Ask Farragut Elementary School fifth graders to name the first African-American licensed pilot, and they will tell you Emory C. Malik. How do they know? The answer is an exciting, interactive curriculum and great community partners.
Last year, Saint Louis Public Schools (SLPS) challenged its principals and school leadership teams to develop three-year school plans to help transform SLPS into a “system of excellent schools” in accordance with the first of five pillars in the district’s strategic plan, Transformation Plan 3.0.
At Farragut Elementary, we decided to take a collegiate approach and developed a New Horizons theme, which led to what is now known within our school as Farragut University. And, once again, the key to the success of Farragut University is great community partners.
Farragut University is a school-wide program that takes place every Friday afternoon. During Farragut University, our great community partners do the heavy lifting in the classrooms, sharing their expertise with our students under the guidance of our dedicated teachers. From teaching students the ins and outs of photography to showing them how to operate an airplane simulator, our Friday afternoon Farragut University sessions are having an amazing impact on our students’ ability to see beyond the horizon.
Every five weeks, our students begin a new Farragut University section. Community partners such as Saint Louis University, the Saint Louis Chess Club, COCA, the Girl Scouts, Girls Inc., and many others join our school community and introduce our students to a world of “what ifs?”
Students are raving about what they call the “college experience” of moving from classroom-to-classroom to learn about new careers. They are actually gaining a clearer understanding of how what they are learning connects to the real world.
Parents and the community have taken note of the excitement that charges the atmosphere within the school building, especially on Fridays during Farragut University.
Equally important are a couple of key student measurements. Since beginning Farragut University roughly a year and a half ago, student attendance has increased, and there has been a sharp decrease in off-task behavior.
As a school just south of Fairground Park in The Greater Ville neighborhood, we work hard to overcome perceptions of the neighborhood and communicate that safety and security start from within our school. Again, that’s thanks to strong partner support, as assigned local law enforcement officials are part of the Farragut family.
The real stars of Farragut University are our great community partners. They have made a life-changing commitment to our students and to our school, and we can’t thank them enough.
I welcome any parent, grandparent or guardian to visit us at Farragut Elementary School to see first-hand what an amazing school looks like. We are currently enrolling students for the 2019-2020 school year.
To learn more about Farragut Elementary, visit www.slps.org/farragut or call 314-669-6532.
Patricia Cox is principal of Farragut Elementary School.