For over eight years, The Tilles Foundation has supported various programs at La Salle Middle School. Through their generous funding, La Salle Middle School is able to offer programming designed to improve their students’ social-emotional well-being, teach life skills and increase cultural competency. With a $49,525 Tilles Foundation grant in 2017, La Salle Middle School served 120 students in fifth through eighth grade during the 2017-18 school year. 99% of their students are African American and 1% are Biracial; 96% are enrolled in the federal free and reduced lunch program; 86% live in North St. Louis City and 14% live in other areas of St. Louis City; 10% “lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence” and are defined as homeless by the McKinney-Vento Act, and 20% qualify for an IEP through the Individuals with Disabilities Act and receive Special Education services.

A large body of educational research has demonstrated that effective use of technology improves both student engagement and academic growth and achievement, especially for at-risk middle and high school students. The Tilles foundation granted La Salle Middle School with the opportunity to implement this technology for these students. This innovative project expanded student access to technology by providing 60 one-to-one Chromebooks for students to use in school, six interactive Smartboards in classrooms, three mobile charging carts, and digital instructional and assessment tools. This project also provided ongoing professional development for La Salle’s teachers on integrating technology into their classrooms.

During the timeframe of this grant, La Salle Middle School faced high turnover in staff and teachers. This presented significant challenges to a successful implementation of this program and consistent professional development. However, they were able to purchase new equipment for the classroom and strategize implementation of professional development for the 2018-19 school year.

As a result of the generous gift, through new and old partnerships with GlobalHack, Harris-Stowe State University and Gateway Region YMCA, La Salle Middle School is able to engage and excite their students about the world of coding. Every Tuesday and Thursday, students learn the art and science behind coding as more advance STEAM courses are a part of standard curriculum in most local school districts.

La Salle Middle school is always striving to be forward-thinking to prepare their students for the future. The impact that technology has had on today’s schools has been quite significant. Widespread adoption of technology has completely changed how their teachers provide instruction and how students learn. Teachers are learning how to teach with emerging technologies, while students are using advanced technology to shape how they learn. By embracing and integrating technology in the classroom, students are prepared for a successful life outside of La Salle Middle School.

For more about La Salle Middle School, please visit http://lasallemiddleschool.org/