Mendez, “Alta Vista Interview”
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Ibid; Source of Activist Inspiration.
  22. Ibid.
  23. Ibid.
  24. Ibid.
  25. Ibid.
  26. Ibid.
  27. Ibid; Alta Vista First Year
  28. Ibid.
  29. Ibid; Charter Status.
  30. “About,” Guadalupe Educational Systems, Inc, Guadalupe Centers, Inc. (2015-2016), accessed April 26, 2017.
  31. Mendez, “Alta Vista Interview”
  32. Ibid.
  33. Ibid.
  34. Nubia Rede, “Alta Vista Interview with Nubia Rede, Part 2,” Interview by Kenan Brown, March 31, 2017, audio file, LaBudde Special Collections, University of Missouri-Kansas City.  Kansas City, MO.
  35. Ibid.
  36. Ibid; Signing Sisters Up For Alta Vista
  37. Miller, “La Familia,” 9.
  38. Ibid, 14.
  39. Ibid, 5-6.
  40. Mendez, “Alta Vista Interview”
  41. Ibid; Conditions When Alta Vista Began as a Charter School
  42. Ibid; Growth From the Holly Building Until 2017
  43. Miller, “La Familia,” 5-6.
  44. Mendez, “Alta Vista Interview”; also in transcript page 12.
  45. Rede, “part 2.”
  46. Ibid; Theo Ramone and Alta Vista Family
  47. Ibid.  Although implying that that closeness of the community kept students from being able to sneak around easily, Nubia also mentioned experiencing more overt involvement in her work as a receptionist she sometimes has parents call to see if their student is missing and school called if students missing.
  48. Nubia Rede, “Alta Vista Interview with Nubia Rede, Part 1,” Interview by Kenan Brown, April 13, 2017, audio file, LaBudde Special Collections, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO.
  49. Ibid.
  50. Mendez, “Alta Vista Interview”
  51.   Rede, “part 2.”
  52. Rede, “part 1.”
  53. Mendez, “Alta Vista Interview”
  54. Rede, “part 1.”
  55. Ibid; Bus Bully and Lunchroom Confusion
  56. Ibid. Nubia spoke of a story of how she and her sisters used to play games as children and imagine that they were resource center workers helping the community.  Although Nubia has taken such childhood games to real world applications in her volunteer service in the community and work at Alta Vista, one might wonder if she would have played such games as a child if the Kansas City environment had been more supportive of her as a newcomer.
  57. Ibid; Language Challenges and Going “Quickly”
  58. Rede, “part 2.”
  59. Mendez, “Alta Vista Interview,”; also in transcript page 14.
  60. Ibid.
  61.  Maria Moser, “Realizing the Dream in Kansas City,” The National Council of La Raza (blog),
  62. Ibid.
  63. Ibid.
  64. Mendez, “Alta Vista Interview.”
  65. Ibid
  66. Ibid; Losing Forty Percent of the Staff
  67. Miller, “La Familia,” 15-16.
  68. Mendez, “Alta Vista Interview.” Students Going to College
  69. Mendez, “Alta Vista Interview.”
  70. Ibid.
  71. Ibid.
  72. Ibid.
  73. Ibid.
  74. Ibid.
  75. Ibid.
  76. Ibid.
  77. Rede, “part 2”; Reaction to the Election
  78. Ibid.
  79. Ibid. Gilbert and Continue to Fight
  80. Ibid.
  81. Ibid.
  82. Ibid.
  83. Ibid.
  84. Rede, “part 1”; Rede, “part 2.”
  85. Mendez, “Alta Vista Interview”