By Curtis Cain, Wentzville School District Superintendent
The 2018-2019 school year is off to a great start in the WSD! We have so many new and exciting initiatives for our students this year. Our Early College Program through St. Charles Community College is an opportunity for juniors and seniors to earn college credit while in high school.
Our Technology Access Initiative is providing a Chromebook for every middle school student, an expansion to our high school program that started in 2011.
We have expanded our teacher home visit program through St. Louis-based HOME WORKS to now include three additional schools: Frontier Middle, Prairie View Elementary and Stone Creek Elementary, in addition to Heritage Primary and Pearce Hall, which started last year and produced positive results with their students. We are also thrilled that our high school students have an opportunity to participate in a county wide Center for Advance Professional Studies (CAPS) program providing hands-on learning experiences in our community, after a successful start with our own CAPS program last year.
Construction continues in the WSD, thanks to the passing of Proposition E in April. The classroom expansion at Peine Ridge Elementary is well underway and scheduled to be completed in December. Bids will go out in the coming months for the projects at Holt High School, Barfield Early Childhood Special Education Center, Pearce Hall and the new high school.
We are proud to share that our very own Cheri Thurman, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Spirit of Crazy Horse Award by Reclaiming Youth at Risk for her 40 years of work with students. Past recipients of this national award include Muhammad Ali and Janet Reno. We are so fortunate to have Cheri, her vision and her heart, at work here in the WSD.
For the seventh time since 2012, we have an educator who has been named a Finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Terri Politte is an assistant principal at Boone Trail Elementary who was selected for this prestigious recognition based on her classroom work as a sixth grade math teacher at Duello Elementary. The award is the highest recognition that a K-12 mathematics or science educator can receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. We are also extremely proud to have our District Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Katie Zak, recognized as a Missouri Regional Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Zak teaches first grade at Lakeview Elementary and has been with the WSD since 2005.
We were honored to learn in June that the WSD was named to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Top Workplaces list for the fourth time in the past seven years. Our Human Resources Department can attest to the fact that people want to work in the WSD, as they had over 3,600 applicants for 111 teaching positions and 2,200 applications for open support staff positions. This is truly a reflection of not only the exceptional work we are doing with students, but also the positive climate and culture in the WSD.
The WSD’s Average Daily Attendance (ADA), or per pupil spending, remains the lowest in the county and below the state average, which translates to an excellent education at a tremendous value. If you look around, you will see new housing at every corner of our District, which means folks recognize the value and continue to move into the communities we serve.
We are up nearly 500 students from what we had enrolled this time last year and we continue to be the fastest growing district in the state. We are committed to effectively managing the growth and providing adequate space for every student to learn and grow.
As you can see, there is quite a bit moving and shaking in the WSD, but our focus will continue to be the work in our classrooms. The potential for every student to be inspired to learn, challenged to grow, and empowered to reach their goals provides renewed spirit for educators; and it is heartwarming to witness firsthand. Here’s to a great new school year!