Our Story

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Dear Families,

Please mark your calendars for August 12 (11 – 1 pm) and our Back 2 School BBQ at Ivory Crockett Park!

Each year hundreds of district residents, not just students or families of students, converge at this great park to enjoy some delicious food, play games, and build or deepen relationships.  The purpose of the event is to build community and celebrate the start of another school year!  This event is a favorite of the Simpson family and we hope to see you there!

Each child, Each day…John

 

Our News

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  • Save the date Sept. 9 for the grand opening of the newly renovated Webster Groves High School auditorium, featuring a multimedia program “Visions of America” with alumnus Joseph Sohm and narrated by Clint Eastwood.  Tickets for this special program are $10 in advance from the High School office or $15 at the door. All proceeds benefit the High School auditorium renovation.

    Sohm, class of 1966, is an award-winning photographer who’s spent his career capturing the spirit of America in his pictures, which include United States presidents, sports, small towns, events and more.  The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, U.S. News and World Report and many other publications have used his photos.  His multimedia presentations include “Concert for America” at the Kennedy Center and touring multimedia shows for the United States Commission on the Bicentennial of the Constitution.

    We hope to see you on the 9th! For additional information, please call 918-4548.

  • Prior to the start date of the school year we will be launching Tyler SIS Student 360 Mobile.  This is a mobile phone app version of the Tyler SIS Student 360 Parent Portal available on both iOS and Android. It can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes iOS App Store and the Google Play App Store now.  We’ve set August 11th as our date to go live.  For more information and tutorials please visit our district webpage.
  • The community is invited to meet with some Board of Education members of the Webster Groves School District Sunday, Aug. 6 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the St. Louis Bread Co. in Webster Groves. Bring your questions and comments.

 

  • Ambrose Family Center Preschool, where your child will make new friends, learn more than you imagined, and find their joy! One 3 yr old and two 4 yr old openings for families seeking exceptional full day opportunities. Half day morning and afternoon spaces available too. Please share!

 

  • To view the results from the Communications Survey shared in May, please go to the following site: https://goo.gl/z3wgkG.

 

 

Our Celebrations

  • Congratulations to Webster Groves High School student Benjamin Krasnoff, who earned a 36 on the ACT, the highest possible composite score. Fewer than one-tenth of one percent of students who take the ACT earn the top score.

 

  • Here are some photos from the updates to Knight Auditorium:

 

 

 

  • JaNekka Hutchinson was our featured staff member for the latest In Focus video.  Please learn more about Ms. Hutchinson and her students’ experience during summer school by clicking here: https://goo.gl/q6gNZB.

Graduation!

Our Story

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On May 19, I had the pleasure of taking in graduation from a new vantage point up on the stage.  That night, I discovered that I had the best seat “in the house.” Not only did I have a great view of our graduates as they proudly walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, I also got to see the joyful expressions on the faces of parents, families, and loved ones who supported them along the way.  Needless to say, it was quite a treat!

While every student traversed the same stage that night, each took a different path to get to that special moment.  I’d like to highlight a bit about the path of the Class of 2017’s Eagle Award Winner, Duyen-Anh Vo.  As I listened to Steve Leftridge read the nomination he wrote for Duyen-Anh, I was not only blown away by her personal contributions to and care for this world, but was reminded of all this great class has brought to the world already and what lies ahead thanks to them.  If reading this doesn’t give you hope in the future, I don’t know what will.

As written by Steve Leftridge:

I’m honored to present this year’s Eagle Award to a student with a remarkable range of talent, discipline, heart, and character.

Throughout her high school career, she has been fiercely committed to personal excellence. She has a 3.9 GPA. She’s the senior class student council president. She’s the captain of the cheerleading squad. She is a highly gifted dancer–we’ve seen her become a viral sensation and win regional and national competitions; she recently appeared in the finals of the Teen Talent competition for the second straight year.

It’s all a result of the work–the blood, the sweat, the tears, that she has shed practicing and pushing herself as a dancer for many years. And she’s channeled most of that hard work back into our school–she’s choreographed everything here at the high school, from the cheerleading routines to the senior line dance to the Mr. Webster contest to her amazing performances at the All Write Festival. She’s also a terrific painter–she has produced beautiful art for our guests during each of our last All Write Festivals, for which she was our most valuable intern; she did as much as anyone to run the All Write Festival this year.

As artistic as she is, and I know her as a great English student, her first academic love is science, and next year at the University of Kentucky she’s majoring not only in dance but also pre-med. She wants to be a doctor. Because what really drives her is not only constant self-improvement but also making other people better.

And this is the side of her that she doesn’t make visible, that isn’t on stage. Not only has she spent her entire life working in her family’s restaurants, she has, since 6th grade, volunteered several hours a week at a local Medical Clinic. She has, for years, made care packages–full of stuffed animals, handmade crafts, and treats–for children battling cancer and she has taken those to local hospitals every Sunday, which she continues to do today. She volunteers at St. Cecilia’s, the Spanish school downtown, as a math tutor. Since grade school, she has, by her own initiative, made and delivered lunches to the homeless around town on the weekends. She also teaches dance–for no pay–to special needs classes at studios around St. Louis.

And she does all of these things with a smile on her face. She never complains. She is unfailingly nice to everyone and continually puts out the best kinds of vibes and lifts everyone around her.

She has sacrificed a great deal and worked literally around the clock to maximize her talents, to help others in need, to achieve personal excellence, to improve her community, and to make Webster Groves High School a more outstanding school.

So it is with great pleasure that I present the 2017 Webster Groves High School Eagle Award to Duyen Anh Vo.

Each child, Each day…John

Our Celebrations

  • Please join us in celebrating and thanking the 2017 Class of WGSD Retirees!  They are Nancy Zitzmann, principal of Bristol; Barb Davidson, Clark’s nurse; Susan Delanty, aide at Edgar Road; Beverly DePung, Edgar Road counselor; Karen Holden, Edgar Road aide; Nancy Hansbrough, Hixson teacher; Herman Townsend, custodial supervisor at Hixson; Don Knobbe, Steger teacher; Susan O’Brien, data specialist in Human Resources; Katie Burks, High School custodian; Chester Kennedy, High School custodian; Ken Manwarring, High School teacher; Margaret Skouby, High School teacher; Kim Baker, Hudson teacher; Debbie Grubbs, Hudson teacher; Jabetha Temming, Hudson teacher and James Wymore, Hudson librarian.
  • Congratulations to Hixson student Isabella LaMantia, who was recently chosen for Princeton University’s Summer Institute for the Gifted. Students can choose from courses in the humanities, math, science, technology, visual and performing arts, fitness and recreation on the campus of the university.
  • The WGSD School Board was one of only 24 (out of 518) public school districts to earn the 2017 Governance Team Award for “outstanding commitment to ongoing professional development, to regional and statewide leadership, and to active participation in legislative advocacy for public schools by the school board and superintendent.”

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  • Congrats to the WGHS Girls Track Team for placing 3rd at State!  Also, special congratulations to WGHS 10th grader Nia Lyles who won the state championship in shot put and took 2nd in the discus(broke 37 year record)!
  • Congratulations to High School teacher Jeanette Hencken, who was honored as Educator Associate with the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics at a banquet for her work in aerospace leadership.

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Our News

  • The WGSD Girls Soccer Team will travel to Kansas City, MO this Friday to play in the Class 3 Soccer Final 4!  Good luck!
  • In order to better support and partner with our community, we’d like you to take a brief communication survey: https://goo.gl/AMdkhL.  Please submit your completed survey by Friday, June 16.
  • Summer youth sports camps at Webster Groves High School can be found at the following link: https://goo.gl/oPgfT0 If you need more information please call the WGHS Activities Office at 314-918-4176.
  • Interim Chief Financial Officer Bruce Ellerman will continue in that position for another year.
  • WGSD Central Office summer hours are 7:00 am – 3:00 pm.  Please call with any questions: 961-1233.

Flooding in Our Region

Dear Community,

As you know, our region is once again experiencing catastrophic flooding affecting many.  Our hearts go out to all affected in small and life-altering ways.  While fortunate that we don’t have to close like a number of nearby districts, we do have staff affected by the loss of roadways.  The district’s human resources department is working with building administrators to support staff directly affected by the flooding.  At this point, staff members and their dwellings are safe, and we will continue to place a priority on their safety.

I did want to share one uplifting story close to home.  Our high school boys lacrosse (@WGboyslaxteam decided to take one of their practice times to go and fill sandbags in support of their neighbors to the south.  The picture below shows the team with residents whose homes they worked to protect.  As you can imagine, the residents were overcome with emotion by the goodness of these young men and their coaches.  When I heard about their care for others and saw the picture below, I was emotional as well.

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Each child, Each day…John

Welcome, Dr. Lee!

Our Story

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The Webster Groves School District has hired Grace Lee, currently an assistant principal at Parkway Northeast Middle School, as the principal of Hixson Middle School effective July 1.

Dr. Lee has been assistant principal at Northeast for five years. Before that, she taught English language arts in Parkway and was a school social worker in Jennings. She holds a doctorate and master’s degree in educational administration, both from Lindenwood University, as well as a master’s in social work from Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in middle school education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Dr. Lee’s genuine care for both children and adults is central to who she is as a person and as a leader.  While described by one Parkway administrator as the “Pied Piper” of students at Northeast Middle School, she also is very outspoken about and known for the high expectations she has for all students.  It is clear that she will go to any length to ensure children “know they (children) are seen and know their worth.”

At Northeast Middle School and in the Parkway School District, Dr. Lee has initiated and/or led a number of efforts which have had a positive influence on students and staff.  For example, she has led the restorative practices training and work at Northeast Middle.  In addition to training staff, which she believes must be prepared in order to provide real-time, in-class support for students, Dr. Lee had a group of approximately thirty children participate in the same restorative professional development as the adults, through a student leadership program she created.  Since being trained, some of those students have facilitated restorative circles for children and adults across the St. Louis region.  Next, Dr. Lee facilitated a re-write of the 6-8th grade English Language Arts Curricula to make it socially just and aligned across all grade levels.  Also, she was co-leader and principal writer for a process that resulted in Parkway Northeast being recognized as a state and national School of Character.  Furthermore, this year she initiated an all-school poetry slam in support of students’ creative expression.

We’re very excited for Dr. Lee’s official arrival on July 1!

Each child, Each day…John

Our Celebrations

  • Last week, a beautiful bench and Japanese maple tree were dedicated to Bristol School on behalf of its beloved principal, Nancy Zitzmann, retiring at the end of this school year.

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  • For the first time ever, WGHS students won first place in the Mechanics division at an area physics competition taking place at Washington University.  Students also won second place in the Comprehensive division.  Special congratulations to junior Ben Gossow who brought home first place in the individual portion of the Mechanics competition!
  • Kudos to Hixson Middle School counselors Linda Peterson and Sarah Bodi, who were recently acknowledged by the St. Louis Suburban School Counselor Association for their presentation on Mindfulness and Yoga at a regional meeting.
  • Last Monday, the School Board awarded an honorary diploma to Ralph Naslund of Webster Groves, a World War II veteran who served in the Pacific, then later in Korea as a member of the 40th division, 143rd field artillery battalion and the 160th infantry regiment. Mr. Naslund was drafted six months before he graduated from Roosevelt High School in St. Louis. Board member Arnold Stricker (at left in photo) presented the diploma to Mr. Naslund (at right).After the war, Mr. Naslund returned to St. Louis where he established his own company, Commercial Electric.Congratulations, Mr. Naslund and thank you for your service!

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  • Check out the interesting art projects taking place during the Art Club at Steger Sixth Grade Center and the Computer School.

Our News

  • The district will hold a sale of the old High School auditorium seats for interested members of the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 20. The price will be $10 a seat. Buyers can come in and choose a seat. Once the contractor has removed the seats, we will hold them for pick up in June.
  • The annual Jim Schoemehl 5 K Run is May 6. The run, organized by marketing students at Webster Groves High School, benefits ALS research and awareness. Register today! For information and to register, go to the web site http://jims5k.org/
  • Last Monday night, Interim Chief Financial Officer Mr. Ellerman shared the long-range budget outlook with the Board of Education.  To view the 3 year projection, click here: https://goo.gl/iEikLV
  • In support of ensuring “student voice” is central to our work and operations, High School Principal Jon Clark and I are meeting with sophomore students regarding the opportunity they have to apply to be a “student advisor” to the board.  Click here for more information: https://goo.gl/JOLz16
  • Please mark your calendar for the WGSD Foundation’s Webster On Wheels Event. Check out the information below and click on this link to register: https://goo.gl/3ejGNkWOW_2017_Event_Flyer_900x1165 (1)

Welcome, Mr. Senti!

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Mr. Bill Senti, 2017-18 Principal of Bristol Elementary School

Our Story

Dear Families,

I’m excited to share that the district recently hired Bill Senti, currently principal of Craig School in the Parkway School District, as principal of Bristol School, effective July 1.

Mr. Senti has been principal of Craig for five years. Before that, he was an assistant principal at Northeast Middle School in Parkway and a teacher in the Rockwood School District. He holds a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from Lindenwood University and a bachelor in fine arts degree in graphic design from Maryville University. He was a nominee for Teacher of the Year in Rockwood, has received the Francis & Elizabeth Huss Graduate Award in Education from Lindenwood and received the Pillar of Parkway Award from his current school district.

I’m confident Mr. Senti is the leader best prepared to take Bristol forward in the years to come. He’s shown that he values working together with children, staff, parents and the school community to create an inclusive environment where the social, emotional and academic needs of children are met.

Please join me in welcoming Mr. Bill Senti to the Webster Groves School District!

Each child, Each day…John

 

Our Celebrations

  • At the St. Louis Symphony’s Picture the Music Awards, Steger student Holly Travers won the highest honor – the Maestro Award.  Holly’s piece of art, which will travel the region, was one of two selected from over 13,000 entrants!
  • Congratulations to the 2017 Class 5 State Boys Basketball Champs!

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  • WGHS junior Ben Linehan was recently honored with the Excellence in Science Award at UMSL and senior Kelly Komotos received honorable mention for the Aspirations in Computing award from the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) at SLU.  Also honored by NCWIT was WGHS teacher, Jeanette Hencken, who was the only teacher in the region to receive the Educator Award for supporting and encouraging female students in aspirations in computing!
  • Congratulations to the Steger Chess Team — Andrew Voelker, Dominic Lee, Marcus Budde and Eric Miranda — which won fourth place in the 2017 Missouri State Championship! Andrew also won a sixth place individual trophy. More than 500 students participated in all sections.
  • Thanks to the efforts of the WGSD Foundation, the Big River Running Company named the Ivory Crockett Run for Webster, Best Neighborhood Support Run!
  • Edgar Road second graders partnered with shoemakers in Uganda to help produce 100 pairs of shoes for children in that country.

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Our News

  • Don’t forget that a forum for candidates running for the School Board in the April 4 election is tonight, March 30, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Hixson Middle School,630 S. Elm Ave. The League of Women Voters will moderate the session.The candidates, in order of filing, are Amy Clendennen (incumbent), Jo Beth Doll, Thomas (Tom) Newport, David Addison (incumbent) and Michael J. Rose. Board terms are for three years; three seats will be decided in the election.
  • April 11 is the WGSD Foundation’s Spring for Schools Event.  Please click here to check out the local restaurants which will contribute a percent of their sales from that day to our school district.
  • The entire school district community is invited and encouraged to attend this special upcoming event hosted by the Bristol Equity Parents and the Bristol PTO!  Amy Hunter flyer
  • The board revised the teacher salary schedule and approved a one-year agreement recommended by the Certified Staff Salary Committee that will provide more competitive starting salaries and eventually cost less than the former salary structure.The estimated increase in net cost from the new schedule is 2.115 percent. The committee developed the new schedule with a focus on making it competitive, equitable, sustainable and something the community would support.
  • The district is currently in the process of selecting the next principal of Hixson Middle School.  It is my intent to recommend a candidate to the Board of Education at the April 10 board meeting.

Welcome, Mr. Fields! – January

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Mr. Howard Fields, 2017-18 Principal of Steger Sixth Grade Center and the Elementary Computer School

Our Story

Dear Families and Community,

I’m excited to share that on January 23, the Webster Groves School District Board of Education approved the hiring of Howard E. Fields as the new principal of Steger Sixth Grade Center and the Elementary Computer School. Mr. Fields is currently principal of Koch Elementary School in the Riverview Gardens School District.

Throughout the search process, Mr. Fields demonstrated that he would be a thoughtful leader, an empathetic and caring colleague, and someone who would work together with children, staff, parents, the communities of both schools, and others to move with purpose in a direction consistent with our vision for innovation and personalized learning.  His leadership work in the Riverview Gardens School District demonstrates his ability to work with a school community to address real needs in creative ways.

He holds graduate degrees from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and will earn a doctorate from UMSL in the spring. Before becoming principal at Koch, he was assistant principal at Westview Middle School, also in Riverview.

Mr. Fields was cited as an Exemplary New Principal in 2015 by the St. Louis Suburban Elementary Principals Association and the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals as well as one of North County Incorporated’s 30 Leaders in their Thirties in 2016.

Please join me in welcoming Mr. Howard Fields to the Webster Groves School District!

Each child, Each day…John

 

Our Celebrations

  • Today Avery Elementary was recognized as an Exemplary PLC (Professional Learning Community) School by the state of Missouri!  This has been a five-year journey for the team at Avery and they’re very deserving of this special recognition!
  • Thanks to your generosity, the WGSD Foundation today announced that the FUNDing Innovation Campaign raised approximately $12,000!  Each school will receive $1,200 to initiate or further develop a makerspace.
  • Last Friday, the WGHS Wind Symphony and Concert Choir performed for large audiences during the annual conference of the Missouri Music Educators Association. Special congratulations to the choir for being the top choir recognized in Class 6 in the state!
  • Three fifth graders at Hudson received grants from the Innovation Technology Education Fund in support of products they’re making.
    • George Lock received $250 to create hoodies with Bluetooth speakers in them.
    • Preston Dorris and Drew Gerst received $400 for a Lego Mindstorm EV3.  They had created a Lego vending machine, and the Mindstorm will make the machine bigger and include a touch button dispensing system.
  • The Walter Ambrose Family Center’s early childhood program was recently awarded a $20,000 Child Care Development Fund Grant.

Our News

  • Audio recordings of board meetings may now be found on the Board web site.  To listen to the first recorded board meeting on January 23, click here.
  • The 2018-19 district calendar has been approved.  Please click here to view it.
  • The WGSD’s summer elementary program will offer exciting project-based courses for all interested children.  Applications are now available at schools and are due March 3.
  • Our virtual “Family Enrichment Fair” will be coming soon.  Stay tuned for further information!
  • If you live in the Avery (only) attendance area and need to enroll a child in kindergarten for the 2017-18 school year, please contact Hollie Henderson (918-4003) at the district offices to make an appointment.

 

Connecting and Contributing – December

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Students at Hixson Middle School yesterday honored Herman Townsend, custodial supervisor at the school, who is retiring Jan. 1. He joined the Webster Groves School District in 1980.  He will be greatly missed!

OUR STORY

‘Tis the season for connecting and contributing.  While many of us including myself will demonstrate love and care for others via store-bought goods, I trust that most of us would agree the gifts that endure beyond the moment they’re “opened” are those that can’t be found in stores.  They’re gifts that demonstrate one’s affection for another, shared in a way that’s personal and filled with care and meaning.

It’s my belief that schools should be places where these types of personal gifts are regularly shared in new and different ways both within the school itself as well as in the local and global communities.  It’s important that we as educators continue to do our part to lower the divide that exists between schools and community so that our children are regularly demonstrating care for their community and our community is regularly contributing to the learning of our children.  Below are a small sample of ways I’ve seen this type of sharing take place in the past two weeks.

I wish each of you the best this holiday season!

Each child, Each day…John

Omar shares a musical gift with the entire Steger student body last Friday as part of their weekly Music Friday.

As part of a science study, 4th grade students at Avery connect with a team from the University of Wisconsin studying neutrinos (very high-energy particles with neither a positive nor negative charge) at the South Pole.  They were very excited to talk to former Avery student, Christopher Weaver, who is a member of the team!

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After collecting multiple wagons full of goods, this 4th grade class at Bristol walked to Old Community Baptist Church to make the delivery and learn more about the church’s efforts and those being served by them.

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After one student shared what he learned regarding the effect of WWII on Missouri history, 4th and some 5th grade students at Clark wanted to learn more about WWII so they Skyped with an expert on the USS Missouri stationed at Pearl Harbor.

This afternoon, students at Hudson were treated to this video of the most recent 3rd-5th grade music concert.

OUR CELEBRATIONS

  • There are no longer any waiting lists at any of our Adventure Club programs!
  •  WGHS students Emma Austin and Jared Brown organized and raised over $1,000 for the Little Bit Foundation during the recent Mr. Webster Competition.
  • Congratulations to two WGHS students:
    • Chris Kuse was chosen as one of three students in the United States to fly to San Francisco for the Berlin and Beyond Film Festival in February.  At the festival, Chris will connect with and learn from a variety of German filmmakers, actors and industry professionals.
    • Jack Kincaid has been named one of only 25 students in the country for the Reischauer Scholars Program at Stanford University, an intensive online study of Japan.  Ambassadors, top scholars, and experts throughout the United States and Japan will provide online lectures and engage students in live discussion sessions.
  • Lauren Forsyth, Heather Nichols, Susie Jonn and Deedee Sheehan, teachers from the Walter Ambrose Family Center, presented at the Missouri Early Learning Conference at Tan-Tar-A. The topics were “Passionate About the Outdoors?” and “Not Just About Materials.”
  • The Bionic Bulldogs Robotics Team from Hixson participated in the State FFL competition and brought home the Inspiration Award!

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OUR NEWS

  • Are you looking for summer opportunities for your child this year? The Webster Groves School District’s Summer Elementary Program will be offering an all-new array of exciting experiential and project-based courses for children, at no cost to parents. Stay tuned for details! The program runs from June 1 – July 7.
  • In our continued efforts to improve two-way dialogue with the community, following winter break we will open Facebook comments on our district Facebook page.
  • Assistant Superintendent Dr. Denbow recently shared additions to the 17-18 course offerings at WGHS including: AP Environmental Science, AP Statistics, Game Design 2 and C# Programming, and Android Application Development and Programming.
  • The results of the resident enrollment study conducted by Dr. Charles Kofron were presented to the Board of Education this past Monday night.  While the data projects resident enrollment in some schools such as Avery to decrease, it also projects district resident enrollment to continue increasing over the next five years.
  • Prior to Thanksgiving break, I sent the following note to families of district students regarding our continued efforts to create and maintain the best educational and environment possible for our students, staff, and families.