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.

 

 

WGSD – March 27

Dear WGSD Family,

I continue to think about your well-being and that of our neighbors, locally, regionally and globally. The virus continues to have an impact on each of us – from small to life-changing ways. Please do whatever you can do to care for yourself, loved ones and all. To those of you whose work and/or care is leading you to help on the “front lines, ” my thoughts and prayers for you are ongoing. Thank you!

Like life, changes in how we “do school” will likely remain dynamic for some time. Our staff members have dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort to plan for how to care for, including teach and support, children and families during the closure. That being said, please don’t hesitate to reach out with your questions and needs for support. We’re here for you!

Each Friday, I will email a message to families and staff that includes updated, relevant information and resources (see below). The message will also be included on the following blog: eachchildeachdaywgsd.com. You can use the blog as a “warehouse” to view prior messages and access resources once shared.

In the spirit of connectedness and community, each Friday, I’m going to issue a fun challenge to district children! Certainly, no one has to participate.  To view and share a message with students and see this week’s challenge, please click here:

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 1,
  • 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

 

Food Assistance

In an effort to support families, we are now serving free “Grab and Go” breakfasts and lunches (food may not be consumed on-site) to all children between the ages of 0 and 18 at Hudson Elementary, located at 9825 Hudson Ave., Rock Hill, MO 63119. This program is available Monday – Friday from 10:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m., and will continue as long as the district is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The children must be present to receive the meals.  Delivery during that same time frame will also be an option (see below).

So we can ensure we have enough meals prepared, we are asking anyone who is interested in breakfast and/or lunch to respond to this anonymous survey: https://forms.gle/BETXJMMvhKZJCUHLA. If you prefer to share this information over the phone, you can also call 314-918-4156 and leave a message.

Also, please click on the following link to access food support for your entire family within our district community and the St. Louis region: https://www.operationfoodsearch.org/find-food/.

Critical Behavioral and Mental Health Supports

As a result of our participation in the St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund, several of our partnering agencies are offering free telehealth options during the COVID-19 crisis. The agencies with whom we work that are offering this option are:

CHADS (Coalition for Mental Health): 314-952-8274
Epworth Children and Family Service: 314-727-6294
Jewish Family and Children’s Services: 314-812-9378
Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri: 314-787-5100
Preferred Family Healthcare Inc.: 636-751-3691
Safe Connections: 314-646-7500 (ext: 146)

If you need any support finding a resource to match your need(s), please call or email your child’s counselor or administrator. If you’d like support from a district administrator, please contact John M. Thomas, Director of Student Services at thomas.johnm@wgmail.org or 314-918-4378.

Talking about COVID-19 and Monitoring Children

Please click on the following link 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

Illness Prevention and Playgrounds (Click on the item to access more information):

Please click on the following link to learn how to protect yourself and others from the COVID-19 Illness: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html.  I’ve received a few reports recently of children and families that are using our playgrounds for recreation.  Research has shown that COVID-19 remains on plastic and some steel surfaces.  Thus, the dangerous virus would live on our playground equipment for some time if utilized by a person infected, knowingly or not.  Please do not use our playground equipment, or any public playground equipment, at this time!

Enrolling New Students Including Incoming Kindergartner

Welcome to the Webster Groves School District! 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 emailing a detailed message (including phone#) to Anna Trinh (trinh.anna@wgmail.org) or by calling and leaving a message for Ms. Trinh at 314-961-1233.  You will then be connected to the person who will see you through the entire enrollment process. Following the enrollment process, you will complete online registration through the parent portal. Parent portal access will be emailed to you during enrollment. Please note that online registration for 2020-2021 will not be available until summer of 2020. You will be notified by email when online registration is open for the 2020-2021 school year.

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 in support 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 you’re 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 under way! 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.

 

 

 

 

COVID-19 – Space for Updates

Dear WGSD Family,

As together we work to care for our students, families and one another during this time, I will use this blog to provide updates, information and resources.  The below information was shared with district families and staff over the past 2 days.

With care,

John

 

Dear WGSD Families,

First, I wanted to let you know that I’m thinking about your children and your families.  While it’s critically important that we practice the science of physically distancing ourselves from one another, it’s also imperative that we practice the science of remaining closely connected in every other way – heart, spirit, mind and through other collective efforts to care very deeply for the children and families of our district community – OUR FAMILY!

Following the decision we made to close our schools and suspend in-person classes preliminarily until April 3, district and building-level leaders have been working with much thought and intention on plans for how to best meet the personal and academic needs of our children, to support staff as they work with one another to educate and support our children, and to partner with families and organizations and agencies for the good of all.  While we don’t have all the answers, we’ll continue to work and learn together in order to care for the children and adults of this community and this region. Do we have a plan for educating and supporting 2 – 18 year olds at home that’s guaranteed to work right away? No, we do not. Do we have a plan that we feel good about initiating that will be continually reviewed and adjusted to meet our needs as we implement? Absolutely! While you’ll soon receive a more detailed plan, please click here for the Webster Groves Start Up Schedule, a summary of the work taking place from now until April 3, including a few things you can do as parents/guardians to support student learning while at home.

While there are many things on your mind as it relates to your children and the future, I wanted to address a few of them and to direct you to where you can ask questions and find answers.

 

Food Service

Starting this Monday, March 23, we will provide breakfast and lunch service free for any child between the ages of 0 – 18 at Hudson Elementary School (9825 Hudson Ave, 63119).  You do not have to live in the school district or be enrolled in the WGSD to receive a meal!  Click here to see the flyer!

Additional details include:

  • Please complete the following anonymous survey if you wish to participate in this program: https://forms.gle/hJtMvLinNsCYVunU7 or call 314-918-4156.

  • Pick-up times from 10:45 – 12:45 pm, Monday through Friday until schools are reopened.

  • At the time of pick-up, participants will have the opportunity to get lunch for that day and breakfast for the next.

  • The child(ren) must be present during pick-up to receive the meal(s).

  • Children and families will not be required to share their names or whether they attend a district school.

  • If families are unable to be present, delivery of meals may be arranged by calling 314-918-4156 or emailing pelant.nancy@wgmail.org

  • In addition, families can find other local and regional sources for meal support, in St. Louis County and St. Louis City, by visiting the following link: https://sites.google.com/rsdmo.org/allourkids/regional-food-sites

 
Essential Items from School

Please contact your building-level principal(s) as soon as possible regarding any items you need, currently in the building or not, in support of your child’s health and education during this time.  Tuesday, March 24 will be the last day administrators have access to the building in order to retrieve such items.

 

Technology

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working to determine which families would benefit from computer and/or Internet support in the event we could not be in school.  We will be contacting those families and staff regarding our method of computer distribution and support, Internet and otherwise. You’ll also be provided with a technology helpline for set-up and emerging issues.

 

Alternative Learning Plan for Parents and Guardians

Click here to find the Alternative Learning Plan for parents and guardians.  If you have any questions about the plan, please contact your child(ren)’s teacher or administrator, or submit a question through the district web site, after Wednesday, March 25.

 

Communication

Having clear and consistent channels of communication is paramount in our new education paradigm.  Schools and teachers will establish and communicate such channels of communication with you soon. One way you can get support or share information is by using our schools’ and district phone numbers and emails, which may be found at our district website: https://www.webster.k12.mo.us/.  We will check our voice mail regularly and try to return phone calls within a 24 hour period, excluding weekends.  Each Friday the school district will send out an email blast with updated information. We will also continue sharing information via our Covid-19 web page: https://mo02202299.schoolwires.net/Page/23092, Facebook (WebsterGrovesSD) and Twitter (@WebsterGrovesSD).

As always, Webster Groves School District staff will be here to provide care and support for district children and families.  Given all that is new and the impact of the changes and closures, including those directly affecting our own families, we will ask for and rely on your grace and understanding moving forward.  I can promise that we’ll only get better with each lesson learned over each passing day!

With care and gratitude for you and your family…John

 

 

 

 

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:

IMG_5889IMG_5891IMG_5884IMG_5882

Traffic congestion:

created by dji camera
created by dji camera

Seating for attendees unable to navigate stairs behind graduate seating:

created by dji camera
created by dji camera

Viewing graduation from behind barricades or on grass hill:

IMG_0571

IMG_0578

Viewing graduation from outside the stadium:

IMG_0574IMG_0575

No view of the graduation stage: 

IMG_0568

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 

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  • 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.