Downtown Springfield Association
News Stories

Urban Learning: Celebrating Our Downtown Schools

August 29, 2017

It’s back-to-school season, and you can almost feel the excitement in the air. Downtown isn’t immune to that excitement—we’re home to a few vibrant school communities of our very own.

Campbell Elementary

Campbell Elementary serves residents of downtown and the West Central neighborhood. Fun fact: It’s the oldest elementary school still in service in the Springfield area. The school was originally built in 1884 on farmland donated by its namesake, John Polk Campbell, the first settler in Springfield. The present building replaced the original school in 1931, but the history is still noticeable around every corner.

Downtown’s first micro school opened in August 2016 with a focus on self-directed learning. The tiny school’s enrollment is capped at 40 students in grades six through 12.’s democratic system gives students an active voice in everything the school does—rules, budget and activities included. is also constantly connecting with the downtown community through internships, service learning and more.

St. Agnes Cathedral School

St. Agnes is a faith-based parochial school serving kids in preschool through eighth grade. The small school enrolls about 200 students with a staff of 20. “We love being in the downtown area!” says Principal Lindsay Paulsell. “Everything we need is so close, so it serves as a hub of excitement that offers tons of learning experiences for our staff and students.”

Academy of Exploration

Springfield Public Schools’ Academy of Exploration is housed at the Discovery Center in two specialized classrooms allowing 40 fifth graders to focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM fields). It’s facilitated by two teachers, who coach each term of students through an exploration-based curriculum.

In addition to these schools, we’re just a stone’s throw away from other great educational institutions. Phelps Center for Gifted Education hosts W.I.N.G.S. students just across the street from the campus of Missouri State University. Central High School is a few minutes’ drive from the heart of downtown. Our urban neighborhoods are also home to elementary schools like Rountree and McGregor. Visit Springfield Public Schools’ website for more information.