• Transforming Vashon High School

    Posted: Wednesday, March 4, 2015 8:59 pm

    By Cozy Marks Guest Columnist

    Cozy Marks 

    Saint Louis Public School District Superintendent Kelvin Adams is a man on a mission. He wants all children in St. Louis city to attend an excellent school. Adams has set a goal of creating a system of excellent schools through his Transformation Plan 2.0. 

    However, this vision cannot be accomplished unless we all work together in the best interest of our children.

    Transformation Plan 2.0 builds on the progress SLPS has made over the past six years under Adams’ guidance. Since November 2008, the district has regained accreditation, shown fiscal responsibility and stabilized its leadership. That’s a great start, but not nearly the end goal that Adams has in mind. There is still much work to be done.

    My alma mater, Vashon High School, is one of the schools in St. Louis city that has struggled mightily over the past several years. Outside influences, a “parade” of principals and other distractions have brought negative attention and poor academic performance to Vashon High School. Adams has reached out to the Vashon Unified Alumni Association and others for a solution. Transformation Plan 2.0 includes a new focus for Vashon, a focus the Vashon Unified Alumni Association endorses.

    Beginning next school year, Vashon High School will transform from a traditional neighborhood high school into a school with a focus on international finance and business, and coding. Current students at Vashon High School will have an opportunity to remain at Vashon or transfer to another SLPS high school if they are not interested in this focus. Incoming students at Vashon will be admitted based on their academic interest in the new theme.

    The Vashon Unified Alumni Association believes this new approach at Vashon will help restore our once-great school to its rightful place as one of the premiere high schools in the St. Louis region and our nation. Vashon High School has proudly graduated thousands of successful and contributing citizens locally and nationally dating back to 1928. It is time Vashon graduates are once again respected and coveted by colleges, universities and employers.

    The change proposed for Vashon High School is just one of many bold steps being taken by Adams and his leadership team to create a system of excellent schools. The Transformation Plan 2.0 is comprised of six goals and the appropriate action steps needed to accomplish those goals.

    Prior to seeking approval of Transformation Plan 2.0 by the Special Administrative Board, Adams is seeking input from the St. Louis community. A public forum is being held this Saturday, March 7 at Vashon High School at 9 a.m. to allow SLPS stakeholders which include parents, students, sports enthusiasts and indigenous clergy and legislators to hear Adams’ presentation and provide feedback. The district has also posted the Transformation Plan 2.0 document and presentation on its website at www.slps.org/plan and has a link for comments. Or, community members can provide input by leaving a message on the SLPS information line at 314-345-4636.

    As a proud graduate of Saint Louis Public Schools, I encourage community members to take a look at Transformation Plan 2.0 and support Adams and the Saint Louis Public School District as they build a system of excellent schools. After all, we owe it to our children to provide them with the best possible chance to succeed in the world we have created

    Cozy W. Marks  Jr. is the president of the Vashon Unified Alumni Association and is a past principal and deputy superintendent for Saint Louis Public Schools.