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KIPP St. Louis

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.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Three charter schools are enrolling students this summer before opening their doors for the first time in August.

Two schools will be run by longtime charter operators in St. Louis, while a third is being opened by young Teach For America alumni.

Representatives from organizations receiving funding from the Regional Business Council and Civic Progress pose for a photo. The Concil and Civic Progress announced more than $2 million in funding for these organizations on June 18.
Regional Business Council and Civic Progress

The Regional Business Council and Civic Progress on Tuesday announced more than $1 million in funding for eight St. Louis community organizations working to increase education and economic opportunities.

And the Business Council said it was giving an additional $1.2 million to a neighborhood cleanup program.

University City senior Kaya Blount talks about being nervous for an upcoming college audition during a restorative circle in Latin class. "When you're just able to talk about it, it doesn't get to the point where it's harmful to you," she said.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

There are no desks in AP Latin class at University City High School. Students instead “circle up” by facing each other in plastic chairs.

As the stuffed animal, “Felix the Talking Cat,” makes its way around the circle, one student expresses worry about an exam later in the day. Seniors fret about pending college-acceptance letters. Another shares news of unexpectedly acing a test and the group cheers.

Missouri State Board of Education member Vic Lenz, board President Charlie Shields, and interim Education Commissioner Roger Dorson during the state school board's first meeting Thursday in six months.
File | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri state school board sent strong signals to leadership of St. Louis Public Schools Tuesday it will end its 12-year oversight of the district this spring.

State Board of Education members had all good things to say at the board’s monthly meeting regarding the district's turnaround efforts from its time of infighting, constant leadership churn and a large fiscal deficit.

Iris Jackson works with first-graders at Patrick Henry Downtown Academy in St. Louis on a reading comprehension assignment. Jackson is a resident teacher at the school.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

A group of middle-aged adults is back in school this fall. This time, though, they’re at the front of the classroom learning how to be teachers.

St. Louis Teacher Residency, launched over the summer, is recruiting adults to change careers to work in education, hoping their life experience and maturity will lead to less burnout and longer tenures among urban educators.

Ninth graders take notes during a social studies class at the recently opened KIPP St. Louis High School on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.
File Photo | 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.
 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 20, 2013 - 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.

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, May 17, 2013 - Among the first education stories published by the Beacon when it began back in 2008 was a four-part series by staff writer Robert Joiner on the KIPP charter schools.

Even before KIPP Inspire began accepting students in the fall of 2009 in south St. Louis, Joiner wrote about Trina Clark James, who pushed to have the innovative school establish a site here, and about KIPP Endeavor Academy in Kansas City.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 16, 2012 - To hear Richard Barth tell it, the formula for a successful charter school is simple:

Find great teachers, put them in front of students for a longer day, let everyone know that expectations are high, give them the financial, educational and moral support they need and never stop checking to make sure that things are going as they should.

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 8, 2009 - The little kindergartener struggled a bit with her welcome address, but hey, she was speaking in Spanish, and that explains the warm applause for her efforts.

The girl's remarks and similar ones in French by a first grader marked the official introduction to two unusual public charter schools in St. Louis. One is a French school and the other a Spanish school; both are part of St. Louis Language Immersion Schools . Located at 4011 Papin St., the two schools open their doors Monday, Aug. 17, to 180 kindergartners and first graders.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 21, 2009 - Terrance Wynn used to think of Slim Jim beef jerky and Snack Pack pudding as treats for the taste buds. But one morning, during his 90-minute reading class at KIPP Inspire middle school, Terrance discovered that food labels offered shortcuts to mastering reading and spelling. He was among about 27 fifth graders who listened and reacted with a mixture of fascination and confusion when the rhyming sounds of several foods were turned into a teachable moment at the new charter public school on the south side of St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 13, 2009 - A new world of learning began to unfold today for about 90 bright-eyed children -- all students in the inaugural class of KIPP Inspire Academy, a middle school that opened its doors this morning on the South Side.

Although some of these youngsters already are accustomed to hard work, others will be getting their first taste of what it means to attend KIPP: being exposed to a challenging curriculum, plenty of homework, lots of encouragement and no excuses for not eventually performing at grade level and beyond.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 21, 2009 - Six weeks into their summer vacation, about 90 fifth-graders in St. Louis will give up the fun and return to the classroom to become members of the inaugural class at a different kind of middle school, KIPP Inspire Academy.

The goal is to instill every middle schooler at KIPP with the mind-set and skills to attend the best public and private high schools and ultimately the best public and private colleges.