Jan/Feb Newsletter
TV's Mike Bush Features North Side on KSDK

This Sunday, North Side Community School received outstanding TV coverage created by KSDK-TV personality Mike Bush . He featured North Side on his Making a Difference program. He was so impressed with our school's academic performance and the vision of our CEO Chester Asher that Bush posted the entire 15-minute interview on the KSDK site – a very rare occurrence.

Tickets on Sale Now for the April 3rd Gala

North Side is happy to announce that we will be honoring our retiring school Co-founder Stella Erondu at the gala. We are also excited to announce that our gala's new presenting sponsor is Moneta Group . Not only will Moneta be sponsoring, they will be reaching out to support our teachers and students in many creative ways throughout the year.

Also new this year, our venue is Neo, just blocks from our former venue. Our Student Ambassadors are preparing what's sure to be a great performance, and for the first time we have both our middle school and elementary students being featured in the student art sale.

Tables seat 10 guests and tickets remain $125 with $75 tickets for those 35 and younger. View sponsors, steering committee and table hosts.

Questions? Contact Deb Cottin at 314.499.1993.
Fri, Apr 3, 2020 6:30 PM CST
The Magic of Childhood | North Side Community School Gala
Neo on Locust, St. Louis
Yoga Puts Peace Within Reach

A lone North Side middle schooler struggled to manage his frustrations during the new yoga class offered as part of Extended Day. He lost control of his temper class after class. Cue trauma-informed yoga and the flexibility it uses to help kids rise above.
“For any child to build emotional self-regulation skills, they have to be able to feel safe emotionally dis-regulating,” said Grace Petit , lead yoga instructor at North Side. “That’s the space we strive to create in our yoga class. We aren’t teaching children to repress painful emotions. We are teaching students how to feel their feelings and still behave in a way that isn’t hurtful or disruptive.”

In the case of our struggling young yogi, an accommodation was put in place. An adult family member began taking the class alongside him. His outbursts stopped. He was able to participate with the added benefit of having a trusted loved one learn the practice with him. “It’s amazing how he has learned,” said Petit. “He is either removing himself before he escalates or he grounds himself with tools he’s been given. I’m really proud of his progress.” 

North Side administrators searched far and wide to find the very best yoga instructors suited to serve our scholars. Petit is part of Complete Harmony , a Maplewood based yoga studio owned by Melissa Dierker . The studio is rare in that it completely focuses on serving children. Both Dierker and Petit have earned certifications in teaching trauma-informed yoga to children. They have experience instructing children at Youth in Need and other nonprofits and schools similar to North Side where trauma is frequently experienced at young ages.

Petit has been practicing shapes–known traditionally as poses–with a select group of middle schoolers three days a week since October. She has support from Dierker who sometimes co-teaches and is there to substitute if needed. This gives the children the comfort of familiarity and reliability to truly build a trusting relationship with these teachers.

Scholars lounge on colorful yoga mats which they’ve decorated as part of their class. “At the end of the school year, the mats will be theirs to take home, thanks to the generosity of our North Side Young Friends Board,” said North Side Development Director Deb Cottin . "Having that sense of ownership, that this mat is going to be theirs forever, that means something to these kids," said Petit. "They've created a whole process, started by one of our students, where they carefully role and put away their mats after each class."

North Side’s first class of young yogis has made great strides in the short time they’ve been coming together. “We are more connected to each other and starting to understand empathy more and how we can show up for each other,” said Petit. “These kids aren’t deaf, they understand about impeachment and war. They are scared of things that scare us. We are providing tools so they can communicate their feelings without lashing out.”

The yoga class embraces activities and techniques far beyond doing poses or breathing exercises. Games and art activities are a regular part of the curriculum, and students learn about leadership skills and communications skills as much as managing their emotions. Yoga will be offered as part of the Extended Day at the middle school through the end of this school year. Plans include being able to offer multiple classes in the future.
You Are Invited to Our Black History Celebration

All friends of North Side Community School are welcome to join us at 4 p.m. for our Black History Celebration this Tuesday, Feb. 18, the day after Presidents Day at the middle school.

Scholars from all grade levels will be assembled in the sanctuary of the Third Baptist Church, each scholar ready to be a part of the festivities.

No RSVPs are needed. Please come and join us for what's sure to be an uplifting program.
Holiday Heroes Warmed Our Hearts

So many amazing North Side friends gave so much joy this holiday season, we are still smiling about it. The pinnacle of the holiday generosity was a surprise Toy Giveaway for every single elementary student on the final day before the winter break. 

Mentors in Motion worked with Toys for Tots and UMB Bank to give our school this off-the-charts holiday experience. A deejay played tunes while wide-eyed students were led into the gym class by class to be dazzled the enormous display of toys. Each child joyfully and sometimes shyly selected a toy of choice. Three families with particularly challenging living circumstances received generous financial support from UMB Bank.

During that last week before the holiday, our elementary students received another surprise. The Glarner Family provided more than 400 Winter Hats so every child could choose one. Needless to say, the hats were very popular and in some cases, very needed.

All of the holiday generosity was launched by our partners in constructing our new classroom building and cafeteria, due to open next school year. Thanks to HKW Architects and Interface Construction 50 turkey dinners were shared with our families the last day before the weeklong Thanksgiving break.

“These friends did more than bring joy to our students,” said Asher. “They made our North Side students and parents feel seen and valued beyond the walls of this school, outside in the larger community.”