Friday, February 20, 2009

SLPS Spotlight News February 20, 2009 Weekly Edition

SLPS Spotlight News

February 20, 2009 Weekly Edition

SLPS Spotlight News is a publication from the St. Louis Public School District’s Public Information Office. Each issue offers story ideas and provides media with information about what is going on in the district. If you’re interested in submitting stories, email Julie Linder at


2009 Black History Month Activities at SLPS

· Wilkinson @ Roe, on Friday, February 20th, at 10:00a.m., will be hosted a program entitled “Motown Review.” Students sang and danced to the tunes of an era that is part of music history.

· Wilkinson @ Roe, on Tuesday, February 24th, will be hosting a “Soul Food” luncheon for students. The luncheon will feature culinary delights made from traditional African-American recipes.

· Gallaudet, on February 25th, at 10:00a.m., is hosting a Black History Program open to the public.

· Mason eMINTS Academy, on February 26th, at 6:30p.m., is hosting a program dedicating the Harlem Renaissance. This program is open to the public and free of charge. Please join Mason as the 3rd and 4th grade students perform songs and choreography to commemorate the history of Jazz.

· Sigel Elementary, on February 26th, at 5:30p.m., will be hosting a Family Dance with "DJ Old Skool;" Youth Puppet Ministry of the Antioch Baptist Church will be performing; Black History Art Exhibit created by Sigel students and their class. All students must be accompanied by an adult.

· McKinley Classical Academy, on March 5th, at 2:45p.m., will be hosting a Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble presentation with Band Director Bob Dorries.

Students Provide Valentine Joy to Area Vets

This letter was received by the Office of Public Information thanking SLPS students for remembering others in need. It is inspirational and our students should be commended for their community outreach efforts.

To whom it may concern,

I want to express my appreciation for the Valentine's card I received today while being treated at John Cochran VAMC. I was told the cards were made by children in the SLPS system. Everyone I spoke with there was very much touched by the gesture. Thank you for brightening their days also.

Veterans often feel un-appreciated, and disrespected by our government. When any citizen of our great nation takes the time to offer us any kind gesture we are moved all the more as a result. After all it is the citizenry we hope we have best represented, served, and defended. Please pass on the thanks of us all to the person who thought of this idea, and all those who participated. Thank you for your time.


Aaron Snyder

Rapper T.I. Teaches Importance of Education to Students at Compton-Drew

Thursday, February 19th, Rapper T.I. spoke to students at Compton-Drew ILC Middle School on the importance staying in school thanks to support offered by the Demetrious Johnson Foundation. T.I. began the presentation by asking students “who want to get paid” to raise their hands and building upon the idea that “education separates those who have versus those that wish.” He wanted students to understand that nothing in life is free, and “if you want more than someone else then you have to work harder than them.”

T.I. also talked about sacrifice and how even though he hated getting up at 5:30a.m. to put on roller skates he did so anyways because that is how he landed his movie role. Illustrating the point that “sacrifice means giving up something you like to accomplish something you like more.”

It was an inspirational performance, and as T.I. concluded to a round of applause and ovation he stressed to students that “education is the most valuable thing that you can accomplish in life. It will last longer than anything you can possess.”

Angel Character Award Program Recognizes Students across District

KidSmart, in collaboration with Mary Beth’s Angel Foundation launched the Angel Character Award Program in 2005 to recognize and encourage the development of key character traits in students who attend one of KidSmart’s eligible shopping schools. The development of good character is essential to each student's success both in and beyond the classroom, and this program honors students who exhibit such character and serve as role models to their peers. The Angel Character Award Program is a celebration of the ongoing display of high standards in the areas of cooperation, perseverance, kindness, responsibility, and respect.

Teachers are given the opportunity to nominate students who exhibit these character traits with model behavior in the classroom and among their peers. An independent panel chose 10 student recipients for this award, and seven came from SLPS!

· Columbia Elementary CEC- Hykim Washington, PreKindergarten

· Peabody Elementary- Arlesha Moore, 8th Grade

· Shepard Elementary- Steven Hill, 4th Grade & Jamal Burns, 4th Grade

· Oak Hill Elementary- Michael Truong, 1st Grade & Brian Faulkner, 3rd Grade

· Hodgen Elementary- Nanci Magana, Kindergarten

The students will be recognized at The Angel Character Awards Banquet, an awards ceremony held in their honor, on February 26th.

Students from Clyde C. Miller Visit the Capitol

Students from the Clyde C. Miller Career Academy attended the Missouri Association for Career and Technical Education Legislative Day on Wednesday, February 11, 2009, at the State Capitol Building in Jefferson City, MO. They had the opportunity to meet and talk with a number of legislators, especially Representative Vogt, about educational issues concerning Career and Technical Education.

Vashon Seeking to Honor Graduates

Vashon High School seeks to honor its graduates who through their achievement and outstanding contributions to the community have distinguished themselves in the community-at-large. The Thirteenth Annual Vashon High School Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. in the Julius C. Dix Auditorium. For more information please contact Mrs. Carol E. Rhem 314-533-9487 or via email

G.R.E.A.T. Students at Langston

On Friday, February 13th, 67 6th grade students at Langston Middle School were presented awards by Detective Dana Isom of STL Police Department after graduating from a 13-week program designed to increase students’ knowledge about drugs and gangs. This program, known as G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training), is a school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curriculum designed to produce knowledge and attitudinal and behavioral changes through the use of facilitative teaching, positive behavior rehearsal, cooperative and interactive learning techniques, and extended teacher activities.

Round Four of "Gateway Idol, 2009" Underway

On Tuesday, February 24, 2009 from 10:00 a.m.- 12:00p.m. Gateway Middle School will continue “Gateway Idol, 2009.” This competition, which began with 121 auditions, is now down to The final 25 singers. Each of them will perform one song for a panel of judges from outside of Gateway.

After the judges have submitted their scores, the field will be narrowed to 15 singers, which will continue to round five. The judges for round four are: Ms. Kaye Harrelson (SLPS Music Supervisor), Ms. Gigi Goodall (MacMillan/McGraw Hill Sales Representative), Mr. Tom Calhoun (KMOX Radio Personality), Mr. Curt Copeland (Z107.7 Radio Personality), and Mr. Ron Allsup (Owner of Party-Tyme DJ Company). The results of the judging will be announced on Wednesday, February 25th. The final 15 will have a month to prepare for round five, which will be held on Tuesday, March 24th.

Shepard e-MINTS and Sigma-Adrich Benefit Students and Community

Sigma-Aldrich, a reading partner with Shepard e-MINTS School, decided to further its outreach efforts for the 2008-2009 school year by hosting a coat drive. The successful drive provided 66 students at Shepard with a coat, gloves, a hat and scarf. In addition, Sigma-Aldrich collected $700 to be used to supply the school’s first-ever food pantry. By shopping at Shop-n-Save, Sigma-Adrich was able to turn the $700 into $850 by getting an extra $10 back on every $50 spent which provided an abundance of food for the pantry. Benefits Langston Middle School Students

As a result of the financial generosity of several donors, Mrs. Judine Keplar will be receiving two oak framed 4-foot x 8-foot dry erase boards for her seventh grade classroom at Langston Middle School. The project was funded through, an organization that is dedicated to addressing the scarcity and inequitable distribution of learning materials and experiences in public schools.

Mrs. Keplar’s project, titled “Brighten Our Classroom with Dry Erase Boards” carries an estimated price tag of $687.37 as calculated by the DonorsChoose organization. In her project proposal, Mrs. Keplar stated, “My students have black chalkboards in their classroom. My students love to go to the board to write, work problems, draw diagrams, etc. Chalk breaks when they try to work with it and their uniforms (as well as our classroom) get so dirty and dusty from the chalk dust.”

The materials have been ordered through Quill by the DonorsChoose organization and are scheduled to arrive at Langston within the next month. The installation labor will be donated as well by a private individual.

Donors for Mrs. Keplar’s project include the Sullivan Interact Fund, the parents of Ralph “Sam” Lehman (Read-180 Teacher / Teach For America at Langston) as well as several anonymous donors. The generosity of all individuals is greatly appreciated. Mrs. Keplar and her students are anxiously awaiting this wonderful addition to the classroom. Mrs. Keplar presently teaches seventh grade Social Studies and AVID at Langston Middle School.

Professional Development Opportunities Keeps Staff Informed and Prepared

On February 13th, more than 120 SLPS secretaries and support staff attended a legal workshop presented by the Office of Professional Leadership Committee and the SLPS Professional Development Division. Presentations were provided by Mr. Jeff St. Omer, Esq., of Lewis, Rice and Fingersh, L.C., who covered common legal issues facing school staff such as student privacy rights, child abuse and neglect, sexual harassment and more. Ms. Maria Childress, Department Head of Social Work for the ESOL Division, concluded the workshop with a presentation on legal issues pertaining to English Language Learners in schools.

Resources and Opportunities for Students and Staff

Teacher of the Year Nominations Now Being Accepted

Each school year, SLPS recognizes one teacher who has excelled in his or her commitment and contribution to the betterment of their school and students. If you believe that you or one of your colleagues should be recognized as Teacher of the Year, please visit http://intranet/Districtforms/teacher_of_year_2009/Default.htm

Professional Development Class Offerings for Central Office Staff and School-Based Secretaries be held at the Central Office by ExecuTrain

Starting February 27th the PD division is pleased to offer the following classes designed to enhance and refresh your skills in the areas of business writing and group communications.

Due to limited space you may only register for one class, with a maximum of 15 participants per class:

February 27th Business Writing…………………deadline to register Wednesday, February 25th

March 26th Communications Skills…………….deadline to register Thursday, March 19th

April 15th Business Writing…………………………deadline to register Tuesday, April 7th

May 19th Communications Skills………………deadline to register Tuesday, May 12th

Email your intent to attend with date and class subject to:

SLPS Looking for Experienced Communicators!

The office of Public Information is developing a Parental Advisory Board for the Strategic Communications Plan to enhance district-wide outreach efforts, and would like your help. If you are a parent of an SLPS student, have a background in communications or marketing, and interested in helping the Office of Public Information draft its 5 year strategic communications plan then please contact Julie Linder 314-345-2367 or

Teacher/Parent/Student Resource Site

Michael A. McLeod, Ph.D., psychologist, and former school counselor and coordinator of career activities has developed a new website: Career Transition Resources (CTR) The site is designed to assist parents, students, educational staff, and community members in the areas of Career, Personal-Social, or Academic Development, which can help SLPS achieve increasing or high level scores on MSIP Standards:

6.9 Guidance is an integral part of the instructional program.

7.6 Educational and Career Education enrichment for the community

9.4 Career Preparation

9.6 Graduation Rate and Attendance Rate.

In addition the appropriate uses of the CTR would assist counselors as they implement comprehensive guidance programs at each school. To continue academic growth within SLPS, Dr. McLeod has offered to volunteer time to link SLPS to the CTR or give away the CTR files for use in SLPS. To contact Dr. McLeod for discussions and/or presentations of the CTR to the SLPS community please email him at

The MetLife Foundation Ambassadors in Education Award for Teachers

Here’s a great opportunity to nominate an outstanding public school middle or high school teacher who has connected the school with the broader community (parents, neighbors, community organizations, and businesses). Winners of the award will have promoted academic excellence, school and community safety, and civic engagement/community service. Ambassadors in Education will be recognized in an awards ceremony, receive a crystal apple and a $5,000 grant for his/her school. Twenty five winners will be selected from around the country. For more information and to download a nomination form, visit or contact the National Civic League at 303-571-4343.

The MetLife Foundation Ambassadors in Education Awards is conducted by the National Civic League and is supported by the MetLife Foundation. The program’s goal is to help inspire similar efforts among other educators.

Upcoming Events

St. Louis Dream Center Offers KidZJam Sports

From now until March 14th, the St. Louis Dream Center is offering fun team games like kickball, dodge ball with nurf balls, double dutch, four square and basketball. KidZJam also feature face painting, finger nails, bounce houses and snacks. All that is needed is a permission slip signed by a parent or guardian. For more information please contact Pastor Bob LaPlante at 314.381.0700 x8020 or via email at


· Peabody/Guardian Angel Settlement located at 14th and Che√Ęteau from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.

· Laclede Elementary Gym located at 5821 Kennerly Ave. 63112 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

· Carr Square Community Center located at 16th Street and O’Fallon Street from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (closed February 21st)

Schools United Workshop “Helping Children and Families Weather the Storms of Life”

Saturday, February 21st, from 10:00a.m.-12:00p.m. Gateway Middle, located at 1200 N. Jefferson Ave., will be hosting a workshop to help parents and students work through stress and negative influences to promote a healthy home where families grow stronger. Velva J. Young, MSW from St. Louis Crisis Nursery will be the guest speaker for the Schools United Workshop. This event is open to the public and admission is free. Attendance prizes will be awarded for the first twenty parents and refreshments will be served. For more information or to participate please call 241-2295 or 241-8255.

Schools United is a collaborative effort by Gateway Middle, Carr Lane VPA Middle, Blewett Middle, Columbia Elementary, Vashon High, Jefferson Elementary and Dunbar Elementary schools.

Got Talent??

2009 Muny auditions for children (ages 7-13) will be held on Saturday, February 21, and for teens (ages 14-18) on Sunday, February 22. The auditions will be held at The Performing Arts Center at St. Louis University High School, 4970 Oakland Avenue. For more information regarding the season and general audition and rehearsal requirements, visit, or call (314) 361-1900.

February 27, 2009 - Young Entrepreneur Showcase at the Phyllis Wheatley Heritage Center

The Showcase is held during National Entrepreneurship Week, which is February 21 – 28th. The purpose of the Young Entrepreneurs Showcase is to provide students with an opportunity to showcase their products and/or services, network with local businesspeople, as well as garner tips and insight from successful entrepreneurs. There will be a competition between the schools for best business concept. This is a collaborative program with YWCA-Young Teens, National Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship, St. Louis University School of Business, and SLPS Division of Career and Technical Education.

CTE Career Exploration Conferences

8th Graders will continue to visit college and university campuses to learn the importance of preparing for college early. Last fall about 200 8th graders had this opportunity. In the month of February, the following schools will participate in these 8th grade College Exploration Conferences:

February 24 Gateway MS Ranken Technical College

February 27 Stevens MS SLCC @ Meramec

Interchange Hosts Family Arts Activity Nights

Parents are our students’ first and most important teachers. With that in mind Interchange is sponsoring two special evenings for parents and children to experience the value of arts education together through their Family Arts Activity Nights at SLPS partner schools. The free evenings include a light supper and hands-on arts activities with arts partners of Interchange.

Friday, February 27, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at Mann eMints Academy, 4047 Juanita

Thursday, March 4, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at Columbia CEC Elementary, 3120 St. Louis Avenue

Missouri NEA and the Cat in the Hat’s Read Across America Cat Tracks Tour Stops at Sigel Elementary

Missouri NEA President Chris Guinther and the Cat in the Hat are stopping by Sigel Elementary at 2:00 p.m., Monday, March, 2nd, to teach students about the importance of reading.

The Diversity Awareness Partnership, the St. Louis Public Library and Washington University Present “Native Voices: Unveiling the Myths behind the Headdress, Moccasins and Tipi”

The Diversity Awareness Partnership, the St. Louis Public Library and Washington University are providing a community forum designed to address current issues and stereotypes faced by Native Americans in the United States. This is a professional development opportunity for educators and service providers. The forum will be held Wednesday, March 4, 6:30p.m.-8:30p.m., at Schlafly Branch Library, 225 N. Euclid Ave.

For more information please call 314-436-7628

City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen celebrates the Young Authors of Roosevelt High School

Roosevelt High School will host a school and community literacy day in support of "Young Authors." The literacy day celebration will take place on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 9:30 a.m., in the Library Media Center. The mayor, St. Louis Board of Aldermen, area residents, and other community officials are invited to support the recognition of these young published authors. Please R.S.V. P. by Wednesday, March 04, 2009 by contacting Roosevelt High School at 776-6040

St. Louis Metropolitan Area 25th Career Awareness Fair for 8th Grade

The Career Education Office of the St. Louis Public Schools will hold its 25th Annual Career Awareness Fair March 24th and 25th at America’s Center from 8:00a.m.-12:00p.m. The Career Awareness Fair will reinforce the Missouri Assessment Program and literacy skill development by showing students how academic skills are applied in the work environment.

Read It Forward with Charles R. Smith

On Tuesday, March 24th, from 6:00p.m.-7:00p.m., Charles Smith discusses his life and books including Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali and Chameleon. The event will be held at Carpenter Branch 3309 S. Grand Blvd.

For more information please call 314-772-6586

Mammography Screenings Offered by Simmons-Marshall and Barnes Jewish

Simmons-Marshall Mega Elementary School and Barnes-Jewish, Siteman Cancer Center, will be offering mammography screenings on Tuesday, March 24th, 8:00a.m.-3:00p.m., at Simmons-Marshall Elementary located at 4318 St. Louis Ave. This event is open to the community. To schedule a breast cancer screening or mammogram on the Siteman Cancer Center Mammography Van please call (314) 747- 7222 or toll free (800) 600-3606.

Do you know a SLPS student who would like to compete for a Congressional Award?

The Congressional Award is the United States Congress' award for young Americans. It is non-partisan, voluntary, and non-competitive. The program is open to all 14- to 23-year-olds. Participants earn Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award Certificates and Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award Medals. Each level involves setting goals in four program areas; Volunteer Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.

The Congressional Award has no minimum grade point average requirements. It accommodates young people with special needs or disabilities who are willing to take the challenge. Nominations are currently being sought. Let's get St. Louis youth recognized. For more information:

Do you know a Huggable Hero®?

The search is on for the next group of great young leaders to join the Build-A-Bear Workshop

Huggable Heroes Hall of Fame. Young people between the ages of seven and 18 who are making positive contributions in their schools, neighborhoods and communities will be honored for their hard work and dedication to make the world a better place. The deadline to enter is February 27, 2009. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, friends, teachers, organization leaders, or the young people themselves may submit entries.

Each Huggable Hero will receive a prize worth $10,000 ($7,500 in the form of an educational scholarship and $2,500 from the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation to be donated to the charity of the hero’s choice and awarded in the winner’s local currency). The 12 winners will also receive a trip for themselves and one adult to a special awards celebration and a 2010 Build-A-Bear Workshop Huggable Heroes calendar photo shoot.

To learn more about the contest, or to download a nomination form, visit or visit any Build-A-Bear Workshop store.


Patrick Wallace, APR

Executive Director of Communications

St. Louis Public Schools

Office: (314) 345-2227

Cell: (314) 420-5782

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