Upper School

From the Head of Upper School

Since the beginning of the year, Shane Foster has been sharing a series of pamphlets which are entitled “The Master Teacher”. We have enjoyed reading them as they have provided us with fodder for discussion and reflection. It is reassuring to read literature that affirms the direction we are going at the Barstow School. The latest topics are juxtaposed: A Constant Challenge: Engaging the Disengaged Students and Creating “Flow” Makes Everything Easier.

Flow means to be completely absorbed in what one is doing. When a person is experiencing “flow” he/she experiences energized focus and enjoyment of the task at hand. Flow is being “in the moment, in the zone, on a roll, wired in, in a groove, on fire, in tune, centered or singularly focused.”

Flow is something that is almost palpable here at Barstow. Discussions from students’ classes spill out into the hallways. Student academic discourse outside the classroom is commonplace. Students huddle in intense and sometimes heated intellectual debate in the Cove, in the cafeteria, in the Zen Garden and anywhere else where students congregate. Students spend time with teachers from previous years talking about new discoveries or revisiting material covered in the years before. Clubs are formed around Politics, Poetry, Film-making, Robotics, French, Spanish, Math, Science, etc. It’s as though our students simply cannot get enough of school.

The Hybrid Learning Consortium gives students access to myriad highly qualified instructors who teach a wide array of subjects. If a student is impassioned by a subject that is not taught here, it is possible that one of the Consortium schools will offer a course in that subject. Online classes help our students by providing classes that can be completed in a timeframe that fits their busy schedules. Students who are experiencing flow consistently are generally very busy pursuing their passions. Hybrid classes also are helpful for those students who lack direction. Disengaged students may well have interests that are not addressed through our face to face classes and the likelihood that we will be able to offer a class that meets their wants increases dramatically when we can access classes taught at fourteen other Consortium schools.

Our Certificate of Emphasis (COE) program helps to provide students with structure around an identified passion. The introductory class affords students the chance to explore different areas of emphasis. For the disengaged student, this course could help them discover a direction that interests them. As part of the program, students spend time in the community with a mentor. The mentorship and the time spent in the community will give them a chance to “try on” a profession to be sure that they are headed in the right direction.

Having been here for almost twenty years I have never witnessed a student who graduated from Barstow who, at one point or another, did not experience flow. We will continue to seek more ways to engage all kinds of students.

Upper School Convocation at The Barstow School

Visual Arts at The Barstow School

The Barstow B-Line

Agathon 2016

Special Events

List of 16 items.

  • Freshman/Senior Buddy Event

    This event welcomes the new freshmen class into the Upper School and provides a connection to the student leadership among the seniors.
  • International Festival

    This event is sponsored by the International Club, French Club, Spanish Club and Asian American Club. Students from pre-school through grade 12 are invited to participate.
    Sponsor: Liz Bartow
  • Senior Retreat

    Each year the senior class spends time away from school working together, considering issues of leadership, community, responsibility and strengthening the bond that they have developed over their years at Barstow. The Head of Upper School and the senior class sponsors are present and help facilitate the event. The retreat has been held at a variety of locations, often using a combination of outdoor team-building facilities and seminar rooms.
  • Kindergarten/Senior Buddies

    Highlights our most unique quality - the characteristic that makes Barstow a strong community having Preschool through 12th grade students together in one building on a single campus. It allows the students to interact and share.
  • Dances

    The Upper School sponsors four dances every year:
    1) Fall Dance, sponsored by Student Council, location to be determined
    2) Winter Dance, sponsored by Student Council, location to be determined
    3) Homecoming, sponsored by the Pep Club in Community Hall
    4) Prom, sponsored by the Junior Class, location to be determined
    Typically, the dance begins at 8 pm and will end by 11 pm. Please see the Social Events policy in the Student Handbook for guidelines.
  • Traditions Supper

    Have you ever asked the question WHY? we do some of things we do every year? The answer may be TRADITION. The Development Office hosts this annual event that is required by all seniors and juniors this year, and recommended to sophomores and freshmen. Come one, come all! A fun and challenging game of trivia regarding Barstow's traditions (in the Auditiorium) will preceed dinner (in the Lisa Schultz Dining Hall).
  • Cum Laude Induction

    Students who have demonstrated an academic honor record, as well as good character, honor and integrity in all aspects of school life are considered candidates for election into Cum Laude.
  • Homecoming

    At this time-honored annual event, alumni, students, faculty, administration and staff enjoy several events such as the Friday Pep Assembly, pre-game dinner, boys’ and girls’ basketball games and the presentation of the crown and sword to the Queen and King during halftime of the boys’ varsity basketball game. All Alumni are invited back to enjoy the festivities. There is a Homecoming dance the following evening.
  • Tree Day

    Tree Day is Barstow’s oldest tradition and its purpose is to beautify the campus. Seniors who have attended Barstow for 12 or more years and preschoolers plant a tree.
  • Spofford Variety Show

    The Spofford variety show is usually held on a Sunday some time Second Semester.
  • Senior Video

    Traditionally known as the "Senior Slide Show," technology has changed the name and the presentation of this event honoring the graduating class. Each senior has his or her "moment," with collections of baby pictures eliciting the "oohs" and "aahs" of those in attendance. Upper School students are often joined by their parents for this event, as well as alumni.
  • Junior Senior Breakfast

    The breakfast for juniors and seniors precedes the Honors & Awards assembly. Also invited are any faculty member who may have taught the graduating class and wants to bid them farewell. The Senior Class President delivers a farewell message to his/her class and an alumni representative speaks to the students about the Alumni Association.
  • Upper School Honors and Awards

    In the Auditorium:
    Awards are given in a number of areas, including: academic, athletic, extra-curricular and citizenship. The event is followed by the ring ceremony and marks the beginning of the graduation celebration.
  • Ring Ceremony

    In the Senior Circle:
    The ceremony follows the Honors & Awards assembly. Seniors are matched up with juniors, and the seniors present rings to the juniors. Both groups perform the Senior Line Song.
  • Baccalaureate

    This event is the Sunday afternoon before graduation. Seniors choose the speaker. They wear traditional cap-and gown attire. The program has a religious tone. Seniors toss their caps in the air in the Senior Circle at the end of the ceremony. A reception follows in the Lisa Schultz Dining Hall.
  • Graduation

    In case of inclement weather, commencement will be held in the gym.
    The girls wear white dresses and the boys wear black tuxedos. Girls carry a dozen red long-stemmed roses. Graduation attire has been formal since at least 1924, when Barstow was an all-girls school. Seniors select the commencement speaker. After the ceremony, Seniors greet family, friends and faculty in the Senior Circle. A reception follows in the Lisa Schultz Dining Hall.

The Barstow Youtube Channel

List of 23 members.

Student Clubs and Programs

List of 49 items.

  • Agathon

    The literary magazine of The Barstow School is an annual publication of student work submitted by students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The Agathon staff works diligently to select a compilation of poems, artwork, prose and creative pieces for the magazine. In doing so, students are able to apply and develop their writing, design, editorial, and photographic talents. The club also encourages students to share their writing by hosting Open Reading Nights each semester.

    The first online Agathon
  • Alex's Lemonade Stand

  • Asha for Education

  • Autism Awareness Club

  • Barstow Brio

    Brio is a classical music club in which string players gather to play in a chamber ensemble. One of the immediate goals of this club is to be available to perform at school concerts/events, competitions and community events throughout the school year. Long-term goals are to grow in number and increased musical ability individually.
    Sponsor: Bruce Dickerson
  • Barstow Buddies

  • BATS Club

  • Book Club

  • BTVN

    The Barstow Television Network (BTVN) provides streaming video of Barstow events: sports, academics, performing arts, and various interviews and news stories. 
  • Chinese Club

  • Cooking Club

  • Debate

    Barstow Debate participates in team policy debate at both the Upper and Middle school levels. The introductory and Beginning Debate classes do not require tournament participation, but all advanced courses are co-curricular. 
    Teacher: Linda Collier
  • Disc Golf Club

  • Fashion Club

  • Film Club

  • French Club

    The French Club is open to all students. Members will discuss and explore French culture through activities, cuisine, music and drama. Each quarter, a trip will be organized to explore a bit of French culture in Kansas City, including dining at local French bakeries or seeing French films at The Tivoli. Vive la France!

  • Geaux Haiti!

  • Glee Club

    The purpose of the Glee Club is to provide the opportunity for Upper School students to perform a variety of music in the style of a show choir or glee club.
  • Guatemalan Service Club

  • Guitar Club

  • Happy Bottoms

  • Health and Fitness Club

  • Hope's Heart Club

  • Improvisation Club

    At the Improv Club, members will learn the ways of improvisational comedians and develop skills such as thinking on their feet and concentration. They meet regularly each week after school on Thursdays in Dr. Cramer's room.

  • International Club

  • Investment Club

  • Japan Club

  • Karriessentes

  • Knitting Club

  • Latin American Club

  • Le Club de Francais

  • LEO

  • Magic: The Gathering Club

  • Model U.N. Club

    The Model U.N. Club simulate the U.N. system by learning about the United Nations system, the skills of debate, compromise, conflict resolution and negotiation.
  • Mountain Bike Club

  • Operation Breakthrough

  • Pep Club

    Pep club’s mission is to promote student and school spirit. Members are in charge of organizing all Pep assemblies and Homecoming activities.

  • Poetry Club

  • Politics Club

  • Pretenders

    Pretenders is the oldest club at Barstow, celebrating its 101st year of existence. Activities vary and include performances of one-act plays, major productions, skits and assemblies. At the end of each year, the club presents a president-directed, student cast and crew production. When not working on production(s), club members play improvisational games, watch film and study technique.

  • Robotics

    The Barstow Robotics Club is a student run team whose mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills; that inspire innovation; and that foster self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

  • Science Bowl & Knowledge Bowl

    This academic team recruits students interested in math and science to compete in a fast paced competition reminiscent of TV quiz shows.

  • Spofford Club

    For the past five years, the Spofford House project has offered students an opportunity to learn more about philanthropic giving, raising more than $100,000 since the inception.

  • Sports and Data Club

  • Student Medical Organization

  • Table Tennis Club

  • Village Shalom

  • Weathercock

    Barstow’s award winning Yearbook, the Weathercock, has been around almost as long as the school itself. The 250-plus-page record of the school year is created by students using some of the most sophisticated desktop publishing techniques and software available. The yearbook staff numbers around 20 Upper School students, a measure of the popularity of both the book itself and the opportunity to create it.

  • Wounded Warrior Project


The Barstow School

11511 State Line Road • Kansas City, MO 64114
P (816) 942-3255 • F (816) 942-3227