Notes from Dr. Irvin

Your WGHS Weekly eNews for September 12

Hello Parents and Guardians,

We are almost a month 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.

My own over-parenting has been on my mind lately as our high school-age child has hit recent milestones of driving and employment, and seeming greater independence. In spite of his ability to operate a car, he still lapses on functional responsibilities. One recent episode occurred when he forgot something at home on Labor Day that he needed at school and asked that I bring it up to him. Like other parents we have the propensity to drop everything and address the issue.

After delivering the item, I went back to a recent podcast interview of Julie Lyncott-Haims, who has written and spoken around the concern of over-parenting. Her counsel would be to encourage the child to seek out their own resources initially to deepen the child’s toolkit to foster them doing what they can do and can almost do for themselves.

She describes three categories of over parenting:

Over-protective: Bubble-wrapping your child so no perceived missteps or pitfalls will occur to the child.

Over-directive: An overt plan has been created, most often by the parent, with accompanying conditional love earned on the execution of the plan. Another aspect of this is monitoring their grades, athletic statistics and the like as if it were the stock market.

Concierge: The parent handling administrative task such as phone calls and completing paperwork, centering their lives in serving as the pit crew for the their child’s life.

Her advice when greeted with the “I left my backpack at school” or “I left my jersey at home” concierge request:

1) Empathize--Understand the difficulty of how the child may experience that concern. Talk to them like they are your best friend’s kid, less transactional and more human-centered your approach.

2) Say to the teen, “How do you think you will handle it?” This conveys belief of agency and confidence in the child that recognizes this is most elementally their concern. We cannot shelter our children from all stressors that will emerge but can share the process of becoming more resilient when they are encountered.

I am sharing this information as a compass for myself and the collective community as we all navigate the challenges of parenting adolescents. As we gradually release responsibility to our children, we transition from a carpenter to a gardener--less directive in an exacting outcome, but rather seeking to create conditions for our children to grow and flourish better and become more resilient for their journey.


Matt Irvin

A Peek at the Week Ahead

  • September 12: Fall Sports Assembly, 7th hour
  • September 14: ACT
  • September 16: Late Start: School starts at 8:57 a.m. (doors open for students at 8 a.m.)
  • September 18: WGHS Collaborative College Fair at Lindbergh HS, 6 p.m.
  • September 20: End of Progress Period

2019-20 Late-Start Days

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Monday, September 16 is a Late-Start Day

School begins at 8:57 a.m. on late-start days.

This is just a reminder that we will have a late-start schedule on Monday, September 16. Students will miss two class periods to accommodate time for teachers to meet in their PLCs, or Professional Learning Communities. For all late-start schedules, school will begin at 8:57 a.m., and two class periods will be dropped.

On Monday’s Late Start, the building opens at 8:00 a.m. Students should enter through the Senior Entrance. Between 8-8:30, students may go to the library or cafeteria. After 8:30, students may enter the building via the Senior, Junior or Roberts entrance and transition to their regular morning routine. Please see the schedule below for a Day 3/4:

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  • Congratulations to our 2020 National Merit Scholarship Semi-finalist: Claire Morris!

Vaping Concerns and Resources

In a continuing effort to communicate with and educate students on the dangers of vaping, our administrative team has visited classrooms to broach the national issue of vaping among adolescents and teenagers by speaking of the dangers of vaping for the body and the addiction possibilities to nicotine. We have also teamed with Preferred Family Health, who will be providing presentations and leading discussions around the harmfulness of vaping with our students. The topic is also covered in our Health course, and students who have been seen vaping in school go through an education module and reflection activity to extend learning on the subject.

Vaping is a national epidemic that puts nicotine into the body. Nicotine is highly addictive and can: slow brain development in kids and teens and affect memory, concentration, learning, self-control, attention, and mood. Vaping also increases the risk of other types of addiction as adults. The Food and Drug Administration has announced plans to finalize a policy in the coming weeks that will enable it to remove many non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes from the market within 30 days. E-cigarettes can also can lead to smoking cigarettes and other forms of tobacco use, may cause serious lung damage and in recent national reports, death. Teenage vaping is escalating across the country, and studies show up to 80% of teenagers believe they are only inhaling flavoring. It is vital that we partner in educating our students on this matter.

Please be aware of the common everyday items that are used as vaping devices:

Smartwatch vapes

Ink pens


Vape cup

Cell phone case


We hope you will join us to support our students in initiating these conversations and assisting in the education of the harmfulness of vaping.

Upcoming Counseling Department Events

Webster-Kirkwood-Lindbergh-Mehlville-Oakville College Fair on September 18th

Please join us for our annual college fair on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 from 6:00-7:30pm at Lindbergh High School. Representatives from more than 100 colleges nationwide will be there to talk to you about their respective institutions. This is a great way to kick off the college search process for juniors and their parents! Students should register for the fair ahead of time at Click here for a list of participating colleges.

South Technical High School Open House

South Technical HS provides students with career and technical education (CTE) that prepares them for continuing education and the workforce. Their 26, tuition-free, CTE majors allow students to explore their career interests while earing industry certifications, college and high school credit, and skills that will last a lifetime. Partial day schedules keep students engages in their home high school academics and activities while they make new friends with similar interests from all over South and West County. Students interested in applying to South Tech will do so in their sophomore year of high school in order to start attending when they are a junior. Interested in learning more? South Technical High School is hosting an Open House for freshmen and sophomore families on Thursday, November 7th from 5-7 pm. For more information about South Tech and their programs visit

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All Write Festival Needs Your Help!

The All Write planning committee is now fundraising for our 2020 writers festival planned for this March at WGHS. We would appreciate your generous, tax-deductible donation in making this one-of-a-kind programming available to our students. For more information and to donate, go to Questions? Contact English teacher Katie Guymon at Thank you in advance for your support!

Important 2019-20 Athletic Event Information--click on picture for details

Other Important News

  • Did you know that the Webster Groves School District Foundation gave over $36,000 in grants to district teachers last school year? These grants have helped bring innovative projects and teaching to your child's school! The Foundation is always looking for volunteers to help with fundraising events (Webster on Wheels, Run for Webster and more). If you have time to give or want to learn more about the Foundation please email

Did You Know?

Although our school calendar is online, we have a convenient list of important dates throughout the school year.

October 11 - NO SCHOOL
December 17-20 - 1ST SEMESTER EXAMS
December 23 - January 3 - WINTER BREAK
January 20 - DR. M. L. KING DAY
February 14 - NO SCHOOL
March 13 - NO SCHOOL
March 16-20 - SPRING BREAK
April 17-24 - EOC TESTING

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