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The Best Schools
The 50 Best Private Elementary Schools in the U.S.
Ranking criteria include the following:
- The schools must have at least three of the six grades (first through sixth grade) that are traditionally categorized as elementary-level grades.
- They must exceed nearby public schools in course selections and success.
- They must have a reputation for producing students who are well prepared to take the next steps in their education.
- Though they are organized as businesses, the schools must have a reputation for treating families with fairness and compassion.
- They actively seek to treat parents as partners in the educational process.
- They openly and regularly celebrate the students and their accomplishments.
Rossman School Celebrates 100 Years of Tradition and Innovation
At Rossman School, kids don’t just step into a classroom, they step into a family, where the students they sit next to six hours a day or see in the hallway aren’t just classmates, but true friends they can count on today and for years to come. Since 1917, Rossman, an elementary school built on providing a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community, has fostered an unbreakable bond between students, teachers and alumni that has extended for generations, making it one of the most unique educational experiences in the region.
St. Louis Business Journal
Early Childhood Education Table of Experts 2016
Early childhood education experts, including Head of Rossman School Pat Shipley, answer questions including:
- Why should society invest in early childhood education?
- What makes an independent school’s early childhood experience distinct?
- What should parents look for in a great early childhood education program?
- What is the most important advice you would give to parents of young children?
Centennial Cover Story
So much can happen in a century. But Rossman School in Creve Coeur has stood the test of 100 years, providing extraordinary education to kids age 4 through sixth grade. In summer 2016, the school began its yearlong celebration of this milestone, kicking off the party with a family picnic in September. Since then, the school has hosted a variety of events, including its big gala, a day of service and a spirit week in March.
Pat Shipley, Rossman’s head of school, says the school was started in 1917 on the foundation of rigorous academics, and this is still a focus today.
Town & Style
For Rossman School science teacher Julie Laconte, it’s easy to understand that scientific principles are at the heart of every experience we have. She passes that awareness on to all of her students at the independent, private elementary school in Creve Coeur and promotes thinking of the world as a huge science lab to encourage their curiosity, experimentation and problem-solving skills. “It’s how we connect with each other,” LaConte explains. “We do a lot of hands-on, discovery-based learning and treat students like young scientists from the day they arrive.
When some people think about a balanced education, reading, writing and math instantly spring to mind, but it’s easy to forget about physical education. P.E. is fundamental to helping kids develop motor skills, stay healthy and build character. Rossman School, an independent preparatory school, understands its importance. The school strives to meet its mission of excellence in all aspects of its curriculum, including physical education.
At Rossman School — as in life generally —it’s about knowing who you are, where you have been and where you are going. It’s about past and future, tradition and innovation. It’s about having roots strong enough to steady you as you reach the stars.
This year, the school celebrates its centennial, and as is natural at such a milestone, it's taking stock of itself. “We are an institution that cherishes its traditions,” says lower school director Elizabeth Zurlinden. “And our goal, at this stage in our life, is to balance the richness of our past with our vision for the future.”
Every December since 1917, the auditorium at Rossman School has become a sea of red as the school’s 200-plus students don capes, passed down for generations, and perform holiday songs. At the end of the program, alumni are invited to join in a custom rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. David Kantrovitz participated as a student in the early 1980s, and now enjoys sharing the experience with his daughters, Katie and Emily. “It’s a neat camaraderie for the kids to be together and give this performance for their families,” he says. “I remember enjoying it as a kid, and now it’s fun to be on the other side of it, getting to sing with my girls.”
What do you see? What do you think? What do you wonder? Rossman School art teacher Erica Spangler asks her students these questions whenever they look at artwork together. “Each question requires a deeper level of thinking, and each requires students to observe, support their opinions and express their thoughts articulately,” she says.
Rossman School, founded in 1917, is committed to helping students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade reach their full potential. Art is essential to that process, Spangler notes.
How many stars are in the sky? Can fish breathe? How does an eye see? Kids, the most naturally curious creatures in the world, ask endless questions. But the same questions that can drive weary parents nuts delight the science teachers at Rossman
”Curiosity is a constant in Rossman’s science rooms, and we do everything we can to encourage it,” says lower school director Karen Boyle. Rossman places a schoolwide emphasis on science and it starts early.
There is a pivotal moment in The King’s Speech when a stammering King George VI, portrayed by Colin Firth, has a heated exchange with his speech therapist, Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush. “Listen to me,” the king insists. “Listen to me!”
“Listen to you?” Logue says. “By what right?”
“Because I have a right to be heard!” the king yells. I have a voice!”
“After a long pause,” Logue says quietly, “Yes, you do.”
Since 1917 Rossman School has been helping each student find his or her unique voice.
St. Louis Post Dispatch Top Workplaces 2013
Rossman: Kinship and Community
On school days, Larry Huusko rises before daybreak to get set for his 64-mile commute through rush-hour traffic from Carlyle, Ill., to Creve Coeur.
“I was born to do this,” said the physical education teacher. “I’m not a banker. I’m not a scientist. I love to play.”
For the past 25 years, Huusko has been employed by Rossman School, an independent private school for boys and girls from “junior kindergarten” through sixth grade. And he’s the primary architect of a dynamic P.E. program.
“I just love this place,” he said. “Our goal is to have every student improve, whatever it takes.” Rossman, which has 227 students and about 55 employees, was the top-scoring organization in the small employer category of this year’s Post-Dispatch sponsored survey of Top Workplaces.