Claridge Court residents donate $42,500 to fund elementary STEM programs in Shawnee Mission

Representatives of Claridge Court presented the check for $42,500 at the Board of Education meeting Monday.
Representatives of Claridge Court presented the check for $42,500 at the Board of Education meeting Monday.

The Shawnee Mission School District’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) efforts are getting another major boost, this time on behalf of a group of Prairie Village retirees.

On Monday, the residents of Claridge Court announced the formation of the Claridge Court Living Life Fund and presented the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation with the group’s inaugural gift, a check for $42,500 to be used in the Project Launch elementary school implementation of Project Lead the Way, the district’s STEM program.

Former Prairie Village Mayor Roe Taliaferro, who resides at Claridge Court with his wife, Helen, told the Board of Education that the fund and the donation were the result of years of discussions between the residents and district advocates. Taliaferro and current board member Brad Stratton started talking nearly four years ago about how Claridge Court residents could, in Taliaferro’s words, “seek a meaningful way to be socially accountable.”

“Claridge Court, an active, vibrant living center, welcomes this opportunity to demonstrate that we are aware of the community beyond our walls,” he said.

Shawnee Mission began piloting the Project Lead the Way curriculum in elementary schools last year. With the funds donated by the Claridge Court residents, the district should be able to expand the program into five northeast Johnson County elementary schools. Just last month, First National Bank donated $25,000 to elementary school STEM efforts.

Board of Education member Brad Stratton helped counsel the Claridge Court group on a meaningful way to support the school district.
Board of Education member Brad Stratton helped counsel the Claridge Court group on a meaningful way to support the school district.