School Years 1851-54
" (The Kaw Mission School) averaged about thirty pupils, all boys. The branches taught were spelling, reading, writing, and arithmetic. None of them received instruction in the trades. The boys worked well on the farm."
–Teacher Thomas Huffaker, 1905
The Treaty of 1846 had provided that the government would make an annual payment of one thousand dollars to advance the education of the Kaws in their own country. In September 1850, the Methodist Episcopal Church South entered into a contract with the U.S. government, and construction of the mission was completed by February of 1851.
School began in May 1851, under the direction of Thomas Sears Huffaker, a 25-year-old teacher who had served in the same capacity at the Shawnee Manual Labor School near present Kansas City. At the most, thirty Kaw boys lived upstairs in four rooms. There were two classrooms downstairs on the west side and two rooms which served as living quarters for the staff on the east side.

Classes were held for the Kaw boys until 1854, when the school was closed because of the excessive cost–fifty dollars a year–of maintaining each student. The Kaws never responded favorably to the efforts of the church and sent to the school only boys described as "orphans and dependents of the tribe." Many members of the tribe considered the ways of white people degrading. Also, the teaching methods and cultural assumptions of the school administrators and teachers probably impeded effective cross-cultural instruction.

The white perspective on the operation of the Kaw Mission is best captured in a quarterly report penned by Shawnee Mission superintendent Thomas Johnson, who was Huffaker’s supervisor. Writing to the Office of Indian Affairs on January 21, 1852, Johnson expresses his frustration with the Kaws:

"You will perceive from the accounts that the number of scholars was only fifteen. The number might have been much larger but at the commencement of the quarter everyone of the mission family was sick & they could not take a large number & many of the Indian children were sick also, & their relations insisted on taking them with them on their Buffalo hunt.

But I hope in future we may be able to do better; though I am compelled to acknowledge that the prospect is not very encouraging. For this entire tribe of Indians are so much in the habit of stealing from every body in their reach, I am at a loss to determine how we can support a large school among them."

Other factors may have compounded the difficulties at the Kaw Mission. Huffaker, who initially had not mastered the Kaw language, relied on a mixed-blood interpreter to communicate with his students. A year after he came to the Mission, Huffaker married the sixteen-year-old Eliza Baker, daughter of the Kaw Mission housekeeper. 
A year later the first of their eleven children, Suzie, was born in the Kaw Mission. Considering the diverse individuals assembled under the Kaw Mission roof, chances for a successful mission operation were hardly auspicious: a young teacher and his teen-age wife, both not adept in the Kaw language, Huffaker’s mother-in-law, a baby, and a dozen or more Kaw boys abruptly uprooted from their tepee villages.

In 1855, a Kaw agent pronounced a final gloomy assessment of the Kaw Mission effort: "at present (the Kaws) have no school, and it seems that what they have had has been only a dead expense to the government; those who have enjoyed the privilege of the school heretofore are now no more than common Kaws in dress, manners, and everything else."

Collision - Kaw Mission
The Huffakers
School Years 1851-54
The Mission 1854-1951

What happened after the school was closed?