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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 5/23

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    News with Dr. Irvin, 5/16

    Hello WGHS Families, As we set to close out our school year with graduation Saturday night and finals in the next week, we are called to reflect on the year. We are closing in on the last of our teams still active and many of the last concerts behind us as well. For our seniors, a more sweeping gaze is necessary and connects to the poem, "September, the First Day of School," by Howard Nemerov. I think of it often as my wife and I have a senior-to-be in both college and high school next year. The piece begins with a parent dropping off a child at elementary school and takes the reader through the parent’s experiences as a student and their hopes for their own child--very powerful and not fully known. The last stanza speaks to the adults in the school who care for the child:

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 4/25

    Hello WGHS Families, As we close in on the month of May, often we reflect on our seniors. I was pondering the manner in which the class of 2024 started at WGHS, virtual and methodically more in-person as the year concluded. The unknown and unsettling nature of their first year was mitigated by their ability to embrace the illumination that education affords along with the art, athletics, and activities that enrich the academic experiences. They found refuge in the connections and community with classmates and our staff that provided the needed balance of challenge and support. As we look forward with our junior students, their paths will begin to diverge after their graduation in 13 months. Options of colleges, careers, or service settings all have innumerable pathways of their own. Once again, uncertainty reigns.

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 4/18

    Hello WGHS Families, A candidate for a teaching position asked our committee to identify a unique attribute of Webster Groves High School. My response is that our size allows many academic, athletic, or club options for students to pursue, yet small enough for a student to find a role in one or more of those settings. A student may be a musician and part of an athletic team or be in a dramatic production coupled with membership in STUCO. I am resharing one of my favorite examples of this below, embodied by a graduate that was a scholar, an athlete, and an active member of several school organizations:

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 4/11

    Hello WGHS Families, With a hint of disbelief, we find ourselves in a rite of spring: a hurried sprint to the finish line for the 2023-24 school year. Last Friday we acknowledged 99 students for service in the community during the Statesmen Service Awards ceremony. Tomorrow we'll recognize over 100 students in the Top Hat Awards. Looking ahead, our graduation ceremony to honor the Class of 2024 is planned for May 18 at Chaifetz Arena--a 4-year year journey for our seniors at WGHS. It's gratifying to see some opportunities that allow us to come together, once again, and celebrate our students. As we look ahead, below are some of upcoming events:

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 4/4

    Hello WGHS Families, This past weekend, I had a chance to watch my nephew play baseball at Rhodes College in Memphis. During what was a lengthy game, I had the opportunity to walk around campus again, having done so during our son's visit in the fall of 2020. There were no students then due to COVID, and few this weekend, as they were on Easter break. I saw a sign that had a quote that I thought was applicable to us at Webster: "Building a tradition, not resting upon one."

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 3/28

    Hello WGHS Families, I hope all of our students, staff, and WG families had a restful break last week. The break saw many accomplishments by our students in athletics, activities, and the arts. Our WGHS community continues alongside students as trusted guides and mentors during the challenging journey of adolescence.

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 2/29

    Hello WGHS Families, Our son is now a junior at DePauw in Indiana where he is studying business and playing football. The school has been a wonderful fit for our son, and we are appreciative of the teachers and coaches that supported his development and this opportunity. Like most colleges, it is evolving to the needs of students and the world they will emerge into after graduation. It also has had a history of navigating fluctuations of well over a century of existence. For several years prior to the pandemic, the school was rocked to its foundation during a period of required austerity and leadership tumult. After some time in the wilderness, one of the school's professors wrote an article ("DePauw’s Big Mess On Campus" by Lili Wright) that shared the story of the institution's reckoning with multiple issues. Her perspective relays the ultimate ability of the school to regain its storied stride:

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 2/22

    Hello WGHS Families, Each year, schools fret the public “ranking” that appears in media outlets that lays out a perception of a school hierarchy in our state and region. This often acts to facilitate a more robust conversation on the quality of schooling but acts to limit and further impoverish the dialogue. Most quantification of high schools is based around standardized tests that are administered in one day as well as other easily measured but arguably less important metrics. These customary measurements of students and schools often travel with parents’ educational and income levels and distort the work being done in schools. The lament of one’s zip code being destiny is too often played out in our educational system with glaring disparities in resources and opportunity, further compounded by limited information.

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 2/15

    Hello WGHS Families, The below quote is from a book centered on pre-school age children but it still rings true for adolescents: “The children we know who are confident and feel socially and intellectually competent are the children whose parents support them by: loving them unconditionally…setting limits and expectations for behavior…teaching respect for others, the difference between right and wrong and the importance of taking responsibility for actions…being a good role model…and having fun, maintaining a sense of humor, and knowing that there’s no such thing as the perfect parent.” --Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum, Practical Wisdom for Parents I am sharing this quote as a directional point for myself and the collective community as we all navigate the challenges of parenting adolescents. I know I am challenged to be high on both the nurturing and challenging axis, looking to balance those aspects that are at times in tension with each other. I take refuge in the ability to find humor in my fallibility, as does the rest of my family. As educators, we also are challenged to balance student support and accountability; what aspects of the learning process should teachers carry and what parts should students fully answer for. I am hopeful that our staff and families enter into the fray with earnest interest in serving the long-term goal of independence and how to best support that outcome. I hope we all seek and find the best answer for your child here at Webster Groves High School as we look to push, challenge, and grow young people in a caring, educational ecosystem that is a 21st century high school.

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 2/8

    Hello WGHS Families, We are so grateful for our Parents' Club initiative to "Show the Love" fundraiser. We have teaching candidates that have taught mini-lessons in classes who noted our students' kindness and generosity. While the larger setting presents many challenges, our community's support has been a salve to our staff. I encourage you to share your positive observations and comments formally in our Parents' Club fundraiser or less formally as you find most accessible. We are very grateful for all the support.

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 2/1

    Hello WGHS Families, Public schools are an engine of possibility for children and progress for communities. I am proud to be working with the students and communities in the Webster Groves School District and to have a role in demonstrating our progress. I am sharing some from last week and beyond.

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 1/25

    Hello WGHS Families, I had the good fortune to attend our girls swimming senior recognition night earlier this week as I attempt to do with all teams. As always, saying a preliminary goodbye to our seniors solicits emotions from parents, teammates, and coaches (and one former coach!). These initial programs remind us that the time that we have is finite with each other.

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 1/18

    Hello WGHS Families, Disruption has always been a part of the human experience, and we have seen much in the last few years. In schools alone, COVID, ChatGPT, and the churn of personnel across the economy has loomed large for us. Unexpected weather days are in their own category! While much is out of our direct control, we can engage in those circumstances to find a most workable solution forward.

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 1/11

    Hello WGHS Families, As we embark on the start of the second semester, we are in tension recognizing the limited time with our current seniors and course requests around next year’s freshmen, the class of 2028. A blend of experiences and aspirations for what has and will occur.

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 1/4

    Hello WGHS Families, We have passed a milestone in the year--second semester has begun. Whether you have a freshman with greater confidence as they enter a more familiar space or a senior that is running on fumes (or all points in between), we hope they enter each day with hope and belief: Hope and belief that they are gaining clarity in who they are and are becoming, hope and belief that they will be people of impact in the world around them, and hope and belief that Webster Groves High school is a place that moves them forward. My time around our students certainly instills more hope and belief in me that their work as scholars, artisans, and citizens will be for the betterment of our collective future. We are excited for what lies ahead in the second semester.

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  • Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 12/14

    Hello WGHS Families, In another busy week, we had students and staff preparing for finals...

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 12/7

    Hello WGHS Families, We have plenty of information below on finals, but I wanted to share another aspect. As parents of children taking finals, we can provide some counsel to coach them along in the process that they should own. I am sharing some items as both a parent and an educator that gives effort in both, not always to the result I sought:

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 11/30

    Hello WGHS Families, After wrapping up fall activities, we jumped into the first week of some of our winter sports this week. Next week is host to several musical concerts--we hope you have an opportunity to enjoy the musical talents of our students and the culmination of their hard work and preparation. We are also hosting our first Curriculum and Preview Night on December 5, a culmination of curriculum/course selection information for incoming and current students, preview information for our incoming and prospective students, and a grand showcase of student activities. We hope to see you there.

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    Dr. Irvin's Weekly eNews, 11/16

    Hello WGHS Families, We are ramping up instead of ramping down for our upcoming holiday. This week, we'll undoubtedly see an outstanding production of Rumors by Neil Simon put on by our students and staff. Our students will be enjoying the traditional Turkey Day activities next week. This is an unequaled tradition that we are fortunate to have at Webster Groves High School. We are getting even closer with ticket sales, door decorations, and game prep underway. I am excited to see the renewed process and pageantry for one of the truly unique defining experiences for our school and community. While the pep rally, ChiliFest, and game are eagerly anticipated, I may be the best prepared for Tacky Day (plenty of red and white attire to be found). We invite all to join us on Wednesday night for ChiliFest, followed by our community pep rally at Roberts Gym at 7pm, and then again for the game at KHS at noon on Thanksgiving. Have a great holiday.

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