Our Approach » Diverse-by-Design


At Atlas, we want to prepare our students for the world in which they live, by teaching them to talk, work, and respect those across lines of difference. In many cities, 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. By creating an intentionally diverse elementary school, Atlas’ staff and student population reflects the diversity of our city across race, income, and cultural backgrounds.


Our commitment to diversity extends beyond recruitment to our school-wide practices that promote equity as well as ongoing professional development for our team to support all learners. 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.


The Century Foundation has pointed to 70 percent as a possible threshold for creating a diverse learning environment. Research shows that when a single group dominates more than 70 percent of the student body, students in the minority feel increased isolation and alienation, and cross-racial friendships are less likely to develop. As a diverse-by-design school, Atlas commits to having a high level of diversity in terms of both socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity.


Atlas is nationally recognized as a diverse-by-design school by Diverse Charter School Coalition.