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District History

The Maplewood Richmond Heights School District, tracing its beginnings to 1840, is the oldest district in St. Louis County. Here are just some of the notable moments in the district’s history:

Timeline of Historical Events

1840: The first school opened on Manchester Road near McCausland. It was named the "Washington Institute."

1876: The city of St. Louis separated from the county, making it necessary to establish a new school district outside the limits of the city of St. Louis.

1906: An election changed the rural school district with three directors to a village school district with six directors. This change was filed with the County Court on July 11, 1906.

1906: In November 1906, two new schools were opened. Miss Clara Wilder was named the first superintendent of schools.

1909: The Maplewood School District became one of the first districts in St. Louis County to offer a High School program.

1935: Bus service began providing transportation of pupils to the high school. The first route concentrated on students from Richmond Heights.

1951: The name of the district was changed from the School District of Maplewood to the School District of Maplewood Richmond Heights.

1978: The district faced financial troubles and the Board voted to eliminate 21 teaching positions and to close the Junior High Building. The district put a tax levy increase on the ballot to end a four-year period of deficit spending.

1986: Budget problems again plagued the district. Forty-seven teachers were laid off, a tax rate increase was placed on the June 3 ballot, and a list of budget cuts was considered. The list of budget cuts included reducing the number of custodians, librarians, and purchases.

1996: The district was classified as 'financially stressed' by the State of Missouri when the district budget was exceeded by over a million dollars.

1999: MRH had its first review by the Missouri School Improvement Program, receiving full accreditation by state standards. The district reported steady financial operations with a healthy reserve balance.

2000: MRH hosted Reunion 2000 when over 2,000 alumni returned for Homecoming weekend. Alumni represented classes from every decade dating back to the oldest alumni from the class of 1932.

2001: The district passed a $12 million bond issue to fund construction of a new elementary school, renovation of a middle school center within the high school, and installation of air-conditioning at the Early Childhood Center. MRH was also successful in passing a 52-cent tax levy increase to the operating budget to continue increases in staff salaries, technology budgets, and curriculum and professional development activities.

2002: Missouri Governor Bob Holden released state test scores from MRH Middle School. He chose MRH because the school showed significant improvement in achievement.

2002: First Lady Laura Bush hosted a "Community and Character" national program in partnership with US Department of Education and Court TV at MRH High School. MRH was chosen for the visit because of its national reputation as a leader in character education.

2002: MRH opened the Student Success Center, an alternative school setting for secondary students who require individualized instruction and attention on a daily basis.

2004: MRH dedicated the new MRH Elementary School at 1800 Princeton Place, Richmond Heights. The new school was built with funds from the 2001 bond issue and holds grades 2 through 6.

2004: MRH School District received the "Distinction in Performance" award from Missouri Commissioner of Education Dr. D. Kent King for receiving a perfect score of 100 points on the Annual Performance Report.

2004: Voters approved an $8.6 million bond issue to fund renovations at MRH High School and the Early Childhood Center.

2005: Renovations began at the high school and the Early Childhood Center. All classrooms, science labs, the gymnasium and a new library/media center were part of the high school renovation. Many of the renovated spaces are jointly used by high school and middle school students.

2006: The state of Missouri presented MRH with the "Excellence in Staff Development" award. MRH was one of only four districts in the state to receive the award, which was given by Missouri Commissioner of Education Dr. D. Kent King and supported by the Missouri Staff Development Council.

2006: MRH Middle School was awarded an eMints grant from the state of Missouri for over $100,000. The grant will provide each middle school student a laptop and provide for special technology training for MRH Middle faculty members.

2006: A committee of MRH teachers, administrators, Board of Education members and community members began studying "Project Headware," which would additionally provide a laptop to each high school student beginning in the 2007-2008 school year. To support the program, the district placed an even greater focus on professional development that focuses on embedding technology into teaching.

2006: The district entered into cooperation with ARCHs, a philanthropic organization dedicated to early childhood education. ARCHs agreed to provide $100,000 to refurbish the art room at the Early Childhood Center in addition to several thousand dollars to be used for professional development. The project is focused on developing a program similar to the world famous early childhood programs in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Webster University is also a partner in the project, providing classes and consultation to help understand the pedagogy of Reggio.

2007: MRH opens the doors of Joe’s Place, a non-profit that supports homeless teen boys as they struggle to make it through school. The home provides food, shelter and nurturing to high school students who, for whatever reason, find themselves without a stable home.

2007: MRH received the “Outstanding Local Government Achievement Award from the East-West Gateway Council for “Joe’s Place.”

2008: The district is awarded a three-year "Healthy Eating with Local Produce" grant, which is administered through Saint Louis University in cooperation with the Missouri Farmers Union and the Sappington Farmers' Market. By the end of the grant, at least 20% of the food served in MRH cafeterias will be locally grown.

2007 and 2009: In June, the MRH Board of Education received the “Education Leadership Team” award from the Missouri School Boards’ Association. MRH was one of only ten school districts across the state that were recognized to receive the award, which is based on a school district’s commitment to ongoing professional development, to regional and statewide leadership, and to the successful implementation of educational policy to improve their school district.

2009: A new preschool wing opens at MRH Early Childhood Center.  The innovative space is created using the Reggio Emilia philosophy. In the following years, the addition received three design awards. Funds for the project were made possible by the passage of Proposition C in April 2007.

2010: MRH earns the state’s “Distinction in Performance” award. The district earned the highest score of 14 on the state’s Annual Performance Report, which measures performance standards based on student achievement.

2010: The district passed a $9 million bond issue to fund renovations and repairs at each of the schools in the district. MRH was also successful in passing a 67-cent tax levy increase to the operating budget.

2010: The district received the “Outstanding Local Government Achievement Award" from the East-West Gateway Council for “Healthy Eating with Local Produce Program.”

2011-2012: The 2011 state testing results show that MRH is the most improved school district in the greater St. Louis region. MRH earns the state’s “Distinction in Performance” award for the second straight year.

2011-2012: The High School is designated as an "Apple Distinguished School" - one of only 56 schools in the country. The designation from Apple cites schools for their technology, educational excellence, and leadership.

2012: MRH is one of four Missouri schools nominated as a "Green Ribbon School" by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

2012: The district was named one of three national grand prize winners in the American School Board Journal’s (ASBJ) and National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) 18th annual Magna Awards program for Joe’s Place.

2012: MRH received high honors once again by receiving the top score of 14 in the state’s Annual Performance Report (APR). This is the third year in a row MRH has achieved the highest available score of 14.

2012-2013: The High School is once again designated as an "Apple Distinguished School" - one of only 43 schools in the country. The designation from Apple cites schools for their technology, educational excellence, and leadership.

2013: The High School is awarded the "Follett Challenge Grand Prize" for expertly aligning its curriculum to teach 21st century learning skills. 

2013-2014: MRH High School is one of nine schools across the United States honored as a "2014 Breakthrough School" by National Association of Secondary School Principals. The prestigious honor celebrates schools for their strong academic success in the face of challenges that result from high student poverty rates.

2013-2014: The High School is again designated as an "Apple Distinguished School." The designation marks three years in a row for the honor. Apple cites schools for their technology, educational excellence, and leadership.

2014: The student population is growing at each of the schools, with the most notable increase happening at the Elementary School. A two-room modular classroom building was installed there in 2014 to provide much needed space, maintain small class sizes, and allow for continued personalized instruction.

2014: MRH was named a "District of Distinction" from District Administration Magazine. Nearly 50 school districts across the country were being recognized for leading the way with innovative and effective new ideas.

2015: The District passed a $6.1 million bond issue to fund the construction of additional classrooms at (including a new and larger preschool) to meet the needs of the growing student population. 

2015: The High School was honored with the 2015 National Excellence in Urban Education Award from the National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST). MRH is the only high school in the United States to be honored as a “gold” winner for 2015. The High School was initially named a finalist in December 2014 along with 22 other schools from across the country.

2016: Voters approve Proposition Y, a $.55 operating tax levy increase, to meet the needs of the growing student population.