In this Issue:
Fall Events Celebrate Common Ground
The Ladue Education Foundation (LEF) kicked off its 10th anniversary with two dynamic community events, the Annual Community Breakfast on September 30 and the ‘Due Run 4 Education on October 1. Attendees at the Breakfast enjoyed hearing several speakers, including LEF Founding President Larry Levin and Ladue Schools Superintendent Dr. Donna Jahnke. Retired educator Jim Wagner (LHWHS 1958-1985) was honored for his service, and a filmed interview of him was shown prior to his receiving the honor. See the interview with Jim Wagner here.
Several students were given the opportunity to share ways in which LEF grants have impacted them,including a Drumming for Diversity performance, highlights of Creation Station, and STEM Scouts. LHWHS teacher Drew Crismon demonstrated Peer Coaching using Swivl, another LEF grant, and student musicians delighted the crowd with classical music, even inspiring some lively dancing.
The Breakfast also offered attendees the opportunity to hear more about the district’s strategic plan, as well as updates on the renovation of Ladue Horton Watkins High School. The LEF has supported the renovation through its ongoing capital campaign, which has raised nearly $2 million in pledges to date.
The 4th Annual ‘Due Run 4 Education was an opportunity for students, families and teams to join together and contribute valuable funds toward LEF initiatives, while enjoying some fun competition on Homecoming day. The two events, traditionally paired to coincide with Homecoming weekend, were a celebration of a community united in its belief in public education.
Since 2006, the LEF’s work has impacted every school in the district and every field of education. With innovative mentoring partnerships and over a hundred grants to date, totaling more than $400,000, the LEF has enhanced programming in a multitude of areas, including robotics, literacy, music, business competitions, diversity, mentorship, physics, art, character education, and much more.
Bridging the Achievement Gap
Bridging the achievement gap has been a consistent theme in grants funded by the LEF over the past 10 years. During the 2015-16 school year, Bringing Literacy into the Home enabled books to be collected and purchased to help create home libraries for low-income families at the LECC, improving literacy in multiple communities, including those where English is the second language. In addition, meetings were arranged, with interpreters when necessary, to discuss the importance of reading at home.
The previous year (2013-14) saw the funding of My Summer Reading Life, a pilot program at Spoede Elementary that matched struggling readers with limited access to reading material with appropriate, interesting books and to set them up with partners to engage, motivate and celebrate them as they read to help prevent the “summer slip.”
In the same year, an LEF grant provided materials for the Ladue Explorers program at Old Bonhomme Elementary School, a mentor/mentee program matching underperforming elementary students with middle school students.
"Though many of our grants and initiatives have a 'wow' factor, especially when they use emerging technologies like 3-D printing, bridging the achievement gap has been a recurring theme from year to year," says LEF Board President Julie LaBonté. "It really speaks to the focus of our district and of the LEF on educating the whole child."
In 2010-11, Narrowing the Achievement Gap was a grant awarded to Spoede Elementary School, which provided select students without computer access in their homes to have access to an iPad, giving them the ability to submit homework, do Internet research, check assignments, and more.
The LEF remains committed to diverse initiatives that meet the needs of all students across all schools in the district.
Rallying Behind Ladue Schools after 50 Years
It’s not unusual to hear Ladue Schools alumni talk passionately about the excellence of their educations, but it’s always special when that devotion remains strong for five decades. Late October brought the class of 1966 together to celebrate its 50th reunion, and class members took the opportunity to give back to their school by making a gift toward the renovation of LHWHS.
Dr. Jerry Held, a veteran of Silicon Valley legends, such as Tandem and Oracle, as well as numerous early stage companies, explained his decision to contribute to the class gift. “I’ve studied at some great institutions, including Purdue, the University of Pennsylvania, Berkely and Stanford, and I always contribute to them because I appreciate the impact they’ve had on my life. But then I thought about how I’d never given to Ladue, when that was the foundation for all of it and the stepping off point for all those great opportunities. Without it, I never would have gotten into those universities.”
Jerry called around to some classmates and put together a committee to organize the class gift. He found his peers receptive to his reasons for supporting an already strong school district. Thus far, 37 members of the Class of 1966 have contributed more than $18,000. In the spirit of spreading the support to neighboring communities, the class of 1966 is contributing a portion of the money collected to Patrick Henry Elementary School in the St. Louis Public School District. “Schools like Ladue set the bar for everyone else, not just in Missouri, but in other states as well.”
Ladue Schools alumni now have an ideal way to connect via the district’s new alumni website at alumni.ladueschools.net. Tap into terrific new resources, from class pages to alumni news and update your contact information directly at this link.
The Harlem Wizards Bring High-flying Fun
On November 6, the world-famous Harlem Wizards basketball team took on our own home team of Ladue School District teachers, parents and staff. The event, co-sponsored by the Ladue Boys' Basketball Program, was attended by over 600 people and raised money for both the basketball program and LEF grants and initiatives.
In the days preceding the game, Wizards players also attended school assemblies and entertained students with basketball tricks, humorous games and motivational messages. The Harlem Wizards performed in over 400 communities in the last season alone, amazing their audiences with great basketball skills, teamwork, slick dribbling, alley-oops and crazy slams.
A special thank you to our generous event sponsors: College Hunks Moving, Schneider Industries, Ballas Dental Care, K.A.R.E. Camp and the Stiebler Family.
Give the Gift of Connecting Past with Present
As a part of the Ladue Horton Watkins High School renovation currently underway, inscribed bricks will be placed at the beautiful new south entrance to LHWHS.
The Ladue Education Foundation (LEF) is making bricks available to students and families, alumni and community members, with funds going toward LEF’s capital campaign for the high school.
You can be a permanent part of the LHWHS renewed campus by purchasing a brick to commemorate a team, honor a teacher, remember a loved one, give your child a lasting graduation gift or simply celebrate your own years as a Ladue School District student!
Participate in Ladue Horton Watkins High School history and help us create a meaningful
welcome with your words – connecting our past to our present and our future.
MAKES A GREAT GIFT FOR THE HOLIDAYS!
Two choices are available:
Small Commemorative Brick: (4” x 8”) $350 (or $250 each for two or more)
Large Commemorative Brick: (8” x 8”) $600
Information about the bricks, including inscription options, is available at this link and by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also download the order form here.
Ladue School District Staff Pays it Forward
The LEF is grateful to the Ladue School District staff members who generously “Pay it Forward” by participating in the payroll deduction program, registering for LEF events, or making another type of donation to the LEF. Thus far, 94 staff members (13% of the district’s staff) have financially supported the LEF during the 2016-17 school year.
Staff donations not only bolster the LEF’s fund to award teacher grants and enhance student opportunities, they also increase the LEF’s ability to secure funding from outside organizations, since they illustrate a strong endorsement of the LEF.
Staff members who financially support the LEF have signs outside their classroom or office doors to indicate they are “Paying it Forward.” We hope parents and students will express their gratitude when they see these signs.
This fall, the LEF hosted a friendly Pay it Forward competition. Old Bonhomme Elementary was awarded a banner for having the highest staff participation of any building: 42%!
Several teachers won prizes in a drawing for items generously donated by Ladue School District alumni and LEF board members: lunches at Companion Bakery, St. Louis Blues hockey tickets, Harlem Wizards tickets, a race car driving experience, and gift certificates to The Art of Entertaining and Companion Bakery.
This video features teachers’ testimonials about the Pay it Forward program.
“Pay it Forward” Program
Ladue Schools Staff Contributors
(list current as of 11/10/16)
Sweeney La Barge
Ladue Educators Association
Jon Andani Martin