Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mallinckrodt Academy of Gifted Instruction

The Mallinckrodt Academy of Gifted Instruction (MAGI) is the second of two gifted magnet schools in the St. Louis Public School system, Kennard Classical Junior Academy is the other.


The school takes its name from Edward Mallinckrodt (1845-1928), a chemist and philanthropist, founder of the Mallinckrodt Chemical Company still alive and kicking today in St. Louis. 

Edward Mallinckrodt
At the height of the Civil War, Edward grew interested in agricultural chemistry. He began to read books on the subject & soon found his calling. His father agreed to send Edward & his brother Otto to Germany to study chemistry for three years. Upon their return to the United States, they opened a chemical manufacturing company with their elder brother Gustav. The company was called G. Mallinckrodt & Company. When the business was incorporated in 1882 as the Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, Edward became its president. He also established the National Ammonia Company in 1889. He accumulated vast holdings of real estate in St. Louis & used his substantial wealth to give back something to his community & his philanthropy benefited Harvard University, Washington University & the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. He gave endowments to St. Louis Children's Hospital & to St. Luke's Hospital of which he was head of the board of trustees. Edward also held positions as director of the Missouri Botanical Garden, president of the Mercantile Library, & served on the board of Washington University.  (bio by Connie Nisinger).
Like many of St. Louis' most prominent contributors, Edward Mallinckrodt is buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery.


Mallinckrodt is located at 6020 Pernod Avenue in the Lindenwood Park neighborhood.  The homes lining the school to the north are typical well-maintained South City gingerbreads.


The school is visible from the well-traveled Hampton Avenue just north of one of the busiest intersection in the city at Hampton and Chippewa...certainly a great location, familiar to most St. Louisans. 

The building was one of many city schools designed by George W. Sanger and it was erected in 1938:

Mallinckrodt School circa 1958

The school was slated to be shut down back in 2009 when the school board was downsizing to cut costs associated with the declining city population and enrollment in the public schools.  The neighborhood banded together to keep the school open.  The school survived and was set up as the 2nd gifted program starting in the 2010/2011 school year.  Mallinckrodt is transitioning into a full-time gifted curriculum school, one grade per year as students currently attending are promoted over time and graduate out of fifth grade.




For the 2013-2014 school year, Mallinckrodt will host gifted students in the preschool, Kindergarten, first second and third grade levels. The curriculum currently in use for grades four through five will remain in place for 2013-2014. Preschool through third grade applicants must meet eligibility requirements for gifted programs to be considered for placement.




The school looks pretty much the same today...with a couple exceptions.

First is the new playground equipment installed just south of the main building. 


There is also basketball and a multi-purpose field with soccer goals.



Second is the fantastic raised-bed gardens installed between the school and Hampton.  What a positive development!  I love expanding the biology and health curriculum outdoors.

 seats for the outdoor classroom




grape vines growing on a trellis

Strong families = strong schools.  If the parents are grounded, loving and hard working, that will show through in the schools.  MAGI is benefiting from that love and hard work as is evident in the plantings throughout the grounds where perennials and tulip poplars flank the formerly cold entryway.


See the picture from 1958 and note that the landscape is rather drab.  It's not today thanks to the parents and school for working hard to make it look nice.

The school has an active PTO.

Not only are the parents, principal and teachers working hard and raising their own funds, the district kicked in the following improvements made possible by the passing of Prop S:

  • Building safety and security upgrades
  • Gym roof replacement
  • Tuck-pointing
  • New Window Shades
  • Data and electrical upgrades
  • New kitchen equipment
  • New playground
  • Environmental services
  • Building Envelope
  • Sealing of parking lot

To get a personal perspective from a family with a child enrolled at MAGI, I interviewed Autum and Eric Jennings.  Here is their story:

Where are you guys from?
Eric- Edwardsville, IL; Autum-DeSoto, MO
How long have you lived in St. Louis?
15 years
What neighborhood do you reside in?
St. Louis Hills
How old are your kids?
Jack is 7, Chloe is 3

How long has Jack attended MAGI?
He joined MAGI in Pre-K, 2010.
What other schools did you consider at the time?
Kennard CJA, St. Louis Language Immersion School
What was the key decision point for choosing MAGI?
Class size, curriculum, teachers and diversity of students.
How do you enroll in MAGI?
Apply through the SLPS website in September.  The application deadline for Magnet Schools is in early October.  Testing will be done after application is submitted to determine if student is eligible for gifted curriculum schools.
Do they get to school by bus, walk or drop-off?
Jack rides the bus which is very convenient for our family because he has a little sister that is still napping in the afternoon during pick up time.
Please rank on a scale of 1-10 safety, teaching, principal, curriculum, physical resources and overall education.
Safety = 10
Teaching = 9
Principal = in transition to new principal for 2013/14 school year
Curriculum = 9
Physical Resources = 7
Overall Education = 9

The building is undergoing construction this summer adding an elevator, updating the computer lab and remodeling the bathrooms.  MAGI was one of the 1st SLPS to be fully equipped with Smart Boards and they are integrated throughout the learning day.

The Mallinckrodt Community Youth Garden has been chosen this year to host tours for the MOBOT Foodology for Schools…Let’s Grow.   https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/things-to-do/events/event-details/sreventid/805.aspx    The garden is a partnership between Mallinckrodt Academy, PTO, Gateway Greening, Cub Scout Pack 103, Mallinckrodt Girl Scouts and Gethsemane Lutheran Church.  This summer is our third year and we have expanded including an outdoor class room area and a Memorial Garden.
Are there enrichment classes available?
Yes- the students have regular Art, Music, Spanish, Computer and PE program along with a weekly enrichment class “Clubs”. Examples are Gardening, Chess, Spanish, French, Vocal Music, Reading, Photography, equations, Building Adventures, Keyboards (music), Creative Station Art and many others.
Are there extra-curricular activities?

New Dimensions Soccer, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Gymnastics (SLPS Community Program).  More programs are planned for 2013 including Equations, Chess and other Sport programs.
What is the makeup of the student body (part of city from, race, income)?

Students enrolled at Mallinckrodt Academy are from all areas of St. Louis City. The ethnicity listed on great schools website:
Black 48%
White 38%
Hispanic 11%
Asian 3%
American Indian 1%
 Is there good parental involvement and accountability?

The school has a strong PTO that organizes events such as Truck r Treat, Family Fun nights, summer play dates , end of the year picnic, sponsors field trips, classroom activities and provides funding for requests to further learning opportunities for our students.
Top pros?

Class size is typically 20 to 22 students per class which is below the national average.  The centralized location is great for our family and we spend many mornings in our community garden throughout the year.  The teachers are a wonderful caring group of professionals who are creative and willing to step out of the box and provide an enriched environment for our students.   The Parent Community is full of a vibrant group willing to go the extra mile for our students and we have made wonderful friends.   It will be so exciting to see these students in 10 years and know it all started at Mallinckrodt. 
Top cons?

District communication is slow and at times hinders school communication of items in a timely manner.
Any other thoughts/comments?

Mallinckrodt Academy is a diverse and unique program.  Currently Pre-k through 3rd grade contains the Gifted Program students (2 classes per grade except 3rd grade) and the additional 3rd through 5th are Traditional Learning students.  A very close school community we were excited to have full enrollment with around 310 students last year.   As the school continues to grow we will be welcoming a new principle this fall Melanie Bloom.  I couldn’t be happier with my decision to choose SLPS for my son and I too will be filling out an application this fall for my daughter to become a Mallinckrodt Dragon!
There you have it, another happy family who chose to stay in St. Louis.  For years St. Louis parents have been pining for an expansion of the successful gifted/accelerated program at Kennard.  We finally have that in MAGI. 

Go Dragons!

1 comment:

mom_of_twins said...

Thanks for a wonderful write up on Mallinckrodt!

Melanie Bloom