Weekly Update 1-29-16

Wright City R-II School District

Happy End Of January Wildcats!

It is so hard to believe that the 100th day celebrations have come and gone. Next week, we enter February. Time sure flies when you are having fun!


  1. How many people were in the car in which Diana, Princess of Wales died in 1997?
  2. What is Murano in Italy most famous for?
  3. A virus is gaining American's attention this past week...Zika. To date, which country has seen the most cases of infection with the Zika virus?

School Board Appreciation Week!

This week is School Board Appreciation Week. I know I spoke of this last week, and put photos of the recognition at last week's BOE meeting. However, I would be remiss if I didn't urge you to reach out to them with gratitude for their service. They meet upwards of 20 times a year without any pay, plus represent the district in many arenas. They do a great job. Thank you to Erin, David, Heidi, Alice, Corri, Austin and Mary!

Assistant Bookkeepr

As you know, we are adding an assistant bookkeeper position this next month. The 4 person search committee reviewed the more than 2 dozen applicants and are in the process of selecting 6 people to interview in the next week.

Lynn Gmeiner will be moving her office to the MS where Officer Catron was last year. The new assistant bookkeeper will be in what is now Lynn's office.

New Special Education Director

Thank you to all that came to the meet and greets with our new Special Education Director, David Herod. He hopes to be in the buildings over the coming months, as well as learn as much as he can from Vicki Zuhone and the staff about our current practices, celebrations, and challenges. Welcome aboard David!
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100 Days!

East Elementary celebrated 100 days of school on Tuesday. For those that are counting, we are attending school 171 days. That means we have a mere 68 days left. So many great things to accomplish in those 68 days!

The Easterners celebrated 100 days in a variety of ways...including counting out snacks by the 100 and decorating themselves with 100 balloons.

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Elementary Computers

As you know, we have a position open for Elementary Computers. We are exploring adapting the position into Project Lead The Way Launch or Legos First, or some other STEM oriented course for all of our elementary students. We are likely to make 3rd grade the grade level for typing, as research says this is the earliest that muscle memory can become permanent in most kids. With students interfacing with devices earlier and earlier, we want to help them before bad typing habits take hold. Then again...will there be keyboards 20 years from now? Hmmm...

Kudos to Jill Smoot

Jill is once again representing Wright City R-II School District on the Wright City Chamber Board and serving as the Board Secretary. We are lucky to have so many talented Wildcats in Wildcat Nation, and that includes Jill Smoot!
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Nice moment

EPC is moving into town and had a ground breaking this week. (photo below) Exciting to have the company build a 104,000 square foot building and bring 60 to 70 jobs to our community. They seem like community oriented group of people!

As some of their employees relocate from Earth City to Wright City, they sent 2 brand new employees out to interview various folks in town to 'report back' about the great things in Wright City. They stopped in to talk with me, but I didn't have to say much, as one of them was a 2001 graduate and new the stats from the past 7 years! She was so proud, and asked that I thank all of you for making Wright City the Right Place! She has family in our district now, and she said she and her family talk often of how proud that this great place is now seen by the region as a great place it has always been.

Kudos to all of you and our students!

Enjoy the picture below. It was fun to be there as the 2 guys in the middle of this picture went to Rolla's Engineering program with Jack Sanford. Old home week!

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Thank you to the Masonic Home and Pauldingville Masonic Lodge No.11 in Wright City

The Lodge donated $500 to be used with our neediest students who may need a coat or shoes and such. We have created a new account for these funds. If you know of anyone who is in need, please notify your building counselor(s). Pictured below is Ken Dingerson presenting us with the check. Bill Gatewood was also present, but wanted to be the photographer.
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Friday (today for most readers), the Wright City Concert Band is performing in front of 1000 people from around the state of Missouri at the MMEA Conference. Kudos to them for their selection to perform. This is the first time they have applied. By applied, I mean video tape themselves in a 4 hour session and send it into a selection committee of non-Missourians to ensure no bias in selection. 172 MS and HS bands and choirs applied. They selected 8 I believe. It will be 4 more years before they are eligible to apply again, so this is a rare treat indeed. Way to represent Wildcats!

New Website!

Have you taken a 'tour' yet? Thank you to Andrea Schremp, Dawn Hickman and Jennifer Hecktor for such great work!

Remember, we polled our parents in September. They use our website and Facebook heavily, as well as prefer to receive emails. Our new website has been 7 months in the making to help our parents interface with our district in their preferred manner. We researched award winning sites, did our research on products, and started building our site that will adapt to your device, is very picture oriented, and intuitive. Each building principal and I have a blog section on the website that we hope to update once a month. There are also news stories that we would love to update on a regular basis. If you have something of note, please let your building administrators know so we can add it to the website! If taking pictures with your phone, please send landscape oriented photos that have not been from zoom. This works best when scaled up to the big computer screen.

Again, thank you to Andrea, Dawn and Jen for the great work! Kudos to the buildings and directors as well. This site already has more information than our previous site.

Early Out Wednesdays

I always enjoy watching and participating in the learning on our early outs when time allows. This week I saw some great SAMR reflection at the middle school, then heard a true treasure in Dr. Cox at East Elementary talking about how the child's brain and actions change when they have experienced trauma. I'm looking forward to next week's 2nd edition of what we can do to help students with trauma in their past and/or present.
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The CAT met this week. The group heard the news of the district, took a tour of the new website, were brought up to speed on the timing of the levy campaign, and heard about the budget as it stands so far. We then asked them to give us 3 things they are proud of, 2 things they would change if $ was not an issue, and 1 question they still have. Here are their responses:

3 Things you are most proud of at Wright City R-II School District:

  • Sense of family – working together

  • Ownership of success that continues to happen

  • Direction we are headed

  • Our dedication to students.

  • Involving the community in schools

  • Dedicated families

  • The data driven teams to make large and small district decisions

  • The dedication to student success by teachers and admin.

  • Positive family environment

  • Student growth

  • Teachers that work hard

  • Some trainings available

  • Teacher support in the district

  • Involvement of students in band and sports

  • Wanting to grow in academics

  • Test score improvement

  • Increased achievement scores

  • High quality staff

  • Students needs are addressed socially as well as academically

  • Academic improvement – slowly local attitudes are changing and becoming more positive about WCRII

  • Small district = better intimacy plus one on one with students and families

  • Athletics

  • Test Scores (standardized tests)

  • STEM classes

  • District changes thus far

  • Willingness of each school to accept volunteers in the classroom

  • The direction the district is trying to go

2 Things you would change at Wright City R-II School District if $ was not an issue…

  • Salary

  • Building needs (fixing)

  • More Money for teacher salaries

  • More technology for students and training for teachers with technology

  • New high school

  • Additional resources for teachers / students (tech, books, training)

  • Salary scale

  • More books for students

  • Homelessness

  • Those that go home hungry each weekend

  • Teacher wages

  • Staff to be one of the highest paid in the state so as to attract highest quality applicants

  • Supplies for everyone as needed including STEM materials

  • Add more advanced courses

  • Build the library – add to it

  • Higher salaries for teachers to retain them

  • Addition of better programs at the high school

  • Upgrades needed at buildings

  • Separate bus service for all HS / MS

  • Amount of clubs and/or activities available for the kids @ all levels

  • Add an aide to each grade level to help teachers work more with kids at lower levels

  • More resources for the kids to help with curriculum questions / tutoring

1 Question I have is…

  • How to get others passionate to help get more involved?

  • How do parents and churches get more information on students and abuse issues such as drug and alcohol? How can parents and churches help with these issues?

  • What can be done to help get the tax passed in November?

  • What is WCII biggest asset?

  • Are there plans to add AP courses in upcoming years at the high school level?

  • Is the district considering switching start times for HS and elementary (i.e. West starts @ 7:10 and HS starts @ 8:14)?

  • Why is communication such an issue between the schools and the parents?

Food Testing!

Maybe my favorite part of the week. Lynn Gmeiner and the cook staff at East Elementary did a fruit testing with K and 1 students. They did a great job...as did the kid! Great work!
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Some of our talented staff had a chance to learn from Mike Mattos and Thomas Guskey this week. They are pictured below with Thomas Guskey. I can't wait to see their learning put to practice to benefit our students!
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Throw Back Thursday

I type the Smore a little every day. This section, I typed on Thursday. Facebook is popular for Throw Back Thursday, or TBT. Well, below is a little TBT from 2011...when students tried to duck tape Mr. Brown to the wall as a fundraiser to benefit the Robotics Team!
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Articles (and other things) of the Week


The Hermann Basketball Tournament wraps up Friday and Saturday.

Monday, February 1st:

  • Kindergarten Registration begins (Central Office)
  • JV/V Girls Basketball vs. Mark Twain

Tuesday, February 2nd:

  • JV/V Boys Basketball vs. Mark Twain
  • 6th Grade Boys Basketball Game
  • Varsity Girls Basketball vs. Montgomery County

Wednesday, February 3rd:

  • JV/V Boys Basketball vs. Valley Park

Thursday, February 4th:

  • JV Girls and Boys Basketball vs. Silex

Friday, February 5th:

  • Varsity Girls and Boys Basketball vs. Silex

30 years ago yesterday

I remember this so vividly. I was in 7th grade. I will see my 7th grade teacher today...might take a moment to remember this day.
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Sports Signings!

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No Update Next Week

That being said, I hope to see many of you at the Chili Fundraiser on Friday, February 5th at the High School. Time is 4-8. Art Club has made the bowls. Funds go to the Foundation which awards classroom grants. Eat and enjoy the basketball game afterwards!

Trivia Answer

  1. How many people were in the car in which Diana, Princess of Wales died in 1997? 4
  2. What is Murano in Italy most famous for? Glass
  3. A virus is gaining American's attention this past week...Zika. To date, which country has seen the most cases of infection with the Zika virus? Brazil