14 September, 2015
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Welcome to the LEF Quarterly Newsletter

In this Issue:

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Alumnus Ben Solomon to Speak at LEF Breakfast

"Ladue was the most important and formative time for me to become a journalist," says Ben Solomon, Ladue Horton Watkins High School Class of 2006. It's a magnanimous statement from a recent Pulitzer Prize winner. Ben and his team at The New York Times were awarded the prize in April of this year for International Reporting for their coverage of the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Ben also received the George Polk Award for health reporting this year, and he is nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Coverage of a Breaking News Story in a News Magazine. The Ladue Education Foundation is thrilled to have him as our speaker at the Annual Community Breakfast on September 25.

Ben explains, "Both of my parents were local journalists, but it was only through the guidance and freedom I got at Ladue that I put my creative storytelling abilities to the test." Ben was involved in the broadcast journalism program at LHWHS and went on to study at DePauw University. In 2010, he was hired by The New York Times, eventually becoming one of their first foreign multimedia correspondents. He has covered uprisings in Egypt, Syria and Libya, as well as the Ukranian conflict, ivory poaching in Africa, and numerous other issues in the Middle East, Africa and the former Soviet Union.

In addition to his resolute and dauntless reporting, Ben writes, shoots and edits documentary features for Times Video. He is taking a break from his globe-hopping to return to St. Louis for this special appearance to benefit the Ladue Education Foundation. He is generous enough to credit his time as a Ladue student as being a significant factor in his success. "Mrs. Box and the Ladue education system gave me the courage to see a career in filmmaking and journalism as a possibility."


Inspiring Fundraiser for Charlie Glik


You don’t have to be around long to leave a legacy. Charlie Glik was only sixteen when he was killed in a car accident in 2006. But nine years later, the kid who was loved by so many is still bringing people together. A new “Click 4 Glik” campaign being run by former classmates enables people to donate to the Ladue Education Foundation in honor of the popular Ladue Horton Watkins High School student. The GoFundMe campaign was conceived as a way to give back to the Ladue School District by raising sponsorship money for the LEF’s Annual Breakfast on September 25.
The “Click 4 Glik” campaign has already raised almost $2000, with three weeks still remaining to accept donations. That’s no surprise, given the impact Charlie made on people of all ages. “He knew just about everybody in every school in the area. A lot of younger kids would look up to him, and the older ones liked him too,” says close friend and classmate Sean Jameson. “That’s why it hit everybody so hard.” In the wake of Charlie’s death, students from LHWHS and Clayton High School rallied to raise awareness about seat belt safety. The push to honor Charlie’s memory was seen by many as a way to move beyond the bitterness that had been developing in the rivalry between the schools. In addition, a fund set up by the Glik family continues to provide scholarships to graduating LHWHS seniors.

The GoFundMe campaign was conceived by LEF board member Timothy Cowhey, who remembers Charlie fondly as “the kid that would get the whole class laughing at something, even if it meant a trip to the principal's office.” Charlie’s parents, Bob and Zoe Glik, certainly know that their son’s impact was about even more than making people smile. The current campaign in his honor is a reminder that he also inspired the generosity of spirit for which he was known. It’s a legacy that is still going strong.

Donations of amounts large and small can be made at


Teacher Profile: Becky Jones

When Becky Jones was a teenager, the families for whom she babysat always told her she’d make a great teacher. But it took a year of college and an initial trajectory toward business before she realized she would only be happy if she were pursuing her passion of working with children. Now, as one of Spoede Elementary School's reading specialists, Becky is what colleagues eagerly refer to as ‘a game changer.’ 

“At times, kids can come to me simply feeling defeated or hopeless as learners,” Becky says. “At that point, I say to them, 'I promise you will learn.  I am a great teacher, and I know we can find what will work to help you learn.  It may take us a little time, but you will learn to do this.'”

Though she initially taught third and fourth grades at Spoede Elementary, she was soon asked if she’d like a position in Learning Lab. “While I loved having my own class and building a community with my young students,” Becky explains, “my true passion was with Special Ed or helping struggling students.” She later returned to her college alma mater, Fontbonne University, to pursue a Masters in Teaching Reading and to work toward her Reading Specialist Certificate.

In 2014, Becky reached out to the Ladue Education Foundation with an idea. “For a number of years,” she explains, “I have witnessed students who made great gains in their reading during the school year, but when summer arrived, they fell victim to the ‘summer slide’—regression in their reading skills because they didn’t continue the reading life we established and embraced at Spoede during the school year.” Becky decided to write a grant and teamed up with Maggie Eisenbeis, a Reading Specialist at the Fifth Grade Center, who also had a similar vision for summer reading.

Thirty students (ten from each of the first, second and third grades) were selected to participate in the program.  Families were asked to sign a contract.  Students “shopped” for their selection of twenty to thirty books, which they took home, along with a resource folder to provide help for parents if their children got stuck.  Students logged their books, and depending on how much they read, they received prizes for their hard work.  
“The success of the ‘My Summer Reading Life’ program was stellar,” Becky relates. “Of the 29 children participating in this program last year, 25 of them maintained or improved their reading skills.” 

Becky is quick to share credit with the Ladue Education Foundation. “Not only did they provide the financial means to support this dream, but Cindy Follman and Jodi Minkler helped us establish a partnership with Booksource (owned by the Jaffe family) to purchase books and to provide guidance with the "My Summer Reading Life" initiative.  Representatives from Booksource shared the structure and results of a summer reading program they had supported and used reading data from our students to supply appropriately leveled texts. The result of the collaborative effort was outstanding. But Becky points out, "Even if we help one child from falling victim to the ‘summer slide,’ we have made a difference.”

As the mother of two young girls, Becky feels deeply the impact of both reading and education on children. She finds inspiration in the saying, "You are the author of your own life story.  Make it your best piece of work." She admits that she is still a work in progress: “There are always moments on a daily basis that I wish I could go back to edit or revise. . . but as the author of my life, at least I know where I can take my story.”



Parlor Meetings: A Casual Setting to Talk Capital Campaign

Bigger isn't always better. As the Ladue Education Foundation engages the community in support of the Ladue School District's proposed high school renovation, it has turned to small-scale gatherings to connect with those interested in learning more. These 'parlor meetings' of ten to twenty people, hosted at private homes, provide a warm and informal setting to ask questions and get information regarding the impact of the potential capital campaign.

Jonathan and Jennifer Deutsch, who held a parlor meeting at their home last week, embraced the opportunity to encourage their friends and neighbors to support the proposed renovation. "Jonathan and I have three students in Ladue Schools and strongly believe in the need for first class public education, which includes not just the best teachers and curriculum but also top-tier facilities," says Jennifer Deutsch. "Our recent home party to introduce this project was filled with enthusiasm and the belief that the time is now for Ladue School District parents, alumni and all of the district community to support this much needed renovation so our children and future generations are provided the very best educational environment."

It's a sentiment shared by many in the community as they await the October survey to determine whether the bond referendum will go on the ballot.  Ladue Horton Watkins High School, which was built in the 1950s, has been an important focus of the district, as it attempts to "provide students with the educational background they will need to succeed in post-secondary education and careers." 

With its mission of advancing the excellence of the Ladue School District, the LEF has already raised over a million dollars in pledges toward the renovation. Though the amount needed for the project will be far bigger, the LEF's engagement of the community is vital to show support of the project and recognition of the impact that quality facilities have on being able to implement best teaching practices.


Four additional parlor meetings are scheduled at various homes during the months of September and October, each of them attended by Dr. Donna Jahnke and LEF board members who are eager to provide information and answer questions. If you're interested in attending or hosting a parlor meeting, we welcome your involvement! Contact or call (314) 983-5334.

We encourage you to visit the district's website for details of the proposed renovation.  You can also attend the Community Forums on September 24 and 30 at the Ladue Horton Watkins High School cafeteria (presentation and tours begin at 7 p.m.) Or just take the tour of the high school any night between 6 and 8 p.m. from October 5 to 9. Seeing is believing!


CogMed Helps Students Improve Working Memory

Working memory is a crucial part of learning. It’s the brain’s system for managing and storing information needed to comprehend and reason. Deficits in working memory can lead to difficulty in school, as vital information that is stored temporarily must be accessed and used for the task at hand.
Ladue School District Psychologist Maggie Travers observed that some students struggling academically also had poor working memory capacity. She thought that these students could benefit from a working memory intervention, and turned to the Ladue Education Foundation for funding. Using CogMed, a computerized program designed by neuroscientists to improve working memory, Maggie implemented the program with 39 students over the course of two years. Students showed significant improvements on their Discovery Ed tests.

More than that, the program seems to have boosted the confidence of the kids who participated. Maggie Travers reported in her Pearson Ed Success Story, “I’ve had kids who have become better learners by completing the program. They get up early, come, and do the program before school. It’s very rewarding to see the investment that they end up making and the payoff it has for their success as a student.”

For the complete report, see


"Advancing the excellence of the Ladue School District"
LEF Presents
'The Art of Giving'

The 9th Annual Community Breakfast is September 25! Register now while space is still available. Hear amazing speakers, learn about current LEF and Ladue School District initiatives, and get a free copy of the book Raising Charitable Children. There is still time to add your name to our list of generous sponsors! Join Presenting Sponsor Morgan Stanley and many others who are generously supporting education in the Ladue Schools. 
Get Your Running
Shoes On!
The 3rd Annual 5K & 1-Mile
Fun Run/Walk takes place on September 26 at 8:30 a.m. starting from Ladue Horton Watkins High School.

Join us for this family-friendly event and stay for Homecoming festivities! Register now on our website. It's a great way to have fun and benefit the LEF and the students of the Ladue School District.
LEF Genius Hour
Modeled after a program at Google, Genius Hour allows students to research and ultimately report on topics about which they are passionate. The grant award helps provide supplies, and the LEF provides real-world content experts to meet with young researchers. 

Teachers: Have a creative grant proposal?
The LEF funds extraordinary ideas that enhance opportunities for student success. See our website for more information.
'Due Biz Launches
August marked the start of the first enrollment period for the LEF's business partnership initiative, which enables local businesses to receive ongoing visibility and exposure to the Ladue School District community through our social media, publications, and major event promotions.

The tax-deductible financial support provided by a 'Due Biz membership helps fund outstanding educational programming that cannot be sustained by tax dollars alone. Partnership with the LEF sends a message to the community that your business supports Ladue Schools, and you are someone with whom they should “Do Business.”

For more information, or to recommend a business to us, please see our 'Due Biz webpage!

Green Building: Through a partnership with R.E.A. Homes, LHWHS students are able to visit the active construction site of a green home as it is being built. For more information on our outstanding grants and initiatives, see our website.
The LEF gratefully acknowledges the generosity of our sponsors:
(list current as of 9/4/15)

9th Annual Breakfast Sponsors

“Presenting” Valedictorian Sponsor - $5,000
Morgan Stanley—Kurt Jaeger, Michael Karasick, Robert Millner

Salutatorian Sponsors - $2,500
Dr. Michael and Caroline Chicoine
Richard and Julie LaBonté

Honor Society Sponsors - $1,000
Ladue Horton Watkins High School Parent Association
Ladue Middle School Parent Association
Mike and Reagan Minkler—CMIT Solutions
Diane and Rod Patershuk—Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Alliance
Julie and Glen Schuster—Radio Arts Foundation
Spoede School Association
Scott and Nicky Stern

Dean’s List Sponsors - $500
Amy and Marc Barnett—Kids Who Kare Camp
Jeff and Jeri Bogard—R.E.A. Homes, LLC
Gail and Keith Kitsis
Special Solutions
Vantage Credit Union

Friends of Ladue Education Foundation Sponsors - $250
Chris and Megan Frank
Drs. Mark and Claudia Krasnoff
Jodi and Robert Minkler
Kristen Wild

'Due Run 4 Education Sponsors

Marathon Sponsors - $1,000
Class of 2022
Class of 2024
Exercise Wise, LLC and Convergence Chiropractic Clinic
Diane and Rod Patershuk—Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Alliances
Julie and Glen Schuster—Radio Arts Foundation
Vantage Credit Union

Sprinter Sponsors - $500
Jeff and Jeri Bogard—R.E.A. Homes, LLC
Dr. Sophie Liu

Jogger Sponsors - $250
Drs. Mark and Claudia Krasnoff
Susie and Jonathan Sachs

In Kind Sponsors
Kathie and Dan Dolan—Westport Car Wash
Richard Kalina—MailWorks


Rams Leadership Circle Donors ($1,000 +) 

Kenny & Jennifer Avery
Michael & Kelly Becker
Jeff & Jeri Bogard/
R.E.A. Homes, LLC
Dr. Michael & Caroline Chicoine
Class of 1994,
in Memory of Will Bushelle
Dr. Pradip K. Das
Jennifer & Jonathan Deutsch
Doug & Amy Dove/McFamily Charitable Foundation
& Ted Fundoukos
Tripp & Dawnya Gebhard/Fischer Bauer Knirps Foundation
& Mark Gorski
& Sue Hensley
& Susie Horowitz
Kurt & Carolyn Jaeger
Chris & Katherine Jones
Michael & Kathy Karasick
True & Elizabeth Knowles
Daniel G. Korte &
Laurie K. Landgraf
Richard & Julie LaBonté
Ladue Early Childhood Parent Association
Ladue Horton Watkins High School Parent Association
Ladue Middle School Parent Association
Ladue West Parent Association
Paul & Kathy Lang
Drs. James & Judith McKelvey
& Alicia McMachan
Robert & Joy Millner
Mike & Reagan Minkler
Monsanto Fund
Elizabeth Monticelli & Bill Stoll
Morgan Stanley
Scott & Carrie Nelson
Norman K. Probstein Charitable Foundation
Marc & Jennifer Ozimkiewicz
Rod & Diane Patershuk/
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Alliances
Reed School Association
Steve Rosenbloom &
Natalie DiNicola
Spoede School Association
Dana & Barry Sandweiss
Bruce & Pam Schneider
Glen & Julie Schuster
Michelle & Dan Spirn
Scott & Nicky Stern
Stifel Financial
Wells Fargo
Sherry & Daniel Wolk
'Pay it Forward' Program
Ladue Schools Staff Contributors
(list current as of 9/3/15)

The LEF is grateful to the Ladue School District staff members who generously participate in Pay it Forward.  The school with the greatest percentage of participation as of September 30 will win a pizza party for participants!

Anonymous (3) 
Hayley Arnold
 Jill Badalamenti
 Donna Bancroft
 Molly Beck
 Dede Boudinet
 Sonja Brewer
Amy Bullman
 Nancy Chambers
 Stephanie Chapie
 Darcy Clausen
 Leah Crawford
 Deborah Donnelly
 Kristan Greenberg
 Kathy Hasse
 Rob Highfill
 Beth Hufford
 Donna Jahnke
 Connie Jander
 Marie Keath
 Brett Kelley
 Susan Kelley
 Jessica Kennedy
 Cheryl Kirchgessner
Aimee Korn
 Michelle Kriegshauser
 Joe Landgraf
 Tegan Litt
 Jon Andani Maitin
Kathleen McKenna
 Kathleen Mercury
 Caitlyn Modde
 Sally Monaco
 Barb Myers
 Mike Noonan
Matt Prange
 Betsy Primo
 Mallory Prost
 Melora Pruneau
Beth Rapoff
 Kristen Reando
 Jody Rozbicki
 Laura Shea
Chris & Lisa Schreiner
 Kathryn Silvey
 Yvette Sykes
Emily Taylor
 Maggie Travers
 Jeff Vetter
 Deborah Lund
 Brian Beracha
 Robert Snidman
 Stacy Lefebvre
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