The College School Urban Experience

As seventh graders explore the urban landscape of Saint Louis, they learn together what makes up the many different aspects of a community. The young explorers learn the complicated system that keeps a city running, using public transportation to explore neighborhoods and interact with local residents and business owners. They travel to different neighborhoods and communities in small groups every week to conduct research for a current issue of the times, absorbing the atmosphere that makes up a city while they interview people. Students use both studio days and field trips to prepare for their final project, which is a production of a dynamic and informative podcast. Finally, the class travels to Chicago for a four-day investigation of the city’s own unique urban qualities, visiting popular streets like Chinatown and interviewing people for a project called Humans of Chicago.

2018 Podcasts

The biggest project for the urban experience theme is the creation of our podcasts, which are all on separate current issues of Saint Louis. We begin the creation of these informative pieces at the very start of the theme, planning out the questioning scripts that we will use when we hit the streets to interview random people and the ones we will use for the scheduled ones to formally meet and talk with the people who live or work in the neighborhoods we visit. As we collect information in small groups around Saint Louis, we begin to form our podcasts, which then take us to the end of the trimester.

See below for our 2018 podcasts or click here to listen to our archived podcasts.

Arming Classroom Teachers


Medical Marijuana

Opioid Crisis


Urban Decay

Humans of Chicago Project

TCS Urban Experience students travel to Chicago for a four day period, where they experience urban adventures. Part of the urban adventure in Chicago is the assignment given to small groups of students to seek out native’s stories and thoughts in neighborhoods like Pilsen, Devon, The Loop, Chinatown, and others. We borrowed a page from the Humans of St. Louis playbook by posting the photos and stories of some of the people that we meet and interview.  Here are some of the stories that stood out to us that people shared. [Click on the photos to enlarge them]

“It was a friend’s cat, but the cat was my friend. When my friend’s cat got cancer, I spent $800 on the cat’s surgery. Even my wife said ‘Are you crazy?’ I sold my bike for a cat. It was a CB750 Super Sport, and God gave me another one. I gotta thank the big guy.” ‪#‎TCS‬‪#‎HumansOfChicago‬‪ #‎TcsUrbanExperience

“I was born here in Chicago and lived here all of my life. The best moment in my life here was holding my son when he was born.” ‪#‎TCS‬‪#‎HumansOfChicago‬‪#‎TCSUrbanExperience‬

“In 1979 I crossed the barbed wire fence between Tijuana and the U.S. I left Mexico because there was no work. There were not a lot of opportunities to make money. I love everything about Chicago.” ‪#‎TCS‬‪#‎HumansOfChicago‬‪#‎TCSUrbanExperience‬

“When I first became a police officer, we almost hit a dog. I took him home for a week and the owner never showed up. I decided to keep him and I’ve had him for over a year.” ‪#‎TCS‬‪#‎HumansOfChicago‬‪#‎TCSUrbanExperience‬

“The things I’m most proud of are getting my degree and supporting myself. I’m completely independent.” ‪#‎TCS‬‪#‎HumansOfChicago‬‪#‎TCSUrbanExperience‬


Contact the TCS Urban Experience Faculty:

  1. Email Kevin Parentin
  2. Email Mary Jo Wilmes
  3. Email Heather Walka
  4. Phone: 314.962.9355
  5. #TCSUrbanExperience