Champion Strategic

Priorities

The Foundation is working closely with Saint Louis Public Schools’ Superintendent and other District leaders to raise funds and implement programs in critical areas, which are considered key levers to accelerating success.

Currently, the Foundation funds four core parts of the District’s overall strategy.  These include efforts and innovations in:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • College and Career Readiness
  • Student Wellbeing
  • School Leader Attraction and Retention

Success Begins with a Great Early Start

WHY

How starting strong helps build successful kids.

Research shows that investing in quality learning programs is the most effective way to promote students’ success. Additionally, its benefits are enduring: children who attend quality early childhood education perform better in school, are more likely to graduate from high school and are less likely to be placed in special education. And, the impact is greatest for children growing up in poverty. The District offers, with support from the SLPS Foundation, free, quality, full-day, early childhood education to over 2,100 three- and four-year-olds. Private funding for this work is critical, as state school funding can only be used for grades K–12.

Need

“In the St. Louis region, many children lack access to the high quality, early care and education programs essential to promoting their well-being and successful development.”

Building Blocks Report: The Early Care and Education Landscape in St. Louis, 2017

STRATEGIES

Strategies

  1. Offer high-quality instruction in both academic and socio-emotional skills.
  2. Create early learning spaces that inspire curiosity.
  3. Use DESE-approved kindergarten readiness tool to assess progress and provide intensified support where needed.
  4. Broaden parent education and outreach efforts.
  5. Create an early childhood education endowment.
THE RETURNS

The District is seeing the rewards of these investments.

  • In the 2016–2017 school year, SLPS early childhood education was near full enrollment. More than 2,100 three- and four-year-olds were enrolled, and approximately 80% of 2016 Pre-K graduates enrolled in SLPS elementary schools.
  • In 2016, 96% of four-year-olds completed the SLPS Pre-K “kindergarten ready” by using the evidence-based, readiness assessment that gauges academic, social, motor and emotional skills.
  • In 2016, third graders who attended SLPS early childhood education programs performed at a higher rate on state reading and math tests than their peers who did not attend SLPS Pre-K.
  • With the creation of an endowment and renewable tax revenue from the passage of Proposition One, SLPS is in a stronger position to sustain investment in early childhood education.
INVESTMENT

The SLPS Foundation’s Early Childhood Education Goal is to raise $7 million by 2020.

High School is Now the Incubator for College and Careers

WHY

Tomorrow’s leaders start with us.

Earning a postsecondary degree is a game changer. It gives someone the power to define their future path and have greater financial security and a higher likelihood of employment—even during challenging economic times. Thanks to donors, the SLPS Foundation has played an active role in deepening the District’s commitment to ensuring that students are ready for the college or career of their choice.

STRATEGIES

Strategies

  1. Engage a College & Career Advisor or Specialist for all high schools.
  2. Grow SLPS’ Early College Academy and opportunities for high school students to earn college credit.
  3. Offer quality ACT preparation at all high schools.
  4. Launch the “Open the Door to Success Curriculum” designed for grades 6-12.
  5. Grow scholarship funding for SLPS students.

Need

“The SLPS Foundation is a critical partner. Together, we are pursuing the goals of the District’s Transformation Plan. We won’t stop until every child has great opportunities.”

– Dr. Kelvin R. Adams, Superintendent

THE RETURNS

The Foundation has worked with the District to:

  • Create College and Career Readiness centers in ALL high schools. Previously, SLPS had one counselor at one high school. Now, all high schools have a college specialist or advisor.
  • Launch the SLPS Early College Academy. This opportunity empowers 60 students to complete their junior and senior years of high school – as well as get a jump on their college degrees – at St. Louis Community College.
  • Expose students to a range of career options and vocations, and support their pursuit of career certifications during high school.
  • Expand ACT preparation opportunities to ALL high schools.
  • Increase the percent of graduates enrolling in four-year colleges from 30.2% in 2014 to 34.2% in 2016. The District has also increased the placement rates of Career and Technical Education students from 48.9% in 2014 to 64.5% in 2016.
INVESTMENT

The SLPS Foundation’s College & Career Readiness Goal is to raise $2 million by 2018.

Excellent Leaders Drive School Transformation

WHY

Excellent leadership ensures excellent futures.

Great principals are key to driving success in the St. Louis Public Schools. Numerous studies have found that principal quality accounts for 10–25% of a school’s academic achievement. Over the past three years, the SLPS Foundation has helped the District incubate its Office of Talent, Strategy and Management with the end goal of ensuring that all schools have dedicated, dynamic and effective leaders. We are making important progress.

STRATEGIES

Strategies

  1. Offer high-quality instruction in both academic and socio-emotional skills.
  2. Create early learning spaces that inspire curiosity.
  3. Use DESE-approved kindergarten readiness tool to assess progress and provide intensified support where needed.
  4. Broaden parent education and outreach efforts.
  5. Create an early childhood education endowment.
THE RETURNS

The SLPS Foundation and District have partnered together to keep
our leadership excellent.

  • Over 90% of the recently hired principals achieved an average of 10% growth in student reading scores, which exceeds the District average.
  • The five-year retention rate for SLPS school leaders is rising from 66% in 2013–14 to 83% in 2016–17.
  • Retention efforts are showing results: 98% of school leaders who are effective are staying in the District.
  • SLPS is focusing on growing its best teachers into great school leaders with a range of training opportunities. Last year, nearly 40 educators participated in one or more talent pipeline programs. Of these educators, 90% have been retained and added value to their schools (as measured by student or teacher growth data).
INVESTMENT

The SLPS Foundations’s School Leaders Goal is to Raise $1.5Million by 2020.

Ready to Learn Means Students Are Healthy & Safe

WHY

Healthier kids miss less school and perform better in classes.

This premise makes common sense, and is backed up by sub­stantial research. According to data from Missouri Kids Count, St. Louis City ranks 115th out of 115 Missouri counties for child well-being, which measures health, access to care, food security and community safety. “Saint Louis Public Schools’ primary mission is to educate our students,” says Superintendent Dr. Kelvin R. Adams, “but we know they need to be healthy to learn.” The reality is that students, most of who are growing up in poverty, face numerous health issues including asthma, obesity, undiagnosed mental health issues and learning disabilities. In addition, many students have experienced some form of trauma. The health needs of students are myriad, and SLPS cannot meet all of them. SLPS has asked the Foundation to support the expansion of two health efforts: an obesity prevention initiative and an effort to help schools address students’ mental health needs.

STRATEGIES

Strategies

  1. Seek expansion of successful obesity prevention and community wellness initiatives at elementary and middle schools, with an emphasis on parent engagement.
  2. Partner with providers to embed trauma-informed therapists and full-time nurses in highest need schools.
  3. Offer school staff ongoing trauma training to increase their capacity to appropriately respond to students in crisis.
  4. Continue to explore feasibility and financial sustainability of school-based clinics for physical and behavioral health.
THE RETURNS
  • In 2017, five SLPS schools were awarded the prestigious “America’s Healthiest Schools” honor by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
  • In 2014, only one school had an embedded therapist. Now, 12 schools have embedded therapists providing group and individual support to students during the school day.
  • Through a partnership with BJC, Healthy Kids/Healthy Minds, four elementary schools now have full-time BJC nurses & behavioral specialists.
INVESTMENT

The SLPS Foundation’s Student Well-being Goal is to raise $6 million* by 2020.

*These funds include monetary gifts, community resources and in-kind support.

District Highlights

96% of four-year old’s get promoted from SLPS Pre-K Ready

The five-year retention rate of SLPS school leaders is 66%

Over 90% of the newly-hired principals are showing academic growth in their schools’ reading scores.

80% of SLPS high schools offer ACT preparation classes

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