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From the District Jan. 21, 2022

Board of Education Approves Refunding of Bonds, Saving District $1 Million

The Board of Education has approved a resolution authorizing the issuance, sale and delivery of general obligation refunding bonds, series 2022. This bond refunding will save the district approximately $1 million. The district will also pay down an additional $2 million in principal, which will increase the interest savings on the issue and free up bond capacity for a no-tax increase bond issue in the future. 

Earlier this month, Standard & Poor's issued the district an AA+ rating, making WGSD one of the highest rated districts in the state. Only one other K-12 district has that rating; four districts have a higher rating. In the credit overview S & P stated, "The district's track record of robust financial performance and strong management practices position it well to maintain its stable credit profile over the next two years."

Save the Date for Kindergarten Information Night Feb. 9

Kindergarten Information Night this year is Wed., Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. at each of the district's elementary schools. Families with children who will be five years old before Aug. 1 will have a chance to learn more about the program, meet the teachers and more. This session is for parents and guardians. Masks are required. Opportunities for prospective kindergartners to visit the schools will be scheduled later. Families are encouraged to enroll their kindergartners as soon as possible so that the district can plan class assignments and allocate resources. Registration for the 2022-23 school district opens Jan. 25.

School Nurses Honored for Going Above and Beyond

nursesAt its meeting this month, the Board of Education honored the diligence and hard work of all of the district nurses during the pandemic.

Thank you to our WGSD nurses for your dedication to students, staff and families!

In this photo, Superintendent John Simpson (at left) and Board of Education President David Addison (right) congratulate Edgar Road nurse Cathy Hausel, Hudson nurse Sara Dahms and district lead nurse and High School nurse Rachel Huertas.

Winter Weather Information

snowInformation regarding communication, late starts/early dismissals and bus schedules can be found at the link below, should winter weather or adverse conditions prompt the district to call off school.


31art gallery To Feature High School Teacher's Work

The 31art gallery will feature nine paintings by High School art teacher Andrew Throm in a group show that opens Feb. 4. The gallery is at 3250 Hampton Ave., St. Louis. For additional information, check the gallery's page on Facebook.

#TeacherFeature Sandy Nathan, Walter Ambrose Family Center Preschool

Preschool teacher Sandy Nathan has been working at Ambrose Family Center for 22 years. As someone who grew up in Webster Groves and graduated from Webster Groves High School in 1991, Nathan said she couldn’t imagine teaching anywhere else.
teacher feature“I became a teacher because I wanted to make sure that young children were given the same opportunities to learn and thrive in an educational setting that was positive and nurturing. I want all children to succeed in life no matter what obstacles might be in their way,” Nathan said. Nathan helps her students overcome obstacles big or small, even as tiny as spiders.
Nathan told a story of a student who was terrified of spiders, and how she helped him overcome that fear. She taught the student about spiders through books, drawing pictures, talking to spiders outside and watching them crawl along windows and leaves.
“One day a spider was in the room. He panicked, but then I told him to remember some spiders are our friends. So we caught him in a jar and gently let him outside. When we went outside later that day, he went looking for the spider. We didn't find him. For the next few weeks when we went outside, he looked for spiders. I reminded him every day which spiders were ok to touch. Only the daddy long legs! Well on this particular day he was staring at the wall and a daddy long leg was on the wall. He observed it for a long time.”
Every day after that, the child would look for the spider on the wall, but it was nowhere to be found. “One day we were outside and he called my name, ‘Ms. Sandy, Ms. Sandy, I found him.’ I turned around and he was holding the daddy long leg. He said, ‘He is my friend and he let me hold him.’”
Nathan said that she loves the “children's smiling faces every morning and the warm hugs.” She added that she really loves every part of teaching, but those were the things that remind her of the importance and relevance of making small differences in her students’ lives every day. Before becoming a teacher, Nathan was a nurse. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her family, travel, go out to dinner, camp and shop. A mother of four boys who all attended Webster Groves School District, she now has two grandchildren. She said that what she likes most about Webster Groves is the sense of community. “Growing up in Webster Groves reminds me of how nice and kind people can be. You knew your neighbors and it felt like a big family.”
Special School District Update: School Board Member Dr. Meredith Byers
 Ask Dr. Meredith Byers what she’s most proud of accomplishing in her life and she doesn’t hesitate with an answer.
Byers“That’s an easy one— my family,” she says. “We’re trying really hard to grow good humans in our house. That’s easier said than done at times. They’re all very different. We’re not so concerned about grades or making the team or getting a part in the school play—we’re proud we’re growing kind, compassionate people.”
A resident of Kirkwood, Byers has represented Subdistrict 5 on the Special School District's Board of Education since 2021. Her subdistrict covers the Webster Groves School District as well as Brentwood, Kirkwood, Lindbergh, Maplewood-Richmond Heights and Valley Park districts. She and her husband, Dr. Derek Byers, have three children who attend public schools and have received services from SSD. 
Byers and her husband were introduced to SSD when their oldest child was a toddler and began showing signs of a learning disability. A parent educator in Kirkwood’s Early Childhood Program recommended getting him evaluated. By kindergarten, he had an IEP that fit his needs. She credits SSD with providing her children with the strategies they needed to be successful in school.
“As a parent and a community member, the beauty of my oldest son going to a school that has SSD services is that his therapists became our friends and part of our community. His classmates are people he’s known since they were all preschoolers. They see him as their longtime friend. Our lives have been integrated with SSD from the beginning.”
Professionally, Byers is a radiologist who specializes in women’s health. She is thrilled to be working her “dream job” at Central Radiation Group, a practice that serves women in St. Louis and St. Charles counties, especially in the zip codes hit hardest by COVID-19. She previously worked at Washington University, where she was an assistant professor for 15 years.