Schools SLPS The Ville Tower Grove South

Adams Recommends Closing Six School Buildings

by Michael R. Allen

At last night’s meeting of the Special Administrative Board of the St. Louis Public Schools, Superintendent Kelvin Adams recommended closing the following six school buildings:

Gallaudet School for the Hearing Impaired, 1616 S. Grand; built in 1925; Rockwell Milligan, architect.

Alternative South at Lyon School; 7417 Vermont; built in 1909; William B. Ittner, architect.

Ford Branch School; 1383 Clara Avenue; built around 1960.

Fresh Start at Turner Middle School; 2615 Billups Avenue; built in 1939; George Sanger, architect.

Bunche at Madison School, 1118 S. Seventh; built in 1910; William B. Ittner, architect.

Pruitt Middle School (Cleveland Junior Naval Academy), 1212 N. 22nd; built in 1954.

Lyon School And Turner Middle School (formerly Stowe Teachers College) are already listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Gallaudet, Madison and Pruitt are eligible for such designation. Ford Branch might contribute to a historic district listing.

Six schools that Adams once suggested closing, including Mann Elementary School at 4047 Juniata Avenue in Tower Grove South (built in 1901-16 and designed by William B. Ittner; listed in the National Register), will be placed on a new “turnaround model” with new principals and at least 50% new teaching staff.

Four schools are going to be placed on “restart” — closed as public schools and reopened as chartered schools. One of these is the venerable — but academically failing — Sumner High School at 4248 Cottage Avenue in the Ville (built in 1908-9 and designed by William B. Ittner; listed in the National Register).

5 replies on “Adams Recommends Closing Six School Buildings”

Until parents force their children to behave, there is no hope for St. Louis public schools. And considering the way many of my adult students (parents of many SLPS students) act, there is no hope.

Force their children to behave?

How about planned underdevelopment in cities for decades. In 2000 the unemployment for African Americans was already nearly 20%. Being unemployed myself I have a hard time enough trying to behave. I couldn't imagine having children by myself or being raised by an underemployed single parent. Perhaps my attitudes for discipline and reality might incur a disconnect?

I just got back from Naples, Italy, a severely poor city with 33%(!) unemployment. I walked around some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, and not once did I see children grossly misbehaving. Poverty is not an excuse for lacking morality.

Harvard sociologist William Wilson argues that many urban poor hold "middle class" values such as the idea of hard work, however are constrained by its absence. I cannot speak for Naples, but within many squatter cities one will see high crime as living in squalor without a job or education often constrains choice regardless of values or "morality." It might be easier to pass judgment upon those in St. Charles for example, who have access to much better schools, higher quality food, as well as institutional support which is largely absence from areas like North St. Louis due to the exodus of the African American middle class.

The behavior you decry will not be solved with privatization of the SLPS, gentrification, or through prisons. It begins with either jobs locating in the City, a huge transit expansion, or affordable low income housing in areas like Clayton or Chesterfield.

Hopefully we can find a use for our SLPS buildings — perhaps cryogenic storage until all of the white people return from suburbia after the African Americans are pushed into the inner ring. If I had children then I would send them to the SLPS. Given dissatisfaction, I would become involved. If every parent took their child out of catholic school then the SLPS wouldn't need closure nor would the state have taken over the district.

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