Serving High Fliers: Kirkwood

Kirkwood High School began using Launch to meet the needs of one advanced student last spring. Fast forward to Summer 2018, and over five dozen KHS students took Launch courses to earn required credits and build flexibility into their schedules. Today the district uses Launch to serve learners with all types of unique needs.


Every student, every day. That’s the mindset of  Kirkwood High School teachers and administrators, a group that consistently strives to meet the needs of each and every one of the school’s nearly 1,800 students. “I think everyone wants and has a desire to individualize education,” says Dr. Mike Havener, Kirkwood High School Principal. “Launch is able to help us offer that opportunity.”
After Kirkwood School District administrators heard Launch’s Director, Dr. Nichole Lemmon, speak at a regional meeting in St. Louis, they were interested in learning more about the program. “We have been discussing the future of education for a while now, and what it may look like for all students—not just a specific student with a specific need,” Dr. Havener says. It was Launch’s ability to meet the needs of all types of students—from those who need credit recovery solutions to traditional learners to those looking for Advanced Placement offerings—that attracted Kirkwood to the program. “We had a student who was excelling and needing additional resources to expand her learning,” Dr. Havener says. “Launch seemed like a perfect fit to allow this student to progress at a rate and pace that would take her to the next level.”
This high-flyer student was in eighth grade, and her online experience with Launch began with the Spring 2018 semester. As she progressed and excelled in her Launch course, a handful of additional Kirkwood High School students followed suit, and the district decided to offer select learners the opportunity to take Personal Finance and Health online with Launch over the summer 2018 semester. Since the district had 33 students in Personal Finance and 33 students in Health, Launch also trained and hired two Kirkwood teachers to teach these KHS students. “Early on, we liked that Launch provides the ability to have one-on-one instruction as well as group instruction,” Dr. Havener says. “Also,it provides flexibility—the way students don’t have to take courses at a certain time every single day—it allows students in very different situations the flexibility to learn in a model that’s not necessarily the daily school model. I think that’s an exciting opportunity.”

Kirkwood Facts
K-12 Enrollment:
High School Enrollment: Approximately 1,800
City Population: 27,000
School Colors: Red and white
Mascot: Pioneer
Notable Alum: Various state politicians, national athletes, authors and actors including Susan Tifft, Jim Talent, MyCole Pruitt, Jeremy Maclin and Colin Donnell
Fun fact: In 1896, Kirkwood offered the first four-year high school program in St. Louis County; 10 students were members of the first graduating class in the spring of 1897.