St. Louis University
Why We Sponsor Public Charter Schools:
Echoing the disciplinary and methodological diversity evidenced and valued by its faculty, Saint Louis University embraces and seeks to serve the children of St. Louis in the multiple educational settings and formats available throughout the area. We recognize that no one educational method or system is best for all students, and that the breadth of schooling options remains one of St. Louis’ greatest strengths. We champion student learning and development first and foremost, and we support efforts across the educational spectrum that best enable students to reach their full potential including traditional public education, charter public education, private education and parochial education.
The University has an extensive history of collaboration with St. Louis’ public schools, and continually seeks to assist the St. Louis Public School District, neighboring public school districts, the City of St. Louis and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as appropriate to advance student learning. Toward that goal the University has committed to sponsorship of selected public charter schools.
As a research institution, the University is committed to the concept of charter schools as laboratories of innovation to discern what can work best in public education, and how all educational sectors can benefit from such innovation. The primary interest of SLU’s Office of Charter School Sponsorship is leveraging our strengths as a premier research university to develop new models for public education. It is within this context that we approach sponsorship of new schools, assess our current schools’ board of directors and each school’s performance. While this does not preclude the importance of charter schools existing to provide high quality choice in St. Louis, our sponsorship approach is rooted in the University’s commitment to support innovation and experimentation within education to benefit the entire system.
Saint Louis University recognizes that its role as a sponsor of charter schools is both supported and bounded by its institutional mission as well as human and financial resources. Accordingly, the University has focused efforts on sponsorship of a very small number of schools whose leadership, missions and curricula present a “good fit” with the people and programs of the University. Sponsored schools are characterized by:
- An educational mission consistent with Saint Louis University’s mission and values
- An over-arching organizational purpose and educational plan (curriculum, pedagogy, administration, etc.) that embodies the University’s commitment to charter schools for the purpose of advancing a new educational model or innovation within the current public school landscape.
- A rigorous curriculum design responsive to the school’s mission and the needs of the community
- A strong local board of trustees (non-profit), formed in response to demonstrated local need
- A location close to campus to meet the distinct needs of students residing in neighborhoods near and adjacent to the University
- Opportunities for University faculty, staff and student involvement throughout its operations