By Anna-Stacia Allen
According to the City of St. Louis’ 2018 Education Quality indicators, black children are less likely than white children to be enrolled in higher-performing K-12 schools and are even less likely to be in school at all. As a community, we need to ask ourselves, why? We know the playing field is not level.
St. Louis city parents are faced with a complex local school system that is fragmented, with information not easily available to families with limited time and resources. Too many low-income families, particularly of minority students, lack the resources to navigate the enrollment process. Finding current school information, such as grade levels, test scores, graduation rates and enrollment deadlines, can be a daunting task. This is unjustifiable.
Navigate STL Schools, a St. Louis nonprofit organization, has partnered with city parents, educators and community organizations to provide a solution-driven response to the city’s complex school choice landscape by launching www.NavigateSTLSchools.org.
At Navigate STL Schools, we believe putting valuable information in the hands of city parents is the first step to improving public education in St. Louis. We advocate for equitable enrollment, and share tools and transparent information about all traditional, charter and independent schools through a mobile-friendly, easy-to-use website. Building upon efforts started in 2014 by St. Louis parents, the enhanced website helps families to determine what type of school best suits their child’s needs.
Navigate STL Schools will build knowledge in the community about the complex local school system and the options available, as well as be a resource to families. In the fall, we will provide additional support through one-on-one consultation, training and information on finding and comparing schools, including coordinating school visits.
To ensure our city walks the path of success, we must look ahead to the next generation. They are our future. I believe that the greatest advantage we can ever give them is a good education.
– Anna-Stacia Allen is the executive director for Navigate STL Schools