Soldan International Studies High School

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Soldan High School
Image of the front entrance of Soldan High School
Entrance to Soldan High School
Location
918 Union Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63107-2003

United States
Information
Type Magnet school
Opened 1909
School district St. Louis Public Schools
Superintendent Kelvin Adams
Principal Thomas Cason
Faculty 53.6 (on full-time equivalent (FTE) basis)[1]
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 749 (as of 2009–10)[2]
Campus type Urban
Color(s)          Maroon and Gold
Mascot Tiger
Newspaper Soldan World, formerly Scrippage
Yearbook Soldan, formerly Scrip
Information (314) 367–9222
Website

Soldan International Studies High School (also known as Soldan High School) is a public magnet high school in the Academy neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri that is part of the St. Louis Public Schools. From its opening in 1909, Soldan was known for its wealthy and predominantly Jewish student population. Starting in the 1950s, the student population underwent a rapid change in demographics; by the mid-1960s, it was predominantly African American. In the early 1990s, the school was renovated and reopened as a magnet school with a focus on international relations.

Soldan currently offers its students several athletic and academic opportunities, including cross country, football, soccer, tennis, softball and volleyball. Its dropout rate is lower than the state average, and it is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.[3] It has several notable alumni and former students, including politicians, authors, academics, and athletes.

History[edit]

Construction and early years[edit]

By the end of the 1890s, the population of the city had increased to more than 575,000, but since 1855, the St. Louis Public Schools had operated only one high school. To meet the need for greater space for high school students, the school district built two new high schools in 1904. Three years later, the district began building a fourth high school, which would become Soldan.[4] Known during its construction as Union Avenue High School and renamed Soldan High School upon opening, the school was named for Frank Louis Soldan, the superintendent of St. Louis schools from 1895 until his death in 1908.[5] Land acquisition costs for the building were $10,000, and construction cost $630,000.[6]

William B. Ittner's design for the school received praise from the United States Bureau of Education for its attention to detail and to the needs of students It was designed to stylistically complement the nearby Clark School, which was designed in Gothic Revival style, with fittings and brickwork to suggest a Tudor period Gothic structure built in approximately 1620. With a capacity of 1,600 students, the building originally occupied an area of 288 by 256 feet and had three stories. The original design of the building had 41 classrooms, with 23 designed for 48 students and 18 for 35 students. The building's 18 science demonstration rooms and laboratories accommodated physiology, physiography, chemistry, botany, and physics, and in the basement, the building was designed with shops for woodworking, machining, and domestic science. The building also had four art rooms with skylights for studio work and three mechanical drafting rooms. The auditorium was the largest in the school system up to that time, with a seating capacity of 1,750, while the music room was built with a capacity of more than 300 students. To provide for ample physical education opportunities, the school was built with two gymnasiums.[7] The school originally had two separate cafeterias for male and female students, although the practice of gender segregation at lunch was ended in the late 1940s.[5]

During the 1930s and 1940s, the school became widely known as the city's "predominantly Jewish" school, with students from several notable or wealthy families in the Central West End.[8] Although the school remained open on Jewish holidays, it often had significantly lower attendance.[9] During its early years, Soldan graduated several notable individuals, including William McChesney Martin, Jr., the longest-serving Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve, and Clark Clifford, a presidential adviser and United States Secretary of Defense. In 1922, Clifford and Martin were tennis doubles partners on the school's team.[10] It also was during the 1920s that Tennessee Williams attended the school; in the 1940s, Soldan received notability as the school attended by some of the characters in Williams' The Glass Menagerie. In 1948, the school received students after the closure of nearby rival Blewett High School, which was located one block from Soldan.[5] After the merger, the school was briefly known as Soldan-Blewett; it returned to its original name in 1955.[5]

Integration[edit]

After the Brown v Board of Education decision in 1954, white parents and students of Soldan were among the most welcoming in the city toward integration.[11] On the first day of integration, the school saw no protests, although national media personalities such as NBC evening news anchor John Cameron Swayze covered the event.[12] Neither black nor white students reported significant incidents of racial tensions or problems, although black students often chose to eat in separate areas of the building from whites in the cafeteria.[13] Despite the relatively uneventful process, Soldan experienced a rapid change in the demographics of its student population.[5] During the 1940s, more than 90 percent of Soldan students were Jewish whites; by the early 1960s, the majority were African American.[5] By 1965, only one white student attended Soldan, and many of the school's African American students had moved into the area from poorer neighborhoods such as Mill Creek Valley after urban renewal projects had displaced them.[14]

Renovation and magnet status[edit]

Starting in the late 1980s, St. Louis schools were required to improve physical conditions and create magnet schools as part of promoting a court-ordered desegregation program. The international studies magnet program originally was set for implementation at Northwest High School, but in August 1988, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh revised the district magnet school program.[15] Among the changes was that Soldan would become a magnet school for international studies, and that it would become the highest part of a "cluster" of magnet schools focused on international relations, with lower-level schools having a focus on foreign languages.[15]

Also part of the court desegregation plan was the physical improvement of city schools.[16] Significant renovations to Soldan began in late 1989 and included interior renovations and the replacement of the school's two 2,000-square-foot gymnasiums with one 10,000-square-foot gymnasium.[16] Due to the renovations, the building was closed from the 1990–1991 to the 1992–1993 school years, and its students were reassigned to Roosevelt High School.[17][18] While the building was undergoing renovations, the city's Center for Management, Law and Public Policy magnet school was folded into the international studies program at Soldan.[19] After three years of construction, the renovated building reopened on September 2, 1993.[20] However, an electrical rewiring of the school and the installation of a synchronized clock system, which were to be completed as part of the renovation work, were not finished until early 1995 owing to a contractual dispute with an electrical company.[21]

After the conversion to a magnet school, Soldan became home to a significant international student population.[22] By 1996, nearly 40 percent of students were from 32 countries other than the United States.[22] As part of the merger of the Center for Management, Law and Public Policy, the school became the only high school in the state to have a law library as part of its facilities.[23] During the 2010–2011 school year, as part of a district budget process, Soldan began to accept seventh and eighth grade students.[24]

Current status[edit]

The mascot of Soldan is the tiger.

In 2011 it had an enrollment of 801, making it the 119th largest high school in Missouri.[25][unreliable source?]

Activities[edit]

For the 2010–2011 school year, the school offered seven activities approved by the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA): boys' and girls' cross country, 11-man football, boys' and girls' soccer, girls' tennis, girls' softball, and girls' volleyball.[26] In addition to its current activities, Soldan students have won several state championships, including:

  • Boys' Basketball: 1981, 2012
  • Boys' Swimming and Diving: 1938, 1941
  • Boys' Indoor Track and Field: 1961, 1970

The school also has produced one tennis doubles state champion and three boys' outdoor track and field individual events champions.[27]

Demographics[edit]

In the 2009–2010 school year, Soldan had an enrollment of 749 students with 53.6 full-time-equivalent teachers, for a student-teacher ratio of 13.97.[1] In 2010, more than 80 percent of students qualified for free or reduced-price lunches.[28] Since 2006, more than 65% of the student population at Soldan has been African American and the white student population has declined by roughly half.[28]

Percent of students by race
Year Black White Hispanic Asian Indian
2006 65.7 23.5 5.7 5.1 0.0
2007 68.0 20.9 6.1 4.6 0.0
2008 65.7 21.4 8.3 4.6 0.0
2009 69.0 16.5 9.0 5.2 0.3
2010 76.5 12.1 7.1 3.9 0.4
Students receiving free or reduced price lunch
Year Percent
2006 83.0
2007 83.3
2008 67.5
2009 69.0
2010 86.3
Faculty information by year
Year Average years experience Percent with master's degree
2006 14.6 64.2
2007 15.5 64.6
2008 8.9 54.9
2009 7.3 58.1
2010 6.8 48.5

Academic and discipline issues[edit]

Soldan has a low dropout rate; for the 2009–2010 school year, 1.8 percent of students dropped out compared to the Missouri state dropout rate of 3.5 percent.[2] Soldan also has a discipline incident rate of 3.1 percent, which is comparable to the average Missouri rate.[2][29] Since the passage of No Child Left Behind in 2001, Soldan has met the requirements for adequate yearly progress (AYP) twice. In 2006, Soldan students achieved 17.2 percent proficiency in communication arts, allowing the school to meet AYP via making satisfactory progress.[2] In 2009, the school met AYP in communication arts via a confidence interval.[2]

Graduation rates by year
Year Graduates Cohort dropouts‡ Graduation rate†
2006 169 55 75.4
2007 116 37 75.8
2008 146 64 69.5
2009 138 55 71.5
2010 151 23 86.8
‡ Cohort dropouts is the number of students from the grade level graduating for that year who dropped out.
† Graduation rate is calculated as number of graduates divided by number of graduates plus dropouts, multiplied by 100.

Notable people[edit]

Clark Clifford, adviser to Presidents Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter, graduated from Soldan during the 1920s.

Alumni[edit]

Others[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b National Center for Education Statistics. "NCES: Soldan". Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved August 22, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "School Statistics: St. Louis City: Soldan International Studies". Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. November 5, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2011. 
  3. ^ Soldan International Studies High School. "Soldan: History". St Louis, Missouri. Retrieved August 22, 2011. 
  4. ^ Norbury L. Wayman, Yeatman, History of St. Louis Neighborhoods, St. Louis Missouri.org.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Dillon, Dan (2005). So, Where'd You Go to High School: The Baby Boomer Years 2. St. Louis, Missouri: Virginia Publishing. pp. 220–221. ISBN 1-891442-33-3. 
  6. ^ Rosenbecker, Ray (2004). So, Where'd You Go to High School? 1. St. Louis, Missouri: Virginia Publishing. p. 114. ISBN 978-1-891442-30-8. 
  7. ^ Fletcher B. Dresslar, American Schoolhouses, Bulletin (United States, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Education) 1910, no. 5, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing House, 1911, OCLC 4818576, pp. 111–15, online at Google Books.
  8. ^ O'Neil, Tim (March 29, 1998). "St. Louis' Racial Picture at King's Death Had a Much Different Look – 60 Percent of the City's Population Was White, with Little Integration – Makeup of Schools Reflects Shifts". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. C5. 
  9. ^ Smith, Jerry (October 22, 1999). "Prayer and diversity". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. C16, Letters to the Editor. 
  10. ^ a b Brennan, Charlie (2006). Here's Where: A Guide to Illustrious St. Louis. St. Louis, Missouri: Missouri Historical Society Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-1-883982-57-7. 
  11. ^ Berger, Jerry (November 12, 2006). "The Vision of St. Louis". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 1C. 
  12. ^ Giegerich, Steve (May 26, 1995). "Memories of Soldan: Equal – but separate". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. C1. 
  13. ^ Todd, Cynthia (May 15, 1994). "Two Teen-Agers Who Embraced the Future". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 5B. 
  14. ^ Boyd, Gerald M.; Stone, D. (2010). My Times in Black and White: Race and Power at the New York Times. Chicago: Chicago Review. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-55652-952-8. Retrieved August 23, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Gayle, Lisha (August 5, 1988). "Reshuffle Ordered in Magnet Schools". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 1A. 
  16. ^ a b Fitzmaurice, Leo (July 24, 1989). "A Sharper Image: Rehabilitation Work On 104 City School Buildings Promises 'Spit-And-Polish' Welcome For Students". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 
  17. ^ Hick, Virginia (September 3, 1990). "Places To Go: Renovations, Magnet Changes Mean School Transfers For Many City Pupils". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 
  18. ^ Jordan, Kelli M. (June 7, 1991). "Roosevelt High Students Protest Transfer Plan – Moved From Soldan Last Year, They Face Another Move In The Fall Because Of Overcrowding". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 3A. 
  19. ^ Little, Joan (May 29, 1993). "Pregnant Girls Getting Newer School in City". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 4B. 
  20. ^ Little, Joan (August 23, 1993). "Old, New Schools Gearing Up For Opening Day: Outstanding Schools Act Adds $80 Million Infusion". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 1B. 
  21. ^ O'Neil, Tim (December 17, 1996). "Soldan High Rewiring Job Goes Awry: Board Spends $236,000 Over Contract Amount". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 1B. 
  22. ^ a b Autman, Samuel (December 22, 1996). "Global Vision: Soldan Students Get Taste of Other Cultures, Values". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 1D. 
  23. ^ Pierce, Rick (May 22, 1999). "Four Members of the Class of 1934 Go Back to Soldan: 'You Should Always Go Back to Your School.'". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 13. 
  24. ^ Hunn, David (April 16, 2010). "Proposals for St. Louis schools mean cuts, closures". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 
  25. ^ "Soldan International Studies in Saint Louis, MO". High-schools.com. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  26. ^ MSHSAA: Soldan
  27. ^ MSHSAA: Championship Histories by Sport
  28. ^ a b "School Statistics: St. Louis City: Soldan International Studies: Demographic Data, 2006–2010". Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. November 5, 2010. Retrieved August 23, 2011. 
  29. ^ The discipline incident rate is calculated by the number of incidents resulting in a removal from school for ten or more days divided by the number of students in the school.
  30. ^ Sorkin, Michael D. & Johnson, Kevin (December 28, 2012) "Fontella Bass dies; singer of 'Rescue Me' was a hit in U.S. and a bigger hit in Europe". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  31. ^ Levins, Harry (July 27, 2001). "NY Times Taps Gerald Boyd as its New Managing Editor St. Louis Native Started Career at Post-Dispatch". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. A1. 
  32. ^ Grimes, Charlotte (July 30, 1992). "Charges Sully Image Of 'Mr. Fix-it': Presidents Had Sought Ex-St. Louisan's Advice". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 11A. 
  33. ^ Miklasz, Bernie (January 16, 1995). "'On My Way,' Says Rams' Owner: Finances Called Main Reason Behind Move to St. Louis". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 1A. 
  34. ^ Corrigan, Patricia (April 18, 2005). "Exhibit explores soaring spirit of forgotten St. Louis author". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. C1. 
  35. ^ "J. Haymer, 69; Actor Born In St. Louis". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. November 19, 1989. p. 13d. 
  36. ^ Peterson, Deb (March 16, 2005). "Brewery baron August Busch IV is engaged to Boston College grad". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. B2. 
  37. ^ "Professor Melvin Kranzberg". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. December 8, 1995. p. 12C. 
  38. ^ "Henry Lieberman; Area Native was N.Y. Times Editor". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. New York Times News Service. March 17, 1995. p. 4B. 
  39. ^ Little, Joan (February 12, 1995). "The Quiet Man: David Mahan Gives City Schools Stability; His Critics Say They Want to See Energy". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 4B. 
  40. ^ Levins, Harry (July 29, 1998). "Great Fed Chairman Martin Dies at 91". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. C1. 
  41. ^ "St. Louis native Virginia Mayo dies at 84". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. January 18, 2005. p. A1. 
  42. ^ Renner, Michael J. (February 7, 1999). "The Big Apple Seduces Homegrown Jazzmen". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. F1. 
  43. ^ Rice, Patricia (October 2, 1988). "Master of the Lost World: St. Louis Botanist Is a World Champion Collector of Plants". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 1D. 
  44. ^ O'Neil, Tim; Kee, Lorraine (August 27, 1998). "New U.S. Envoy to Tanzania Gives Some Credit to Role Models Here: Going to Blast Site Will Test Skills". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. B1. 
  45. ^ "Kay Thompson, Author Who Created Beloved 'Eloise,' Dies". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Associated Press. July 8, 1998. p. B5. 
  46. ^ "Marko Todorovich: Played Pro Basketball in St. Louis". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. June 27, 2000. p. B5. 
  47. ^ Rhone, Shauna (June 26, 1998). "Joe Torry Brings Some Familiar Friends Home to Play". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. E1. 
  48. ^ Toroian, Diane (March 13, 1997). "Mapping Tennessee: Tracing the Playwright's Steps". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 19. 

Coordinates: 38°39′19″N 90°16′20″W / 38.655404°N 90.272282°W / 38.655404; -90.272282