SCCS was begun in the late 2000s by a handful of families in south city. Motivated by their faith commitments, these families were committed to building up under-resourced urban areas in need of renewal. They sought to establish an excellent school for their children that would be an inclusive blessing to the community around them. By embracing the values of beauty, sacrifice, generosity, and faith, they hoped to create a school culture that would reflect the diversity of the city while cultivating a joy in learning.
The school’s pilot year began when a handful of energetic leaders with administrative ingenuity began meeting in homes and available office spaces. Before long a seasoned educator and curriculum developer with experience serving diverse populations and a rare contribution of a Charlotte Mason informed pedagogy, was brought on board. In 2010, after being shown classroom plans, sample schedules, and curriculum overviews, a group of families committed to enrolling their children–an inaugural class of thirty-six students from preschool to second grade. This also marked the beginning of a space sharing agreement with the Journey Church on Kingshighway that led to our school’s use of the historic Reber Place school building that is part of the Journey’s campus.
This location in the Southwest Gardens neighborhood was in many ways a providential fulfillment of the founding families’ vision. By being centrally located in an area easily accessible to families in south St. Louis, the school’s ethos and sense of place has been integral to its mission to be a school in the city and for the city. Moreover, easy access to the green spaces of Tower Grove Park naturally complemented a Charlotte Mason curriculum rich in nature study and time spent outdoors.
From 2010 to 2018, through increasing enrollment, the addition of grade levels, and the expansion of programs, the school went from using only four rooms on the third floor to occupying every single available learning space in this expansive, three-story building. By 2015 enrollment was up to 143 students from prek-3 to sixth grade. Multiple milestones were reached in the 2017-2018 school year, when the school graduated its first eighth grade class in the spring (marking the expansion to target grade offerings), and obtained accreditation through Christian Schools International.
As of the 2018-2019 school year, SCCS has served 400 students from 200 families since its inception. Throughout its various stages of development—first as a preschool co-op, then a homeschooling co-op, and finally a full-fledged PK3 through eighth grade institution—SCCS has retained past families and steadily attracted new families by providing an education experience that is joyful, rich, relational, and accessible. Our teachers past and present—who have wholeheartedly embraced the mission of the school and carried out its work with an attitude of self-sacrifice—have created the kind of environment that has fostered institutional constancy, cohesion, and growth.
After an extended and careful search, the hire of a new head of school in the summer of 2018 has marked the beginning of a new phase of the school’s story. As we anticipate a continuing trajectory of growth we are building a strategy for the next five years that will ensure economic sustainability, increase community partnerships, and procure a long-term home that will meet our growing space needs while maintaining continuity with our past. We hope to deepen our roots as a school in the city and for the city of St. Louis, while continuing to provide a beautiful and joyful educational experience that will have a long-term impact for generations to come.