News Archives

Head's May Message

May 1, 2015

Abbott_091012_228.jpgIt gives me great pleasure to announce a new partnership that Burroughs has formed with the Antonio V. Glassberg Educational Foundation. Antonio was a member of the class of 1996, who died when he was 23. Antonio saw the potential in bright young students and was compelled to leave a legacy of action to help them capitalize on their abilities despite their physical and financial limitations.

Antonio’s foundation has committed more than $800,000 over the next 15 years to support need-based scholarships for students with physical challenges. It is our hope and expectation that this support will continue far beyond that scope and time frame.

Burroughs has had a number of students over the years with various physical challenges, but this grant will give us the opportunity and impetus to be much more active and intentional in our efforts to find students who will truly benefit from the opportunities that Burroughs provides and will contribute to the community in the most meaningful ways.

The foundation broadly defines “physically challenged” — from blindness and hearing loss, to limb loss and impaired muscle power, to recovery from serious or life-threatening illnesses.  And — like all aid granted by Burroughs — grants will be contingent on the family's financial need.

This has been a year of profound awakening for the Burroughs community, for St. Louis, and for our country. This gift serves as a reminder for all of us about another group of people who are often under-represented in our communities, and the profound and positive impact they can have.

In many ways, this has been a major theme of the year, and we have had a plethora of programming for our community in order to raise awareness and begin difficult conversations. I have spoken in assembly four or five times this year about the importance of cultural competency and of valuing one another's identities. On top of that we have been fortunate to have a number of other presentations as well:

  • Brittany Packnett ’02, executive director of Teach for America-St. Louis, on events in Ferguson and the racial divide in St. Louis (assembly and small-group discussions)
  • Tony Reed ’73 on growing up as an African American in St. Louis and attending Burroughs in the ’60s and ’70s (assembly)
  • Hody Nemes ’08 on anti-Semitism (assembly)
  • Aim High St. Louis and TEDxGatewayArch program on educational access (evening program)
  • Unveiled, a one-woman show in which five Muslim women in post-9/11 cast light on what lies beneath the veil (evening program and assembly)
  • Ninth grade diversity program at The Holocaust Museum and Learning Center (field trip)
  • Urban issues teacher Jamie Wagner on housing in St. Louis (assembly)
  • History teacher Mark Smith on the Grand Jury process in association with Ferguson events (assembly)
  • Businessman and JBS parent Charlie Peters on thriving in a rapidly changing world (assembly)
  • Biographer and former JBS parent Charlie Claggett on Max Starkloff, one of the nation’s leading disability rights activists (assembly)
  • Gender Equity Organization’s staged readings from A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer, an anthology about violence against women (evening performance)
  • Holi, the Indian spring celebration of colors, in the Quad (after-school activity)
  • Collaborative poetry project between Burroughs seventh graders and eighth grade honors students from Normandy (class activity)
  • Seventh and eighth grade middle school diversity conference (small-group activity)
  • Issue of The World devoted to diversity (student publication)
  • Interfaith panel representing seven major world religions (evening program)
  • I’m Not Racist, Am I screening/discussion, which brought students from a St. Louis public school, Ferguson/Florissant and Ladue to Burroughs (Martin Luther King Day activity)
  • Diversity ETC’s silent stand-up activity (assembly)
  • Spanish teacher Andranique Scott’s presentation, which included insight into residual attitudes toward Afro-Colombians from Cartagena de Indias’ history as a main port for slave ships (assembly)

It has been a remarkable year, but it is also important to remember that our work is just beginning. We cannot look at how far we have come and settle in. This summer, with the support of the EE Ford Foundation, Burroughs will host The Equity Exchange, which will bring together a small cohort of local and national public and private educators for a week-long exchange around intercultural skills needed to design, promote and extend the practices that support organizational and systemic change in schools.

But in the meantime, it is nice to step back for a moment to thank the Glassberg Foundation for its support of this incredibly important work.

—Andy Abbott