96 Years: Our History

1920 - Six children and two rooms...

Shortly after World War I, the American Chamber of Commerce and American companies in São Paulo envisioned a school that would prepare children for colleges and universities in the United States. It started in a two-room schoolhouse on Avenida São João, in the heart of downtown São Paulo.  

Photo: from an announcement in the American Chamber of Commerce bulletin, November 1920.

1921 - became "The Graded School"

On the morning of October 17, 1920, Mrs. Ruth Kolb and Miss Bel Ribble took attendance of six students. Enrollment shot up to 35 the next year. In 1921, the school was officially established as the São Paulo Graded School -- SPGS.

Photo: Ruth Kolb and her Portuguese students celebrate the Brazil's independence on September 7th in the 1920s

1928 - More students kept coming...

A building was quickly constructed with Chamber of Commerce funds on Mackenzie College land at Rua "Piauhy" 36...

Photo: High school students in 1930

1930 - And coming...

...shortly followed by an additional site for elementary students at Rua Itambé.

Photo: Elementary students in 1930

1938 - so a new address was needed again

As the school continued to grow, the Chamber began a campaign to construct an even larger building. Maurice Vernon Powell, "Tio Powell", moved to the school to the corner of Rua Coronel Oscar Porto, close to Avenida Paulista. 

Photo: From Graded's Broadcaster: drawings for our first building, 1936.

1950s - Before long, it was time to move again...

A mere 12 years later, the Brazilian industrial boom of the 1950s created pressure for an even bigger school. Large fund-raising campaigns were held for construction of a new campus. 

Photo: Architectural models for the Morumbi campus 

1961 - And we settled in the bucolic hills of Morumbi!

Finally, in August 1961 Graded moved to Avenida Giovanni Gronchi which, at that time, was considered rural and "sitting on a hilltop with forests and pastures and rock quarries all around."  

Happily, it remained this way for a while...

Photo: 1968 Annual  

1964 - Welcoming Committees become a Graded mainstay

With a larger campus, students from around the world flooded in. The first welcoming committee was established in 1961. They continued to grow as the years passed. 
Photo: 1964 yearbook

1965 - Three cheers for Athletics!

Expansive facilities meant the athletics program grew by leaps and bounds.

Photo: 1965 yearbook 

1975 - Can you recognize this part of campus?

It's today's bus parking lot on Rua José Galante! The high rises we see today would only to emerge in the next decade.

Photo: 1975 yearbook

1977- A new Lower School

The Lower School campus was inaugurated in 1977. The Montessori program that thrives today would be implemented a few years later.


1979 - The Montessori Program arrives at Graded

Joy Pickering implemented the Montessori Program in the newly built Lower School campus.

Photo: 1979 yearbook

1980s - Big Four kicks off

Big Four kicked off in the 1980s -- Graded, Escola Americana do Brasília, Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro and the Chapel School still compete every year. 

Photo: 1989 girls' softball champions! 


1988 - Graded adopts the International Baccalaureate

International Baccalaureate courses were introduced in 1985. Un Kyung Park (in stripes) earned Graded's first International Baccalaureate Diploma in 1988. 

Photo: 1988 yearbook

1990 - Morumbi begins to grow very quickly

As São Paulo expanded, Morumbi and Graded grew quickly with it.

Photo: Bernard Moss 

1991 - An investment in technology

Graded invested in technology early and often. These are Apple II-GS computers. With the help of Universidade de São Paulo (USP), the internet arrived on campus three years later.


1994 - Peer Group Connection takes root

The first Peer Group Connection class was established 1994. It has now been an integral part of our high school community for 20 years.

Photo: 1994 yearbook 

2004 - The Arts Center is completed

In 2004, the Lemann-Tully Arts Center was completed.  In the 10 years since, Graded's artists, performers and musicians have developed and shared their talents in countless ways.

Photo: 2004 yearbook 

2015 - Graded continues to grow

With renovated Lower School playgrounds and gyms, breaking ground for a new athletic complexes, and a Centennial Plan, Graded continues to grow.

Photo : From a drone! By the After-School Aerospace Club

2016 - ...And more changes await!

Phase II of the Graded Campus Project encompasses a new main school entrance, student center, 450-space parking garage, athletics fields, beach volleyball court, track, bleachers, wellness gymnasium, and maintenance building.  

Av. José Galante, 425
São Paulo, SP - Brazil - 05642-000
T: 55-11-3747-4800
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