St. Paul Academy and Summit School

St. Paul Academy and Summit School is a college preparatory independent day school in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States, for students in grades K–12.

St. Paul Academy and Summit School
Coordinates44°55′34″N 93°10′23″W
TypePrivate, day
MottoShaping the minds and the hearts of the people who will change the world
EstablishedSPA: 1900, Summit School: 1917, Merger: 1969
Head of SchoolBryn Roberts
Enrollment925 Total
275 K5 (Lower School)
228 68 (Middle School)
422 912 (Upper School)
128 Faculty
Average class sizeLower School (K–5) 13

Middle School (6-8) 15

Upper School (9–12) 14
Student to teacher ratio7.2:1
CampusTwo campuses in residential neighborhoods
Color(s)Navy Blue & Vegas Gold
AthleticsIndependent Metro Athletic Conference (IMAC)
TuitionLower School (K–5) $28,510

Middle School (6-8) $29,990

Upper School (9–12) $31,110

The school was established through a merger in 1969 of St. Paul Academy, a school for boys, and Summit School, a school for girls. St. Paul Academy was founded in 1900 and Summit School in 1917.[1] Accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States, SPA is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, the Cum Laude Society, and The College Board.

Recent commencement speakers have included Al Franken, Wilhelmina Wright, Coretta Scott King,

and Garrison Keillor.


In the Upper School (grades 912), SPA has a college-preparatory liberal arts curriculum.[2] SPA teaches an independent curriculum that does not follow either the AP or IB curriculum models, though individual students may opt to take AP tests. Courses have been taught using Harkness tables, distinctive elliptical wooden tables that seat 1215 students, since 2005.[3] Each year, the school sends several juniors to semester-away programs including CITYterm in New York, Maine Coast Semester in Maine, and Rocky Mountain Semester in Colorado.

SPA's English department offers all students strong individual attention, helping students develop their analytical reading and writing skills. General courses are offered during freshman and sophomore years, while semester-long electives are offered during junior and senior years.

The language department offers instruction in French, German, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese (simplified characters) and has optional international exchange programs for students in grades 1012 with partner schools in France, Germany, Spain, and China. All students in grades K-5 study Spanish and then have the option to change their course of study in the Middle and Upper School.

For freshman through junior year, the history department has required courses which include two years of World History and one year of American history. In senior year, all history courses are electives.

SPA's math department offers a variety of courses that take most students through a study of Calculus as a senior, prefaced with Algebra 2, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus.

The science department at SPA offers earth science, biology, chemistry, and physics for freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years, respectively, although a change is underway to reform this curriculum, moving physics to freshman year and opening up senior year for electives. In senior year, semester long electives are offered, including environmental science and space science.

The music offerings include two jazz bands, one orchestra, string and wind ensembles, a coed choir, a female choir, and two smaller choral groups. The ensembles all offer a fall concert ("Pops Concert") where contemporary music is played as well as a spring concert where more traditional music is featured. SPA also hosts a free music competition every spring for singers and musicians from SPA and the surrounding area.

SPA has a 1:1 technology program whereby the school provides each student in 3rd and 4th grades with an iPad and 5th through 8th grade with a laptop; students in grades 9 through 12 must purchase one from the school. The program originally gave the middle schoolers laptops in 2002 and now enhances learning in grades 3-12. Much of the homework process is streamlined through Google Drive.

Graduation requirements include that seniors complete a 58 minute speech in front of the Upper School on a topic of their choice (Senior Speech), as well as a month-long internship in May (Senior Project).


St. Paul Academy and Summit School is a member of the Independent Metro Athletic Conference (IMAC), part of the Minnesota State High School League. The school mascot is a Spartan, and the school's main rivals are Breck School, Blake School and Minnehaha Academy. According to school legend, SPA won the right to wear its school colors (Navy Blue and Vegas Gold) in a football game against Blake more than a century ago. The SPA-Blake rivalry is still regarded as the oldest high school rivalry in the state of Minnesota. SPA offers 15 varsity sports, and 34 teams. To date, Spartan sports teams have won 29 State titles since the school joined the MSHSL in 1975. Varsity letter-winners receive the Academy 'A', a reference to the longtime tradition of simply referring to the school as 'The Academy'.

State Championships-MISL and MSHSL
SeasonSportAppearancesNumber of ChampionshipsYear
FallTennis, Girls2091976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1988
Football, Boys212018 (SMB)
Soccer, Girls50
Soccer, Boys1741986, 1987, 1991, 1994
Cross Country, Boys831990, 1991, 1992
Cross Country, Girls40
Swimming and Diving, Girls (Co-op with Highland Park)20
WinterAlpine Skiing, Boysunknown0
Alpine skiing, Girls30
Nordic Skiing, Boys10
Nordic Skiing, Girls10
Fencing, Coedn/a121984, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2006, 2013, 2014, 2015
Hockey, Boys (MISL)1551941, 1942, 1961, 1962, 1974
Hockey, Girls (Co-op with Convent of the Visitation School)40
Wrestling, Boys ( inactive )00
Gymnastics, Girls ( inactive )00
Dance, Girls00
Basketball, Girls00
Basketball, Boys10
Swimming and Diving, Boys (co-op with Highland Park)00
SpringGolf, Boys00
Golf, Girls00
Tennis, Boys941993, 2004, 2007, 2008
Baseball, Boys00
Track, boys111993
Track, Girls20
Total9234 (29 MSHSL)


SPA has the oldest varsity hockey squad in the state of Minnesota. The first official team was recorded in 1905. The opponents the team faced during the early years included local colleges St. Thomas as well as the University of Minnesota, which didn't field a varsity team until a few years after the Academy. The Hockey team has won five Minnesota Independent School League (MISL) championships, in 1941, 1942, 1961, 1962, and 1974.


The school consists of two campuses: the Goodrich Campus and the Randolph Campus.

  • The Goodrich Campus, site of the old Summit School for girls, is the current home of the Lower School (grades K5, ~290 students) and contains the Sarah Converse Auditorium, formerly the home of SPA theater productions. It is located at 1150 Goodrich Avenue.
  • The Randolph Campus, site of the old St. Paul Academy for boys, is the current home of the Middle School (grades 68, ~240 students) as well as the Upper School (grades 912, ~380 students). Drake hockey arena, the Harry M. Drake Gallery, and the Huss Center for the Performing Arts are located on this campus, 1712 Randolph Avenue.

School hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with exceptions for after-school activities.

Art Program

With four orchestras, two bands, and four choral groups, SPA has a standing culture in the arts. These options feature different musical opportunities for students. SPA's Upper School dramatic program also hosts a fall play, winter student-directed one-act plays, and a spring musical. The Huss Center for Performing Arts was completed on the Randolph Campus in 2015, with a large stage and rooms for artistic work to be displayed. Before its completion, theater was performed at the Goodrich Campus in the Sarah Converse Auditorium, and orchestral and choral performances were held in the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium at St. Catherine University. Studio arts are displayed in the Harry M. Drake gallery. In September 2017, SPA's first student-directed musical was performed on the Huss Center stage. The musical was The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. It was directed by Jonah Harrison ('17)

Academic Teams

SPA currently has a Quiz Bowl team, which is registered with NAQT and participates in the Minnesota High School Quiz Bowl's East Division.[4] SPA sent its A team to the NAQT High School National Championship Tournament in 2014, and both its A and B team in 2015 and 2016. They have continued to send teams in the past years, with one team going in 2017 and 2018. They also have competitive math, debate and science teams. As of the 2014-2015 debate season, the debate team has made the Minnesota State High School Debate Tournament 14 straight years and 17 out of the last 18 years.[5]

SPA also has a print and online news organization: The Rubicon. For over a century, SPA's publication has been one of the school's most prized possessions. In 2018, the publication received a Gold Crown Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the most prestigious award given to a student news organization. The Rubicon has also picked up Pacemaker awards from the National Scholastic Press Association—the "Pulitzer Prize" of student journalsim—for three years in a row. The online newspaper,, updates each of its sections several times per week, and the print edition is released every academic month. Over 40 students are staff members on the publication.

Notable Alumni


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