Daily Archives: September 27, 2017

Alumni Publishes First Novel, Bases Character & Setting on Ladue Schools

Michael Currinder (Ladue Schools Class of ’83) has recently published his first novel for young adults titled Running Full Tilt. Praised by Newbery medal winner Jack Gantos as “a quick read with a kick at the finish,” his novel sensitively and memorably captures a teen runner’s relationship with his older brother who is autistic. The novel is set in Ladue Horton Watkins High School circa 2006, and the Coach Gorsky character is based upon former Ladue Schools track coach legend, Phil Brusca. The American Library Associations Booklist publication recently awarded the novel a starred review stating, “The characterizations are complex and realistic, with sensitively depicted virtues and flaws, evoking empathy and sympathy in the reader. Currinder’s novel is poignant and powerful, with a story that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Michael ran cross country and track at Ladue Schools, and earned a college athletic scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His first novel is a hybrid of his collective experiences as a competitive runner and as an adolescent with an autistic sibling. Michael is currently living in Tokyo and is teacher and track and cross country coach at The American School in Japan.

Conway Elementary Third Grade Class Worked Collaboratively in Creative STEM Project

Students in Mrs. Brooks’ 3rd grade class at Conway worked in collaborative groups to act as safety engineers. This lesson is a trans disciplinary project inspired by the district’s STEM cohort. The students were given the task of making an “evacuation plan” for a flood on the “Island of Fun and Fitness.” This project allowed students to think about the challenges and struggles being faced by the many areas that have recently been dealing with flooding.

Their work included strategically deciding on supplies to purchase, using their math skills to round and estimate their total cost for supplies, and then making a map to plan the evacuation route. The final step was to test their evacuation plans, and then work to improve upon the plans. The third graders did an amazing job asking questions to ensure their plans met all of the constraints and criteria. The drone footage shows 1 of the 6 “engineering teams” testing their first evacuation plan. The other engineers are analyzing the plans to help them during the revision process.

The class loved fulfilling the STEM vision: Students and Teachers Engaging Minds!