Kelvin Adams | St. Louis Public Radio

Kelvin Adams

Samuel Williams helps his two children onto the Jefferson Elementary School morning shuttle bus Friday, March 2, 2018. Williams said since it started in January, the shuttle provides safety and a routine for getting to school.
File Photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s not unusual to see several school buses crisscrossing St. Louis neighborhoods early in the morning, each carrying just a few kids.

There’s a chance that soon, students who live in the same neighborhoods but attend different schools, whether KIPP or Confluence charter schools or St. Louis Public Schools, could all pile onto the same bus.

Bree Holmes addresses St. Louis school board members during a special meeting Thursday at Vashon High School.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Education took the brunt of the frustration about gun violence that has taken the lives of a dozen children in the city from residents, parents and school staff Thursday night.

The school board held a special meeting at its Vashon High School to listen to ideas for how to keep its students alive.

Board members and district leadership say they are equally vexed by the deadly past several months, during which six St. Louis Public Schools students have been shot and killed — four over their summer vacation and two in the early weeks of the school year. At least two more have been wounded by gunfire.

St. Louis Region Copes With 15 Children Killed This Summer

Aug 23, 2019
Mary Norwood, the grandmother of 7-year-old Xavior Usanga, speaks to Alderman Brandon Bosley, D-3rd Ward and Maj. Mary Warnecke, the deputy commander of the Bureau of Investigations, on Aug. 13, 2019. Xavior was the 7th child killed in the city this year.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Jason Eberhart, 16, was a football player ― like his brother who plays for Ball State University and his father who played for the University of Illinois.

“He comes from a family of football,” said his cousin and mentor Charles Shelton. “He was the middle child of five. We were really hoping that football was going to keep his mindset, but unfortunately life in the streets got the best of him.”

On Sunday, August 18, Eberhart died from multiple gunshot wounds in the Carr Square neighborhood at 2 a.m., and the investigation is ongoing. His family is taking his death very hard, Shelton said, which is why he was speaking on their behalf.

Iris Jackson became a teacher in St. Louis Public Schools through the St. Louis Teacher Residency Program. She was a long-time substitute and reading tutor before getting certified through the residency program.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The teaching corps of St. Louis Public Schools is becoming older and whiter. And that concerns Superintendent Kelvin Adams.

Adams has asked the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for more flexibility and pathways to getting quality educators into classrooms. It’s something state education officials said is worth serious consideration.

University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Education's James Shuls (at left), SLPS Superintendent Kelvin Adams (at center) and Missouri NEA Legislative Director Otto Fajen discussed challenges surrounding teacher compensation.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this week, the local union representing educators who serve in St. Louis Public Schools began arbitration relating to its claims about pay discrepancy within the district.

American Federation of Teachers Local 420 claims many of its members are being paid less than colleagues with the same credentials and are seeking $10 million worth of salary increases and back pay for nearly 1,000 teachers and support staff.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led a conversation in light of that news, touching on challenges surrounding teacher compensation as well as other matters. Joining the discussion were SLPS Superintendent Kelvin Adams, Missouri NEA Legislative Director Otto Fajen and the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Education’s James Shuls

The Sumner High School football team huddles during the 2011 homecoming game against Vashon High School. The game attracts thousands of Sumner alumni to The Ville each fall.
File | Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Tory Russell has been roaming the halls and cafeteria of Sumner High School in a maroon Bulldogs hoodie, a laptop open in his hands. He has one question for every boy he finds: “Wanna play football?”

Russell, an assistant coach, is fervently trying to save St. Louis’ winningest high-school football program by getting kids signed up to play. Right now, the Bulldogs football team doesn’t have enough players to take the field. That means there’s a good chance this storied football program has played its last game.

St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams and Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven speak with each other after the State Board of Education granted St. Louis Public Schools full accreditation.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this week, the State Board of Education granted St. Louis Public Schools full accreditation — the first time it could do so in 16 years.

Most members of the state board said that the school district’s turnaround success was due to Superintendent Kelvin Adams. On Friday’s “Behind the Headlines,” Adams joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss the accreditation and where you can expect the school district to go from here.

End of the line for 2 more St. Louis public schools?

Nov 21, 2016
St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams watches as early results come in showing strong support for a proposition to increase school funding in April 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools is recommending that at least two schools in north St. Louis close at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

After having meetings at 10 schools that have low enrollment and shaky academic performance, Kelvin Adams told the district’s appointed board Monday night that Cote Brilliante Elementary, 2616 Cora Ave., in the Ville neighborhood, and Langston Middle School, 5511 Wabada Ave., in the Wells Goodfellow neighborhood don’t have the area population and development they need to stay open.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon talks to students at Moline elementary school in Riverview Gardens Monday, Nov. 7, 2016.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 7 at 3:55 with Nixon comments: No Missouri school districts scored in the unaccredited range on this year’s annual report cards, but that doesn’t mean that the state’s two unaccredited districts – Normandy and Riverview Gardens – are automatically headed for an upgrade.

And among charters in St. Louis, one – Preclarus Mastery Academy – scored in the unaccredited range for the third straight year. Two others that scored in the same territory, with less than half of the possible points – Jamaa Learning Center and Better Learning Communities Academy – closed at the end of the last school year.

Rick Sullivan (left), president of the city schools' Special Administrative Board, and Superintendent Kelvin Adams attend the campaign kickoff for Proposition 1
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis School Superintendent Kelvin Adams has signed a contract to stay on the job for another three years.

The new contract calls for his base salary to remain at $225,000 a year – the same salary he has had since he became head of the school district in 2008. But his automobile allowance rises to $800 a month from the $300 a month payment included in the old contract that expired last week. The $800 figure had been part of earlier contracts that Adams signed with the district.

school buses
Flickr

The end isn’t near for the area’s long-running school desegregation program, but it’s coming.

Area school superintendents in charge of the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corp. , which has run the program since a 1999 settlement established new rules the St. Louis-St. Louis County student transfers, are weighing one final five-year extension to the plan, taking it through the 2023-24 school year. They met Thursday to discuss the plan, with a final vote expected later this year.

Superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools, Kelvin Adams, tells the district’s Special Administrative Board (SAB) that the district should renovate and keep open Shenandoah and Mann Elementary School.
File | Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

Administrators will no longer be able to suspend students in pre-kindergarten through second grade who attend St. Louis Public Schools starting next fall.

Superintendent Kelvin Adams on Tuesday outlined several changes to the district’s student code of conduct during a Special Administrative Board meeting.

The most significant change eliminated out-of-school suspensions for the district’s youngest students.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday, the Special Administrative Board of the St. Louis Public Schools launched its first tax campaign in 25 years, seeking to approve a $0.75 tax levy in the city of St. Louis.

St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams, Ph.D., said the money raised by this tax level, around $26 million, would go to critical efforts such as supporting early childhood education, alternative education and competitive wages for employees in public and charter schools in the city.

Rick Sullivan, left, head of the Special Administrative Board, and Superintendent Kelvin Adams talk with members of the elected school board
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 9:25 p.m. Tuesday with results of meeting: If the discussion Tuesday night between members of the elected board of the St. Louis Public Schools and the district’s superintendent and head of the appointed board is any guide, the upcoming campaign for a 75-cent tax increase will focus on a few key points:

Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon (center) talks with state board member John Martin (left) and deputy education commissioner Ron Lankford at the state school board meeting in October 2015.
File photo |Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7:55 p.m. Monday with Adams not getting L.A. job: St. Louis schools will get another hearing by the state school board Tuesday on their request for an upgrade to full accreditation, while board members will also discuss a framework that could lift Riverview Gardens up to provisional accreditation.

Kelvin Adams 2012
courtesy St. Louis Public Schools

Kelvin Adams, who has been superintendent of the St. Louis Public Schools since 2008, has surfaced as a candidate for the top school job in Los Angeles.

Quoting unnamed sources, the Los Angeles Times said Wednesday that a five-hour meeting to choose a new superintendent Tuesday ended with no consensus. But, it added, “sources have said that the shortlist has included LA Chief Deputy Superintendent Michelle King and St. Louis Superintendent Kelvin Adams.”

Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon said he is optimistic the district will return to provisional accreditation, following a recommendation from the state department of elementary and secondary education board on Nov. 23, 2016.
Kimberly Ney | Riverview Gardens School District

For three of the St. Louis area's low-performing school districts, this year's Annual Performance Review showed marked improvement. But the success has not been even across the board.

While St. Louis Public Schools' score takes it out of the provisionally accredited zone and Riverview Gardens' improvements could be the first step toward regaining its accredited status, Normandy School District is still below the margin. The key to these districts' successes isn't universal.

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.    

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:

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.

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 first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 16, 2012 - Back in August, when Missouri schools received their annual report cards and St. Louis had earned seven points out of a possible 14, education commissioner Chris Nicastro said the progress was welcome but not enough for the city to move out of unaccredited status.

But on Tuesday, less than two months later, Nicastro’s staff recommended and the state board of education unanimously approved provisional accreditation for the city schools.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 15, 2012 - 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.

(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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 13, 2012 - Bring together the superintendent of the St. Louis Public Schools and the head of one of the city’s highest profile charter schools, and it’s not surprising you’ll come away from their presentation learning a new word:

Coop-etition.

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