University City School District | St. Louis Public Radio

University City School District

University City seniors Alex Cunningham, sitting, and Kyhler Cross work out a new beat as part of the audio production course Cunningham started last year. April 23, 2018.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Alex Cunningham is sprawled across the hallway in a corner of the University City High School music department. His laptop rests on his chest. Headphones cover his ears.

“I was trying to get to the studio but the door was locked,” he explained.

Cunningham, an 18-year-old senior, didn’t feel like doing the four flights of stairs down and up again to find a staff member to let him in. So he plopped down in the hall, outside of what could be considered his classroom.

Every morning Pat Wilson walks down the hall from her office in the Julia Goldstein Early Childhood Education Center through the gym and into a part of the building not typically associated with a school nurse: the kitchen.

There, she checks a list—posted on the side of the stainless steel refrigerator—of all the students in the school with a food allergy.

“It’s constantly being updated,” Wilson says.


An "out of order" sign hangs from the pipes of a water fountain at Patrick Henry Elementary School in St. Louis.
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

University City School District spokeswoman Pat Washington said Wednesday that after testing every drinking source in every district building, two water fountains at University City High School and one sink each at Brittany Woods Middle School, Flynn Park Elementary Barbara C. Jordan Elementary and the McNair Administration Center have been shut off because they tested higher for lead than the Environmental Protection Agency’s benchmark of 15 parts per billion.

University City School District Superintendent Joylynn Pruitt (center), seen here at a district work session, will retire at the end of the 2015-2016 school year after nine years in the post.
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

University City School District Superintendent Dr. Joylynn Pruitt will retire at the end of next school year, according to an announcement released Tuesday.

Pruitt has spent eight years so far at the head of the U. City schools, and said by the end of her ninth year, it will be time for someone else to take the district to the “next level.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis: The University City High School jazz program is best known for the generation of talented young musicians who graduated from there in the late 1980s. U. City High students pianist Peter Martin, trumpet player/vocalist Jeremy Davenport, bassist Chris Thomas, saxophonist Todd Williams and drummer David Berger recording an album (“Just In Time”) as the Todd Williams Quintet in 1987. And all went on to professional musical careers.

But University City High had an outstanding jazz program in the 1970s as well, and drummer Ronnie Burrage, who graduated from the school in the late 1970s, went on to achieve early success on the international jazz scene.