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A historic school in the Gravois Park neighborhood is once again serving students thanks to the efforts of the EAGLE College Preparatory Schools charter school network.
The school held a celebratory ribbon cutting last week, inviting supporters and community members to tour the facility and see how the charter school is re-imagining the former Holy Cross Lutheran school building.
This year, EAGLE Gravois Park is providing high-quality education for grades K-4, with plans to eventually grow the school to serve grades K-8.
The new school is being led by St. Louis native Aaron Massey, who started his education career in Baton Rouge, Louisiana teaching Mathematics at Prescott Middle School through Teach for America. He has since worked in various cities around the country including Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Chicago, Harlem, New York, and Memphis.
“My goal was always to come back here and open this,” he said, noting that he wanted to bring the way the community loves its kids into the school and make it part of its systems. “How we deal with discipline is a perfect example. Our policies are about breathing and helping the kids to control themselves.”
Massey said another key philosophy at the school is focusing on every small issue and interaction.
“There is no one thing that is bigger than another when it comes to getting the school to 100 percent,” he explained. “Every little decision, every interaction you have with somebody matters. It is an opportunity to take one percent away or build one on.”
He said the staff practices conversations they might have with students, even focusing on what words and facial expressions they use.
“The staff is amazing,” said Massey. “Most of our teachers are veterans who have been teaching for a while in one system or another. We are all going to create this space together and I want all of the staff to put their ideas into that. We all contribute to the environment we produce.”
Massey said he was excited to be leading a charter school where he had the ability to use innovative ideas, but added that he also wants to work closely with the broader educational world in St. Louis.
“I feel that charter schools are created to inform public school education,” he said. “I don’t look at it as charter or public, I look at it as we are all public schools.I want to inform, just like I get information from other schools.”
The first EAGLE school (EAGLE South Mountain) opened in Phoenix, Arizona in 2008. By 2011, that school was among the highest performing schools in its district and named among the top three finalists in the state for “Charter School of the Year” out of 524 schools.
EAGLE opened a second school (EAGLE Harmony) in Phoenix in 2011 and EAGLE Mesa and EAGLE Maryvale in 2014.
EAGLE opened a region in St. Louis, Missouri. EAGLE Tower Grove South opened in 2013, EAGLE Fox Park in 2015, and EAGLE Tower Grove East in 2016.
EAGLE College Preparatory Schools are relentlessly focused on providing world-class educational opportunities that are accessible and affordable for all children. Working with students, teachers, parents and the community, EAGLE schools pursue academic greatness in education and positive character development among students in a safe and supportive learning environment.
Students in the EAGLE network consistently outperform the local district average on state assessments.