The St. Louis Public Schools Foundation has just released: What Will Be Best for Students? a report and set of recommendations that is intended to support ongoing conversations about future board governance of the Saint Louis Public Schools. Click here for the report. “This report offers valuable research and perspectives for a critical community conversation,” notes SLPS Foundation Board Chair, Valerie Bell. The report includes research on possible governance models, reflections from community leaders on what will facilitate a productive transition, and recommendations for different paths forward.

The SLPS Foundation exists to support the students of the Saint Louis Public Schools. Since its inception, the Foundation has invested over $16 million in District programs; most recently it has raised nearly $12 million to invest in District priorities outlined in the Saint Louis Public Schools Transformation Plan. The Foundation’s ability to support student achievement relies on stable and effective governance of the SLPS District. More importantly, nearly 23,000 students’ well-being and academic futures are at stake. Without a well-thought out plan for a transition that is backed by the community, the District’s hard-won progress could reverse.

Starting in early 2017, the SLPS Foundation began a series of interviews with community leaders to explore the fundamental question: “What will be best for the students?” in regards to changes in school board governance. How can community leaders collaborate and push for even greater outcomes for students? The SLPS Foundation board and staff have been grateful to the 25+ community leaders who devoted their time to consider SLPS school board governance. The Foundation partnered with the St. Louis Regional Chamber for initial research on best practices and models from other urban school districts. The Foundation’s efforts were not funded or commissioned by any specific funder, nor is the report written for any one audience. The recommendations were independently developed by a subset of SLPS Foundation staff and board members who synthesized the research and community interviews to formulate possible recommendations for a successful transition.

“We appreciate the service of those tasked with designing the best possible plan for SLPS governance, and believe our work can add to a constructive dialogue. This is truly an important civic responsibility, and requires thoughtful conversation, rigorous research, and skilled leadership,” concluded Jane Donahue, President, St. Louis Public Schools Foundation.

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