Less than three years after graduating college in 1989, Jim Ziolkowski quit his corporate finance job at GE and started buildOn, an organization dedicated to building schools in impoverished nations and after school programs in America's inner city schools.
When families gather for the holidays, it can be an opportunity to tell stories and pass on memories. For the St. Louis-based Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration, that provides a possible treasure trove for young people to build writing skills and forge strong family bonds.
Every year, The Grannie Annie publishes a volume of family stories written by students in the fourth to the eighth grade.
In Missouri, the average student loan debt for people between 25 and 34-years-old has increased by about 120 percent over the past eight years. In Illinois, that number has jumped more than 140 percent, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Nationally, student loan debt has topped the $1 trillion mark, surpassing credit card debt and auto loans.
Imagine going to a school where less than a quarter of students are reading on grade level and a third of your classmates will never make it to graduation. Many students in the St. Louis area do not have to imagine because that is their sad reality. Until recently, students in these failing schools have been trapped unless they could afford private school tuition or they could move to a different school district.
While two Catholic grade schools will close in south St. Louis next fall, seven other parishes confirmed today that their schools will remain open.
All nine schools are members of the South City Collaboration, a coalition of parishes working together on challenges in their schools like declining enrollment, financial difficulties and the shifting population of south St. Louis.
Companies from across the St. Louis region are launching a new program on Monday that’s aimed at steering women toward careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, related fields.
The mentoring and job shadowing project is a partnership between the private all-girls Catholic high school Cor Jesu Academy and companies that include Ameren, Watlow and Barry-Wehmille Companies, Inc.
President of Cor Jesu Academy, Sister Barbara Thomas, said they’ve worked with each company so that a woman engineer is onsite to guide students.
In Missouri, as in most states, public schools are administered by local school boards. The boundaries of school districts are drawn in accordance with state law. Schools are funded primarily through local property taxes. Districts with higher per capita incomes tend to have better schools. The districts most in danger of losing their accreditation tend to be those with lower per capita incomes.
Missouri's public school leaders are hoping state lawmakers next year will fully fund the formula for the state's K-12 school system, though they know the likelihood is slim. Ron Lankford is Deputy Commissioner of Finance and Administrative Services for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. He spoke recently with St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin about the request and what full funding would mean for the state's 520 school districts:
What is the funding formula and what does it include?