St. Paul Academy and Summit School

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Saint Paul Academy and Summit School St. Paul Academy and Summit School logo.jpg
St. Paul, MN
Coordinates 44°55′34″N 93°10′23″W / 44.92611°N 93.17306°W / 44.92611; -93.17306Coordinates: 44°55′34″N 93°10′23″W / 44.92611°N 93.17306°W / 44.92611; -93.17306
Type Private, day
Established SPA: 1900, Summit School: 1917, Merger: 1969
Head of School Bryn S. Roberts

884 total
263 K–5 (Lower School)
248 6–8 (Middle School)
373 9–12 (Upper School)

faculty = 102
Average class size 14 students
Student to teacher ratio 7:1
Campus Two campuses in residential neighborhoods
Color(s) Navy Blue & Vegas Gold
Athletics Independent Metro Athletic Conference (IMAC)
Mascot Spartans
Average SAT scores (mid 50% ranges) 580–690 cr. reading
560–710 math
580–710 writing
Average ACT scores (mid 50% ranges) 30

St. Paul Academy and Summit School (commonly known as SPA) is a college preparatory independent day school in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States, for students in grades K–12.

The school was established through a merger in 1969 of St. Paul Academy, a school for boys, and Summit School, a school for girls. St. Paul Academy was founded in 1900 and Summit School in 1917. The school celebrated its centennial in 2000.[1] Accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States, SPA is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, the Cum Laude Society, and The College Board.

Recent commencement speakers have included Al Franken, Coretta Scott King, and Garrison Keillor.


In the Upper School (grades 9–12), SPA has a college-preparatory liberal arts curriculum.[2] SPA teaches an independent curriculum that does not follow either the AP or IB curriculum models, though individual students may opt to take AP tests. Courses have been taught using Harkness tables, distinctive elliptical wooden tables that seat 12–15 students, since 2005.[3] Each year, the school sends several juniors to semester-away programs including CITYterm in New York, Oxbow School in California, Maine Coast Semester in Maine, and Rocky Mountain Semester in Colorado.

SPA's English department offers students strong individual attention, helping students develop their analytical reading and writing skills. General courses are offered during freshman and sophomore years, while semester-long electives are offered during junior and senior years.

The language department offers instruction in French, German, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese (simplified characters) and has optional international exchange programs for students in grades 10–12 with partner schools in France, Germany, Spain, and China. All students in grades K-5 study Spanish but then have the option to change their course of study in the Middle and Upper School.

For freshman through junior year, the history department has required courses that include two years of World History and one year of American history. In senior year, all history courses are electives.

SPA's math department offers a variety of courses that take most students through a study of Calculus as a senior, prefaced with Algebra 2, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus.

The science department at SPA offers earth science, biology, chemistry, and physics for freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years, respectively. In senior year, semester long electives are offered, including genetics, space science, marine biology, and field biology.

The music offerings include two jazz bands, one orchestra, string and wind ensembles, a large choir, a female choir, and a smaller choral group. The ensembles all offer a fall concert ("Pops Concert") where contemporary music is played as well as a spring concert where more traditional music is featured. SPA also hosts a free music competition every spring for singers and musicians from SPA and the surrounding area.

SPA has a laptop program in its Middle and Upper Schools whereby the school provides each student in 6th through 8th grade with a laptop and students in grades 9 through 10 must purchase one from the school. The program originally gave the middle schoolers Toshiba laptops, but instead is now giving them Nobi Netbooks. The laptops have a suite of programs on them, and much of the homework process is streamlined through Google Drive.[4]

Graduation requirements include that seniors complete a 5–8 minute speech in front of the Upper School on a topic of their choice (Senior Speech), as well as a month-long internship in May (Senior Project).


St. Paul Academy and Summit School is a member of the Independent Metro Athletic Conference (IMAC), part of the Minnesota State High School League. The school mascot is a Spartan, and the school's main rivals are Breck School, Blake School and Minnehaha Academy. According to school legend, SPA won the right to wear its school colors (Navy Blue and Vegas Gold) in a football game against Blake more than a century ago. The SPA-Blake rivalry is still regarded as the oldest high school rivalry in the state of Minnesota. SPA offers 15 varsity sports, and 34 teams. To date, Spartan sports teams have won 29 State titles since the school joined the MSHSL in 1975. Varsity letter-winners receive the Academy 'A', a reference to the longtime tradition of simply referring to the school as 'The Academy'.

State Championships-MISL and MSHSL
Season Sport Appearances Number of Championships Year
Fall Tennis, Girls 20 9 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1988
Football, Boys 1 0
Soccer, Girls 5 0
Soccer, Boys 17 4 1986, 1987, 1991, 1994,
Cross Country, Boys 8 3 1990, 1991, 1992
Cross Country, Girls 4 0
Swimming and Diving, Girls (Co-op with Highland Park) 2 0
Winter Alpine Skiing, Boys unknown 0
Alpine skiing, Girls 3 0
Nordic Skiing, Boys 1 0
Nordic Skiing, Girls 1 0
Fencing, Coed n/a 12 1984, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2006, 2013, 2014, 2015
Hockey, Boys (MISL) 15 5 1941, 1942, 1961, 1962, 1974
Hockey, Girls 1 0
Wrestling, Boys ( inactive ) 0 0
Gymnastics, Girls ( inactive ) 0 0
Dance, Girls 0 0
Basketball, Girls 0 0
Basketball, Boys 1 0
Swimming and Diving, Boys (co-op with Highland Park) 0 0
Spring Golf, Boys 0 0
Golf, Girls 0 0
Tennis, Boys 9 4 1993, 2004, 2007, 2008
Baseball, Boys 0 0
Track, boys 1 1 1993
Softball 1 0
Track, Girls 2 0
Total 92 34 (29 MSHSL)


SPA has the oldest varsity hockey squad in the state of Minnesota. The first official team was recorded in 1905. The opponents the team faced during the early years included local colleges St. Thomas as well as the University of Minnesota, which didn't field a varsity team until a few years after the Academy. The Hockey team has won five Minnesota Independent School League (MISL) tournaments, in 1941, 1942, 1961, 1962, and 1974.


The school consists of two campuses: the Goodrich Campus and the Randolph Campus.

  • The Goodrich Campus, site of the old Summit School for girls, is the current home of the Lower School (grades K–5, ~290 students) and contains the Sarah Converse Auditorium, home of SPA theater productions. It is located at 1150 Goodrich Avenue.
  • The Randolph Campus, site of the old St. Paul Academy for boys, is the current home of the Middle School (grades 6–8, ~240 students) as well as the Upper School (grades 9–12, ~380 students). Drake hockey arena and the Harry M. Drake Gallery are both located on this campus, 1712 Randolph Avenue.

School hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with exceptions for after-school activities.

Art Program[edit]

With four orchestras, two bands, four choirs, and an annual Battle of the Bands, SPA has a standing culture in the arts. These options feature different musical opportunities for students. SPA's dramatic program also hosts a fall play, winter student-directed one-act plays, and a spring musical. The Huss Center for Performing Arts is expected to be completed on the Randolph Campus by 2015, with a large stage and rooms for artistic work to be displayed. Currently, theater is performed at the Goodrich Campus in the Sarah Converse Auditorium; studio arts are displayed in the Harry M. Drake gallery, and orchestral and choral performances are held in the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium at St. Catherine University.

Academic teams[edit]

SPA currently has a Quiz Bowl team, which is registered with NAQT and participates in the Minnesota High School Quiz Bowl's East Division. [5] SPA sent its A team to NAQT's High School National Championship Tournament in 2014. They also have competitive math, debate and science teams. As of the 2014-2015 debate season, the debate team has made the Minnesota State High School Debate Tournament 14 straight years and 17 out of the last 18 years.


Notable alumni/ae[edit]