As we entered the 2016-17 school year – our 15th year serving the St. Louis community – we not only renewed longstanding school relationships but celebrated the start of our journey at four new schools. The foundation of our mission has been our commitment to go where the need is the greatest, to walk beside our partners through good times and bad, and to be there as long as there is a need. It’s a promise we’ve kept without fail and for more than 10 years at a third of our schools.
Beginning in March, we returned to the Normandy School District with the adoption of Normandy Kindergarten Center through the support of our corporate partner, Citi. Located in the former Bel Nor Elementary School, Normandy provides early academic development for 350 kindergartners under the direction of Principal Kesha Whitley, who spoke to the new partnership at a dedication ceremony on Sept. 19.
Further expanding our services in the Riverview Gardens School District, we were excited to enter Highland Elementary and Lewis and Clark Elementary Schools, which we commemorated with ribbon cuttings on Sept. 20 and 27. Highland, the largest of our new schools at 430 students, is led by Principal Shaun Jones and located in Glasgow Village. Just four miles west of Highland in Castle Point, Lewis and Clark serves close to 200 students under the leadership of Dr. Danielle DeLoatch, who commented on Little Bit’s entry into the school, “Little Bit is helping transform self-doubt into courage, which strengthens a scholar’s outlook for academic success and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Representing our second school partnership with Express Scripts, we officially launched our services at Laclede Elementary with a ceremony on Nov. 4. After brief remarks and a ribbon cutting, we distributed Books and Buddies to the school’s PreK-2nd grade classrooms. Part of St. Louis Public Schools, Laclede first opened in 1904 and currently serves about 200 students in the Wells/Goodfellow neighborhood, 100% who are eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch. Dr. DaMaris White, Principal, has set a goal of creating a culture of college readiness where everyone is both a learner and a leader. Excited to join these dedicated educators in preparing students for the next level!