2020 Graduation – May 12 at Chaifetz Arena

Dear WGSD Family,

At Monday night’s school board meeting, the decision was made to relocate the 2020 WGHS Graduation Ceremony to Chaifetz Arena on May 12, 2020 at 6:30 pm.  The decision was made following a survey of current parents/guardians, staff and students of WGHS, along with a focus group of high school students.  To view the unedited survey responses, please click here.

While we recognize that a number of community members would prefer we continue to host graduation at Moss Field (Roberts Gym in the case of inclement weather), the past few years have demonstrated a need for change out of respect for all of our families and the special event that is high school graduation.

Hosting graduation at Chaifetz Arena, located less than 9 miles from the WGSD, will allow everyone to:

  • see their loved one graduate regardless of the weather
  • have a great view of the ceremony from an accessible seat in a climate-controlled environment
  • benefit from the highest quality sound and video available
  • access ample parking near the graduation venue

Over the past three years, we’ve witnessed a variety of  problems with high school graduation.  In 2018 and 2019, those problems were significant.  In 2018, inclement weather made it necessary to relocate graduation to Roberts Gym.  Due to the limited capacity in Roberts, graduates only received 4 tickets for family members and loved ones to attend the ceremony.  They were also given 3 tickets for others to view a live video of graduation in Knight Auditorium.   Limiting the number of seats to graduation placed a number of students and families in the unenviable position of determining who “made the cut” to attend the ceremony.  Some not making the cut last year included parents of graduates, grandparents and other loved ones who had flown in from across the country.

With the Class of 2019 at Moss Field this year, a host of other problems included lack of seating for all attendees, poor to no visibility for some, inequitable access to seating for those physically unable to navigate stairs, and poor traffic and parking conditions.  These conditions are highlighted in the pictures below.

View from various seats at Moss Field:

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Traffic congestion:

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Seating for attendees unable to navigate stairs behind graduate seating:

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created by dji camera

Viewing graduation from behind barricades or on grass hill:

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Viewing graduation from outside the stadium:

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No view of the graduation stage: 

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In addition, and as noted by survey respondents, the quality of the restrooms and stadium in general at Moss Field are less than desirable for any event, particularly one of this significance.  Furthermore, and while recognizing that most venues have some seats that are better positioned for a performance or event than others, we don’t feel that one’s inability to arrive early when the gates open or know someone who can, should significantly limit one’s access to fully take in the graduation experience.  This year, we had hundreds of family members and loved ones who either couldn’t see the stage or see it very well from their position on the grass hills north and south of the grandstand, behind the barriers located on the track, behind the stadium fencing or on the far edges of the grandstand.

While respecting the history and tradition of holding graduation at Moss Field or Roberts Gym, we felt this decision needed to be made so that we can provide everyone with the best graduation experience possible.

Take care,

John

 

 

With Gratitude…

 

Our Story

Dear WGSD Family,

On behalf of the WGSD Board of Education, I want to again thank our community for actively engaging with the school district and one another to develop a proposal for improving safety and accessibility within our schools, and addressing our continued overcrowding at the elementary level.  As always, your contributions on behalf of the children of our community are greatly appreciated!

Don’t forget to vote!

With gratitude,

John

Our Celebrations

  • Congratulations to the following students who have been accepted for participation in the 2018-19 University of Missouri-St. Louis Bridge precollegiate program: Brianna Arinze, Kreighton Bluette, Kolby Cunningham, Marogan Daniels, Amya Ferguson, Aysha Gray, Jocelyn Hill, Lamar Jackson, and Raquel Robinson.

 

  • WGHS student Nakailah Shields-Robinson will join Director of Student Services John M. Thomas, on the newly formed Webster Groves Community Engagement Board.

 

  • Frank Robbins, fifth grade student at Givens Elementary, created the portrait below (right) of Dr. Henry Givens Jr. and presented it to Dr. Givens at the school’s Black History program last week.IMG_2439

 

  • This past Saturday, Hixson Student Leaders visited The Kingdom House to participate in a poverty simulation and learn about the difficult choices people living in poverty have to make every day. The Kingdom House is a United Way organization that works to support those in need through programming, early childhood, pre-school, and social supports. They help those that don’t have credit, build credit through micro-loans. They provide access to low-cost clothing and food through their bodega and market with healthy food options, all while maintaining the dignity of their customers.55719489_2073870742649285_518608474834206720_n

 

  • Check out the new Thrive Program that will launch during the 19-20 school year at WGHS!

 

  • Tommy Koelling and Rebekah Kinworthy, pictured below with Ms. Kara Siebe, will attend the International DECA Competition in Orlando, Fla.  Below are the students who placed at the state competition and qualified for the international competition.
    • Tommy Koelling and Rebekah Kinworthy– 2nd Place Marketing Management Team Decision Making
    • Joe Castleman and Quinton Nehring– 2nd Place Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making 
    • Mario Colombo– 6th Place Automotive Services Marketing 
    • James Groenier and Ray Mcintyre– 5th Place Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making 
    • Elaine Roberts and Mia Schechschulte– 6th Place Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making 

Tommy and Bekah FL

  • Congratulations to Nicolaus Braun and Gabriel Mitchell, who have been selected for the 2019 Missouri Scholars 100, a statewide program that honors 100 of Missouri’s top academic students in the graduating class of 2019.  Students will be recognized at a luncheon in Columbia, MO in late April.

 

  • Congratulations to High School Echo students Sean Mullins, Maeve Taylor and Lindsey Bennett, named national winners in the 2019 Quill and Scroll International Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest. Students from five countries submitted 2,486 entries over all 30 categories, and judges chose 268 winning entries produced by 319 students, or National Winners. Sean won second place for blogging; Maeve and Lindsey for audio podcast: series.

 

  • Congratulations to the band, orchestra and vocal music students who performed during the recent solo and ensemble festival. Nineteen soloists and 11 ensembles received exemplary ratings and they will compete at the state festival this month.

 

  • Steger Science teacher Chantell Mason and some of her students have been interviewed by Red Hat Inc. representatives for a documentary on open source in agriculture. The students explained an aquaponics project they’ve worked on this semester.

Our News

  • ARCO Construction Company, located in Rock Hill, MO recently became the first company to fund a named grant for the WGSD Foundation. Their first contribution of $2,500 will fund STEAM focused grants in our schools. Keep you eyes out for the ARCO Steam grant recipient next school year.

 

  • View the trailer for Intelligent Lives, playing in the auditorium at Givens/Steger on April 17.

 

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First Annual Health and Wellness Event

 

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Kids Voting!

Our Story

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Clark School students “at the polls.”

Dear WGSD Family,

Over the past few weeks, district students have engaged in a variety of developmentally appropriate lessons and activities in order to help them better understand the critically important roll voting plays in our democracy.  Participating in Kids Voting is just one way we help teach students how to understand issues from varied perspectives and how to advocate for what you believe.

Please click on the following link to view a KSDK news story featuring Hixson Middle School students.

https://www.ksdk.com/video/news/local/middle-school-students-practice-voting-for-midterms/63-8303244

Each child, Each day…John

Our Celebrations

  • Congratulations to these former WGHS student athletes who were inducted into this year’s WGHS Sports Hall of Fame last month along with Sam Getz and Angelina Arinze, current student athletes who received the Most Outstanding Student Athlete Awards!

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  • Over the past few weeks, the WGSD Foundation raised over $50,000 in support of innovative learning opportunities for district students!  Thanks to each of you who participated in the Ivory Crockett Run for Webster and/or the Sip and Savor Event.  A special “thank you” to Dr. Henry Givens Jr., the featured speaker at this year’s Sip and Savor Event, and Mr. Ivory Crockett, our annual featured speaker to kick off the Run!

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  • Congratulations to WGHS Junior Claire Kellick who was one of 26 members on the International Youth Advisory Board at the Youth Volunteer Corps Summit in Charleston, SC. this past week.
  • Congratulations to Charlie Teeter (23rd) and Brett Krueger (127th) on their strong showings at last week’s state cross country championship!

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  • New York Times bestselling author Alan Gratz spoke to Hixson Middle School students about his books and the craft of writing!

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Our News

  • “Thank you” to the 790 respondents who completed the recent survey regarding draft options for addressing our district’s enrollment space concerns.  To view the responses from that survey, click here.
  • As part of a Veterans Week celebration at Webster Groves High School, students got the opportunity for up close looks at a Stuart tank, fighter jet cockpit and a variety of World War I and II equipment. On Thurs., Nov. 8, the school will hold a Veterans Day ceremony focused on the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending World War I. In addition, panels of veterans will speak to students in social studies classes throughout the day. 45455288_2048410188513778_849364357270732800_n
  • The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recently informed districts that individual results from last spring’s MAP tests will be ready for schools to distribute in December.
  • On December 5 at 7 pm, Special School District, Missouri TASH and the Ethical Society of St. Louis are co-hosting a showing of Intelligent Lives.  Email ssdregistration@ssdmo.org or call 314-989-7807 to register for this free event.

 

  • Here are some upcoming events taking place in the WGSD:
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Science Fair how to flyer

 

Recent Hate Crimes

Dear WGSD Family,

I’m struggling to find the right words to express my emotions regarding the hate-filled murders of eleven people in the synagogue in Pittsburgh and the two people in a grocery in Kentucky.  My thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones and everyone directly impacted by these heinous acts.

Also weighing greatly on my heart and mind are the children and adults of this school community and the effect these acts have on them – in isolation as well as cumulative.  Beyond that, I’m thinking even more deeply about those who can directly identify with those murdered based on the religion or race they share.

While I believe thoughts and prayers are good, those alone won’t change everyone’s hearts, make organizations equitable, or stop such acts which seem to be occurring with greater frequency.  I implore each of us to not just denounce hate, but to actively work to confront and eliminate it. While one can, and should, denounce hate in a moment, the deconstruction of systems that oppress and marginalize requires an intentional, thoughtful and sustained commitment.  The WGSD will continue to work with students, families and community and regional partners to create an educational environment where every person feels valued and respected through every layer of the organization, and where no child or adult is marginalized.  Everyone is deserving of such dignity and care!

Sincerely,

John

Safety and Space

Our Story

Dear WGSD Family,

As I’m pretty certain you are aware (if not you will be after reading this), the Webster Groves School District is currently exploring safety and space in the district including our space issues related to continued enrollment growth.  The timeline of events at this link  https://www.webster.k12.mo.us/site/handlers/filedownload.ashx?moduleinstanceid=26048&dataid=28132&FileName=EnrollmentSpaceTimeline.pdf  was shared with the district’s Board of Education last Monday evening.  While the timeline includes some finer details, those of you who have attended the community forums will notice that overall the timeline is consistent with what’s been shared at each gathering.

We continue to be very interested in what each of you, and all district stakeholders, have to say on this topic.  As the timeline notes, there will be a variety of upcoming opportunities for you to contribute to this important decision-making process – regardless of whether you have ever had children attend district schools.  Our invitation for you to participate in this process is sincere, and it’s my hope that you take the opportunity to do so!

Each child, Each day…John

 

Our Celebrations

  • The grand opening of Dr. Henry Givens Jr. Elementary School took place earlier this month and attendees enjoyed hearing from the invited guests, especially Dr. Givens himself!

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  • Congratulations to the three National Merit semifinalists, Nicolaus Braun, Luke Burbee and John Porthouse, and four National Merit Commended Students,  John Arbuckle, Isabelle Blake, Leah Cooke and Gabriel Mitchell!
  • September 25 was “Jackson Bontty Day” in Webster Groves!  Jackson was recognized for recently attaining the level of Eagle Scout.

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  • Members of the Webster Groves School District Board of Education, Eric Dunn (math teacher at WGHS) and John Simpson (superintendent) presented at the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) Annual Fall Conference this past weekend on the topics: Teacher Compensation and Issues Committees and the Board Self-Evaluation Process.

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  • Congratulations to Lamar Jackson, a sophomore at Webster Groves High School, who completed the University of Missouri-St. Louis Bridge Program. The Bridge Program provides students in grades nine through 12 with educational experiences, college planning, and social and professional lessons necessary for the transition into college. Students in the program attended classes and workshops on the UMSL campus.

 

Our News

  • The annual Ivory Crockett Run for Webster is quickly approaching. This family fun run includes a 5K run, 1 mile fun run, 100 yd dash, pancake breakfast and kid’s activities. The run will start and end on Selma Ave, right in front of Webster Groves High School. The pancake breakfast and activity fair will take place inside the high school. We are currently organizing volunteers for this great event.We would love your support this year! If you are able to volunteer or would like to run/walk in the event, please click on the run website at:
    https://www.wgsdfoundation.org/run-for-webster.html.

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  • You’re invited to attend the parent workshop “Teens Starving for Intimacy:  An Epidemic of Disconnect in the Age of Connection” on Monday, October 29th from 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the Steger/Givens auditorium. Details on this workshop can be found by clicking HERE.
  • Please contribute your thoughts regarding the food service program in the WGSD: https://goo.gl/forms/l2X3gotfQ2o8WYYw2.
  • Don’t forget! If you have questions or comments for the Board of Education, plan to attend the next “Let’s Talk” session with the board, from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1 at St. Louis Bread Co. in Webster Groves.The next session will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wed., Nov. 7 at Global Brew in Rock Hill.
  • To learn more about the ongoing work of the district’s Human Resources Department including some interesting data related to district staff, click here: https://goo.gl/KaSyDq.

Happy New Year!

Our Story

Dear WGSD Family,

Happy New Year!

The 2018-19 school year is off and running, and the faculty and staff can’t be more excited and ready to partner with you, the community, and most importantly your children to make this the best school year yet.  As I’ve traveled the halls of each school this week, I’ve seen, heard, and felt the energy emanating from both the children and the adults (pics below).  It’s our charge and task to maintain this energy as together we begin diving into curriculum and course work, initiating after school experiences and activities, and working to “do life” with peers.  While challenges and trials are inevitable, I believe all things are possible if we demonstrate a sincere, personal care for one another in all things.  I know this can be hard, but I believe we all have the ability to do hard things!

Each child, Each day…John

 

Our Celebrations

  • Around 300 of us participated in the annual Back to School BBQ at Ivory Crockett Park.  Special thanks to the district’s Equity in Education Committee, the Alliance for Interracial Dignity, the Webster Rock Hill Ministries, the Webster Groves Parks and Recreation Department, the Webster Groves Police and Fire Departments, and everyone else who showed up for making the event special!

 

  • Check out the fresh new look to our district website that is now more mobile-friendly: http://www.webster.k12.mo.us.  Plus, if you haven’t downloaded the Webster Groves SD app yet, head to the Apple or Android app store now!  You won’t want to miss this resource that can be personalized to your children’s schools.

 

  • A renaming ceremony for Dr. Henry Givens Jr. Elementary School will be held at 5 p.m. Sept. 6 at the school, 701 N. Rock Hill Rd.  The Board of Education approved changing the name of the Webster Groves Elementary Computer School following a presentation on work done by a school committee.

 

  • Around 200 teachers and staff participated in a variety of professional development this summer in support of our students’ learning and overall well-being.  STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math), social justice, and professional learning communities were among the topics explored.

 

  • New Statesmen spiritwear is here! You can place an order online and pick it up from the High School main office or pay a small delivery fee to have it brought to your front door.  https://wghsparentsclub.org/collections/shirts

     

Our News

  • KWRH-LP (Radio 63119), Rotary Club 6060, and the WGSD are partnering to provide books to families with children primarily between the ages of 0-4, and also with children from ages 5-12.  Local Rotarians will regularly deliver books to families from August through January of this year.  The goal of the project is two-fold: provide free books to families who could really benefit from more books at home and work together as a community to support the education of our children!                                                                                                                              To sign up for this great opportunity, please call 314-736-4511 or email Kwrhradio@gmail.com.

 

  • The spring 2018 MAP and EOC testing cycle covered the new Missouri Learning Standards in math, English language arts (ELA), and science for the first time.  The assessments taken by our students were fully redesigned and significantly different from the state tests that had been given in previous years.  The types and difficulty level of the questions, as well as the length of test, were two of the changes our students encountered.  In addition, the MAP science assessments given to all 5th and 8th graders, along with the high school Biology end-of-course exam, were developed from questions that were being field-tested to determine their validity and reliability.  Due to all of these significant changes, it is taking the state longer to grade and analyze the results for all students throughout the state.  We will not be receiving MAP and end-of-course results for math and ELA until mid October, and hope to have all student reports mailed home to families by the end of October. Also, since the science assessments were being field-tested, we will not be receiving any information from the state from the spring 2018 tests.

 

  • The WGSD Foundation is partnering with the Kirkwood School District’s Foundation to host a special golf event on October 7.  Join me and others from the WGSD as we look to bring the new “Foundation Cup” home!  You can learn more and sign up on the Foundation’s website: http://www.wgsdfoundation.org/.

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  • Join the next class of inductees into the Webster Groves High School Statesmen Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 20th.  This year’s banquet will focus on the sport of track and field.  The Statesmen Sports Hall of Fame will induct the 1980 and 1981 girls track teams that placed in the top 4 at the state meet in both years and the girls 4×200 relay team that won the state championship in 1982.  Six of the women on those teams will be inducted as individuals and two men who were track athletes from the 1990’s will also be inducted.  Four members of the 1980 and 1981 state track teams will also be recognized with their team.                                                                                                                                                                Enjoy a night honoring these Statesmen legends on October 20th at Westborough Country Club in Webster Groves.  Cocktails start at 6 pm, dinner is served by 6:30 pm, and the induction ceremony will begin at 7:30 pm.  Purchase your $50 ticket(s) by contacting the WGHS Activities Office, (314) 918-4176.  Please RSVP by October 10th.

 

  • Are you on the WGHS Wall of Remembrance? The Wall of Remembrance honors graduates of Webster and Douglass who gave their lives in the service of their country and/or received the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Silver Star or the Distinguished Service Cross. If you have received a Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, and/or Purple Heart and are not yet on the Wall of Remembrance, please let the Alumni Office know by either emailing wgalumni@wgmail.org or call the office at 314-918-4548. 

Building Relationships

Our Story

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Dear WGSD Family,

A hallmark of the Webster Groves School District community and the five cities which encompass it, is the priority placed on relationships and personal care for one another.  I’ve lived and worked in other places throughout my career, and I can assure you that we have something special here!

One of my favorite events which epitomizes our care for one another is the annual Back to School BBQ at Ivory Crockett Park.  Each year hundreds of students, families, staff members, and community members converge at this great park to enjoy some delicious food, play games, and build or deepen relationships.  This event is a favorite of the Simpson family and many others, and we hope to see you there from 11 – 1 pm on Saturday, August 11!

Each child, Each day…John

Our Celebrations

  • A renaming ceremony for Dr. Henry Givens Jr. Elementary School will be held at 5 p.m. Sept. 6 at the school, 701 N. Rock Hill Rd.  The Board of Education approved changing the name of the Webster Groves Elementary Computer School following a presentation on work done by a school committee.
  • Around 200 teachers, staff, and administrators participated in a variety of professional development this summer in support of our students’ learning and overall well-being.  STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math), social justice, and professional learning communities were among the topics explored.

 

 

  • The district is nearing completion of our districtwide conversion from fluorescent to LED lighting which uses approximately 1/3 the electricity of fluorescent lights.

 

  • Annually the district completes a variety of projects around the district.  This summer, new flooring can be found in the hallways and locker rooms at Hixson Middle School!

Our News

  • An Enrollment Space Committee comprised of district stakeholders will meet this fall to help develop options for what might be done to address our space needs due to increasing enrollment.  To view the report the Board of Education was given on June 30 related to space and enrollment, please go to the following link: https://goo.gl/fUhAxT.

 

  • Over the past year, the Webster Groves School District partnered with leaders from Metropolitan Congregations United and the Webster Groves Police Department in order to better clarify the role and responsibilities of the school resource officer in schools.  The MOU will continue to be revisited annually and as needed.  Click here to view the 18-19 MOU: https://goo.gl/5CJWsr.

 

  • Join the next class of inductees into the Webster Groves High School Statesmen Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 20th.This year’s banquet will focus on the sport of track and field. The Statesmen Sports Hall of Fame will induct the 1980 and 1981 girls track teams that placed in the top 4 at the state meet in both years and the girls 4×200 relay team that won the state championship in 1982. Six of the women on those teams will be inducted as individuals and two men who were track athletes from the 1990’s will also be inducted. Four members of the 1980 and 1981 state track teams will also be recognized with their team.

    Enjoy a night honoring these Statesmen legends on October 20th at Westborough Country Club in Webster Groves. Cocktails start at 6 pm, dinner is served by 6:30 pm, and the induction ceremony will begin at 7:30 pm. Purchase your $50 ticket(s) by contacting the WGHS Activities Office, (314) 918-4176. Please RSVP by October 10th.

 

  • If you haven’t downloaded the Webster Groves SD app yet, head to the app store and do so now!  You won’t want to miss this resource that can be personalized to your children’s schools.

 

 

  • The WGSD Foundation is partnering with the Kirkwood School District’s Foundation to host a special golf event on October 7.  Join me and others from the WGSD as we look to bring the new “Foundation Cup” home!  You can learn more and sign up on the Foundation’s website: http://www.wgsdfoundation.org/.FoundationGolfTournament_InfoPage