St. Louis Public Schools

St. Louis Public Schools

  

(Updated at 9 p.m., 3/10/15)

St. Louis Public Schools is reconsidering its discipline policy following a report from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA that found the district suspended roughly 29 percent of African-American grade school students at least once during the 2011-12 school year.

Flickr

Missouri suspends African-American grade school students at a higher rate than any other state in the country.  This was a key finding in a national report issued last week by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA.  But troubled districts have been making some progress.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Schools' plan to turn around its lowest performing schools is starting to take root, but plenty of work remains. That was the message delivered to the district’s Special Administrative Board (SAB) by Superintendent Kelvin Adams on Wednesday evening.

“I’d say it’s about a seven or eight out of 10,” Adams said, when asked how schools are progressing. “Right now it’s preliminary.  We’re only about five months into this.”

Eighth-grade communications arts teacher, Kate Berger, leads students through a classroom exercise at South City Preparatory
Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

 

(Updated Feb. 18 with details on South City Prep's new location and the closing of Construction Careers Center High School.)

A stream of eighth graders flowed into Kate Berger’s classroom at South City Preparatory Academy.  College and university banners line classroom walls and hang from ceilings.           

“Find yourself,” the language arts teacher told students.  “Go to where you need to be.”

Courtesy St. Louis Public Schools

Members of the Special Administrative Board (SAB) for St. Louis Public Schools — which has overseen the district since it lost state accreditation in 2007 — are meeting to develop a plan for returning authority over the district to the disempowered, elected board.  

The first meeting is being held this evening and will be a closed session to discuss legal and legislative issues related to transitioning authority.

John Walker / Flickr

A new effort is underway to fortify the high school to college pipeline for students in St. Louis Public Schools.  

The St. Louis Public Schools Foundation, the fundraising partner for the district, wants to raise $2 million to hire eight counselors over the next three years to focus on college readiness. These counselors would serve students at all 15 of the district’s high schools. The highly regarded Metro Academic and Classical High School already has a counselor specifically focused on college readiness.   

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

A program designed to push poor and minority students toward high school graduation and college and career readiness will expand in the St. Louis Public Schools.

Fueled by a $300,000 grant from AT&T, the Advancement Via Individual Determination  (AVID) program will go from serving around 300 students to 3,400 students at Cleveland Jr. Naval Academy, Gateway STEM High School, Roosevelt High School, Soldan International Studies High School, Sumner High School and Vashon High School. 

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 

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Angelee and Paul Brockmeyer have a soft spot for urban living and fixer-uppers.  

The couple spent five years rehabbing an old home in Chicago.  So, when they decided to pack up and come to St. Louis to be closer to family, Paul spent his weekends scouring the city's nooks and crannies for their next project. 

What they found was a sprawling Victorian in Compton Heights in need of elbow grease and updates.  

“It’s kind of easy to get sold on the whole package when you have this great neighborhood and you really love your house,” Angelee said. 

(via St. Louis Public Schools)

More than 780 kindergarten through eighth-grade pupils in St. Louis Public Schools who have fallen behind in reading are being held back this school year. That’s double the number of pupils retained last fall, when 372 students did not move on to the next grade.     

Even though the school transfer issue aroused passionate debate last year, the issue still isn't resolved.
Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Take a look at a statewide map showing how districts performance has changed between the past two school years, as well as five takeaways from the report cards.

While St. Louis Public Schools and Riverview Gardens have made solid gains in their push toward accreditation, Normandy finds itself in a deeper hole, earning just 7.1 percent of the possible points in Missouri’s latest list of school report cards released Friday.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

With just over a week before the first day of classes for St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS), the district partnered with the Urban League to host an annual back to school fair Saturday.

An estimated 10,000 people attended the Back to School and Community Empowerment Festival, lining up outside St. Louis University's Chaifetz Arena to get free school supplies and find out about area resources.

Urban League President and CEO Michael McMillan said the purpose of the fair is to make sure students—and their families—are ready for the school year.

File photo

With two weeks to go until teachers report for the beginning of the new school year, the Normandy Schools Collaborative said Monday it has hired 80 percent of the staff it needs, from custodians to principals.

But just to make sure it hasn’t overlooked any good teachers who are still looking for employment, the district said it will be holding a job fair two days later this week.

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.

St. Louis Public Schools

The Special Administrative Board (SAB) for St. Louis Public Schools has approved funneling $5 million in federal money into an intense tutoring program.

The district hired three outside vendors to give the program a try with 2,174 students at 23 schools this past school year. Based on benchmark exams, students who participated in the program on average made greater academic strides when compared to those who did not get the extra help.

Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio

On the 60th anniversary of the historic Brown vs. Board of Education decision Saturday, a small group rallied in front of City Hall to call on elected officials to improve St. Louis’ schools.

The students, parents, members of Metropolitan Congregations United and representatives from the American Federation of Teachers St. Louis want schools turned into “community learning centers.” 

St. Louis Public Schools teachers’ union president Mary Armstrong says she would like these “centers” to focus more on learning and less on student testing.

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. 

comedy_nose / Flickr

The Special Administrative Board (SAB) overseeing St. Louis Public Schools has approved a school improvement plan intended to serve as a blueprint for earning back full accreditation for the district.  

The plan developed by Superintendent Kelvin Adams divides schools into four tiers based on academic performance and lays out the five overarching goals listed below. 

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

A coalition of clergy from more than 40 metropolitan area churches is backing the school transformation plan put forth by St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams.

“We acknowledge there are components that people are unhappy about, unsure about and uncompromising about,” said the Rev. Earl Nance Jr. of Greater Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church. “We honor the concerns that people have.  At the same time, we believe that is worth a try.”

DESE website

The state-appointed Special Administrative Board (SAB) for St. Louis Public Schools will maintain oversight of the provisionally accredited district through June 2016. 

The state Board of Education unanimously approved the extension during its meeting today in Jefferson City. The SAB had been set to expire in June of this year. 

Education Commission Chris Nicastro said even though the district has had some academic ups and downs under the SAB’s tenure, keeping it in place would allow officials to gauge whether school improvement efforts are taking root. 

alkruse24 / Flickr

Will be updated following state Board of Education meeting on Tues., April 15.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is recommending that the Missouri state Board of Education extend the authority of the Special Administrative Board (SAB) for the St. Louis Public Schools. The SAB's authority expires in June.

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

Updated Sat., March 29, at 2:09 p.m.

A proposal to bring in nonprofits to run low-performing St. Louis City schools continued to draw criticism during a public hearing at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School on Saturday.

With comments similar to those made at a forum on Thursday night, members of the elected school board reiterated their opposition to the idea.  

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 8:45 p.m., Thurs., March 13 with details from final proposal and comments.

This evening St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams outlined his blueprint for building up academic achievement and meeting new standards established under the Missouri School Improvement Plan (MSIP5).

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio/The Beacon

St. Louis Public Schools is working toward or has already put in place a string of recommendations laid out in a state audit issued in September last year.

That’s the big takeaway from a follow-up report released today from the Missouri Auditor’s Office.  

comedy_nose / Flickr

Twelve St. Louis area schools with low academic performance will receive a total of more than $6.2 million in federal money to kick start classroom improvement.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s School Improvement Grant (SIG) program, which is distributing more than $43 million nationally to seven states. 

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.    

Kelvin Adams St. Louis Public Schools superintendent
Dale Singer | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Filing into a second-grade classroom at Oak Hill Elementary School, Kelvin Adams and others settled into child-sized seats at the back of the room to watch students play a guessing game. They quickly became the object of the kids’ curiosity.

The students were asked: Which one of the visitors – including a reporter and several employees of the St. Louis Public Schools along with Adams – is the superintendent, aka the “big cheese”?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri’s commissioner of education said Monday that until three years of data are available from the St. Louis Public Schools under the state’s new evaluation system, she doesn’t see a move toward restoring control of the school district to an elected board.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dear Beaconites --

As a cool breeze chased away the heat, St. Louisans marked the turning of the seasons in two ways this week. The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, opened 10 days of reflection and repentence for some. Labor Day brought the end of summer for all.

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