St. Louis Public 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.

Kelvin Adams 2012
courtesy St. Louis Public Schools

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The St. Louis Public Schools are headed for financial problems, do not adequately address the difficulties of students who fall behind, need to monitor test results more closely to detect possible cheating and should seek bids more often for goods and services, according to a state audit released Wednesday.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When an outside consulting firm takes a hard look at ways to improve the Kansas City schools, its report may not have the answers to achieving the same goal in St. Louis, but it could certainly be asking the right questions.

comedy_nose / Flickr

Updated 1:20 p.m.

The Missouri state auditor gave the St. Louis Public Schools a “fair” rating in an audit of the district released Wednesday.

Auditor Tom Schweich, a Republican, said the district was not initially cooperative with his office.

Superintendent Kelvin Adams, who also attended Wednesday’s press conference, said the audit got off to a “rocky” start because the district did not initially believe Schweich had the authority to do the performance audit.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: This time last year, the St. Louis Public Schools were pushing for an upgrade in their accreditation classification, making the argument that the latest state evaluation gave them enough points to climb out of unaccredited territory.

Chris Nicastro, who heads the department of elementary and secondary education, originally said the district had shown improvement, but not enough to win provisional accreditation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Let’s be very specific about last week’s breaking news in education: The state will be paying nearly $400,000 to a consultant to tell us why Kansas City, one of Missouri’s three unaccredited school districts, is failing. As in the other two unaccredited districts — Riverview Gardens and Normandy — Kansas City students are predominantly African American and live in communities that are economically disadvantaged. All three districts, as well as St. Louis (again) are having a hard time getting a sufficient number of kids to pass the state’s high-stakes tests — MAP and end-of-course exams — that Missouri children take every spring.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: If Missouri educators were to use the first year of a new evaluation plan to classify school districts, St. Louis Public Schools would slide back into unaccredited territory, joining Normandy and Riverview Gardens, and other local districts would be downgraded to provisionally accredited.

St. Louis Beacon graphic | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has been working for years to get authority to step in more quickly to help unaccredited school districts.

Now that a newly signed law gives it that power, the state board of education wants to make sure that it uses it in the right way.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Members of the Missouri state board of education voted unanimously Tuesday to grant provisional accreditation to the St. Louis Public Schools, accepting a recommendation from Commissioner Chris Nicastro.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Rather than divert attention and money to vouchers and charter schools, the president of the American Federation of Teachers says the district-teacher collaboration in St. Louis should become a model to help strengthen public school districts nationwide.

Citing grants for innovation and programs that help new teachers and veterans alike, Randi Weingarten told a news conference at Gateway Elementary School Tuesday that the survival of public education is at a pivotal moment.

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.  

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: To avoid the challenges associated with the current school transfer law, and to give parents a better idea of how their children’s school is doing, the elected board of the St. Louis Public Schools wants the state to begin accrediting individual schools rather than entire school districts.

(via Flickr/evmaiden)

Updated 5:34 p.m. to include comments from Chris Tennill of  the School District of Clayton

The Missouri Department Of Elementary & Secondary Education has issued its own guidelines for the transfer process of students from unaccredited districts to those which are accredited.

(via Flickr/frankjuarez)

Updated 4:38 p.m. & 5:44 p.m.

The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a state law that allows students to transfer from unaccredited districts to ones that are accredited.

(Provided/St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department)

Updated with receipt of statement from SLPS.

A math teacher at Soldan International Studies High School in St. Louis is facing 11 criminal counts for allegedly having sexual contact with a student at the school.

Thirty-two-year-old David Marler is being held on a $250,000 cash bond on felony statutory sodomy, child endangerment, and sexual contact with a student charges. Police are investigating the possibility that there were other victims, and are encouraging parents or students to call 314-444-5385.