• SLPS launches campaign to bring kids back 

    Farrah Fazal, KSDK 7:41 p.m. CST January 6, 2015

    ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Public Schools is on an image makeover campaign. The school district invested $50,000 in 24 billboards over 10 weeks on highways around the city.

    SLPS has had a reputation as a failing school district for years.

    "There has been a negative perception and that children are not learning and that there may be safety concerns so that's exactly why we've invested these resources to shine a spotlight that there are great academic opportunities, there are safe caring environments for kids to go to and get a great education," said SLPS deputy superintendent Rachel Seward.

    Only 24 of the 74 schools in the district are accredited. But of those 24, some of the schools rank among the best in the city, state and even country. The district is touting the success stories on the billboards.

    "You'll see smiling faces of children who attend those schools, who are performing at or above the state standard. Just like anybody else who has product and they want to share with consumers, we have a story to tell," said Seward.

    SLPS is facing more competition from private and charter schools for parents and students.

    "We want to see enrollment increase. We want to see more families coming into our schools," said Seward.

    She said since the billboards went up, the district has already seen an increase in early childhood applications.

    The district says the main difference between its high performers and under-performers are the cream of the crop principals and teachers. The district is now starting two months early this year to recruit the best staff it can find.

    Watch the segment here