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St. Louis County is set to have its first charter school following a decision this week by the Missouri Board of Education to approve the opening of The Leadership School.
The decision was made grudgingly, with many board members expressing concerns that elected officials in the community felt they had not been involved in the decision to open the school despite continued efforts by the school’s founders to engage the community and share their vision of how The Leadership School can help the Normandy community.
Founder Kimberly Townsend has spent the past year reaching out to families in the Normandy region, working with parents to design the best school to meet their needs.
“I have had many, many, many one-on-one conversations with parents,” she said. ”We began to kind of synthesize all of those conversations and pull it together. I then had a couple of focus groups where I was able to say here’s what I heard from all of you guys now this is what this is turning into.”
Kimberly said that parent voices and input will be critically important to the operation of the new school. She said she and her staff would of course bring educational expertise to the school, but that the final experience would be a partnership that valued parental expertise as well.
“Parents know their children,” she said. “Parents live with their children you know for their entire lives and for us to as educators to believe that we know more about the needs of any children than their parents is really foolish.”
The Leadership School, will be the first charter school in Missouri to operate outside of St. Louis City or Kansas City when it opens in the fall of 2021.