Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of listening to or being in conversations with district students as they shared thoughts about their experiences relating to equity both inside and outside our school system. While they’ve frequently noted feelings of progress, some of our children have experienced images, words, actions, and sometimes the absence of such that distress, challenge, and often times hurt.
However, each of these students remains steadfast in commitment to creating a world in which our differences are seen as just that, differences, and where people are valued because they’re people. From each of these students, I find inspiration, challenge, and great hope in our shared commitment for a better future.
As a school district we are continuing to work with intention and purpose in support of justice for all! What follows is a sampling of some of our shared efforts:
- The district’s Equity in Education Team continues to meet on a regular basis. Any high school student, staff member, or adult is welcome to join this group at any time! The next meeting is scheduled for November 14 at 5:30 pm in the library at WGHS.
- The district partnered with the Anti-Defamation League in support of bringing a “World of Difference Institute” to Webster Groves High School. While the training involved professional development for a select group of staff, the ADL worked with 22 students for 3 days to help develop them as peer trainers in support of facilitating open and courageous dialogue among student and adults alike. The students continue to meet with one another and staff members on a weekly basis in support of their development as leaders. KSDK featured our students and this program last month: https://goo.gl/qvvhv2.
- District staff in their 2nd year in the school district continue to participate in yearlong social justice training.
- Both this week and next, “equity walks” are taking place in each district school for the purpose of examining each environment. What is learned from the walks is shared with building-level administrators and a summation of the information will be shared with the district’s Equity in Education Team.
- District hiring and retention practices as well as course requirements/prerequisites are in the process of being vetted for fairness.
- Children’s literature is being looked at with a critical eye to help ensure our students are seeing images and stories which have relevance to both them and the world.
- We’ve begun re-examining curriculum for cultural relevance.
I look forward to seeing the positive effect our shared commitment and work will have on all of our students in the weeks, months, and years ahead!
Each child, Each day…John
- Congratulations to Mary Katherine Townsend on finishing 3rd at districts in tennis!
- Way to go, WGHS STAR community service club! The group, with help from soccer players at the High School, made more than 1,000 sandwiches yesterday for the St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry.
- Congratulations to High School senior Elliot Williams, who has been named a National Merit Commended Student. Commended students rank among the top three percent of students who took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Also, congratulations to our National Merit Scholarship semifinalists who rank in the top 1% of all students who took the assessment. They are Andrew Downey, Brendan Gillow, Keilyn Johnson, Jack Snelling and Ethan Whitaker.
- Congratulations to WGHS senior, Benjamin Krasnoff who earned a perfect 36 on the ACT exam!
- Distinguished alumnus and basketball coach to many NBA stars, Drew Hanlen, speaks to WGHS students about his business and a fundraiser to benefit Haiti.
- The WGSDF is proud to host The Ivory Crockett Run for Webster TOMORROW! Bring the whole family for this super fun family event! Sign up for the 5k or 1 mile fun run, have the little kids run in the 100 yard dash, visit with Fredbird and enjoy a Pancake Breakfast! Registration and more information can be found at www.wgsdfoundation.org or show up tomorrow morning! The HS band will also be hosting its mattress fundraiser in Roberts Gym from 9 – 5 pm.
- Check out this video that highlights “Restorative Circles” taking place with students at Hixson Middle School along with Dr. Grace Lee and her staff!
- “Beyond Measure” will be shown in the Hixson auditorium at 7 p.m. Oct. 25. The movie is free and open to the public. Reserve your admission ticket here https://goo.gl/takznR. Watch the trailer here!
- Following a public hearing in advance of the September 25 meeting, the board approved residential, commercial, personal property and debt service tax rates for 2017-18. The rates (exclusive of the debt service levy) are as follows: residential, $4.7554; commercial, $4.8806 and personal property, $5.9000. The debt service levy is an additional $0.5699. It’s important to note that the WGSD tax rate is now near the middle of all St. Louis County School Districts!
- Here’s the full-length video from Tuesday night’s State of the District Event:
- Check out this great, resource-rich parental involvement toolbox produced by the organization of distinguished alumnus, Kevin Walker: https://goo.gl/47yLfP