Access Academies was founded in 2005 by a small group of St. Louisans convinced that education was the most enduring path out of poverty. Embracing an innovative model that emphasized extended school days, a challenging enrichment curriculum, and hands-on counseling, they started the first Academy with 15 students in a single South City middle school. Today, Access partners with three middle schools and 25 private high schools, and it serves over 500 students across the St. Louis metropolitan area.
In 2020, Access Academies integrated its successful middle school enrichment and high school and college support programs into Saint Louis University’s School of Education. Doing so strengthened SLU’s connection to students in local Catholic schools and their surrounding neighborhoods, and allowed Access to leverage the School of Education’s expertise.