The Whittier School (pictured in the corner photo)

One of the most rewarding projects we have participated in has been the Whittier Alternative School program. The school was in danger of being closed. In fact, the parent school administration made the recommendation that the alternative school be closed as part of the district's need to trim its' budget. 

The Thinktank, through the direct participation of administrator Todd Wilbanks, took over the day to day operations for an 18-month period and implemented new programs to maximize the capabilities of the school. Students were given more ownership of their education and the new sense of pride and responsibility led to incredible of stories of over-coming great obstacles to take the school to new heights. A creative business plan was put into place showing how the school could not only be an inspirational benefit to the school district, but also operate in a positive fiscal environment. 

Working with the State of Missouri Department of Education, students were allowed to take advantage of creative programs which allowed for a greater number of students to succeed with a limited, but dedicated staff. A computerized system was put into place allowing for the students to advance individually based on performance, while still having access to normal teacher-led classes.

As you can see from the link below, the school is still thriving to this day. The incredible stories of these students over-coming many obstacles and some terrible circumstances still inspire us today to continue our work in finding creative and better ways to educate all our children. And what about the recommendation to close the school? At the critical Board of Education meeting at the end of the school to decide the school's fate, the vote was not only to keep the school open, but to explore ways to expand the programs of Whittier to help more students! There were many tears and cheers in that room on that night. Thank you Whittier students and staff, for showing us all how it should be done!

Read more: 

More information on the UCM national retrofit program can be found at

More information of Clinton's speech and his thoughts on the innovative UCM programs can be found at


The ACS Thinktank supports innovative programs that combine education and business for the betterment of the area and the world around us. The UCM programs are just one example.

Alternative Education Projects 
The Thinktank is a big proponent of all creative and progressive education programs, but particularly those involved in Alternative Education. Read more about our favorite Alternative School projects in the Whittier School section of this website. Just read the above story and click HERE. The goal was to incorporate education, business, and technology to not only save the school from closure, but to further the cause of creative and alternative education programs.

Our work includes multiple years of alternative in-school suspension programs at public schools in Missouri. These programs are designed to work on positive behavior modification activities with students while involving the teaching and administrative staff in ensuring the continuing education of the suspended students. This program also allowed for early detection of alternative school candidates.

Kansas Connections Academy (KCA) is a tuition-free, fully accredited, public K–12 online public school that students attend from home. Students residing in Kansas are eligible to attend the school if they meet applicable enrollment requirements. In 2010, it became a state-approved program of the Elkhart Unified School District 218. We support the initiation of these types of alternative education programs and hope to encourage the continued research and possible expansion of these types of programs to Missouri students as part of our 2014-15 proposed projects.

Alternative Financing and Fund-Raising for Schools 

We have studied and implemented pilot projects in the area of creative financing and fund-raising for schools. Most of fund-raising was done for extra-curricular activities. One of our goals is to spend more time and efforts in helping schools find and create more funding. Helping schools utilize specialized grant writers to take advantage of all possible government resources is a pilot project that needs more attention from our group. 

Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the University of Central Missouri campus in May of 2011. Clinton lauded a $36 million effort at Central Missouri to make older campus buildings more energy efficient. He also praised the school's planned National Energy Retrofit Institute at its Lee's Summit satellite campus, which plans to retrain displaced construction workers and housing industry workers.