50 Years of Learning: The College School 1963-2013

by Kevin Navarro (Class of 1989)
and Assistant Head of School

In 1963, Webster College President, Sister Jacqueline Grennan, served on President Kennedy’s advisory panel on educational research and development. Sister Grennan was a pioneer in developing the best practices in education across the country. In St. Louis, she worked to transform the Webster College Education Department into a leader in teacher training and curriculum research. Part of this vision included the creation of a small laboratory school, which she called The College School.

In the spring of 1963, Sister Grennan submitted a proposal to the Webster College Board of Directors to found The College School with these five goals: (1) new curriculum development, (2) new teacher education, (3) professional development for practicing teachers, (4) experimentation with new teaching methods, and (5) psychological research into the learning processes of children. With those goals and a $350,000 Carnegie Foundation Grant, The College School was born.

If Sister Grennan could visit The College School in 2013, we know she would be amazed by and proud of our growth over the past 50 years. She would find a thriving and dynamic learning community that has grown into the strongest experiential education school in the region.

It was the passion and commitment that great leaders like Jan Phillips and Peter Wilson brought that led the school to where it is today. They both took risks to create and grow The College School into a successful independent school.

In our 50 years of existence, The College School has both impacted and been influenced by hundreds of faculty and staff and thousands of students and parents. One of the most beautiful things about The College School is that it inspires each of us in our own way and that it is an amalgamation of all of our intentions and passions. We are a community of inspired learners, and we are always working to change ourselves and our world for the better.

As we celebrate our 50-year anniversary, we know that we remain true to our roots from 1963. And we know that we have grown into an exceptionally strong school in 2013. Schools throughout the country are copying our unique approach and pedagogy of hands-on, experiential, and thematically integrated education. We are proud to be a leader in the field of experiential and child-centered education. We are excited to be charting our course for the next half-century.

Fall Open House: Sat. 11/9, 9 AM to Noon. 314-962-9355. www.thecollegeschool.org.