The earliest public school in the Clifton area was the Grandview School which was on Watson Road, south of Old Manchester Road (Southwest Avenue), in 1881. It was a small one-story frame building, 25 by 40 feet in size, on a one acre site. It consisted of one large room accommodating sixty students. Ten years later the school was noted to be situated on Watson Road opposite Scanlan Avenue. Apparently this school was abandoned during the 1890's and was replaced by the Clifton Heights School, which is listed on Old Manchester Road near Columbia Avenue in 1896. This building, now numbered as 2725 Clifton Avenue, is presently occupied by commercial uses.

It served as the school for the area until 1919, when the Isaac M. Mason School at 6031 Southwest Avenue was opened. That school, which is named for a prominent St. Louis business man, was designed by architect R. M. Milligan.

The Henry W. Longfellow School at 6593 Smiley Avenue was completed in 1891 and had additions constructed in 1896 and 1906. It is named for the famous American poet.