This year, The Wilson School celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Excellence Program, which supports professional development for faculty, the expansion of the library’s collection and innovative programming for students. The program began with Hal and Catherine Faught pledging $2 million to Wilson’s endowment. Their generosity marked the single largest gift to an academic program ever given in Missouri history to an elementary school. Since its inception, the program has made a significant impact on the lives of everyone in the Wilson community, from students and their families to the faculty.
Thanks to the Excellence Program, renowned and respected authors and artists visit The Wilson School each year to work with the students and engage the faculty, inspiring both with their stories and examples of excellence. Recent visiting artists include those from Central Print, Cbabi Bayoc, Michelle Katz-Reichlin, Maria Ojascastro and Marlon West. Authors Ridley Pearson, Jonathan Auxier, current Wilson parent Angela Liebermann and alumni parent June Herman, as well as her writing partner Julie Desloge Dubray have shared their work with Wilson students.
The Wilson School has enjoyed unique partnerships in the wider St. Louis community, made possible by The Excellence Program. Wilson families benefit from an exclusive writing partnership with Washington University, collaborations with the Saint Louis Zoo and speaker events that are open to the public. In the last few years, the program has helped to strengthen the social-emotional skills of students through curriculum on healthy relationships, self-esteem and managing emotional energy through breathing and creative movement.
The Excellence Program allows Wilson to foster exceptional educators by investing twice the resources in their development versus other area schools. Almost half of Excellence Program funding is allocated for ongoing professional development for faculty and staff, allowing every teacher to attend conferences and workshops to inspire new ideas. Wilson also selects an Excellence Award Honoree from among the faculty to recognize innovative and exceptional projects – an award funded by the Excellence Program. Most recently, Technology Coordinator received the award for her original coding curriculum and art teachers Diane Signor and Mary Beth Tipton were recognized for the visiting artist program.
The Wilson School library’s print collection can be refreshed and enhanced each year thanks to The Excellence Program. The best in children’s literature, whether a classic or the most current must-read, always can be found in the School’s library. The nonfiction collection is extensive and contains books with the most up-to-date information. In fact, this collection is one of the most current in the St. Louis region. Says librarian Ms. Poth, “The Excellence Program is the heart of the library program, enabling us to supply all nine grades and the professional staff with the necessary reading and instructional materials.” Because the library receives approximately 1,000 books annually, Wilson is able to make significant donations of books to other area elementary schools.
Sadly, Hal Faught passed away in 2009, but Catherine remained remains highly involved in the life of The Wilson School. After serving two terms on the Board of Trustees, she is now an Emeritus member. An integral member of the Board’s Excellence Committee, she continues to find ways to enrich and promote the program.
Currently, The Excellence Program is funded through a dollar-for-dollar matching grant. You can make a gift to The Excellence Program here to help Wilson’s students and staff live the Faughts’ mantra every day.
Wilson in the News