DISTINCTION: Excellence that sets someone or something apart from others; the separation of things or people into different groups.

During my seven years as Executive Director, I’ve struggled at times to clearly explain the distinction of our work. I’ve heard again and again that distinction lies in the complexity of the arts-integrated programming we offer – whether focused on STEM, culture, literacy, or math; whether integrating the discipline of music, dance, visual & performing arts, or storytelling; whether done as residencies, performances, or workshops; whether Teaching Artist creations, Springboard creations, or templates of a national organization; whether at public, private, independent, or charter schools.

However, I’ve come to believe that our distinction lies not in the complexity of what we do, but rather in its simplicity. Springboard to Learning strives to increase student success in school. We know that if a student can succeed in school, they can succeed in work, and if they can succeed in work, they can succeed in life. We envision that future where ALL children are passionate, engaged learners who experience success.

To that end, Springboard continues working on behalf of under-resourced students:

  • We served over 32,000 children in St. Louis City and the surrounding seven counties during the last school year.
  • A new three-year strategic plan was implemented, with the goal of building increased excellence into all programming through the creation of a baseline set of training and learning expectations.
  • Eight Teaching Artists were Wolf Trap certified after completing 60+ hours of training with master Wolf Trap Teaching Artists, then placed in area schools to implement Wolf Trap programming.
  • With funding from Parsons Blewett, ten St. Louis Public School early childhood educators are receiving year-long support through two professional development sessions and five-day Wolf Trap residences.
  • Work began with Dr. Miriam Jorge, the new Shopmaker Endowed Professor at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, identifying opportunities for the university and Springboard to partner to increase student engagement in cultural exchange and promote diversity and inclusion.
  • A new partnership was created with the Magic House @ MADE, providing a site for the culmination of the Signature Program IdeaBuilder and allowing students to display their inventions and experience STEM hands-on activities.

I’ve also come to realize a major distinction of Springboard to Learning is the valued partnership that is shared with donors, board members, volunteers, and staff. For that we are most grateful. Thank you for enabling us to complete another year of distinct programs for metro-area students.