Hello WGHS Families, This week we observed our induction for the National Technical Honor Society, acknowledged our many All-State nominees from our music program, and our water polo team had their first match in many years. We'll also conduct our spring activities pep rally later this afternoon. The Annual Performance Report (APR) for Missouri schools was released this week and Webster Groves School District earned 92.3%. The scoring places WGSD among the top four districts in the area and the top 5% out of 553 school districts in the state. The APR measures areas of academic achievement growth for students in math and English language arts, as well as graduation rates, and culture and climate. We wrap up another seemingly surreal three quarters of the school year today. It is hard to conceive that our seniors are in their last quarter of schooling in Webster Groves. All classes seem to have a character and this group largely is community-focused, connected to each other, and having a great final year overall. Across the building, I am grateful for our students' engagement and growth thus far into our 2022-2023 school year. Please have a safe and happy spring break.
Hello WGHS Families, Thanks to all who had the chance to attend parent conferences this week. Our goal is to proactively make connections with our parent community, learn more about your student, and connect on how we might support each learner. I had many conversations with teachers and parents about our format, and I hope to continue improving the process as we navigate these intentional conversations. Thanks to the Parents' Club for providing a delicious lunch for our staff on Wednesday. We are so grateful for all the support our parents have given to our school and staff this year.
Hello WGHS Families, We are enjoying our two days of All Write here at the high school. It is akin to being in Florence during the Renaissance: musicians, visual art, writers, and spoken word are all around our building. The school bell noting the end of an hour reluctantly moves us from a place we want to linger in an idea, a production, or an artist sharing their journey. So many of our artists shared additional time and influence with our students. Professionals in all artistic formats share the stage with our many talented students to make us ponder the world around us more deeply and perhaps in a new way. We are grateful for our Chelsea Center team, faculty (particularly Todd Schafer), and students that bring us this celebration--it is truly a team effort. Please see the information below on our upcoming parent conferences. I hope you have a chance to connect with your child's teachers if warranted.
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.
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
Hello WGHS Families, We are so grateful for our Parents' Club initiative to "Show the Love" fundraiser. I am sharing a few photos of the heart messages--our staff love to see them. 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.
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.
Hello WGHS Families, I like to provide some insight into decisions around WGHS and communication to our students and families. We have adopted the default stance of "how might maximize opportunities for teaching and learning with the given conditions?” In the last several years we either move forward on plans, adjust aspects, or cancel the event. Those decisions are impacted by timing of external events, trajectory of public health concerns, and flexibility of the programing. Most, if not all, are done in consultation with district leadership, other educators in the region, staff, and students.
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. While much is out of our direct control, we can engage in those circumstances to find a most workable solution forward. We are entering into an important phase in our year when we are charged to replace teachers that are retiring, moving, or otherwise not joining us for the next year. Adding Zoom to our process lets us remove some barriers to the initial phase of our process. We have the candidates teach mini-lessons in a class with our students in the content they are studying, as has been the practice for many years here at Webster. After the lesson, I debrief the students on what resonated and what they might need further clarity on to better understand the topic that was shared. The students have proven very insightful in their observations and questions as they have seen many formats of instruction in their time at WGHS. They are consistently great ambassadors and increase the desire for our candidates to work at Webster Groves High School. I am excited for where we are and where we are headed.
Hello WGHS Families, I am writing this as we are wrapping up our Class of 2027 parent program to preview the next four years, and I have a mixture of excitement and weight. In one realm, I am elated to share our current work and aspirations for students and families at Webster Groves High School that will join us as early as this summer. I am equally concerned about what our current Class of 2023 families would have envisioned for themselves. Four years ago, many may have harbored a specific vision of what the high school experience was going to be and for a very particular set of outcomes. And I would suggest, today, most of you would admit that the time here was very different from what you imagined as your student enters into their final semester. I hope that it has been a journey of triumph and constructive learning, possibly with the modest sting of disappointment in the latter. Reorienting after disappointment can lead to profound introspection and provide clarity around what is most important. I also anticipate that our teachers, coaches, and sponsors played a role in support of the successes and the trials along the way that will be elemental lesson for what lies ahead. I am grateful for this school and the people who come here every day to learn, teach, and share.
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.
Hello WGHS Families, We had another great week last week, seeing students and staff preparing for finals in the classroom, as well as winter concerts and sports. I had the pleasure to attend the winter choir concert (an experience unlike other choir shows--find a way to get to one) and the A Capella show last Friday. One artist that had a song that really showcased her voice was sophomore Valletta Thurmon, singing an a capella version of Ellie King's "Ex's and Oh's."
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:
Hello WGHS Families, We've had a big week with End Of Course testing and adjusted schedules to accommodate the blocks of time needed to administer the End-of-Course exams in the approved windows as required by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. We want our students to do their best on assessments, but we recognize results provide some information but not a complete picture on students' learning and progress. I know I appreciate the instruction around critical content, skills, and dispositions not reflected in those assessments.
Hello WGHS Families, We are ramping up instead of ramping down for our upcoming holiday. Last week we saw a outstanding musical put on by our students and staff. In addition, our boys' soccer is playing Friday and again Saturday after making the final four. Our students will be enjoying the traditional Turkey Day activities next week. 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 Moss Field at noon. Have a great Thanksgiving.
Hello WGHS Families, At our Community Open House this weekend, we'll share information on how students can be more involved and connected at Webster Groves High School. Students who are involved beyond the school day on average have better school experiences and outcomes, such as higher attendance and academic performance. I have recently connected with a book called Deeper Learning, written by researchers Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine, in which they conducted observations and interviews of students and staff over six years from purportedly successful innovative high schools that were suggested as “leaders” in preparing students for the demands of twenty-first century life.
Hello WGHS Families, This weekend marks another round of Daylight Savings, and November is a busy time at WGHS. We are excited to open our doors on Sunday, November 13 to the WG community at our Community Open House from 1-3 p.m. Our Community Open House features the chance for our community to learn about our outstanding educational programs at WGHS. Visitors will be able to get a glimpse of the WGHS student experience, learn about our innovative program offerings, and even take guided walking tours of the building.
Hello WGHS Families, As we look ahead to our annual Friendship Dance, I pause to think of my own daughter's experience. As a parent of a high school student, I want most for her to have a memorable and safe night with her friends on a night when some might see the opportunity to engage in substance use. As a school community, we are making efforts to help educate our students in health classes, coordinating visits from Preferred Family Healthcare, and educating students in other settings about the concerns of underage drinking and related activities.
Hello WGHS Families, I have had the recent honor of participating in some senior recognitions moments in our athletic and activities programs--always a bittersweet event. While it is endearing to hear what the particular program has meant to students and families, it is a reminder of the finite time we have with all of our seniors and our hopes for them. Our family experienced that rite of passage two years ago: deep sincere care for our son by his coaches and an acknowledgement of an impact that can be long lasting.
Hello WGHS Families, I am so grateful to be an educator with the access to the work our staff does with children. As will undoubtedly be the topic of conversation next week at conferences, students don’t always find qualified success in the first attempt. Learning, especially something complex, requires repeated exposure and corrective feedback. I saw a great example of this yesterday.
We are excited by the collaborative work from our staff on behalf of students that is materializing this fall. Much of the work is generated in our Late-Start mornings--thanks to all for accommodating that time for our staff to think deeply about the learning experiences and supports for classes.
A recent broadcast from the Harvard Graduate School of Education noted the need to take a holistic approach to student wellness by schools. Dean Bridget Long said, “Healthy kids translates into the opportunity for high-quality learning. And the opposite is most certainly true. . .simply put, it’s hard to concentrate and to learn when your health is suffering.” That residue of stress and duress from the most recent conditions have driven some difficulties we have experienced previously.
Hello WGHS Families, zoom_out_map We are several weeks into the new school year, and this is a time when challenges begin to present themselves to our children. Initial competitions and tests have taken place, and with it an internal sorting begins as we weigh experiences with outcomes. The relentlessness nature of parenting today immerses us in the trappings of high school credential acquisition and the college search process in a manner that can feel overwhelming. It can feel vast when we as parents feel the need to support our teen to fully access all the resources that are available. In these pursuits, we too often chase short-term wins that unfortunately undercut our child’s emotional development and ability to navigate the world around them.
As we enter into September, calendars are getting more crowded with national testing dates, a litany of high school activities, and numerable community options. Please take time for yourself and your child to slow down, to linger, to connect with each other. Parents of high school students often scurry from one event to another and have not prioritized the time we have remaining to see and listen to each other. My wife and I have aging parents that warrant, not yet demand, our limited time. Our oldest is in college with our youngest in high school--the time has gotten away from us in our home, it feels. When looking back, our remorse centers around times we oriented our lives around something that in retrospect seems trivial now. I hope you take the time to count the cost of each item you and your child say yes to in your day. Engage in those you select, and do not look back on those you declined.
Misinformation plagues our culture, which often leads to a general increase in anxiety and distress amongst the impacted community. We are not immune to this current contagion in our school setting, unfortunately.
Calendar adjustments made based on your feedback
The district's score of 92.3% ranks fourth in the area
12 students were inducted into the journalism honor society
27 individuals have been nominated in the inaugural program
Registration for summer school begins Wednesday, March 1 at 7 p.m.
Registration begins March 1
Join us as we honor Douglass
Meet the candidates March 30
The deadline to submit a nomination is March 1, 2023.
The fair will be held February 7 from 6-8 p.m.
Registration runs from March 31 to April 14
Michael's tasks at the NGA will be focused around computer science and cyber security.
WGSD is seeking certified teachers and supports staff
This event is for everyone, regardless of whether you will have children in our schools one day or not.
A kindergarten orientation event will be held Saturday, February 4 at 10 a.m.
Eight individuals have filed for the board
Eight students honored as all-state musicians
The vacant position is in the first year of the three year term which will end in June of 2025.
The “AA+” long-term rating, is one of the highest ratings among school districts in the state
Persons interested can file at the district office at 400 E. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves.
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For more information on closings, click here.
Boxes will be ready for pick up or delivery by November 21-22.