The Special Education Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to assist students with disabilities in St. Louis County in achieving success in ways not supported by tax dollars.
The Foundation aims to empower students with disabilities by giving them the tools and opportunities they need to succeed. These include:
- classroom innovation grants to help support enhanced projects created by SSD teachers
- adaptive equipment that enhances independence and quality of life
- scholarships to help successful students continue their education
- summer camps to maintain educational momentum through breaks
- support for critical needs to pave the way for meaningful engagement in education
- a high school leadership program that develops skills for effective members of the community
- arts in the classroom to enhance self-esteem, increase social interaction and improve language skills
Established in 1984 as the first public school foundation in the state of Missouri, the Foundation provides support and assistance to students who receive services from the Special School District of Saint Louis County (SSD).
SSD provides special education services to children and youth with disabilities, ages 3 to 21 in a variety of placements throughout St. Louis County, which are governed by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Services are based entirely on a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Placements range from SSD teachers providing special education services in the student’s home school and district (partner district) to students attending an SSD special education school or private separate agency. Ninety-seven percent of students receiving SSD services attend school in the district where they live.
Today, SSD serves almost 22,000 students with disabilities in SSD schools and 22 district classrooms, over 1,400 students in career and technical education, more than 900 students who attend private/parochial schools, and over 100 adult students working towards their practical nurse licensure.
The Foundation is completely independent of SSD. It relies solely on private donations for financial support. The Foundation receives no support from the United Way, government sources and revenues or SSD. A volunteer board of directors guides the organization.
The Foundation is able to do its work thanks to the generous support of our donors. Many of the students we help are in families struggling with financial stress. During the past year, the Foundation provided more than $240,000 in student financial assistance and programs. Our many supporters and volunteers make possible our efforts to enhance the education of students with disabilities.