Achieving equity in K-12 education is a pressing and complex social challenge. Ensuring all children participate in high-quality educational programs is the key to expanding economic opportunity for our kids and growth in our community.

Facing this challenge is why the Institute for School Partnership exists. Through its partnerships with local schools and its work to bridge research and practices, the ISP is closing the education gap for tens of thousands of students in under-resourced schools.
Our work has impact! Our efforts are working, boosting math and science learning, raising standardized test scores, showing marked growth in teachers’ confidence in teaching STEM, and showing marked growth in students’ self-confidence and development of career goals.

  • Bring high-quality STEM education to every student in St. Louis
  • Give teachers the resources they need to be effective
  • Provide professional development and leadership opportunities
  • Improve teacher ability and retention
  • Provide field trip and campus engagement opportunities

Our Impact in Numbers

Each academic year:

  • Our programs impact more than 100,000 students in the St. Louis region
  • We provide over 1,200 hours of professional learning to 2,500 teachers and 400 administrators
  • We deliver over 9,000 mySci kits to 220 schools across the region
  • We partner with over 75 WashU faculty, students and staff who commit more than 920 hours of community outreach

Charter School Support

Washington University serves as the charter public school sponsor of KIPP St. Louis and the Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls. The university’s sponsorship efforts are led by the ISP, which provides training and resources to elementary and secondary schools throughout the region. ISP educators work closely with both schools to support student academic achievement. 

History of the ISP

The ISP was born in the late 1980s of a partnership initiated by WashU biology professor Sarah “Sally” Elgin with her children’s University City School District. The program brought university science faculty into the schools to provide students with interactive environmental science and genetics projects.
In 1990, Elgin expanded this initial partnership and founded Science Outreach, the forerunner to the Institute for School Partnership.
Thanks to the efforts of Elgin and her colleagues, the program has flourished, becoming one of the nation’s largest initiatives to improve the quality of science and math education in the public schools. ISP’s programs reach more than 2,500 teachers, 400 administrators and 100,000 students each year
For nearly 30 years now, Washington University, through Science Outreach and now the ISP, has transformed the science experience for many students with novel hands-on science curriculum.

Lessons learned in a life of science

Sally Elgin, who came of age as a scientist in the 1950s and ’60s, was thrown out of several classes for asking too many questions.