Atlas Public Schools Home

Preparing a generation for a lifetime of exploration

Join the Movement

Atlas is a new public charter elementary school in St. Louis for curious, creative, and compassionate kids.  In our first year, we will offer kindergarten and first grade and will add one grade level each year thereafter until we’re a K-5 elementary school.  This approach allows us to start small and grow smart so we can ensure that all of our students get the personalized attention they deserve.  

~ As a kid, joining Atlas means learning through authentic real-world experiences and finding your joy in learning and discovery.
 
~ As a family, you will be among like-minded individuals who have big dreams for their children and are rethinking how kids are educated. 
 
~ As a community, we will work collectively to ensure all our children receive the education they deserve and empower them to be active citizens who are equipped to help make the world a better place.

A Place to Thrive

At Atlas, we instill a love of learning in our kids while empowering them to build a healthy future for themselves, our community, and the world.  We believe that children learn best through authentic hands-on experiences.  Our integrated approach to teaching helps our students make real-world connections and ignites their imaginations so they are stimulated to discover meaningful passions of their own.  Our kids are not only academically exceptional, but have the habits, skills, and mindsets needed to thrive. 

Spring At-Home Learning Kits

At Atlas, we celebrate the wonder and magic of learning.  Our at-home learning kits are a great way for your family to engage with our team and see for yourself what makes Atlas so special.  The theme of this season’s kit is Feathery Friends, and it includes books, resources, and activities that are designed to be fun and engaging.  Our learning kits are geared towards 3-6 year old students and are completely free to families who live in the City of St. Louis.

Developing a Love of Reading & Learning

At Atlas, it’s important that our students don’t just become good readers, but that they develop a true love for reading and learning.  Books have the power to inspire us to dream big, teach us about our history, and expose us to a world of endless possibilities.  Our goal at Atlas is to inspire a lifelong love of learning that doesn’t stop at the classroom, but matures into a future full of passion and opportunities.  We encourage you to check out our Read Aloud Series with Brisa Garcia, one of our amazing team members, as she shares some of her favorite books.

Place-Based Learning

Learning happens everywhere. We immerse our students in the local St. Louis community and provide opportunities for authentic hands-on learning experiences. 
 
 
 
The major question facing schools across the county is how to best prepare our children for the ever-changing world they are entering. Students must develop the skills, understandings, and mindsets necessary to prepare them for the careers and challenges of tomorrow. We know that students need multiple and varied strategic opportunities to explore, practice, and perfect 21st century skills such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. Children learn by doing and emphasizing hands-on, real-world experiences makes learning more meaningful to students and helps lessons stick. For these reasons, Atlas strives to connect lessons learned in the classroom with authentic, place-based learning experiences. 

Place-based learning is the process of using the local community and environment as both a starting point for inquiry and as a context for exploring and applying concepts and skills across the curriculum.  Place-based education weaves together concepts from English Language Arts, math, science, social studies, and the arts, rather than teaching them exclusively in isolation. 

Year-Round Education

Atlas operates on a year-round school calendar, with seven academic sessions of roughly five weeks of class per session, separated by a two-week intersession break.
 
 
 
Most public schools in the United States operate on a 10-month calendar, starting around September and ending in May or June. This school schedule became the default when children needed to work in the fields during the summer. However, the 10-month school calendar no longer fits the needs of most American children or families. The Atlas Founding Team conducted focus groups, met with parents one-on-one, and surveyed families--the vast majority of whom indicated that they struggle to find quality child care options during the summer months. In addition, many educators, including the Founders of Atlas, worry about a phenomenon known as the “summer slide”. This is the tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year. Research dated as far back as the 1980s era shows wider disparities in test scores between children from low-income and high-income families after the summer holiday. There is ample evidence showing that low-income children are especially vulnerable during summer months when they lose access to important social services such as food and childcare. 
 

In response to these academic and socio-emotional concerns, Atlas adopted a year-round school calendar. During intersession breaks, families have access to community organizations for additional support for childcare, food, and other social services.  Intersession breaks also allow teachers and support the time to work collaboratively with their teams to internalize and strengthen lessons for the next academic session.  Atlas’ year-round calendar builds in 30 full days of teacher inservice each school year. 
 
Below is a draft of Atlas' 2021-2022 School Calendar.
 

Diverse-by-Design

We prepare our students for the world in which they live, by teaching them to talk, work, and respect those across lines of difference. Atlas' student and staff population reflects the diversity of our city across race, income, and cultural backgrounds. 
 
 
Across America, schools are more segregated today than they were in the 1960s. This particularly rings true for schools in St. Louis, as segregation in schools is closely tied to segregation in housing patterns and attendance zone lines. Research that spans the past 50 years suggests that racial and socioeconomic integration is one of the best design principles for a successful school. Diverse schools produce high results for both students and society, and research shows all students benefit from learning in a diverse environment. Our facility’s centralized location allows us to recruit a diverse group of families who reside in and around the Central Corridor.   
 

However, our commitment to diversity extends beyond recruitment to our Anti-bias, Antiracist (ABAR) approach to curriculum and instruction, schoolwide practices that promote equity, and ongoing professional development for our team.  Ultimately, we will create a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community that 1) serves as a model of what is possible in schools, businesses, and organizations throughout the St. Louis region. 2) prepares Atlas students to become allies, champions, and change-makers who are prepared with the skills and conviction needed to be effective leaders for equity throughout the city.  3) works together to accomplish our school’s mission and long-term vision.

Investing in Educators

In order to have thriving students, we need thriving teachers.  At Atlas, we provide our staff with an excellent educator experience, from scheduling and coaching, to resources and compensation. 
 
 
For decades research has shown that human capital is the single most significant in-school factor for improving student achievement.  At Atlas, we seek to recruit, develop, and retain talented educators who maximize every student’s academic and personal potential.  

By providing significant resources and support, Atlas will develop, attract, and retain exceptional teachers, and equip them with the tools and infrastructure needed to help their students succeed.  By utilizing best practices, homeroom teachers at Atlas will receive: 
     ✦   a rigorous base curriculum, 
     ✦   two 50 minute plan times each day,
     ✦   designated time to internalize and customize their lesson plans, 
     ✦   time to participate in regular data team meetings,
     ✦   personalized coaching with feedback from a mentor, 
     ✦   a school calendar that builds in more than 30 full days for professional development and strategic planning.
 
While many of the items mentioned above are considered best practices, what puts teachers at Atlas on a different trajectory is the 30 full days of professional development that has been built into our school’s yearly calendar during intersession breaks and is reflected in our staff’s salary. For teachers, the first week of the intersession break will offer opportunities for professional growth. Teachers will have time to reflect on lessons, analyze data, and plan for the next academic cycle. Moreover, teachers will be able to participate in professional development opportunities that are aligned with the school’s strategic priorities and are designed to help them grow as educators. Each intersession also has vacation time built-in for staff, giving teachers more frequent opportunities to rest and grow stronger. By embedding more frequent opportunities for professional development as well as time off for staff, we are creating a more sustainable work-life balance for our team members.

In The News

Preparing Students to Thrive!

One of the things about our school model that makes Atlas unique is each classroom having two teachers. Learn more about our expanded definition of student success + co-taught classrooms.

Atlas Receives Meet the Moment Grant

4.0 Schools has awarded $460,000 in Meet the Moment Grants to 38 alumni teams working on new and existing ideas to support students and families during COVID-19.

2020 Summer Pilot Impact Report

In July 2020, the Atlas team piloted EL Education's remote curriculum with 30 children ages four and five living in St. Louis. Click on this link to learn more about what we found!

Upcoming Events

Info Meeting

Time: 6:30 PM – 7 PM
Location: https://theopportunitytrust.zoom.us/j/97292171860?pwd=ZzBZRG1PbE1XRktkRnJ6ZTZ4bElhdz09