KIPP St. Louis | St. Louis Public Radio

KIPP St. Louis

Ninth-graders take notes during a social studies class at the recently opened KIPP St. Louis High School on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

KIPP St. Louis is taking its disciplined approach to education to high schoolers.

The charter school network opened a high school this week to go with its two elementary and two middle schools. It’s also one of three new charter schools opening for the 2017-18 academic year in St. Louis.

But overall, charter school growth in St. Louis is slowing from its peak during 2009, 2010 and 2011; there are 33 charter schools in the city.

North Side community school classroom
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Updated 2:38 p.m. March 30 with clarification from Education Cities organization:

New data show that public schools in St. Louis and some area suburbs score far down the list of major American cities when it comes to closing the achievement gap between students from low-income families and their more advantaged peers.

Dale Singer/St. Louis Public Radio

Rodney Norman grew up in the St. Louis neighborhood near Mitchell School, though he didn’t go there, and he knows what the closure of the school did to the area near Page and Goodfellow boulevards.

Now, say Norman and his wife, Juanita, they know what the reopening of the building, as the KIPP Victory Academy for 200 students in kindergarten and first grade, will mean when classes begin next month.

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.”

(via Google Maps screen capture)

In 2009, KIPP Inspire Academy opened its doors in St. Louis. Since then, the charter school has grown from a single class of 80 5th graders to a school of 330 students in grades 5th through 8th, many of them behind by two years in reading and math.

St. Louis Public Radio's Julie Bierach recently spoke with KIPP's Executive Director Kelly Garrett about the school's education model that puts just as much emphasis on character as it does on reading and writing.

KIPP 2012 map scores
Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When DeTony Thomas was in fourth grade, four long years ago, he went to a school that sounds like the model for a badly clichéd movie about the problems with modern urban education.

He saw a new fight every day, he says, and there wasn’t a whole lot of homework. “It was too easy and boring,” he says.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 10, 2011 - So you're fed up with hearing about how kids in St. Louis have no quality public schools to attend and you have a great idea for a charter school that will blow the rest of them away.

How do you get started?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 12, 2011 - KIPP in St. Louis is starting the new school year with a new regional director and an old task -- finding a site in north St. Louis for a second location.

The new executive director for KIPP St. Louis is Kelly Garrett. He began Aug. 8, replacing Thomas Walker, who is now a vice president at the Forest Park campus of St. Louis Community College.