Dana Brown Charitable Trust supports Maryville’s Young Scholars Program


ST. LOUIS  – The Dana Brown Charitable Trust, U.S. Bank Trustee, has awarded a two-year, $100,000 grant to fund an expansion of Maryville University’s Young Scholars Program, whose leaders nurture academic potential in students historically underrepresented in gifted education programs.

Maryville’s Young Scholars Program works with academically talented students at Peabody Elementary School in the St. Louis Public School District. Funds from The Dana Brown Charitable Trust, U.S. Bank Trustee, will provide two years of funding to expand the program into the Ferguson-Florissant School District.

The Dean of Maryville’s School of Education Sam Hausfather said, “Maryville University is very appreciative of the commitment the Dana Brown Charitable Trust has made to assist us in expanding our successful Young Scholars program into the Ferguson-Florissant School District. The Young Scholars Program helps identify and develop abilities in what may be the most important group of underserved students, those with high potential to achieve and lead who may otherwise not have opportunities. This important work will have a long-term impact on the lives of young people in these communities and our region. ”

Airport Elementary School in Berkeley will be the first school in the Ferguson-Florissant district for the Young Scholars Program. Ferguson-Florissant Superintendent Art McCoy said the district is thrilled to collaborate with Maryville to expand gifted instruction, on-site gifted professional staff development and rigorous enrichment activities in general education classes.

McCoy said, “Airport Elementary School has many `at-promise’ students that simply need this extra boost to reach their highest personal and academic potential. The Young Scholars Program will increase underrepresented student populations’ abilities and opportunities for higher learning as well as yearlong free courses for staff to provided gifted certification and training on-site. Overall, this program enables our district to help students achieve their highest potential. In a time where proficiency alone is overemphasized, this is a critical competent to our mission to ensure high achievement for all students, staff, and stakeholders.”

Maryville University’s Young Scholars program has four main components: It provides teachers in participating schools with graduate-level, on-site coursework in gifted education. It identifies the top 10 percent of students at a school with potential to succeed in a gifted education program, using well-established assessment methods. It provides services related to gifted education, such as specialized after-school and summer programs.

It also includes workshops for parents and guardians about gifted education and college-bound programs in their school and district. The program identifies high ability students from traditionally underrepresented populations, including ethnic and racial minorities, children who grew up in poverty and English language learners.

Steve Coxon, Maryville University assistant professor and director of graduate programs in gifted education said the program provides bright students with advanced work to help them transition into gifted education programs. “High-ability students need curriculum and instruction to be modified so that they are challenged with more advanced work to keep them engaged and learning. ”

He said the teachers’ coursework includes strategies to modify lessons so they are useful to all students. “The idea is that everyone should be learning new things every day,” Coxon said. Maryville University modeled its Young Scholars program after a successful program that increased diversity in gifted education programs in Fairfax, Va.

About The Dana Brown Charitable Trust

The Dana Brown Charitable Trust, U.S. Bank Trustee provides for the health, education and welfare of children in the St. Louis Metropolitan area through its non-profit efforts.

About Maryville University

Maryville University, founded in 1872, moved to the national universities category of U.S. News & World Report this year. It is one of three institutions in the Greater St. Louis Area ranked in this division. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranks Maryville in the Top 100 Private Universities in the U.S. for Best Value.