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Normandy Teacher Recognized as ‘What’s Right with the Region’

     Normandy High School teacher Dr. Inda Schaenen is one of 20 individuals, organizations, and initiatives being honored for the 2019 What’s Right with the Region awards. The honors are presented by Focus St. Louis, a regional leadership development organization.

     Dr. Schaenen, who teaches English Language Arts, is being recognized in the category of Improving Equity and Inclusion for her work with Project Lab St. Louis, a non-profit group she co-founded to provide innovative and relevant educational experiences for her students. The Project Lab St. Louis curriculum includes the student newspaper, The Viking Times; and Crosscurrents, a program where Normandy students meet with peers from neighboring school districts and different socioeconomic, racial and religious backgrounds. For example, earlier this year, Normandy students traveled to Al Salam Day School in west St. Louis County and participated in exercises and activities to learn more about the Islamic culture and to share their culture and experiences with the Al Salam students.

     Another Project Lab component is the nationally award-winning The View from Here literary journal, which includes original poems and reflections written by students from Normandy. The entries -- which may cover topics like poverty, racism, class bias, and the growing pains of youth -- have been co-authored by Normandy peers from John Burroughs School, and Wydown Middle in the Clayton School District.

     “Dr. Schaenen is challenging the traditional approach to education while maintaining high academic standards for her students,” said Dr. Charles J. Pearson, Normandy Superintendent of Schools. “Dr. Schaenen is continually seeking ways to engage students and help them explore who they are and what they can become. We congratulate Inda on this honor and thank her for her commitment to Normandy and our community.”

     Dr. Schaenen will be recognized May 16 at the Sheldon Concert Hall. For more information about the What’s Right with the Region Award, visit www.focus-stl.org.

     This is the second time in three years Normandy has been recognized with a WRWR award. In 2017, the Collaborative was recognized in the category of Fostering Regional Cooperation for its partnership with Beyond Housing and Wyman.

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CAPTION: Dr. Inda Schaenen