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City Garden Montessori  could never be the type of school and community gathering place that we are without the support of our partners, our friends, and our sponsor, St. Louis University.

Saint Louis University’s commitment to urban community education is manifested in the involvement of its students, faculty, and staff in various forms of public schooling.

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 public charter schools.

Community Leadership Through Sponsorship

The success of a charter school – and, therefore, the successes of its students – is closely tied to the integrity of the sponsor and quality of sponsor oversight. As a leader in the education and certification of St. Louis’ teachers and administrators, and as a comprehensive research institution committed to empirically-based improvement efforts in urban public education, Saint Louis University is uniquely poised to serve the St. Louis community as a sponsor.

Serving as a sponsor further engages the University’s faculty, staff, and students in the St. Louis community, and further evidences the University’s leadership commitment to public schooling, innovation in education, and community development.

The Decision to Sponsor

Over the past several years a number of groups have requested that Saint Louis University consider charter school sponsorship. Recognizing the extent of such a challenge, the University has approached sponsorship cautiously and with due diligence. University constituents have consulted with officials from the St. Louis Public School District, regional and national charter school associations, and faculty and staff at other colleges and universities serving as charter school sponsors in and outside of Missouri.

Faculty and staff from throughout the University are encouraged to lend their insight, experience, and expertise to the institutional sponsorship effort.

Scope of Sponsorship

While the need for high-performing public schools is significant, 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, faculty and staff have focused their 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:

  • a strong local board of trustees (non-profit), formed in response to demonstrated local need
  • an educational mission consistent with Saint Louis University’s mission and values
  • a location close to campus to meet the distinct needs of students residing in neighborhoods near and adjacent to the University
  • a rigorous curriculum design responsive to the school’s mission and the needs of the community
  • opportunities for University faculty, staff, and student involvement throughout its operations

These parameters exclude a majority of charter school applicants; the University is not seeking to sponsor a vast network of charter schools. More information can be found at http://www.slu.edu/academic-affairs/charter-schools.

Financial Implications of Sponsorship

Missouri’s charter school laws provide that “the expenses associated with sponsorship of charter schools” be reimbursed to sponsors on a per-student basis, up to an annual maximum amount (RSMo 160-400). Accordingly, as enrollments at the schools sponsored by the University grow to their potential as designed, and as our relationships with sponsored schools mature to include increased involvement of University faculty, staff, and students in the charter schools, our sponsorship should evolve to be a revenue-neutral educational initiative.