The Best of STL Education for #TeacherAppreciationWeek

    In honor of  — thank you to teachers everywhere! You are heroes! Check out what some of the best and brightest educators are doing to make classrooms better around St. Louis:

    The Biome Charter Schooltook their 2nd graders out from behind the walls of their Central West End building and held 2nd grade classes at the St. Louis Zoofor a week. The STEM-based pilot program integrates standard curriculum with hands-on, experiential learning, utilizing the resources and expertise of the zoo and its educational staff.

    Forget all the attention the whiskey, gin and vodka is getting at Restless Spirits Distillingin the form of awards. Overlook the partnership it’s formed with Irishman John Teeling (the father of the Irish whiskey renaissance) to import and bottle some of his whiskey under their Sons of Erin label. Instead, focus on the incredible distiller of this two-year-old craft distillery; a former high school science teacher and grandma in an industry dominated by men. Her story, like the distillery and her spirits, is unique.

    Khannie Dastgah is a well-known face in St. Louis Swimming and Diving having coached club and high school swimming along with running the aquatics program at St. Louis University. She is the new aquatics director at Mary Institute Country Day School. Now, she’s hoping to share her vast knowledge of teaching young swimmers with children who might not be familiar with water safety with a new book series. This story also explores Khannie’s road to swim coaching as she followed the footsteps of her father – a well-known sports journalist, athlete and National Team coach in the country of his birth.

    The Ferguson-Florissant School District’snew STEAM Academy is opening new learning opportunities for the area’s brightest kids. But it’s also foraging new teaching methods to all schools within the district. We explore this new middle school and how is changing education in North County. The school is the first of its kind in St. Louis County.

    Little Medical Schoolis a STEM program bringing medicine, science, and the importance of health to children ages 4-12. The program creates an opportunity to experience role playing using tools that real doctors use, and learn how the body works. The mission of Little Medical School® is to teach elementary and middle school children about the exciting field of medicine. Through hands-on demonstrations, crafts, and games, children are actively engaged as they explore the world of medicine. Through interactive learning, kids will discover how the body and organs work, how to use medical instruments, administer first aid and even tie knots like a real surgeon.

    Most suburban grade school kids’ knowledge of chickens comes from children’s books or the odd nursery rhyme. That’s changing fast in Kirkwood, MO, where a class project is underway to care for and observe two of the birds. It is a dream experience for their teacher, who tells HEC-TV she’s learning about these animals right along with her students.

    Sidney Keys III is an entrepreneur, community leader and founder of the popular reading club, Books N Bros. He’s also only 11 years old. Statistically, many African American boys stop reading between the ages of 8-12. But with the help of Eye See Me African American Children’s Bookstore, Sidney wants to change that. The club focuses on black authors, literature and history but is open to all races and backgrounds – working to build friendship and literacy together. Meetups include book discussions, games and guest speakers. The response has been overwhelming – proving there is a deep need and desire for diverse material that allows all children to see themselves – and understand others – in the books they read.

    Junior Achievementhas long been leading schools in educating young children about business and personal finance. Biztown is an extension of that learning by giving St. Louis area students a chance to experience running a business, keeping track of their earnings and spending within a small community. They also get o see how a town works. This experiential learning helps them prepare to go into the real world.

    Temple Grandinis widely celebrated as one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to publicly share insights from her personal experiences. She visited Warrenton High School to interact with FFA students, sign books and speak to a standing room only crowd about what she calls her “gift of Autism.”

    At the beginning of the school year, one Parkwaymiddle school asked students and teachers to write down their hopes for the year on a chalkboard at the front door. A video tape of the project went viral, with more than three million views. Now, Paul Schankman goes back to the school to find out if their hopes came true.

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