Washington University serves as the charter public school sponsor of KIPP St. Louis and the Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls. Charter public school sponsorship is one of many ways that the university supports K-12 public education in the St. Louis region.
As a sponsor, the university ensures that charter public schools are in compliance with all federal and state statutes. In addition, the university is committed to supporting student academic achievement by connecting the charter public schools it sponsors with various university resources such as the Institute for School Partnership.
What is a Charter Public School?
A charter public school is a tuition-free independent public school that operates under a contract with a sponsoring organization.
In Missouri, charter public school sponsors include public or independent higher education institutions, designated local school district boards or the Missouri Charter Public School Commission. Missouri charter public schools are governed by independent, non-profit school boards. For more information on charter public schools, visit the Missouri Charter Public School Association.
What is a Charter Public School Sponsor?
Sponsors are institutions or organizations that provide oversight to charter public schools. As an independent four-year university with an approved teacher education program, Washington University is eligible to serve as a charter public school sponsor in Missouri.
Sponsors are charged with ensuring that charter public schools comply with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations. Sponsors negotiate contracts with charter public schools that clearly articulate the rights and responsibilities of each party regarding school autonomy, expected outcomes, measures for evaluating success or failure, and performance consequences. Sponsors evaluate performance, monitor compliance, inform intervention and renewal decisions, and ensure autonomy provided under applicable law.
Charter Public School Sponsorship Policy
Washington University is focusing its efforts on effectively partnering with a small number of charter public schools. Several core principles guide the University’s charter public school sponsorship decisions:
- Schools have strong local community leadership and governing boards;
- Schools demonstrate success in, or present a detailed plan for, increasing access to higher education for traditionally underserved populations;
- Schools have plans to increase high school graduation and post-secondary education completion rates in the city of St. Louis;
- Schools provide evidence of strong capacity to deliver high quality and effective instruction with measurable student achievement gains;
- Schools present detailed plans to develop sustainable, meaningful partnership opportunities with Washington University;
- Schools present a plan for an educational funding model which supports long-term fiscal health.
Currently, Washington University’s charter public school sponsorship portfolio is at full capacity. For further information, contact Lori Sommer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KIPP is a national network of open-enrollment, college-preparatory charter public schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life.
KIPP opened its first school in St. Louis in 2009, and currently operates six schools:
- KIPP Inspire Middle School (grades 5-8), opened in 2009
- KIPP Victory Elementary School (grades K-4), opened in 2014
- KIPP Triumph Middle School (grades 5-8), opened in 2015
- KIPP Wisdom Elementary School (grades K-4), opened in 2015
- KIPP St. Louis High School (grades 9-12), opened in 2017
- KIPP Wonder Elementary School, (grades PK-4), opened in 2019
Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls is the first single-sex charter public school in Missouri. Hawthorn offers a hands-on, college-preparatory curriculum that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Lessons are reinforced through after-school and summer programming.
Hawthorn opened its middle school in August 2015 with 6th and 7th grade classes. The school expanded into high school, to include grades 6-12.
Hawthorn is affiliated with the Student Leadership Network, which supports all-girls public schools in New York City and affiliate schools in California, Maryland, Missouri, New York and North Carolina.