ST. LOUIS – Parents who struggle to find the right academic environments for their children now have an organization to lean on. On Monday, the St. Louis Public School board proposed that 11 public schools in the City of St. Louis: six elementary schools, one middle school, and four high schools be closed for good come next fall.
The board proposed the following schools to close: Clay Elementary, Dunbar Elementary, Farragut Elementary, Ford Elementary, Hickey Elementary, Monroe Elementary, Fanning Middle School, Carnahan High School, Cleveland Naval Jr. ROTC, Northwest High School, Sumner High School
Navigate STL strives to assist parents and guardians in recognizing their right to local schools that serve the unique needs and interests of their children.
Executive Director of Navigate STL Schools Ana-Stacia Allen said students in the city have been given the short end of the stick when it comes to education and school placement.
“In the city of St. Louis choice exists. There are so many different types of schools,” Allen said. “It’s a matter of finding what school’s going to be the best fit cultural wise, curriculum wise, distance wise and resource wise for your child and your family.”
The program offers virtual and one-on-one assistance.
They advocate for equitable enrollment and share relevant resources and transparent information about the traditional, charter, magnet, and independent school options available to St. Louis City families to help guide them as they navigate the St. Louis school search process.
Working with the organization, Allen has seen firsthand the learning deficiencies and disparities in the St. Louis City Public Education system.
“Lots of parents are finding out what they thought their children knew they don’t know. They can’t read. They don’t understand basic math concepts,” Allen said. “They don’t have access to computers and technological resources that are putting them behind students in school districts with more money.”
Public school closures are not just a threat in the St. Louis area.
Public school education enrollment is down three to five percent nationwide.
Allen is mostly alarmed that the SLPS have selected for closure options are all predominately located in North St. Louis.
“The schools that are being closed are on the Northside which is going to provide a large equity gap or a large displacement, too, for those families. We want to be able to support the district and those families during that transition,” said Allen.
According to Allen, closing these schools is not the best solution to help students or families.
She said it is important that we invest in low-income communities and systematically targeted neighborhoods to ensure students feel safe and secure in their own environments while having access to adequate facilities, resources, and curriculum.
For more information about the program, visit navigatestlschools.org.