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A Busch Middle School parent chats with
UF Team Leader Ashley Luther 

With the holidays upon us, I'd like to take a moment to thankfully reflect on the amazing victories, both big and small, that we at UrbanFUTURE witness everyday through our students, their families and the community as a whole. This month, our students earned 136 blue ribbons this month through Study Island, our online tutoring software! A blue ribbon is earned each time a student completes an assignment with a passing grade, and is a measurement of their academic improvement. Our successful Parent Coffees at both Fanning and Busch Middle Schools were another victory. Meeting parents and discussing programming and the challenges they face is near and dear to me, and something I always look forward to. I like to say, without the support of our parents we're a two-legged table, and we'd just topple over. Parents are truly the backbone of what we do, and I am so thankful for the Moms, Dads and other family members who made the time this month to invest in UrbanFUTURE by committing to the educational success and future careers of their kids. Bravo!  View photos from all of this month's of programming on our Flickr feed here.

Speaking of wins, we also had a few very notable victories this month in regards to our Robotics teams. Robotics is a new DiscoveryLab class this year, and our teams from both Fanning and Busch Middle Schools competed in their inaugural FIRST LEGO League competitions this month. The UrbanFUTURE team from Fanning competed on November 8th at Bishop DuBourg High School, and wowed the judges with their "Handy Helper" robot that assists teachers in classroom. They ended up in 13th place, and more important, impressed the judges and spectators with their critical thinking skills. Our team from Busch Middle School competed on November 22nd at MICDS, and earned 4th place! It was one of the more competitive venues and our team shook off their rookie nerves to pull out a big win. It was true testament to UrbanFUTURE teamwork and commitment to overcome obstacles. We're so proud!
The UF Robotics Team at Busch Middle School prepare for the big competition

Earlier this month, I also had the honor to speak at the Berklee City Music Network Conference in Los Angeles. I presented on the subject of "From Music to the Classroom to the Career," and scored rave reviews from our fellow Berklee City Music Network members. The new connections I made within the Berklee City Music Network will be an incredible asset to UrbanFUTURE going forward, bringing quality music education to UrbanFUTURE kids!
Lastly, I want to wish everyone in the UrbanFUTURE family a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving. Take time with your loved ones to reflect on the victories, no matter how small. 

Thank you again for your continued support of UrbanFUTURE. With your help, we will 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 visit City Museum

November around Fanning Middle School was filled with learning, dance, creative projects, music, laughter, and of course career exploration! This month, UrbanFUTURE also made the trip over to St. Louis' City Museum for an afternoon of play and lessons. Our kids were excited to explore exhibits on architectureentomology, and St. Louis history, and undoubtedly had a blast on the swings, hidden compartments and caves, and the maze of indoor and outside slides all over the building! Thanks City Museum, for hosting our students for the day.

UrbanFUTURE welcomed several wonderful career speakers this month, including Jesse Kemling, Senior Educator of Technology of the YES Program at the Saint Louis Science Center. He spoke to our students about coding and other digital technologies, and what a career in these fields would look like. We also hosted UrbanFUTURE's own Anthony Lemons, who works as UF's High School Career Manager. He discussed the SLPS high school application process, and why it's important to apply now to the school of your choice. Lastly, Kimberly Tate of Equifax Workforce Solutions stopped by to speak and do mock interviews. Great learning experiences all around!

Our featured student this month is 7th grader Rolaine LovingRolaine is a first-time UF student and an all-around pleasant young woman! She is constantly seeking to be creative and respectful and always has a smile on her face. Her favorite class is Art & Crafts, but she also takes Sewing and Volleyball. When she grows up, Rolaine wants to be either a writer or an artist!  When asked what her favorite thing about UF is, she replied that she loves that fact that she does classes where she can take something home to her family and show them what she has been working on. Well done Rolaine, and welcome to UrbanFUTURE!

A student in Ms. Sind's Science class
shows off her recent work

In her time here at UrbanFUTURE, volunteer Erin Sind has proven herself invaluable! 
Erin is an education major from UMSL, and has been providing our students not only with tutoring assistance, but also brought us a unique
DiscoveryLab class combining science with sound. Her class comes from the Saint Louis Science Center in which the students learn how to use simple science experiments to develop circuits and power cells to play music, or to power sound boards to make their own music. 

Erin volunteered to take the special training at the Science Center to lead students on how to develop their own projects and to use technology make their sounds come alive. She enjoys her students in her class, takes a hands-on approach to science, and is not afraid of getting her hands dirty to explore the activities with her students! 

Thanks a million Erin, for all you do for UrbanFUTURE!

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

Career Speaker Kimberly Tate of Equifax

With tutoring, mentoring, career speaking and exploration, and DiscoveryLab classes in full swing, our Busch Middle School team has been very busy. UrbanFUTURE students earned 113 Blue Ribbons in Study Island this month, and over half of our kids are participating in STEM programming. In addition, our the tracking of our academic progress shows that our 8th graders have had a 32% growth in Math and 15% growth in Communication Arts from October alone

This month, we were lucky to have several very interesting career speakers including Kimberly Tate of Equifax Workforce SolutionsMs. Tate did mock interviews with our students, preparing them for a future in the workforce and offering them insight on the job application process. We also welcomed Dietician Erin Szopiak, of SLU Hospital and Peacemaker Lobster and Crab Co., who engaged our students with discussion of healthy foods and meal planning. 

A UF student befriends a rescue bird
Last year's winner of the UF Guest Speaker of the Year Janet Draper of the St. Louis Avian Rescue 
returned to share her feathery friends with UrbanFUTURE students once again. Our kids absolutely love to hear stories of animal rescues and to hold and pet the exotic birds. What a treat! Thank you to all our wonderful November career speakers who taught us all so much.

Coming up in December we are looking forward to more exciting career speakers, as well as field trips to the Humane Society of Missouri, the Saint Louis Zoo and to the Washington University Honor Society, CHIMES. It's going to be a great December!

Jordan (left) enjoys Career Speaker
Janet Draper's presentation 

Jordan Banks is a 6th grade UrbanFUTURE student who has been very invested in Study Island, and has been excelling in his academic studies. He is very diligent, always making sure to ask questions and double check answers. Jordan has been pushing himself, as well as his peers, to earn as many Blue Ribbons as possible!

Jordan also participates in many DiscoveryLab classes including art, world instruments, cooking, and a science experiments class taught by Washington University's CHIMES organization.

Keep pushing yourself Jordan, and congratulations on all your success!

Meet Shandana Safari

Shandana Safari is a 7th grader at Busch Middle School, and is a star member of our Robotics Team! She has been the creative force on the team, and is a smart, collaborative player. She is always willing to stay late to help with programming, as she did when her team was preparing for their first competition on November 22nd. And her efforts paid off when her team took 4th place in their FIRST Lego League tournament!

Shandana's mentor, Sarah Zyweic, has been very supportive of her interests in Robotics, and constantly encourages her to pursue her STEM interests and her love of Math! Shandana also loves Photography, which she also took last year through UrbanFUTURE. She has taken some fantastic photos this year, and is always happy to help her classmates who are struggling with their cameras. Her goal this year is to go on the UrbanFUTURE Washington DC trip next summer.  Keep up the hard work Shandana, and you'll be on the road to DC in June! 


St. Louis Internship Program
Through the St. Louis Internship Program we are happy to have several paid internships to offer to qualified UrbanFUTURE students for the Summer of 2015. You must apply for these positions, contact Anthony Lemons at or 314-309-2525 for more info and to apply for this awesome opportunity!

UrbanFUTURE High School Student Spotlight 
UrbanFUTURE junior Alexis Evans
Meet Alexis Evans! She's a junior at Carnahan High School of the Future and is a scholar, athlete and all around stellar young woman! She has a cumulative 3.6 GPA, and plays varsity basketball, soccer, and trackHer future is incredibly bright; she is being recruited for basketball by Kansas State UniversityKentucky State University and Texas Southern University! Her career goal is to be a Physical Therapist, and we know her drive and positive attitude will take her there. Congratulations Alexis, you're a Superstar!
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.

Mentor a student and change a life!

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 at our middle schools as a mentor, with a focus on literacy, goal setting and character development. Or, mentor a high school student an focus on career development. 

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 underexposed kids. It costs $3,000 per year for us to provide the full UrbanFUTURE experience to each student. Please make a monetary tax deductible donation via our secure website - YOP tax credits are available!

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2823 Olive Street
St. Louis, MO 63103