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Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City Launches Innovative High School Teaching & Learning Model, Funded in Part by $1 Million Gift from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

Kansas City, KS – Junior Achievement (JA) of Greater Kansas City is excited to announce the launch of 3DE by Junior Achievement, a new model of teaching and learning that develops skills and competencies needed for today’s workforce and economy while connecting core academic lessons to real life.  The model is being piloted at Northeast High School (Kansas City Missouri Public Schools) and Olathe East High School (Olathe Public Schools). This new education model is the first of its kind in Missouri and Kansas, respectively.

3DE is intentionally designed to address key barriers to change at the high school level and position students for economic opportunity and choice-filled lives, while simultaneously supporting workforce development and strengthening the talent pipeline for the larger Kansas City business community. 3DE is a public-private venture that was developed through a shared vision from leaders in education, business and Junior Achievement, and is a proven model producing results in 44 schools across nine states.

“We are excited for the launch of 3DE in partnership with Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City, Olathe Public Schools, and Kansas City Public Schools.  JA of Greater Kansas City has already demonstrated in significant ways the ability to deliver relevant, experiential learning while galvanizing the business community to positively impact student achievement in measurable ways,” says Jack Harris, President and CEO of 3DE National. “The 3DE instructional model positions students for economic opportunity, by ensuring students are graduating with the skills, mindsets, and behaviors to be competitive in a rapidly changing economy.  This starts with fostering student engagement in learning, accelerating academic comprehension and achievement, and ultimately building mastery in transferable skills and competencies.”

The model works by implementing real-world case methods and challenges from case partners – local and national companies who design problems for students to solve utilizing core competencies. 3DE works with existing high school curriculum and real-world learning models to accelerate the drivers for economic competitiveness. 3DE students are fully immersed in this curriculum, completely re-engineering the high school experience.

"We are thrilled to partner with Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City to pilot the 3DE experience at Olathe East High School," said Dr. Brent Yeager, Olathe superintendent. "As a school district, our mission is 'Preparing Students for Their Future' and 3DE directly supports this effort by fostering strong community partnerships and providing real-world learning experiences, all while inspiring students to discover and pursue their passions through an innovative education model."

According to a 2019 study by SourceLink, Kansas City employers are eager to fill critical labor demands, citing involvement with local experiential learning opportunities as a factor of how they access and manage student talent for future employment. With 3DE, opportunity is given to local case challenge partners and volunteers from Kansas City businesses to interact directly with the students. These business leaders inspire students to explore specific careers, support the competency development that will accelerate future career opportunities, and further develop the readiness for students as part of the 12th grade senior consultancy.

In addition, 3DE has data to support that the model increases the four-year graduation rate for students by 33.6% when compared to non-3DE peers. In four years, it’s estimated that as a result of 3DE, there will be over 250 additional graduates over the two districts compared to without 3DE. This estimation only factors in current 3DE enrollment, which would be increased further by additional 3DE student cohorts.

“Kansas City Public Schools is excited to partner with Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City to pilot the 3DE model at Northeast High School as part of our commitment to producing future-ready students.  By leveraging 3DE’s competency-based model, we hope to re-engineer education in a way that focuses on what students know and are able to do, as evidenced by their ability to solve real world problems,” says Dr. Derald Davis, Interim Deputy Superintendent and Chief Equity Officer, Kansas City Public Schools. “Through monitoring the impact of the 3DE pilot program on student outcomes at Northeast High School, we are hopeful that the data leads us to implement this model at additional KCPS high schools in the future.” 

According to KC Rising, “Talent and potential must be recognized, maximized, and met with resources and attention across the learning continuum.” KC Rising cites technical knowledge, critical thinking, and communication skills as key factors for students to remain competitive for placement in high-quality jobs – many of which do not currently exist. 3DE focuses on mastery of these competencies and more through its innovative model. Plans to launch this immersive, innovative model started in December 2020, and engaged district leadership, Junior Achievement, and 3DE National.

The implementation of 3DE is funded in part by a recent $1,000,000 donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, as part of a larger $38,800,0000 investment to Junior Achievement USA. The gift is the latest in a multitude of investments in Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City since 2020 to support education initiatives and projects in the Kansas City metropolitan area, including CommunityAmerica Credit Union, Mallouk Family Foundation, and Sunderland Foundation. Initial Kansas City investors in 3DE include Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, the Hall Family Foundation, the RC Kemper Jr. Foundation, Mark One Electric, SCOR and VMLY&R. The support from MacKenzie Scott will be used for capacity building efforts that are needed to support 3DE and other Junior Achievement experiential programs. Opportunities for local support and philanthropic investments are needed to catalyze change and prepare a competitive and confident generation of youth that will support Kansas City’s economic success.

“We are honored to work alongside the Kansas City community to help youth reach their greatest potential and achieve economic mobility.  The generous gift from MacKenzie Scott will allow us to ensure we have the capacity to continue implementing solutions that will create systemic and positive change, inviting our youth and community to thrive,” says Megan Sturges Stanfield, President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City. “Junior Achievement believes quality education should be accessible to everyone and we are excited to expand our partnerships with school districts across the region to help make learning more fun, relevant and experiential.”

The 3DE model is one that will build each year, as the model begins in 9th grade and expands into 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, while enrolling a new 9th grade cohort annually. In May 2026, 3DE will graduate the first 3DE class, and have at least 1,000 students enrolled across Kansas City. It will take continued investment from the Kansas City business and entrepreneurial communities to reach full implementation and keep pace with demand from additional districts within the metropolitan area. Interested investors and companies can contact Kelsie Fell, Director of Development and Stewardship, at

About Junior Achievement (JA) of Greater Kansas City: Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City empowers the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and doers by connecting young people to mentors and learning opportunities which teach financial decision-making skills, inspire entrepreneurial thinking, and prepare them for 21st-century careers. Junior Achievement’s inspiring volunteer mentor-infused programs take place in classrooms across Kansas City and at the Junior Achievement Youth Learning Lab, Presented by the Mallouk Family Foundation. You can learn more about JA of Greater Kansas City at or on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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