Weekly Update 9-11-15

Good Day Wildcat Nation!

It is hard to believe it has been 14 years since the attacks on 9/11/01. It was my last year teaching, and I remember it vividly. The somber and heavy feeling that all kids and staff had that day was palpable. What a terrible tragedy. Four passenger plains, all leaving the East Coast and bound for California, were hijacked by 19 terrorists. Two hit the World Trade Center that I saw often as a young man (I was married to a New Yorker in the 90's). One hit the Pentagon. A fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to overtake the hijackers.

In all, 2,996 people died that day. That included 343 firefighters and 72 police officers who came to help. Over $10 billion dollars of damage was done. It deserves our remembrance. If it makes sence to, please take a moment to do so with your kids today.

Trivia (answers at the end of the Smore)

  1. When was the last month the St. Louis Cardinals had a losing record for the month?
  2. Queen Elizabeth has now served 63 years and 218 days. As of yesterday, that is a record length, overtaking what Queen's record?
  3. How old is Queen Elizabeth?
  4. How many pieces does each player start a game of backgammon with?
  5. In what year was Mork & Mindy first broadcast?
  6. Which bridge is the longest in the world? How long?

Patron Comments

Two of my kids are in a sport league here in town. I see a couple of you who also have kids in the same league (love small towns!). This past Tuesday, at a practice, I was talking with one of our parents who said something I wanted to pass along.

The person graduated from St. Charles HS in 2001. His wife, from Holt HS the same year. Almost 2 years ago, they were looking for a house with a little bit of property for their family to grow on. In the 1990s, he stated that they both were told not positive things about Wright City because of the schools. As he was shopping around though, he kept coming across how good our schools were and how fast we were improving. It didn't match the mantra he heard as a kid. They moved to the district and absolutely love the education their kids are getting here. They couldn't be more proud to be a Wildcat!

To each of you who made us an attractive destination...and impact all of our kids...Thank You!


The Salary Committee will meet on October 13th at 4 p.m. at Central Office.

The Calendar Committee will meet in November...date to be determined.

The PDC Committee meets the 2nd Tuesday of every month. They meet at WCWE Library and start around 3:45 p.m.


Strassenbash is an annual festival in Wright City. It occurs on the 18th and 19th of this month. Many of our kids will be involved in various ways, including the parade on the 19th. If you are available, please stop by and support our students as they connect with our community. For you elementary folks, you will feel like a famous rock star walking around as kids are so excited to see their teachers and administrators in a non-school setting!

Board Meeting on September 17th

The Board of Education will convene on the 17th at 6 p.m. in the Board Room in Central Office. The agenda:

  • PAWS reports. This is a monthly report by building on metrics tied to our PAWS plan.
  • Extra Duty / Co-Curricular Assignments. This is a discussion on whether their should be a program evaluation by the BOE.
  • Greater Warren County Economic Development Council (GWCED). This is a request to continue with our Platinum Membership. Coming to speak of the benefits gained from membership will be Karen Girondo (Wright City Administrator) and Steve Etcher (GWCED).
  • A+ Report by Matt Brooks.
  • Board of Education Self Evaluation. The BOE selected a model for self-evaluation. They will select dates for administration of and workshop to process results.
  • Discussion on whether to participate in a Leadership Workshop provided by MSBA.
  • First reading of BOE Policy GDBDA. Proposal is to align support staff and certified staff holiday break in late December.
  • Employment. Several substitute teachers and a few extra/co-curricular positions are up to be filled.
  • Second reading of 4 BOE Policies I spoke of last month.
  • Bills
  • Surplus Property. Reznor 125,000 BTU heater.
  • Title I contracted services (nonpublic funds that run through us via the federal government).

State BOE

The State Board of Education also meets next week. If you are interested in their agenda, you can click this link: http://dese.mo.gov/state-board-education/agendas-minutes/september-2015

The Missouri Learning Standards work groups are wrapping up now. A few of them have sent out surveys. As I've received those, I've forwarded those onto the appropriate principals.

It looks like they will have the last public hearing in October (on October 26th?). The BOE has not set a time table for when they will decide to adopt, partially adopt, or not adopt. They will have a comment period open for public and educators. I hear they will solicit outside expert feedback as well. My guess is that it will not be voted on till March at the earliest.

If they do vote in new standards in any of the 8 groups areas (4 core...K-5 and 6-12 version each), then by HB1490 directive, districts will have 1 year to align curriculum to those. FY17 could be a busy year. Some of the work appears very similar, so aligning will be quick in some cases.

Kolbe A

Last night, the BOE convened for a workshop around Kolbe A. Many of you have taken this as well. If you see your BOE members, ask them their color(s) and share yours!

Our Story

As you know, most entities are trying to increase their use of social media. Did you know that social media like Facebook uses algorithms when determining what to put on top of the page? And videos get there the first! And they receive the most traffic and shares.

With that in mind, we will continue to grow our social media footprint. This will be very important if we do go for a tax levy in the future.

Here is a link to an example video: https://youtu.be/p8idYoftBzg

Kudos to Dawn Hickman and Jen Hecktor for putting that together. Nice to see the newest Wildcats making a mark already!

Wright City Foundation Classroom Donation Application

Each year, the WCF Board review donation requests / applications and choose some of those they can fund. The group has funds now and hope to meet in late October to select winner(s). Below is a link to their application. Due date is October 22nd. To date, only 1 person has made a submission. Apply if interested. If technology, please work with Andrea as we want to be on the same page for all technology.

The link is: https://docs.google.com/a/wrightcity.k12.mo.us/forms/d/1RtEmCCyMN0KlDwXcSCvJqjvcrkoNeiEociBxo5VmaKI/viewform?usp=send_form

Wright City Early Childhood Center

The staff in our newest building will have an Open House for the community at 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 17th. They will have cookies and give tours. Come over and take a look at our newest addition. The playground is supposed to be completed by that time. The fence around the playground and in front of the dumpster are to follow shortly.

Insurance History

As many of you know, our insurance company looks at our 36 month ratio of expenses vs. premium. Depending on our rates are, we are put into different categories. Those then affect our insurance costs the next year.

5 years ago, we often trended over 110%. Sometimes hitting 120%. I.e., they were losing money, so we were getting giant increases.

The good news is that we are at 61.9% for the past 12 months! Kudos to our collective health! In fact, if I look at the entire trust (most St. Louis region school districts are in the same trust), the group at large is at 97.9%. We are healthier than the average district!

25.7% of our cost comes from Pharmacy. 64.9% comes from In Network payments. 1.1% comes from Out of Network payments. 8.3% comes from HRA.

Our medical and pharmacy costs for last year was at $523,925. That is down 7.3% from FY14. And that is even with an increase of 11 employees on the system (up to 183 of you). So, if you look at it by a per employee basis, we spent 11.7% less in FY15 than FY14.

In reality, $1,734,965 of charges were given to the system by us, but the Insurance Discounts were $1,061,527. That means that there was a cost of $673,438. The cost by employees (coinsurance, copayment, deductible) was $149,408. The Insurance Trust covered the remaining $523,925. That puts the employee cost sharing at 22.2%.

Kudos on getting healthier Wildcats!

Summer of 2016

We are entering the 4th year of our 5 year Facilities Plan. That calls for a renovation of our high school locker rooms. We will meet with experts to see what is possible for the amount of funds set aside for the work. If you have input on what you would like for the committee to consider, please let Shawn Brown know. We will meet on the 15th of September for some preliminary ideas.

Next school year, we will begin working on the formation of a new 5 year plan.

Annual Peformance Report

Today, DESE is to release the APR release timeline. It appears that we will see our scores on a secure site on the 21st of September. We then will review the data and submit any corrections to DESE by October 2nd. We have already done that in Standards 3, 4 and 5. While we have the data in Standard 1 and 2, we need to wait till all MAP A is in there and they separate out those who were not here a full academic year as not counting for us.

What is a full academic year? Basically, they were here on the last Wednesday of September and still here at the time of testing.

DESE will then review any corrections submitted and react to those. They then will post the Final APR on the 19th of October...again on a secure site. They then will let the press see it on either the 20th or 21st in an embargoed situation. Then the public release would be the 22nd or 23rd.

Reminder that Grade 3-8 Math and ELA cannot lower our APR point total this year per HB1490 (same bill that created the curriculum writing groups). The reason is that it is based on new standards. Districts in the Kansas City area petitioned DESE to do the same with elementary Science, claiming it being online also matched a change and should be held harmless. I sat in on a panel fielding that request yesterday. If I'm to read between the lines, DESE is going to deny that request. Our 5th and 8th grade science scores went up, so it is a mute point for us.

State Finances

August, like July, tends to be a low revenue month at the state level.

After two months, here is how we compare to the July / August of 2014 (all in Net % Increase):

Individual Income Tax: +6.7%

Sales Tax: +2.0%

Corporate Income / Franchise Tax: 22.6%

Insurance Premium Tax: 18.9%

Total Year to Date: 5.0%

That is a good trend after 2 months!

After July, Sales Tax was down -4.7%. It is still not great at +2.0, but much better than it was.

District Calendar

  • September 11th: Varsity Football is home vs. Bowling Green
  • September 12th: Varsity Volleyball is at Orchard Farm Tournament
  • September 14th: Student Picture Day at the HS; Spirit Day at WCWE; JV/V Volleyball (4:30) at Warrenton
  • September 15th: JV/V Softball (4:30) home vs. Mark Twain
  • September 16th: JV/V Volleyball (4:30) at Orchard Farm
  • September 17th: JV/V Softball (4) at Valley Park; JV/V Volleyball (5:30) home vs. Montgomery County; Early Childhood Center Open House (5); BOE meeting (6)
  • September 18th: No School. PAWS Day. K-5 and 6-12 will be at separate locations. Your principals will give you more details.

Articles of the Week

  • http://edtrust.org/resource/classroomassignments - via Education Trust. This is a rich article on looking at curriculum alignment via classroom assignments. The results of this study are not great, but the concepts are very solid. This is why you see Reading Workshop audits in the elementary buildings now. It isn't about the training received, but about the implementation and reaction to student learning that matters.
  • http://bit.ly/1NXSvEq - Educational Leadership article on designing great hinge questions.
  • http://bit.ly/1LeKyoc - Edutopia article on 3 myths about differentiation.

From the Desk of Donna Lindsey

-Anyone collecting money from students needs to be checking the Bad Check List on the

staff website. If a student gives you a check that should not be accepted, please return it

to them discreetly and ask they bring in cash.

-New travel forms are on the Staff website under District Forms : Accounting. Please

make sure you are using the correct form. See the Travel Reimbursement Guidelines for

directions. If in doubt, please ask. -When entering a requisition in the Portal for a conference please make sure the dates and your name are entered. For example: registration Lindsey Oct 1-3 or hotel Lindsey Oct 1 & 2.

-On the Request to Collect Funds form you may show the requisition# instead of the


Trivia Answers

  1. When was the last month the St. Louis Cardinals had a losing record for the month? June 2012
  2. Queen Elizabeth has now served 63 years and 218 days. As of yesterday, that is a record length, overtaking what Queen's record? Queen Victoria
  3. How old is Queen Elizabeth? 89
  4. How many pieces does each player start a game of backgammon with? 15
  5. In what year was Mork & Mindy first broadcast? 1978
  6. Which bridge is the longest in the world? How long? Lake Pontchartrain Causeway (Louisiana); 23.83 miles long

As Always, It's A Great Day To Be A Wildcat!