WGSD – April 24 (Summer School, etc.)

Dear WGSD Family,

As we continue to operate in the now, I do want you to know we’re dedicating quite a bit of time and energy into planning for our students’ and staffs’ safe return to school, both to close out the existing year — which includes collecting and dropping off items — as well as returning to our regular school operations.  Local and regional discussions are occurring regarding this as well.  From planning through implementation, we’ll continue to prioritize the health and safety of all – physical as well as emotional.  Also, we’ll be mindful of how these processes will likely need to look different for some including students and staff who won’t be returning for the 2020-21 school year and students who will be transferring from one building to another.

Next, I wanted to provide you with a summer school update. At this point in time, we are still planning to have educational programming for our students this summer.  However, and with respect for the health and well-being all, our summer programming will be online.

Our high school students (rising 9th through rising 12th grade) will take online classes in a virtual format.  High school summer school courses will run from June 1st through July 2nd.  WGHS students who have already enrolled in a summer class will maintain enrollment in these virtual courses.  Space is still available in some courses and interested students should reach out to their counselors regarding enrollment.

For rising 1st through 8th grade students, we are currently exploring online options for summer school programming.  More information will be shared when plans are solidified.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer a Preschool or Adventure Club program.

All summer school programming is dependent on full state funding.  Any possible cuts to funding may cause us to alter what we are able to offer.

Lastly, thanks to each of you who completed the online learning survey.  This morning, building and district administrators discussed the feedback secured from the 1073 people who completed the survey.  As intended, the results will help inform and improve our work with your children moving forward.

With care,

John

 

WEEKLY MESSAGE TO STUDENTS AND CHALLENGE VIDEOS

What follows is my weekly message to students, followed by recognition of last week’s winners of the student challenge and an introduction of this week’s challenge!  Please share it with your children!

To check out the creative and fun videos submitted by students and families last week, please see the video below!  A donation of $50 will be made to the Webster-Rock Hill Ministries in honor of last week’s participants.

If your child(ren) would like to submit a video, please:

  • email it to simpson.john@wgcloud.org by 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29,
  • let me know if you don’t want your child’s video included in my weekly message next Friday, and
  • know that donations related to the challenge will not come from district funds.

 

DISTRICT AND LOCAL RESOURCES

District Meal Program:  Click here to learn more about the district’s “Grab and Go” breakfast and lunch meal program, free to all children between the ages of 0-18.

Family Meal Support: The Webster-Rock Hill Ministries is providing food to families in need.  Call (961-5082) or stop by during regular business hours (9 – 12 pm, Monday – Friday)

Regional Food and Emotional Well-Being Support: Click here to access a variety of free, regional resources.

Discussing COVID-19 and Death with Children: For support talking to children about things related to COVID-19, including the death of people they know, please access a variety of resources on our COVID-19, “Tips to Talking to Children” web page by clicking here.

WGSD – April 17 (New Principal, PreK-12th Online Learning Survey, and More)

Dear WGSD Family,

I continue to think about you and your well-being.  In addition to some important announcements, please make sure to check out some of the new and ongoing resources we’ve listed below.  While you may not need to access a resource at this time, we all know that life can change in a hurry – for good and bad.  Familiarity with these resources will help you access them when in need and/or share them with others who may or may not need the support now.

With care,

John

 

2020-21 Hixson Middle School Principal

Earlier in the week, the Board of Education approved Dr. Shenita Mayes to be the shenita picprincipal of Hixson Middle School effective July 1, 2020. Dr. Mayes spent eight years as a middle school English Language Arts teacher and is currently in her 5th year as an assistant principal – all in the Parkway School District.  She earned a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in December of 2016 from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

In addition to building on the great work taking place at both Hixson and Steger, she has many strengths which will serve our community well as together we transition Steger and Hixson to a 6-8th grade middle school.  Among those strengths, Dr. Mayes possesses the skill set to thoughtfully and strategically lead groups toward a shared vision, purposefully and with empathy for those involved.  Her attention to detail, coupled with her readiness to listen and learn, are tremendous assets for the school and district community, especially in the next couple of years. Also, Dr. Mayes is unwavering in her care and commitment to providing all students with a school where they are seen and valued at each and every turn, and in each and every way.  Lastly, Dr. Mayes loves middle school children and believes it’s important to nurture their leadership abilities within the school and beyond.

Welcome, Dr. Mayes!

 

Online Learning Survey for Preschool – High School Families

As we continue Virtual Learning in Webster Groves for the foreseeable future, it’s essential that we work in conjunction with our families to find the right balance of home and school life. Please complete this survey to help us support learning at home. Families should complete a separate survey for each child, to help us identify grade- and school-specific needs.

Physical and Emotional Safety of Students

During our normal operations, and particularly during these uncertain times, ensuring that our students feel physically and emotionally safe is a high priority for us.  Please know that your school counselors and social workers are readily available to assist you and/or your child in this time of need.  Please reach out to them for any social, emotional or academic assistance.  Also, the district has other ways in which safety concerns can be reported.  In addition to being available on the district phone app and each building’s website, a Tip Line has been established in which users can notify us of potential safety concerns.  The Tip Line and a Safe Schools Hotline phone number can be found on our Student Services web site: https://www.webster.k12.mo.us/domain/25.

Weekly Message to Students and Challenge Videos

What follows is my weekly message to students, followed by recognition of last week’s winners of the student challenge and an introduction of this week’s challenge!  Please share it with your children!

 

To check out the creative and fun videos submitted by students and families last week, please see the video below!  A donation of $50 will be made to the Webster-Rock Hill Ministries in honor of last week’s participants.

 

If your child(ren) would like to submit a video, please:

  • email it to simpson.john@wgcloud.org by 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8,
  • let me know if you don’t want your child’s video included in my weekly message next Friday, and
  • know that donations related to the challenge will not come from district funds.

 

 

DISTRICT AND LOCAL RESOURCES

District Meal Program:  Click here to learn more about the district’s “Grab and Go” breakfast and lunch meal program, free to all children between the ages of 0-18.

Family Meal Support: The Webster-Rock Hill Ministries is providing food to families in need.  Call (961-5082) or stop by during regular business hours (9 – 12 pm, Monday – Friday)

Regional Food and Emotional Well-Being Support: Click here to access a variety of free, regional resources.

Discussing COVID-19 and Death with Children: For support talking to children about things related to COVID-19, including the death of people they know, please access a variety of resources on our COVID-19, “Tips to Talking to Children” web page by clicking here.

 

 

TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT FOR DISTRICT DEVICES

Online learning is underway! If you’d like to view a variety of resources and “how to” videos in support of your children’s learning, please access the district’s Alternative Learning Plan here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1N_JnVYSMFJw0FXQrqHg5xAblI8Ntto3h/view?usp=sharing.

If you need assistance with the district computer you’re using, please contact the Parent Technology Support Line at 314-455-7080, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

 

 

ENROLLING NEW STUDENTS INCLUDING INCOMING KINDERGARTNERS

During our extended school closure, we will continue to enroll students through email, phone, etc. You will begin the enrollment process for your child(ren) by contacting Anna Trinh at trinh.anna@wgmail.org or 314-961-1233.  Please know that we do understand that certain circumstances will make this enrollment process unique.  Please click the following link, to view the documents you’ll need to enroll your child(ren): https://www.webster.k12.mo.us/site/Default.aspx?PageID=26.

WGSD – April 10

Dear WGSD Family,

I don’t think the news of schools closing came as a shock to most yesterday, but it was still sad news to share (view message by clicking here).  The news meant that inequities related to our school’s closure would continue to affect many families and staff’s lives.  Specifically, inequities related to access to technology, instant academic and social-emotional support from highly-trained staff, space to work relatively undisrupted, food, books, space to be by one’s self for a moment, etc.  In addition, while this time of the year is recognized as the “testing season” in public school districts across the state, it’s also the time for final performances, school celebrations, and important transition events such as high school graduation.  I’ve been thinking quite a bit about our senior class, and staff and students from across the district who will be moving on from our learning community for one reason or another.  Our staff will continue to do its best to help support and care for our students, families and one another as we move through this, and that includes pledging to make the end of the year as special as we can for each!

What follows is my weekly message to students, along with recognition of last week’s winners of the student challenge and an introduction of this week’s challenge, which is a challenge to all, not just students.  It’s my hope that each of you would consider sending me a short video (30 seconds or less) expressing gratitude for someone or some group caring for people during the COVID-19 crisis.   Please share the video challenge with your children and consider submitting a video yourself!

To check out the creative and fun videos submitted by students and families last week, please see the video below!  A donation of $50 will be made to the Webster-Rock Hill Ministries in honor of last week’s participants. 

 

If your child(ren) or you would like to submit a video, please:

  • Email it to simpson.john@wgcloud.org by 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15,
  • Be sure to let me know if you don’t want your child’s video included in my weekly message next Friday, and
  • know that donations related to the challenge will not come from district funds.

With care,

John

 

TALKING TO CHILDREN

For support talking to children about things related to COVID-19, including the death of people they know, please access a variety of resources on our COVID-19, “Tips to Talking to Children” web page by clicking here.

 

 

GRADE REPORTING

We have outlined plans for grading and student expectations moving forward and shared this information with our teachers. This varies slightly based on the needs at each grade level.

Our goals remain the same:

  • Keep students connected to learning experiences.
  • Provide some normalcy for students through engagement in learning activities and relationships with their teachers.

Given the challenges associated with learning from home, we will minimize the impact of grades during this closure and focus on essential learning and growth for our students.

Preschool (2-5 yr olds): Teachers will continue to provide families with feedback on their child’s submitted work.  The end of year Family Conference Report will utilize data collected in GOLD regarding strengths in all domains.  Family Conference reports will be shared with all families.

Elementary (K-5): Recognizing the challenges of learning from home, teachers will provide regular feedback to students regarding their work and the third-trimester progress report will be a narrative of each child’s progress composed by the classroom teacher (not the regular progress report). 

Steger: Teachers will provide regular feedback to students regarding their work.  Letter grades for the third trimester will only consist of work completed prior to spring break.  Teachers will allow students to make-up missing assignments.  A narrative summary related to work completed after spring break will accompany the report card.  

Hixson: Teachers will provide regular feedback to students regarding their work and students will receive a grade of “pass” or “fail” during this grading period.  Students can also continue to improve the grades they had prior to spring break (3rd Qtr) and either turn in missing assignments or redo assignments.  Only assignments that can improve the student’s grades will be recorded and calculated into the grade. The 3rd Quarter grades will also be the recorded 2nd semester grades for the year.  The last day to submit 3rd Quarter work is May 8th.

Webster Groves High School: Teachers will provide regular feedback to students regarding their work and students can continue to improve the grades they had prior to spring break.  Given the transcription of high school grades as students move from high school to post-secondary settings, we feel it’s important for letter grades to be communicated.  

 

UPDATED K – 5TH GRADE ALTERNATIVE LEARNING PLAN

Based on feedback received, the K-5 Alternative Learning Plan has changed a bit.  Please click here to review expectations for classroom learning and communication.

 

ZOOM

Recently, we’ve received some questions regarding our use of the Zoom video conferencing platform in support of student learning.  We want to reassure everyone that, from the onset of our use of this tool, we’ve been careful to establish precautionary measures in support of the safety of our students.  In addition to requiring passwords for each online meeting with a district staff member (host), the following settings are enabled or disabled in order to prevent unwanted participants from entering:

  • The video conference will not begin until the host initiates the session (students can’t enter the “conference room” or session ahead of the host)
  • Students must remain in a “waiting room” until the host grants each access to enter the session
  • Upon entry, the host must grant each individual participant permission to be heard and seen as the sound is “muted” and “video off” upon entry to the session
  • The host cannot take over control of a student’s computer
  • Students are not allowed to participate in a “private chat” during the session, all messages are shared with the entire group
  • Only the host can project a file, presentation, etc. onto the screen for participants to see
  • The host may return a student to the waiting room
  • While students may communicate via the chat feature, the annotations feature is turned off
  • The host may remove a student at any time and that person is unable to rejoin the group

As always, we will continue to monitor our practices in support of the safety and security of our students.

 

DISTRICT AND LOCAL RESOURCES

District Meal Program:  Click here to learn more about the district’s “Grab and Go” breakfast and lunch meal program, free to all children between the ages of 0-18.

Regional Food and Emotional Well-Being Support: Click here to access a variety of free, regional resources.

Discussing COVID-19 with ChildrenClick here for tips from professionals for speaking to children about the COVID-19 crisis and monitoring the effect of things on them.  to learn from mental health professionals about talking with children of all ages about what’s happening and signs you might look for to seek mental health assistance for them: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Z0baGBgRs77oAaksk9LqEPpbuJFbrj8F/view

 

 

TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT FOR DISTRICT DEVICES

Online learning is underway! If you’d like to view a variety of resources and “how to” videos in support of your children’s learning, please access the district’s Alternative Learning Plan here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1N_JnVYSMFJw0FXQrqHg5xAblI8Ntto3h/view?usp=sharing.

If you need assistance with the district computer you’re using, please contact the Parent Technology Support Line at 314-455-7080, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

 

 

ENROLLING NEW STUDENTS INCLUDING INCOMING KINDERGARTNERS

During our extended school closure, we will continue to enroll students through email, phone, etc. You will begin the enrollment process for your child(ren) by contacting Anna Trinh at trinh.anna@wgmail.org or 314-961-1233.  Please know that we do understand that certain circumstances will make this enrollment process unique.  Please click the following link, to view the documents you’ll need to enroll your child(ren): https://www.webster.k12.mo.us/site/Default.aspx?PageID=26.

WGSD – April 3

Dear WGSD Family,

In one of my original messages to you regarding the initiation of online learning, I shared that challenges to its success would be inevitable, we’d listen and learn along the way, and we’d adjust as needed in response to the best interests of our children and families.  In fulfillment of that promise, we wanted to let you know that starting next Friday, April 10, preschool through 12th-grade teachers will not introduce any new content (whole class lessons) on Fridays.  This will allow students to catch up on work they may have missed for various reasons (ex: technology issues or caring for family members), teachers and staff to connect and support the academic and social-emotional needs of individual students and staff to collaborate and plan with one another in support of student learning.  It will also provide students, staff and families additional time to focus on good health practices and self-care.  Staff will still be available during their identified and communicated “office hours” in support of students and their learning.

Also, last week I shared our concerns regarding public use of our playgrounds.  As has been communicated time and time again, COVID-19 would live on our playground equipment for some time if utilized by an infected person, knowingly or not.  Consent with St. Louis County, we’ve locked playgrounds that are fenced, placed signage at each site and have “wrapped” playgrounds, not fenced-in, with caution tape.  Also, we’ve notified the police to help remove any people we see on our playgrounds.  In addition, and also consistent with St. Louis County, we’ve made the decision to close the Moss Field area for use.  While we know this is a popular spot for walkers in our community, we feel closing down usage at this time is something we must do to help prevent the spread of this harmful and deadly disease.

What follows is my weekly message to students, followed by recognition of last week’s winners of the student challenge and an introduction of this week’s challenge!  Please share it with your children!

 

To check out the creative and fun videos submitted by students and families last week, please check out the video below!  A donation of $50 will be made to the Webster-Rock Hill Ministries in honor of last week’s participants.

If your child(ren) would like to submit a video, please:

  • email it to simpson.john@wgcloud.org by 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8,
  • let me know if you don’t want your child’s video included in my weekly message next Friday, and
  • know that donations related to the challenge will not come from district funds.

With care,

John

 

 

MESSAGE FROM WGSD NURSES

Hello, Webster Groves School District staff and families,

The nurses of WGSD wanted to share reminders and action steps with you if the time comes that someone in your household tests positive or shows symptoms of COVID-19, or you have been told to quarantine or self-isolate due to some other reason. 

  1. Please contact your health care provider or the St. Louis County Health Department if you have concerns that you or someone in your household may have COVID-19. Follow their instructions for testing and self-isolation.
    • St. Louis County COVID-19 hotline number: 877-435-8411
  2. Follow these CDC guidelines for home isolation and information on caring for someone in your home that may be isolated.
  3. Everyone, please follow the county’s stay at home order – especially remember that our district’s playgrounds are closed. We recommend taking daily note of places you have visited outside the home in the event you are asked to report.
  4. Per CDC websites above: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:
    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face
    • *This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
  5. Follow the health department’s/CDC/your health provider’s guidelines on when it is ok to discontinue isolation. (See sites above)
  6. Reach out to your school’s nurse, principal, counselor, or teacher if your family is affected by this and you need assistance in obtaining resources, getting groceries, etc. We are all in this together!
  7. Report to *this form* the start date of self-isolation if your household is affected. This information is important in planning our return to school buildings.

Sincerely,

WGSD nurses

DISTRICT AND LOCAL RESOURCES

District Meal ProgramClick here to learn more about the district’s “Grab and Go” breakfast and lunch meal program, free to all children between the ages of 0-18.

Regional Food and Emotional Well-Being Support: Click here to access a variety of free, regional resources.

Discussing COVID-19 with Children: Click here for tips from professionals for speaking to children about the COVID-19 crisis and monitoring the effect of things on them.  to learn from mental health professionals about talking with children of all ages about what’s happening and signs you might look for to seek mental health assistance for them: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Z0baGBgRs77oAaksk9LqEPpbuJFbrj8F/view

CENSUS

In order to be fully represented in Washington D.C and Jefferson City and secure billions of dollars in state and federal funding, please take 5 minutes to complete the 2020 Census by clicking here, calling (844-330-2020), or by returning a paper questionnaire.

ENROLLING NEW STUDENTS INCLUDING INCOMING KINDERGARTNERS

During our extended school closure, we will continue to enroll students through email, phone, etc. You will begin the enrollment process for your child(ren) by contacting Anna Trinh at trinh.anna@wgmail.org or 314-961-1233.  Please know that we do understand that certain circumstances will make this enrollment process unique.  Please click the following link, to view the documents you’ll need to enroll your child(ren): https://www.webster.k12.mo.us/site/Default.aspx?PageID=26.

2020-21 DR. HENRY GIVENS JR. ELEMENTARY OPEN HOUSE AND KINDERGARTEN LOTTERY

If you’re interested in sending your child to kindergarten at Givens for the 2020-21 school year, the school will be hosting a kindergarten open house event online Tuesday, April 7 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Please notify Beverly Brooks (brooks.beverly@wgmail.org or 314-610-3529) if you would like to attend the virtual open house and she will reach out with a meeting ID as the event nears.

Families whose homes will be zoned for Givens when the new boundary lines are implemented in 2021-22 can choose to send their incoming kindergarten student to Givens in 2020-21. If your family will not be zoned for Givens in 21-22 and you would like to send your incoming kindergarten student to Givens in 2020-21, you may participate in the lottery which will take place online Thursday, April 9 at 6:00 p.m. Please notify (brooks.beverly@wgmail.org or 314-610-3529) if you would like to attend the virtual lottery and she will reach out with a meeting ID as the event nears.

To find out if your home will be zoned for Givens in 2021-22, please click on the following link and type in your address: https://www.myschoollocation.com/WebsterGrovesSD/default.aspx.

TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT FOR DISTRICT DEVICES

Online learning is underway! If you’d like to view a variety of resources and “how to” videos in support of your children’s learning, please access the district’s Alternative Learning Plan here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1N_JnVYSMFJw0FXQrqHg5xAblI8Ntto3h/view?usp=sharing.

If you need assistance with the district computer you’re using, please contact the Parent Technology Support Line at 314-455-7080, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.