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Busch Middle School students buckle down

The 2014-2015 school year is in full swing!
Last month, UrbanFUTURE staff greeted many familiar smiles returning to us and just as many new faces eager to embark on their path to a career. A buzz of activity descends on both Fanning and Busch Middle Schools when the clock strikes 3pm, with tutors, mentors, career speakers, and our dedicated instructors teaching science, the arts and other valuable subjects. View photos from our first month of programming on our Flickr feed here!

First and foremost, I would like to welcome our new UrbanFUTURE staff members this Fall. In addition to our many excellent Program Assistants, Ryan Gist and Sarah Bicklein are on staff at Fanning Middle School, and Ashley Luther joins Javier Trejo to round out our team at Busch Middle School. Learn more about these talented folks on our website, and be sure to say hello next time you see them in the halls. We have a high energy team who has hit the ground running this Fall, and their contributions are already making a big impact on UrbanFUTURE programming! Additionally, welcome to Andrea Uthoff, who joins us in the UrbanFUTURE main office.  Welcome to UF!

Another new addition to programming this year is our partnership with Berklee College of Music through our membership in the Berklee City Music Network. We have a new UrbanFUTURE music instructor, Joseph Layton, who spends time each week at both Fanning and Busch instructing students in Berklee's proprietary teaching method, the Berklee PULSEŽ Music Method. This exciting new partnership will open up doors for those UrbanFUTURE students who wish to pursue careers in music, from performers to producers to sound engineers! Our UrbanFUTURE students have been hard at work with Joe, and are slated to give their first performance at our upcoming November Open Houses. You won't want to miss it! 
In addition, I have been invited to speak at the  Berklee City Music Network Conference next week in Los Angeles. I will be presenting on the subject of "From Music to the Classroom to the Career," and look forward to engaging our fellow Berklee City Music Network members in a lively, meaningful conversation on extending educational and career development opportunities to youth in underserved, urban areas. I am honored to be invited, and excited to make new connections within the Berklee City Music Network.
Lastly, thank you for your continued interest in UrbanFUTURE! We hope you will come by our schools and see us in action some time. With your help, we will continue on our mission to enrich, educate and enliven our urban youth, and lead them on a path to a career in tomorrow's workforce.

Frank Van Bree

 Fanning students in the UrbanFUTURE cooking class

UrbanFUTURE has been operating in Fanning Middle School for over 10 years now, and each year without fail our students arrive in September eager for UF to begin! In addition to career development, mentoring and tutoring, this year at Fanning we are thrilled to offer robotics, music, step dance, science, cooking, chess, photography, speech/debate, Spanish, and gardening, just to mention a few. These are subjects our UrbanFUTURE students would not normally have the opportunity to explore, and we are thrilled to watch them learn, grow and pursue their interests with the goal of a future career!

As Halloween approaches, UF students have been participating in a scary story writing contest with their tutors. After all submissions are in, volunteers and staff will choose the best stories of the bunch, and the winners will celebrate with pizza and a little extra Halloween Candy. Good luck students!

 Fanning 7th grader Duan Regans
A rising star in this year's UrbanFUTURE class is 7th grader 
Duan Regans. Not only is he third generation UrbanFUTURE (thanks to his older sisters Duana and Duanyae), but he is already excelling during his short time at UF.  His favorite classes are photography and kickball, and he is extremely motivated while being respectful to teachers and fellow students. Well done Duan, and keep up the good work!

On November 10th at 10am, UrbanFUTURE President Frank Van Bree and staff will host parents and families to a Parent Coffee at Fanning Middle School. Join us for refreshments and snacks, as we gather to discuss our program and any other subjects you would like to discuss with Frank and other UF staff. Also, our first Open House of the year on November 18th at 3:30pm. This is the perfect opportunity for parents, families, volunteers and the community to come for a visit and see what our students have been learning.  Mark your calendars!

Sergio Dominquez and his Spanish class

Sergio Dominquez is a Micah volunteer from Saint Louis University, and has been doing a fantastic job this Fall teaching a very unique DiscoveryLab class. He has been teaching Fanning students basic Spanish phrases and sharing the cultures of different Spanish-speaking countries. He keeps the students engaged and motivated, and his class always seems to be smiling

Thank you Mr. Dominquez for sharing your time and talents with UrbanFUTURE!

If you would like more information about teaching a DiscoveryLab class or volunteering as a career speaker, contact Jennifer Davies at

The UF Robotics Team at Busch

The start of year two at Busch Middle School was a raving success!  Our tutoring and mentoring programs are off without a hitch, and this year students have been enjoying DiscoveryLab classes in music, robotics, cooking and nutrition, step dance, and drumming to name a few. After a long summer off, UrbanFUTURE students seem to have extra enthusiasm and focus this year, and we are taking advantage and delving deep on all fronts!


This month, we have had several interesting guest speakers including physical therapist Barbara Knezetic who works at SSM Hospital in Bridgeton. Ms Knezetic taught students about the tools of the trade for PTs, and had students participate in a few interactive exercises that she routinely does with her patients. UrbanFUTURE students asked some great questions, and were curious as ever about the career of a physical therapist. We also hosted US District Attorney Richard Finneran to our classroom to speak about his career. Mr. Finneran explained the difference between defense attorneys and prosecutors, and again fielded lots of thoughtful questions about his profession from our students. Thanks to all our career speakers for sharing your time with us!

The UF Step Team practices their new routine

UrbanFUTURE President Frank Van Bree and staff will host our first Parent Coffees of the year on November 17th at 9:30am and 6pm at Busch Middle School. All parents, family members and interested volunteers are encouraged to join us to chat about UF programming and to meet UF's President. This is an open forum to discuss the issues you feel are important, and we hope all parents will attend!

Wonder what your student is doing after school at UrbanFUTURE? Attend our first Open House of the year on November 13th at 3pm and find out! Sit it on classes and see first hand what UrbanFUTURE is all about. Join us and support your UF student!


Tutor extraordinaire David Kruszka

The UrbanFUTURE IMPACT tutoring program at Busch has run very smoothly this year, much in part to volunteer David Kruszka
David is always incredibly helpful! He has taken initiative with tutoring and led the Math tutoring for students on Study Island. David has helped each week to set up the two classrooms and make sure everything is ready to go before the students arrive. He is getting his teaching certificate in Secondary Math, and therefore provides UF staff with feedback each week on how to specifically help the students he has worked with, as well as feedback on how to make each session more productive.  We are thankful to have you in the UrbanFUTURE family, David!
If you would like more information about volunteering as a tutor, contact Jennifer Davies at

Meet Michael Nicholson

Michael Nicholson is in 8th grade at Busch Middle School, and is one hard worker! He and his mentor Stan Perkins have long, thoughtful discussions and have worked hard to set productive goals to prepare for high school

One day, when Stan had to leave early, Michael came into tutoring to help other students on his own volition! He is always supportive of his peers in Explore! Careers and is also on the Busch Robotics Team. Michael even works one-on-one with other students in his classes to help them succeed. 

From the beginning Michael has stood out, and was recognized by the UrbanFUTURE staff at Busch Middle as the 8th grade Star Student of the Week the first week of programming. Congrats Michael, we know you are destined for great things!


The UrbanFUTURE Robotics Team
The UrbanFUTURE FIRST Robotics team, the UF Circuit Breakers, has formed at Carnahan High School! With the coaching of Mr. Landers, a teacher at Carnahan, our team will begin work in January on their robot. The FIRST Robotics competition kicks off in April, so our team will be hard at work all next semester to complete their project. More updates to come! Go team!

UrbanFUTURE High School Student Spotlight 
UrbanFUTURE senior Julia Davis
Meet Julia Davis! She's a senior at Carnahan High School of the Future and is a superb student.  She plans to be a business major in college and has already been accepted to Jackson State University, Temple University an Philander Smith College! Not surprising since she holds a 3.5 cumulative GPA and also volunteers her time as a manager for the school's varsity basketball team. Julia attended Fanning Middle, and we couldn't be more proud. Great job, Julia!
UrbanFUTURE High School Website
Visit for up to date information on all the happenings in our High School Program. Also follow us on Facebook and stay connected! 

UrbanFUTURE High School Career Manager,
Anthony Lemons, can be reached at or 314-309-2525.

UF Students learning photography

1. Career Connector or Career Speaker
Allow UrbanFUTURE students to come to your workplace for a field trip, job shadow or internship. Or, visit one of our middle schools and speak to the class about your personal career path. You can also volunteer to teach a class to our students!
2. Mentor
Volunteer just one hour a week, and mentor a student one-on-one. Mentors provide a key link between the school and the home, as well as develop the child's self confidence and interpersonal skills. Watch our video and learn more about mentoring a student.
3. Tutor
Help UrbanFUTURE students excel in school by tutoring kids in either Communication Arts or Math.  All students benefit from the personal attention and extra help.
4. Become an UrbanCHAMPION
Invest in our urban students and help level the playing field for underserved kids.  It costs $3,000 per year for us to provide the full UrbanFUTURE experience to each student. By championing our students, we will increase the number of kids headed to tomorrow's workforce. Step up and make a monetary tax deductible donation via our secure website!

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St. Louis, MO 63103