The Ladue Education Foundation once again kicked off the school year with an annual community event. This year, the event was a luncheon attended by over 200 with Ladue Horton Watkins High School alumna Jasmine Huda as Keynote Speaker and Honorary Chair. Jasmine Huda graduated in 1997 and is currently a news anchor for KMOV-TV. (See video recap of luncheon.)
The luncheon was held in the gymnasium of what will open as the Fifth-Grade Center in the fall of 2013. “While not as refined a location as those we’ve used in the past, it was perfect for this year,” explains Co-Chair Diane Patershuk. “It gave the community a chance to see this new district facility, and where else could we have had a demonstration of a robot shooting baskets?”
The event raised just over $25,000 and begins a year of fund-raising efforts by the foundation. “Our mission is to advance the excellence of the Ladue School District by expanding opportunities for extraordinary student success,” says President of the Ladue Education Foundation Dr. Pradip Das. “We are very proud to be providing the district with the opportunity to pilot new and innovative programming. In addition, there are a number of successful programs now being incorporated into curriculum which got their start with foundation funding.”
At the luncheon, Dr. Das outlined four key funding initiatives on which the foundation will focus this year.
- Twenty-First Century Learning Initiative (One-to-One). This initiative provides a laptop computer to every high school student for use at school and at home, allowing for continuous, consistent access to content for all students while allowing for efficient maintenance and secure site filtering.
- Robotics. The foundation has been integral in the development of the district’s current robotics program and hopes to help the district intensify the elementary robotics experience with additional equipment, materials and supplies.
- Project Lead the Way. The district has already integrated two engineering courses at the high school as part of this initiative. Science equipment upgrades would allow the district to begin to implement the biomedical component of this programming.
- Expansion of Mandarin Chinese in Elementary Schools. The Foundation began with a Mandarin Chinese pilot program at Reed Elementary School. Additional funding will allow expansion of this programming, which exposes elementary students to the Mandarin Chinese language, to all four elementary schools.
These programs were chosen because of their alignment with school district priorities and their importance in advancing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programming. STEM incorporates and interrelates these disciplines through an inquiry method of learning.