St. Louis College Prep's core mission is to get our scholars to and through college. This means our scholars enjoy a college bound culture from the second they walk through our doors:
From the moment our scholars walk through our doors, they are encouraged to think about which university or college they would like to eventually attend, a practice which is reinforced through frequent visits to our lunch room by college representatives from throughout the region, visits to college campuses and a variety of innovative programs and partnerships which set a clear path to college for each of our scholars.
But, for many students, getting to college involves much more than academics:
At St. Louis College Prep, we provide free education and transportation to over 300 scholars in grades 6th through 10th, providing high-tech and high achievement education to a student body as socioeconomically and racially diverse as St. Louis itself. We believe a child’s access to a great education should not be determined by zip code. Over 90 percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch, 90 percent of our students are minorities, 15 percent of our students qualify for special education and 10 percent of our students are experiencing some form of homelessness. Despite these hardships, our scholars achieve 1.5 to 2 years of educational advancement for every year of attendance.
In order to serve our entire student population, many of whom come from some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the city, we focus on educating the whole child. This means that while we have a rigorous academic curriculum, we also spend a lot of time helping our scholars deal with the harsh realities they must face outside of our school. We believe that we have to help our scholars get to a safe space socially, emotionally and mentally in order for them to reach their full academic potential and successfully complete their path to and through college.
Our scholars need your help:
On GiveSTL Day, we are asking the St. Louis community to help support our scholar's journey from their disadvantaged neighborhoods to a bright future with a college degree in hand.
Your donations will help us to:
- Pay for transportation for college visits (it costs over $300 just to rent a bus for each visit).
- Pay for transportation to the UMSL Bridge Program (our scholars have a chance to prepare for college on UMSl's campus, but have to get there on Saturdays during the school year).
- Purchase key materials for our student support team who provide our scholars the support they need to succeed academically.
- Help expand our Thinkery space to provide scholars the support they need throughout our school.
Thinkery provides scholars with a safe space to refocus on academics:
Many of our scholars deal with a variety of social and emotional issues as a result of the environment they live in outside of the school and harsh impacts of poverty on their lives.
Before our scholars can truly succeed through our academic curriculum and move forward to college success, many of them need help overcoming those issues.
St Louis College Prep recognizes our scholars need to feel safe at school in order to learn. We believe their relationships with teachers, classmates, and the school community are important parts of this sense of safety. This is why emphasizing the importance of relationship is at the heart of our interactions with scholars, including our discipline policy. SCP operates from a Restorative Justice model called "Discipline that Restores". This model addresses the affected relationship when conflict occurs or discipline is required, and the goal is to restore the broken relationship, working towards reconciliation through collaboration and trust, and respecting the voices of each party involved.
As part of our restorative justice practices, we provide a safe space, called The Thinkery, for our scholars to cope with the variety of challenges they face both in school and out of school. The Thinkery is used as a space to process these challenges with support staff, cool down and de-escalate from conflicts and challenges they may face during the day, and learn social and emotional skills while engaging in therapeutic sensory activities. This space ultimately will be stocked with a variety of equipment, like stress balls, kinetic sand, weighted blankets, and kettle balls, which are used to create sensory experiences to help scholars cool down and safely release built up stress. The space is key to helping our scholars get back-to-center during the school day so that they can focus on their academics and their long-term goal of getting to and through college.
How the Thinkery is used:
The Thinkery is used as an intervention for scholars with socio-emotional concerns that hinder them from accessing the content in their classes in some case due trauma, disabilities, mental health challenges, etc… It is also used to conduct restorative conversations through our discipline system.
St. Louis College Prep’s Student Support Team uses scholar self referral forms to schedule appointments in the Thinkery. Scholars can be sent by their teachers as well, but the majority of scholars are insightful enough to ask for support on their own. Each classroom is equipped with the referral forms and SCP has also switched to an electronic version that scholars can access on their chromebooks as well. In collecting self-reported data on how scholars feel, the most consistent feelings that scholars present when they want to meet with a member of SST are:
Data is also collected in the Thinkery space using “Zones of Regulation” where scholars also list that they are primary using the space when they are “stressed”, “angry’, and “frustrated”.
Instructional staff has consistently been supportive of the need for the Thinkery for scholars to de-escalate, decompress, or even boost their energy to kinesthetics.
Data from the Thinkery log shows that this year, over 78% of scholars reported they de-escalated while in Thinkery, resulting in an improved emotional state. Thinkery visits usually last 5-10 min per scholar.
What we need to provide our scholars the support they need:
- Weighted lap pads
- Rory’s story cubes
- Tegu Magnetic wood
- Kinetic sand
- Tangle Jr. Fidgets
- 30lb vinyl kettlebell sets
- Mini Trampoline with handrail
- Class pack of marker
- Oil diffuser
- Essential oil set
- Mindfulness matters therapeutic games
- Social Skills board games
- Bean bags
- Bouncy ball seats (for sitting on at desks during groups in Thinkery)
- Perplexus puzzle trilogy
- Chalkboard placemats (for scholars who need to “draw their feelings” during mediation/social skills and can easily erase them after talking. More aesthetically pleasing than whiteboards too)
- Dry-Erase bright crayons for chalkboard mats
- Fidget cubes
- Finger strengthening fidget robots
- 10-pk Fidget Foot bands
- Fitball Seating Discs
College visits give scholars first hand knowledge of college culture:
During each of our five terms, we take both our middle and high school scholars on field trips to area colleges and universities, where they have the chance learn about the programs offered at the school, sit in on classes, learn about student life and talk to some of the current students to get a first hand knowledge about what it means to be a college student.
Every day at St. Louis College Prep we foster a college culture through a variety of programs:
- Career Panels
- College Student Panels
- Missouri Connections
- SMART Start
- A+ Program
- ACT Aspire
- College Bound
- Parent Information Nights
- FAFSA Nights
- UMSL Saturday Bridge Program
- Summer Opportunities such as the Washington University Summer Scholars Programs
Getting scholars ready for college with the UMSL Bridge Program:
Our high school scholars participate in the University of Missouri-St Louis’s flagship college access program, the BridgeProgram, which provides unique comprehensive, year-round, college access services to increase degree attainment among participating high school students.
Participants have demonstrated increased competencies through intensive academic enrichment courses, professional development, social skill building and college entrance exam preparation.
During the school year, scholars have access to the Bridge Program Saturday Academy, which provides an intensive 11-Saturday program for students in grades 9th through 12th. The curriculum emphasizes academic enrichment in mathematics; science; written and oral communication; career research/identification; social skills and professional development; and college planning.
During Cycle 5 in the summer, some scholars can participate in the Bridge Summer Academy Program, which offers academic enrichment courses in mathematics; science; written and oral communication; career research; social skills and professional development; and college planning activities.
Our scholars have a unique opportunity with our Early College Access program:
When we envisioned SCP HS, we wanted to create a school that was preparing all scholars to get to and through college. Research indicates students who attend a four-year university with college credit previously earned in high school (AP, dual enrolled, etc.) are 2-3 times more likely to graduate from college than those who entered college with no credits. This is actually a stronger predictor of college completion than an ACT score or high school GPA.
Vision: Junior and Senior scholars accepted into the Early College Program at SCP will leave from school and take college classes at the University of Missouri - St. Louis or Ranken Technical College. At the college campus, SCP will have our staff with students on the way to class, meeting between classes, eating with them at lunch, making sure they have what they need and are talking to their professors. On campus, they could take classes ranging from college level math and science to electives like art, music, and culinary classes.
For students not on college campuses, they will be back at SCP getting intensive small group instruction to address their academic gaps in Math, Reading, and Writing. As soon as they are ready, SCP desires to get them in the college group. Our hope is that many scholars will graduate from SCP with a high school diploma and some college credit.
SMART Start prepares our scholars for their college success:
Smart Start, a program offered through St. Louis Community College, provides our scholars with instruction on the nuts and bolts of college success - how to sign up for classes, how to use advisors, what life will be like on campus - so that they are prepared from success as soon as they get on campus.
Scholars also learn about alternative college paths they can pursue for success:
Visits to events like Ranken Technical College's Manufacturing Day provide our scholars a glimps into technical colleges and manufacturing industries to see the potential a career in manufacturing could provide in today’s high-tech world.
“A lot of people think manufacturing is a dirty job,” said Ranken Dean of Enrollment Management Missy Borchardt. “It is not. It is very high tech and takes very technical skills.”
“We are also giving a presentation to the students talking about the demand that is out her for manufacturing,” said Borchardt. “The demand is more than we can supply at this point. It is a promising future.”
“Everything you buy has been touched by manufacturing at some point,” said Borchardt. “We want to help build the workforce to move the nation forward.”