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.
Thanks to all of our Webster Groves families for their support for an outstanding first week of school. We have seen so many strong indicators for the upcoming year--many students involved in after-school activities, earnest classroom settings, and students prepared to learn. Tonight we have the Activities Fair and Selma Street Dance, where our students and faculty will celebrate our first week with energy and excitement.
Hello WGHS Families, Many years of research has estimated that after the “summer slide,” the average student loses a little more than one month’s worth of skill or knowledge in math and reading by the time school resumes in the fall. And there has been evidence of further decline after the virtual periods/instructional disruption we have endured. Below are some low-tech options that I will be nagging my children about the coming months:
In making final cuts of my graduation speech, I cut this excerpt from the school year book from 1920: "Another vacation and we are back at school, but not for long. Twice our school work has been interrupted by the influenza epidemic but nevertheless, we study hard and pass our tests. 'A cork cannot be kept under long.'"
There considerable information available to advocate for wellness and the impact physical activity can have on it. Long-term benefits of mitigating lifestyle conditions such as obesity, heart disease and dementia have been well chronicled. I would like to address the more temporal concerns of mental health, cognitive function, and positive impact on learning issues such as ADD. The connection between mind and body is crucial to personal growth and development as consistent exercise can help you be better and allow you to do your best work.
Anthony Kennedy served as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court after Reagan nominated him from 1988 until stepping down in 2018. After retiring, he spoke of a “crisis of civility” facing our nation, a lack of devotion to responsibility and rationality. Historically when the nation has been in a real or perceived predicament, education has served to salvage our republic. Part of the effort relates to the developing character in individuals and the collective community we share. However, character cannot be downloaded; it resists swift attainment in spite of the desire by caring adults and schools. Character is "engraved," "deeply etched,” according to Kierkegaard and the product of years of imprinting through experiences, both good and bad.
Above is a piece from last week's AP art display, one of many that students produced that caused me to pause and ask questions of the artist. In this case, she had created a series that marked the progression through a grieving process that concluded with this piece.
With a hint of disbelief, we find ourselves in a rite of spring: a hurried sprint to the finish line for the 2021-2022 school year. It's been a big week as we hosted the Special Olympics with big help from our junior class, SSD staff, and Ms. Spencer with her Best Buddies team. We had multiple adult representatives share their complimentary observations of our students for supporting events and fellow students.
FUTUREPROOF: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation by Kevin Roose is a book that has a fairly optimistic view of the clash between rising technology and humanity--think "Terminator 2." It offers some pointed suggestions to combat the wave of technology, much of it rooted in skills schools can greatly impact.
Persons interested can file at the district office at 400 E. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves.
Both students are passionate about creating change and bettering the community.
Elementary music teachers perform
2002 football state championship team to be recognized