By Curtis Cain, Superintendent of Wentzville R-IV School District
The summer months were a very busy time for us as we prepared to open two new elementary schools and officially make the shift to K-6 elementary buildings. Stone Creek and Wabash elementary schools collectively welcomed over 1600 students on August 17th, the first day of school. At just over 101,000 square feet, they are the largest two elementary schools built in the history of the District. Following the excitement of the first week and only three days into the school year, all Pre-K through 12th grade students had an opportunity to witness the Total Solar Eclipse, a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity.
We are proud to share that we have two educators, Julia Luetkenhaus and Stacey Wade – both eighth grade teachers at Frontier Middle School – who have been named Finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The award is the highest recognition that a K-12 mathematics or science educator can receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Luetkenhaus and Wade represent the fifth and sixth WSD educators in six years to receive this prestigious recognition.
We are excited to launch our new hands-on learning experience for high school students called “Ignite!” where juniors and seniors will have an opportunity to start their own business or shadow a health care professional in a hospital setting. We are also working with other school districts in the county to offer a similar, county-wide Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) program.
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 over 400 students from what we had this time last year and we continue to be the fastest growing district in the state. We are committed to effectively manage the growth and provide adequate space for EVERY student to learn and grow. Our Board of Education has a public work session planned for September 12th where next steps to address our growth will be discussed.
Just as the school year typically ends with a desire to take a step back, reflect and relax, the preparation for a new school year is full of anticipation and excitement. 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 first hand. The quality of our staff and the education we provide in the WSD is what led many of you to move to our District. We are proud of our reputation for excellence and to live and learn in a supportive community that values education. Here’s to a great new school year!