New charter school will serve elementary students near Hyde Park

JEFFERSON CITY • A new charter school will open in the Hyde Park neighborhood of St. Louis to serve K-5 students this fall.

The Arch Community School will primarily be a neighborhood school and have a simple focus on getting students to master foundational learning. The new school’s vision is similar to that of North Side Community School, one of St. Louis’ highest-performing charter schools.

“Nothing stands out as exceptionally innovative or glitzy,” said Bill Mendelsohn, director of charter schools for University of Missouri-St. Louis. UMSL is sponsoring the new school.

The Missouri Board of Education authorized the new school at its Tuesday meeting.

Mendelsohn said the school will provide a quality option for students in an area that lacks them. The Hyde Park area contains Clay Elementary School, a St. Louis Public school that is struggling academically and with enrollment. Only 9 percent of third-graders at Clay Elementary who took state tests for English scored proficient or advanced last year.

Arch Community School leaders plan to offer after-school tutoring, free childcare and enrichment courses in areas such as chess and robotics.

The plan is to enroll about 160 K-3 students, then grow to K-5 with about 240 students, Mendelsohn said. The school will operate in a rented old school building at 2153 Salisbury Street.

Mendelsohn said he believes the school has the strong leadership needed to make the school a high-performing one.

The school will be headed by Bill Schiller, who was an elementary school principal in Mehlville and Webster Groves, Mendelsohn said. The founding board will include Kathleen Mueller, a lawyer who serves on several nonprofit boards and has served on school boards; Janet LeSage, an educational consultant with teaching and board experience; and Kirk Mueller, who has experience in Lutheran school ministry.

When it opens this summer, Arch Community School will be one of 17 charter school agencies in St. Louis.