The earliest school in the Shaw area was established by Henry Shaw about 1870 in a two story, four room building at Old Manchester Road and Kingshighway. When that area became a part of the City in 1876, this school was integrated into the City public school system. In 1881, it was reported to have a capacity of 240 students, and was known as the Shaw School. Next school to be opened was Adams, at what was called the Taylorwyck Station of the Pacific Railroad in 1878. Three years later, it was said to be a one story and one room building with 60 seats. At present, the John Adams School is located at 1311 Tower Grove Avenue, were additions were made to the original building in 1895, 1899 and 1906.

In 1898, the William T. Sherman School was completed in the Tyler Place section at 3942 Flad Avenue, one of the earliest schools designed by William B. Ittner. There are three branches of the Sherman School in the area, number one is in the former B'Nai El Temple at Spring and Flad, while the others are located at the Tower Grove Baptist and Compton Heights Christian Churches. The Bryan Mullanphy school, named for the well-known St. Louis philanthropist, was designed by Ittner and completed in 1914. In the area west of Shaw's Garden, the Festus J. Wade School, named for the St. Louis banker, was opened in 1929. It was designed by Robert M. Milligan.