Dec 2015/Jan 2016 Newsletter

Team SOSO from Roosevelt High won first place and were presented with iPads from the UF Sharks

We spent much of the Fall prepping for what turned out to be a stellar event for UrbanFUTURE students and supporters - the inaugural UrbanFUTURE Shark Bowl! All first semester, our middle school students at Busch and Fanning, and our high school students at Roosevelt worked hard crafting business ideas to present to our panel of St. Louis Sharks. We were fortunate to have 6-time Olympic Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, CEO of Legacy Pharmaceutical Packaging Dave Spence, President of the Monsanto Fund Deborah Patterson, and CFO of LockerDome Mark Lewis in the hot seats as our expert panel of Sharks. They asked insightful questions, and were able to apply their deep knowledge of business and the marketplace to our kids through giving important feedback. The night was a great success for all!

Even more amazing, KMOV New Channel 4 visited Roosevelt High School the day before the event, and did a short piece on our student teams there. Click right to watch the video! A big congratulations to our two winning teams - SOSO from Roosevelt High and STL Illusion from Busch Middle. Every student on each of the winning teams earned $50 cash and an iPad mini for their hard work. Team SOSO from Roosevelt also won full scholarships to the Allsup Summer Entrepreneurship Academy, a week-long immersion camp through Saint Louis University's John Cook School of Business. What a fantastic opportunity!
Students learn about some of the technology in use at Express Scripts

Another January highlight was our field trip to the Innovation Center at Express Scripts! A group of our students received a private tour of their packaging facilitates, and then broke off into small groups to work on problem solving, communication strategies, and to learn about careers in pharmaceuticals as well as money management skills. View all the pictures from our field trip here! A big thank you to Express Scripts for arranging this in-depth learning journey for our students.

Thank you for your continued interest and support of UrbanFUTURE. Together, we are engaging and inspiring our St. Louis youth to dream big, and then taking them on the journey to achieve those dreams.

With deepest thanks,

Frank Van Bree
Math Magic class

December and January have been full to the brim with STEM programming here at Fanning! Star volunteer Blake Mills continues to teach our FIRST Lego Robotics team as well as a Coding class to our students. We also began a new module of DiscoveryLab classes, including Everyday Engineering  (taught by Demarco Davidson from the Saint Louis Science Center), Math Frenzy (a quick problem-solving numbers game), Tech Over Time (a look at the evolution of technology), Typing and Google Apps, and Math Magic (teaching math-based magic tricks). Our kids love these new classes and are learning some important skills, from problem solving to hand-on science experimentation.

UF Students learn about a career 
in animal rescue and rehabilitation
We had several career speakers stop by to visit recently, including Jason Ware, Executive Administrator of Myrtle-Hilliard Davis Comprehensive Health Centers. A graduate of Harris-Stowe University, Jason had some memorable advice to share about choosing a career that interests you, and how to make a good impression with potential employers. We also welcomed Dana Townsend, Account Manager at Equifax Solutions, as well as Janet Draper of the St. Louis Avian RescueMs. Draper brought her feathered friends back to help her talk about her career as an animal rescue and rehabilitation expert. Thanks to all of our stellar speakers!


We have so many great volunteers at UrbanFUTURE, and
Kevin Babcock is no exception! Kevin began volunteering with us a tutor and Explore! Careers speaker. He has quite an interesting story to share! After working as a flight attendant for 17 years, he set his sights on becoming a lawyer. He reached that goal in 2008, through determination, perseverance and hard work.

This semester he is teaching a law class at Fanning. As a criminal defense attorney for the Missouri Public Defender System, he is having students work on a mock trial and writing defense arguments. It's attracted several students who have expressed interest in becoming lawyers.

Thank you Mr. Babcock for stepping up as a UF volunteer!
8th grader Alexis works using Achieve3000

We are excited to report that our tutoring software, Achieve3000 is helping us make big gains this year. In October 2015, 6th graders took initial benchmark tests to set a starting point for their Lexile level growth. At the end of January 2016, we can now report our 6th grade students have attained an average growth of 73 points. Only one semester in, and we are seeing growth levels typical of an entire school year! Since Achieve3000 is new to us this year, we expect gains to increase exponentially going forward as students ease into the program and become more comfortable with it. 

In Explore! Careers class we continued to focus on interviewing skills. Students learned how to write and deliver a 30-second "elevator pitch" with confidence to a class of their peers. They also wrote questions and interviewed their classmates while learning public speaking skills. Explore! Careers class also welcomed Weekends Only E-Commerce Product Manager, Drew Phillips. Students had a blast learning about advertising, and writing and presenting their own commercials!
Drew Phillips of Weekends Only speaks
about his job as an E-Commerce Product Manager

On January 16th, we had the opportunity to participate in the Saint Louis Science Center's Minority Scientist Showcase for the second year in a row!  UF students enjoyed watching performances, demonstrations and learning from real scientists from prominent St. Louis companies and organizations. It was a very exciting event we look forward to every January.


Volunteer John Poehlmann has been such an incredible resource for our students here at Busch Middle!

John is a medical student at SLU and is in his second year tutoring for us. He always has a great attitude and offers a lot of positive encouragement to the students. John works primarily with 7th grade students Tredell and Orlando. He goes above and beyond when tutoring, making sure they are on track with Achieve3000Thank you John for all you do for our kids! 

Meet the winners of the UrbanFUTURE Shark Bowl! STL Illusion is composed of Busch Middle School 8th graders Coquabus, Domonick, Isaiah and Terron. They created a business plan complete with website - check it out here!

STL Illusion is a shoe customization service, and these young men wowed the Sharks with their well-thought-out presentation.  Way to go guys!

Did you know UrbanFUTURE students with mentors have on average a half a point higher GPA and better school attendance? Make a difference in a young person's life and volunteer just one hour a week as a mentor! 

Mentors meet with students one hour a week at our school sites, using structured activities provided by UF Team Leaders. Click right to watch our video and hear why you should support UrbanFUTURE. Then visit our website at: and click on "Volunteer" today!
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