The Metropolitan St. Louis area offers a wide variety of educational choices from the public schools, parochial, private, vocational-technical, special-needs, magnet and home-based at the elementary and secondary levels. There are many good nursery schools and preschools for the younger set, and some school districts have “parent as teacher” programs. If you are after higher education, St. Louis offers several excellent community college systems, two state universities and a number of internationally acclaimed private universities.
Historically the first schools in St. Louis were private or parochial. They were Roman Catholic and Lutheran financed by tuition. In 1847 the city levied its first school tax and public schools began. St. Louis was the home to the nation’s first public kindergarten in 1873 by Susan Blow. Educational methods continued to flourish in the 1900’s resulting in the many school options available in the St. Louis Area today.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW IF YOU ARE ENROLLING CHILDREN IN PUBLIC SCHOOL IN MISSOURI:
- Missouri state law mandates children must be 5 years old on or before August 1st to enter kindergarten and 6 years old on or before August 1st to enter 1st grade.
- An immunization record and health certificate
- Proof of residence
- Previous year’s report card
- Birth Certificate
Schools financed by state and local taxes and free to children who reside in the school district. Public schools are organized into geographical districts and are governed by elected representatives who form the district school boards. Many districts offer, preschool and adult education programs. Most of the Public Schools in the Metropolitan area are affiliated with the Cooperating School Districts.
Public Magnet Schools
A public school that focuses on a specific academic discipline like science, art, performing arts, etc. The 29 Magnet Schools are located in the city of St. Louis and competition for the spaces is intense. Open by application to City and County Residents
Private and Parochial Schools
Private schools usually charge tuition. They are governed by their own school board and each operates independently. They must satisfy the educational requirements of their accrediting agency. Many of the private schools are affiliated with the Independent Schools of St. Louis.
Many of the private parochial schools also belong to this organization. As noted above some of the early St. Louis Area Schools were private schools affiliated with the Catholic or Lutheran Faiths. The Archdiocese of St. Louis operates a large parochial school system with approximately 29 high schools and more than 150 elementary schools.
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which calls St. Louis home operates some of the finest Lutheran Schools. Some of the member schools of the Independent Schools of St. Louis are affiliated with other religious faiths.
Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School, St. Louis, MO 63141
Special Needs Schools
St. Louis is fortunate to have a state mandated umbrella public school district to accommodate students with special needs. The Special School District of St. Louis County Missouri was formed in 1957 as a public school system which provides educational services to handicapped and vocational students in St. Louis County, Missouri. Its special education mission is to identify and educate special needs children in order to enable them to attain meaningful life and to have an independent and productive place in society. Its vocational education mission is to supplement comprehensive high school programs of St. Louis school districts with training and opportunities in chosen vocations. There are also a number of private schools which service children with learning disabilities, physical impairments and behavioral problems.
Home schooling in Missouri information can be found through Families for Home Education 816-767-9825
Vocational Technical Schools
In every county in Missouri, the state supports at least one vocational-technical high school. There are number of middle and high schools in the metro area which emphasize vocational and technical training in their curriculum.
Post Secondary Education
Education after high school. St. Louis Area is fortunate to have a large number of post secondary educational opportunities from vocational schools through Universities offering post doctorial programs for information check out the Missouri Department of High Education website.
To access current public school district report card information, statistics and data, refer to the school district website or Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education website.
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