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KIPP high school among 3 new charter schools opening in St. Louis this week

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
Ninth-graders take notes during a social studies class at the recently opened KIPP St. Louis High School on Tuesday.

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.

KIPP opened its first primary school here in 2008, and the network’s executive director, Kelly Garrett, said students completing middle school at KIPP charters needed a better option for high school.

“We want to create opportunities for our students that may not have existed for them in the past,” he said, calling the school’s model “rigorous.”


About a third of the 134 ninth-graders who started at the high school, which is located in the Locust Business District, came from a KIPP middle school.

The rest of them are quickly learning how KIPP schools operate, according to school co-leader Tanesia Simmons.

“The fact that we say what we mean and we mean what we say. And we don’t waiver on our expectations, because we know that’s what’s going to get kids to and through college, is one of the biggest differences I think between us and some of the other schools,” Simmons said at ribbon-cutting for the school Tuesday.

The new school is housed in a former Imagine charter school that was closed by the state in 2012. Charter schools are independently run public schools, but are funded in part with tax dollars.

Other new charters

EAGLE Prep, another charter network, opened its fourth elementary school this week in the Gravois Park neighborhood of St. Louis. Arch Community School opened Tuesday in the Hyde Park neighborhood, with 71 students in kindergarten through third grade.

Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls also hit a milestone this week, adding its first high school class at the building on North Kingshighway.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @rpatrickdelaney

Ryan was an education reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.