Ladue high school, we are coming, series I

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History Wall at Ladue Horton Watkins High School

(Update 01-16-2024) It looks like Dr. Thompson (LMS Principal) just posted the relevant information for the 8th graders via the parent square (and her weekly Sunday email) – “LMS Weekly Memo: 1/15/24”. All 8th grader parents and guardians can see it either from the ParentSquare (web, Android app, iOS app) or via the email – look for the section titled “8th grade families”.

(Original) Cannot believe our old daughter is starting high school this fall. It seems not too long ago we sent her to the toddler’s program, the kindergarten, middle school, and now high school.

I have been to the high school quite a few times, both before pandemic and post pandemic. Before pandemic, I recall I went there for the elementary school night (the football game), and the basketball game shortly before pandemic shutdown, and post pandemic I went there more often for a bit over a year as I was the Parent District Council rep for Spoede School Association (our Spoede Elementary School PTO/PTA). Not to mention I have been to all the ‘Due Run for Education (Ladue Education Foundation) over the years since year 2017.

Curriculum night at the high school

It was good. I saw a lot of familiar faces. Due to covid/pandemic, and kids grew apart from elementary school days, I didn’t have a lot opportunities to see the familiar Spoede friends faces. I got to see the teachers and the staff at the high school too. And I stayed almost to the end, and talked to some of the teachers there.

I took some notes on the presentation. The notes are far from complete, but I think maybe helpful especially for those who could not or didn’t make it for some reason. One friend didn’t make it due to the misunderstanding of it will be held the next week (probably just glancing through one email/parent square post about the potential severe weather). I like to exchange notes with you all too 🙂


Enjoy high school
Pump the breaks – assistant principal Mike Tarpey – a kid only needs go to one college (for most kids; one can’t go to 5 or 10 Univ.)
Dr. Rappof – associate principal for class of 2028
LinkCrew – a tool for transition to high school (new to me, research?)
*Public speaking electives in addition to English 9 (other journalism focused course?) may be encourage my daughter take it?
Social studies: at sophomore they can take AP history
Encourage kids to self advocate (a slide)


I took pictures of all the slides, and if anyone needs it let me know. Last but not least, I think the advice of “be yourself” and “advocate for yourself”.


Link to Ladue School Curriculum: this has all the courses (or most of them).

Compare to my high school courses

Math: math is foundation for science and many other things. Try to get better at math. No need to be scare of it. No need to rush it either.

Science: Ladue has much more choices, in addition to the biology, chemistry and physics we had in China, Ladue has life science, biomedical science, earth science, environmental science, and so on. One thing we need to note though, is the Physics course has some pre-requisite for math.


Project Lead the Way: Project Lead The Way is an American nonprofit organization that develops STEM curriculum for use by US elementary, middle, and high schools (Wikipedia). This is the 2nd time I heard about PLTW, the 1st time I was at an LEF event.

Non-traditional career choices

The Catalyst Program

In general, if I can borrow a comment from an old friend, the Ladue offerings can educate more well rounded students (or adults).

Course load and GaoKao

Time is different, two different countries, and you bet the curriculum is different. But I am very proud of my education I received there. Overall I think I had a heavier workload in the middle school, compared to high school, due to special circumstances (we have a quite strict counselor in the middle school, high school counselors are more laidback). I expect the kids in the Ladue High School will have a heavier course load compared to the middle school. This is a general trend in the US, in addition to the competitive nature of many students here.

Other standout item is the money the school spent to renovate the language lab, and essentially I started my English listening comprehension training there (VoA, BBC and TOFEL?). The English teacher in high school is both nice and very good. I did mess up my Physics class to some extent: I didn’t always pay attention to the teachers, and sometimes I was doing something else. A kind of joke, once the teacher said, the grade of Physics shows someone’s IQ, it seems from there my grade started going downhill 🙂 But once I was very proud, in a less significant test (none the less, a simulation test) before the GaoKao, my Physics test got 95 or something, there were very few students got score over 60. I didn’t know why or how, but I think probably less a pressure played a role here. Or maybe my IQ was not that bad at all? 🙂

I attended a wonderful middle school (and high school) in China, in the middle of 1980s, Zhenhai Middle School. We do have 2 tracks from the 2nd year in our high school: note in China there are 3 years for high school. The two paths are: liberal arts, and STEM (文理分科 in Chinese). The “liberal arts” track students take Geography and History class, and the STEM kids take Physics, Chemistry and Biology classes, in addition to the core: Math, Chinese language, English and Political Science (there is some philosophy stuff which I think useful). Last but not least, I think the Math is slightly easier for the “liberal arts” track.

GaoKao: source GlobalTimes

High school transition tips: don’t work too hard or push your kids too hard, pump the breaks sometimes

I think everyone will have some transition. But the continuity plays a role: the kids went from the same middle school got an edge (same means same school district). In my case, my middle school and high school are the same. In the case of my 13 year old, it’s the same school district. She will have the same percussion teacher.

When I was talking about a related FB post to WeChat, and a friend pointed out her bookLoving Hard When They’re Hard to Love: Essays on Raising Teens in Today’s Complex, Chaotic World” – || Then another friend pointed out another one – Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic—and What We Can Do About It

Our school district and Ladue High School

When I bought my condo back in 2005, I had two choices, one is the condo near Olive and Creve Coeur Mill road (Parkway school district). Another one is the Briarcliff Condo in the Ladue School District. I picked up the Briarcliff although it’s a bit more expensive.

The school district passed the Prop R in 2016, and finished the work in year 2018 (or 2019). This initiative and bond issue completedly changed the Ladue High School. In fact, the 1st time I was in the building for the PDC meeting at the library, I was impressed by the facility as well as by the students there (I was thinking wow, I hope my daughter will grow up like them: confident and polite).

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