Kelvin Adams

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time, two St. Louis city schools -- Nottingham Community Access Job Training High School and Busch Middle School of Character – have earned the label “Missouri School of Character.”  A total of 11 St. Louis area schools received the designation this year.      

In the St. Louis Public Schools, the designation comes after staff at the two schools spent years proving that their focus on students' character improved academic achievement, student behavior and created a school environment that championed learning.

Vashon High School freshman Rochelle Mason joined other students in a walk-out over substitute teachers and quality resources.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

About 100 students from St. Louis' Vashon High School walked out of classes Friday morning to demand more full-time teachers and better textbooks.

The students also were upset about certain school policies and the hiring of a new principal.

Vashon has been under scrutiny after it earned only 28 percent of available points on the most recent report card from the state.

Substitute teachers 

St. Louis Public Schools

While plenty of work is left to be done, St. Louis Public Schools has established a foothold in its effort to raise academic performance and reverse decades of sagging enrollment. 

That's the big takeaway from a report by the Chicago based IFF, a nonprofit that released a similar study in 2009 when city leaders were considering the best locations for a wave of charter schools.

Wiley Price/St. Louis American

Kenyun Robinson, 16, a sophomore at Roosevelt High School in the St. Louis Public Schools, has a desk and bookshelves at home. But he knows that many students do not, and that is why he was eager to work on a project that the Home Works organization brought to his school on Friday. 

Dale Singer/St. Louis Public Radio

The charter school operator is opening a new location for kindergarten and first grade in north St. Louis this fall and plans to have six schools in St. Louis five years from now.

On her cell phone, Tiara Abu has a short video showing her and 5-year-old Jawon, sitting on his bed, giving a cheer and doing their best version of jazz hands.

What was the occasion?

“He had just counted to 100 for me,” explained Abu, adding: I hadn’t asked him to.”

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Parents and community members concerned about the fate of two south city elementary schools breathed a sigh of a relief on Thursday night.  

The superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools, Kelvin Adams, told the Special Administrative Board that the district should renovate and keep open Shenandoah and Mann Elementary Schools.

With no further action needed from the board, the future of the historic schools is now secure. 

Adams’ recommendation was greeted by a chorus of applause from concerned parents who attended the meeting.    

Erin Williams

In a press conference held at St. Louis City Hall today, Mayor Slay was joined by school and court officials to speak about the importance of regular school attendance before the first day on Monday.

Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams says that while attendance has increased, it is estimated that 5,000 to 6,000 students don’t attend on the first day of school.  

(via Flickr/cayoup)

On the heels of improving test scores and other accountability measures that were reported last month, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will decide whether to grant St. Louis Public Schools provisional accreditation on Oct. 16.  

Even though he is optimistic about the chances that the district will begin to earn back local control as soon as next month, Superintendent Kelvin Adams says that isn’t the only measure of success.

(via St. Louis Public Schools)

Updated 5:10 p.m. Aug. 13:

St. Louis Public Schools has released its attendance figures for the first day of school:

  • 20,283 students in Kindergarten through 12th grade attended classes today
  • According to SLPS, the number shows a 10.25 percent increase over the previous year’s first day attendance of 18,397

Three new schools opened to address the closing of six Imagine charter schools in St. Louis. The new schools had the following first-day attendance numbers:

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Heading into special session, Ill. lawmakers remain divided on pensions

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has called for a special session on Friday to overhaul he state's pensions, even though Illinois lawmakers are still divided over the best way to do so.

There's an $83 billion gap in what the state has promised its employees they'll get when they retire, and what Illinois actually has in the bank.

(via Flickr/comedy_nose)

The St. Louis Public Schools have unveiled their plans to cope with a possible influx of students from the shuttered Imagine charter schools.

Superintendent Kelvin Adams says more than 1,200 of Imagine’s 3,500 students have applied to attend St. Louis Public Schools next year. He says if enough parents are interested, the district will open as many as six new buildings that would allow Imagine students to stay together.

(screenshot via Google Maps)

The St. Louis Public Schools will ask the Missouri State Board of Education for permission to sponsor a new charter school that will lease space in a vacant district property on the city's north side.

The state board that oversees the district approved the request last night.

(Julie Linder/St. Louis Public Schools)

For the first time in a decade, the St. Louis Public Schools will be debt-free.

Superintendent Kelvin Adams announced today that the district has entered an agreement with the plaintiffs in a 1972 case over the district's segregation policies that frees up $96 million for debt reduction and district operations.

(Patrick Wallace/St. Louis Public Schools)

St. Louis Public Schools employees will get raises for the first time since the 2008-2009 school year under a contract approved Tuesday night by the state-appointed Special Administrative Board that oversees the district.

Members of the American Federation of Teachers Local 420 voted overwhelmingly earlier in the week to approve the new three-year deal, which takes effect immediately.

(St. Louis Public Radio photo)

A new state audit has found that the principal of a St. Louis Public School District elementary school purposely manipulated attendance figures.

The findings indicate that Patrick Henry Downtown Academy Principal Esperansa Veal ordered a staff member to falsify hundreds of attendance records, which may have helped the school meet federal “No Child Left Behind” requirements.

State Auditor Tom Schweich says the evidence his office found was overwhelming.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A respectful crowd of 85 parents and district activists filled seats at Vashon High School Monday night seeking some clarity on the 2011-2012 budget for the St. Louis Public Schools.

The appointed board overseeing the St. Louis Public Schools has directed its superintendent, Kelvin Adams, to conduct his own investigation into reports that some district employees falsified attendance records.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated at 9:20 a.m. May 3:

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has listed the specific school involved in the allegations as Patrick Henry Downtown Academy.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. May 2 with a statement from the St. Louis Public Schools

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Three schools would be closed, and several others would undergo vast transformations, under a $273 million dollar budget proposal  unveiled last night by St. Louis Public Schools superintendent Kelvin Adams.

The proposed spending plan also marks a shift in budgeting philosophy for the district. Money in the past has been distributed to schools based on the number of people that work in the building.

Starting next year, the money would be allocated as a grant to schools based on several factors, including the percentage of special education and low-income students, average daily attendance, and whether the school is a magnet/choice school. Within reason - for example, they'll still have to meet state class size limits - principals will be able to set their own staffing plan.

"The whole challenge for a principal is to have ownership, and have control of the resources," said Adams, a former principal. "If I decide I want to have a larger third grade class - I have a great, dynamic third grade teacher, I'll put that teacher in that classroom," Adams said.  "But I may have a smaller fourth grade class because maybe things aren't working as well in my fourth grade group."

More details are after the break.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Saying the process of collaboration is not what it should have been, St. Louis Public Schools superintendent Kelvin Adams delayed tonight  presenting his budget for the 2011-2012 school year.

The budget is likely to include layoffs and the closure of as many as three schools. Letters have already gone out to the parents at Bunche and Stevens middle schools, and Kottmeyer Big Picture High School, and library and media specialists from the district were out in force to protest the possibility that some of them may lose their jobs.