Weekly Update 5-6-16

Wright City R-II School District

Happy May Wildcats!

20 years, and each seems to go faster. I'm sure many of you feel the same way. And what a wonderfully packed last few days we have. My 1st grader came home on Monday and said, "Dad, you have to look at my folder, they really are packing in a lot of cool stuff these last few days!" So true. So true. Enjoy it!


  1. Where would you find a funicle?
  2. Which of these was not the name of one of the Pointer Sisters? June, Anita, Ruth, Babette?
  3. Where any of them actually sisters?
  4. What would someone with alektorophobia be afraid of?
  5. Who released a song called 'Call Me' in 1980?
  6. Where do researchers believe they may have found Captain Cook's sunken Endeavour?

Happy Teachers Apprecation Week!!!

I look around at my best friends over time, and the vast majority are teachers. I look at my book club that is entering the 12th year, and all but 1 was a teacher. I'm surrounding by some amazing people who have a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in kids lives in a meaningful and lasting way. They are teachers.

Thank you for all that you do! Our community is a better place for it. I know the buildings did much to celebrate you. It was much deserved.

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Congratulations to these musicians for their performances at MSHSAA State Solo and Ensemble Festival. Receiving an Outstanding "II" rating are: Sierra Davis-vocal solo, and Andrew Tucker- alto sax solo. Receiving an Exemplary "I" rating are: Dylan Denson- clarinet solo, and Chloe Armentrout- clarinet solo.
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DESE work request on new assessments

Below is an email from DESE:

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) Office of College and Career Readiness is seeking a diverse group of professional educators to provide thoughtful input into its assessment development efforts. Three opportunities to participate in the development of Grade-Level and End-of-Course (EOC) assessments are planned for this summer.


Achievement Level Descriptor Writing: Educators in English, mathematics, social studies, and science will write Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) achievement level descriptors that describe the knowledge, skills and processes demonstrated by students in each performance category.

Dates - June, TBD

Content/Grade Levels:

•English Language Arts (ELA): Grade 3 – High School

•Mathematics: Grade 3 – High School

•Science: Grades 5, 8, and High School

•Social Studies: High School


Standard Setting Meeting: Over three days, educators in ELA and math will recommend cut scores—threshold test scores that separate test scores into achievement levels: below basic, basic, proficient and advanced.

Dates - July 12-14

Content/Grade Levels:

•ELA: Grade 3 – 8

•Mathematics: Grade 3 – 8


Assessment Item Writing: Over four to five days, educators in English, math, social studies and science will write assessment items for Grade-Level and EOC assessments.

Dates - August, TBD

Content/Grade Levels:

•ELA: Grade 3 – High School

•Mathematics: Grade 3 – High School

•Science: Grades 5, 8, and High School

•Social Studies: High School


Candidates must be appropriately certified teachers with at least three years classroom experience or educators supporting in the content area, special education or English Language Learners (ELL) classrooms. Additionally, candidates must have knowledge of Missouri content standards and grades 3-12 classrooms in a Missouri public school district or education agency.

From among the applicants, qualified educators who represent Missouri’s geographic regions and other demographic data will be selected to serve. Candidates must commit to the event dates and must be available for the entirety of the days of the event.

Please forward this information to appropriate candidates from your school or district who may be interested in participating in one or more of the activities. Interested candidates should apply by May 13 through this linkhttps://www.surveymonkey.com/r/UpcomingAssessmentEvents. After selection, participants will be notified via email with additional information regarding the specifics of locations and other meeting information. Most events will be held in the Columbia or Jefferson City area.

Tom Tobias | Arts Education Director | Office of College and Career Readiness

Phone: 573-751-9610 | Fax: 573-526-0812 | tom.tobias@dese.mo.gov

Survey Results

The phone survey is complete! We will reveal the results at the CAT/Friends of Wright City meeting on Thursday, May 12th at 6 p.m. in the Wright City Middle School. Below are the # of completed surveys by where they are. Then, one of the questions below that I thought you might find interesting. Please note on that question, you could choose more than one answer.

"To make certain we have people who live in all parts of the school district participating in this survey, can you tell me which of the following best describes where you live?" Choices were read to respondents. Numbers, rather than percentages, displayed below.

Response Number

  • Foristell 21
  • Incline 19
  • Innsbrook 25
  • Wright City, north of I-70 78
  • Wright City, south of I-70 50
  • Any unincorporated rural area or Marthasville 207

"Thank you for staying with me. I have just a few more questions. I’m wondering where you turn for information about the Wright City School District, BESIDES news about weather-related school closings. I’m going to read a short list of people and places where you might turn for district news. If you consult this source frequently for such news, say, “Yes.” If you consult it only every so often, or you don’t consult it at all for district news, say, “No.” Let’s start with..." Choices were read and rotated.

Response Percentage

  • The Warren County Record newspaper or website 62%
  • Local radio stations 47%
  • Area television stations 58%
  • Friends and neighbors 71%
  • The Parent Teacher Organization, also known as the PTO 14%
  • The printed newsletter, called Wright City Connection that is mailed to residents three times a year 65%
  • The online version of the Wright City Connection 13%
  • Printed newsletters from individual schools 22%
  • The school district’s website 34%
  • The School Board, either in person, or when a member of the Board is quoted in the news media 46%
  • The district’s administration, either in person, or when a member of administration is quoted in the news media 45%
  • E-mail blasts sent by the district via the Infinite Campus parent portal 12%
  • School principals in the district 28%
  • Teachers in the district 40%
  • Social networking sites, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 31%
  • Marquees outside of the school buildings 37%

Cost of Living

As you know, our biggest revenue source is local / county, not state and not federal. Each August, we set the tax rate. We cannot capture increases in Assessed Valuation that are greater % wise than the CPI, a measure of cost of living if you will. In years past, we often had greater than 2% each year. Since the great recession, it often fails to reach 1%. Last year we were at 0.8%. Since the economy is doing well, I thought it might be higher this year. I called Becky Webb at the State Auditor's Office, and it has been set for 2016. 0.7%. Well, so much for a robust increase.


This past week, a few of us had a chance to listen to a national expert on economy projections. Here is some nuggets from what he said.

We are currently on a 7 year long sustained growth, although it is slow. That is the 3rd longest stretch in the last 150 years. He said he would give it a 70% chance to continue for at least the next 18 months. It has slowed this calendar year.

He has said, over those last 7 years, wage increase has been at about 2% a year. Next week, if I have time, I will look to see what we have had over that time...as I think we are much higher than that! He said that the 70 years after WWII was averaging 3.5% annual wage growth.

5 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. that are of high skill level that the 2.5 million long term unemployed do not have. Fields include things such as tech, health care, engineering. This is why we are investing in PLTW, Health Occ, and 1:1!

Food Service Review

We will have more on the actual findings soon. One of the negative findings, however, will effect us adults. That is, we charge way to little for lunch trays than we must per regulations. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I believe it is around a $0.60 short per tray raise. Once we have the full findings, we will look at setting the tray rates this summer via board action. Since it has an impact on you, but we are almost out for the year, I wanted to give you a heads up.

Legislative Happenings

First off, the legislative session ends on Friday, May 13th.

This week and next is the omnibus bill time, when all the items that would not pass before now get clumped together into a mega education bill. It is always challenging as things that were not on your radar show up and get passed with no time to give feedback to your legislators. I wish they didn't work this way at the end.

Of note is the likely Veto of SB586 (I'm typing this section on Tuesday...it may occur by time you read this). This is the bill that puts back in the 5% cap on growth in the formula. This was in the original version of our foundation formula we are currently under. Legislators took it out when they were getting rid of gambling loss limits. They thought the revenue would increase dramatically, and they wanted to capture it and give it to schools. Well, that increase never really happened. Now, years later, they would like to put it back in so they can 'fully fund' the formula every other year. How? Well, without the 5% cap, the formula is underfunded by about $418 million next year. With the cap, the $71 million increase puts them about $69 million underfunded...which could be much more attainable the following year. Thus, the legislators like this. The Governor does not, as he feels it lets them off the hook on increases as the economy improves. The Governor says that with the 5% cap, the call in FY17 and FY18 for Wright City R-II is $6,450,967. The call if no cap is $7,492,548. That is a $1,041,581 difference.

If he vetos this bill, the legislators will try for an override vote. Stay tuned!

Summer School Enrollment

We are a bit behind where we were last year when it comes to the beginning of May:

May 3, 2013: 593

May 2, 2014: 534

May 1, 2015: 500

May 3, 2016: 495

Last year, between May 1st and May 8th, we enrolled an additional 62 students.

The end enrollment by year sans Credit Recovery (note: the actual attending would vary from this):

2009: 707

2010: 567

2011: 625

2012: 635

2013: 689

2014: 632

2015: 636

Credit Recovery from years past:

2009: 38

2010: 30

2011: 24

2012: 64

2013: 35

2014: 49

2015: 83

By grade, so far this year, we have:

K: 58

1: 67

2: 66

3: 59

4: 63

5: 61

6: 60

7: 30

8: 22

9: 9

We do not have Credit Recovery in the counts above. Remember, this is as of Tuesday, May 3rd. We receive new enrollments daily.


Below are the Direct Cert numbers we have per building. That is, what % of kids receive food stamps, in foster care, and some other programs. As a district, we are at 32.93%. In contrast, Warrenton is at 35.32%. Wentzville is below 30%, and thus didn't show up on the DESE list. Here is the building level percentages:






% of Kids Eating School Breakfast and Lunch

For the state of Missouri, 32% of students by ADA eat Breakfast each day. 64% of student per ADA eat Lunch each day. By ADA, I'm excluding those that are not in school that day.

How do we compare?

By building, for the month of April:

  • East Breakfast = 45%; Lunch = 66%
  • West Breakfast = 35%; Lunch = 66%
  • MS Breakfast = 27%; Lunch 65%
  • HS Breakfast = 27%; Lunch 58%

Fund 1 or Fund 4

School districts have 4 Fund accounts. Fund 1 and 2 is the operating funds. This is where the vast majority of revenue, including those coming from our operating levy, goes. This is where we buy supplies and pay salaries and pay benefits from.

Fund 3 is where our debt levy is deposited and the payments of debt is made from.

Fund 4 is for capital projects and equipment that costs over $1,000 per item and such.

So why the title Fund 1 or Fund 4? Districts across Missouri have dealt with buying computers differently over time. Fund 1 or Fund 4? Those that used Fund 1 said it was because the per unit cost was under $1,000. Those that have placed them into Fund 4 say it is because the lot cost is well over $1,000. Wright City R-II has for years went with the latter.

Well, DESE just clarified...it has to be Fund 1 when the per computer cost is under $1,000.

Due to that, we will be recoding our recently purchased student laptops to be Fund 1 instead of Fund 4. That is around a $200,000 shift in accounts. This will appear in the June final budget. Now, our Fund 4 balances are much healthier and we will not need to transfer any funds into Fund 4.

From the desk of Konee Box

Employees in support staff positions currently pay for their insurance coverage in advance. For example, the insurance premium that was deducted from your April 2016 paycheck paid for your May 2016 insurance coverage.

The district is going to change the way support staff pays for their insurance coverage to align with the certified staff in order to make the payroll process more efficient and be consistent with all employees. This change will be effective starting with the 2016-2017 plan year which begins October 1, 2016. This means that no insurance premiums will be deducted from your September 2016 paycheck because your August 2016 paycheck will pay for your September 2016 insurance coverage. Insurance premium deductions will resume in October 2016 to pay for your October 2016 insurance coverage. The change will apply to all insurance, including but not limited, to health, dental, vision, life, accident, hospital, disability, critical illness and cancer.

This will be the last year to offer non-12 month, full-time employees the option of receiving all of their summer paychecks in June. A form will be distributed on Thursday, May 12 to all employees who qualify for the option. Please return this form to the central office only if you choose that option. You will receive your summer paychecks in June, July and August if no form is received. The form must be returned to the central office no later than June 1, 2016, and it is your responsibility to confirm the central office has received your form.

From the desk of Laura Prenger

(Note, this is a quick glimpse into the world of our accountability and reporting we as a public school are required to do by agencies, state law, and federal law)

The following fields need to be updated for the June MOSIS prior to when staff leave the district as the June MOSIS is due June 30th.

All enrollment start and end dates need to be accurate as well as FTE.

Attendance needs to be accurate.

Discipline codes need to be accurate. Make sure comments match the duration of days.

Lunch Status

Gifted (enrollment tab)

Migrant (Enrollment tab)

A Plus Codes

LEP codes

HS Career Ed (Enrollment Tab)

Career Cluster (Enrollment tab)

Non Trad Student (Enrollment tab)

Single Parent (Enrollment tab)

Displaced Homemaker (Enrollment tab)

CTE Technical Skills Attainment (CTETSA) (Enrollment tab)

CTE Program Code (Enrollment tab)


GPA scale

All grades need to be in.

PE Codes for 5, 7 & 9

IEP Disability Codes (Enrollment tab)

SPED Placement (Enrollment tab)

SPED exit codes (Enrollment tab)

ECO entry and exit dates (Enrollment tab)

Summer courses need to be entered into Campus & student assignments

Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) - (FFA participation codes) (FBLA finished) (Flag)

ASVAB (Finished)

EOC Exceptions (sent to John and Abby)

From the desk of Andrea Schremp


Google has recently acquired a product called Synergyse and is now offering it free to Google Apps customers.

Synergyse provides users with Step by Step training for Google apps from directly within the app. It is easy as clicking on the logo (top right, question mark with red, blue and green circle around it) in any google apps product.

For more information about how the product works you can check out the overview here: https://www.synergyse.com/features/ or just click on the logo in any Google Apps Product product.


Don’t forget to change your password before you leave for summer break.

Google Slides Q&A

Google has added the feature to allow people to ask questions during your slide presentations. More info here: https://docs.googleblog.com/2016/05/slidesQA.html

From the desk of Jennifer Hecktor

Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction

As you wind up the school year, and begin to think about enjoying some time off in May and June, I wanted to send a reminder about our summer curriculum and assessment writing, as well as our other professional development opportunities we will be pursuing together to sustain our efforts at improving teaching, learning, and student outcomes students and for YOU, our incredible staff.

As legislated in HB 1490, we will provide high-quality professional development to not only acquaint you with the new standards, but to help support our efforts going forward as we write new curriculum that not only aligns to the standards but provides exemplar lessons, anchor papers, and formative and common assessments that can be used to measure student progress towards mastery of the standards and inform instruction. This work is critical for our students and for our ability to ensure that we realize our mission statement of being dedicated to the success of every student.

Please see the opportunities available as follows (by subject area):

  • New teachers

    • Kagan Cooperative Learning, July 18-21, 2016, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Education Plus, 1460 Craig Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63146

  • New teachers K-5

    • Units of Study for Reading Boot Camp, July 5-7, 2016, 8:30-3:30 p.m.

    • Location TBA (in-district)

  • Math Curriculum Writers K-5

    • Problem-Based Learning & Critical Thinking in Mathematics (K-5) Robert Kaplinsky

    • July 11, 2016 and July 12, 2016, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

    • Fox C-6 Service Ctr., 849 Jeffco Blvd., Arnold, MO 63010

  • Science MLS and NGSS workshop (registered science writers 6-12)

    • June 27, 2016, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

    • Hosted by SMCAA at Ferguson Florissant Little Creek Nature Center, 2295 Dunn Rd. Florissant, MO 63033

  • District Curriculum and Assessment Kick-Off Training (all English, math, science, social studies teachers grades K-12)

    • July 11-15, 2016, 8:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., $120/day stipend, 1 hour lunch/day

    • In-district location TBA

    • (Elementary math writers will attend Problem-Based Workshop July 11th and 12th and participate in in-district training July 13th-15th)

At our district curriculum and assessment kick-off week, we will have an outside curriculum coordinator working with us. She, Doug Smith, and I have tailored professional development for each subject area that meets us “where we are” by subject area since there are many variables that make the work different for each of our discipline areas. We will provide ongoing time for writing throughout the 2016-2017 school year with two Early-Out Wednesdays per month devoted to curriculum and one Early-Out Wednesday devoted to Assessment. Also, we have put in the budget a release day for writing for all K-12 teachers in these curricular areas (English, math, science, and social studies) to work as a vertical team on this important work. We will discuss how this writing day will look towards the end of our summer week together around July 14th or 15th.

Our administrators and I are very excited about the opportunities that we have been able to procure to give us a powerful and motivational start as we begin this work together. You will find the “kick-off week” to be energizing, inspiring, and, most importantly, specifically designed to be applicable to your respective subject area. I will be sending out a form for registration for the above opportunities shortly. If you have any questions, please let me know. I’m here all summer except for the week of June 6-10 (family vacation).

Thank you for a wonderful year in Wright City. We are so grateful for all that you give of yourselves for our students. There is a quote that I both love and hate: A good teacher is like a candle--it consumes itself to light the way for others. As a teacher for 18 years, I can relate as teaching consumed me. I know the long hours of grading every evening, of hiding away at a university library study room to grade AP essays week after week. I know the sleep lost worrying over a child’s home situation. I know the hours spent at cheer practice and football, basketball, and volleyball games. Our work is all-consuming work--beautiful and important work, but all-consuming work. This summer, make sure to (as Stephen Covey would say) “sharpen the saw.” Take time away to rejuvenate, to refresh, to do things you love to do. It is important that you do this for yourself, but it is also important for your colleagues and our students that you come back rested and renewed. We have important work to do next year, and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Wright City R-II team to engage with you side-by-side in the curriculum and assessment work going forward. Have a wonderful summer!

End of the year Thank You!

200 plus. Majority will stay home on May 17th, 18th, and so on. You've earned it. Enjoy! Many others will be here wrapping up the year and already gearing up for next year. That means you will interact with checkout lists and such. Please help them make this transition successful for all involved. In the case of technology, 2 people (Andrea and Michael) will be checking out over 100 people in 1 day. That is a chore to say the least. If you would, let's thank them for their great work by making that day an easy one for them!

Teacher Evaluation

The calendar is being flipped to next year. The past 2 years, we had teachers enter their Growth Plans (in Baldrige Continuous Improvement language) during the month of May. This year, the principals have asked that we do that in August. We will try that out. However, you should have your 3 indicators selected by now (District, Building, Personal / agreed upon). Remember the growth guides have 3 rows...commitment, practice, impact. The commitment is your learning / certifications / planning. Basically everything you do to up your abilities prior to teaching. I know some of you are attending things during the summer that will certainly apply to that. Keep mental note of those and come August, include them into your Growth Plans. We want to give credit where credit is due.

May 11th

On May 11th, Anita and I will attend our insurance trust meeting. We should find out if our expected decrease will occur. If we do receive a 3% reduction, that would be a $170+ / person savings next year. That is so much better than the 11% increases we used to absorb. I will let everyone know in next week's Weekly Update, the last of 2015-16 school year!

System of Care

For years, Vicki Zuhone and myself have belonged to a group called System of Care. It is comprised of SSM, Crider, DFS, Juvenile, Warren Co. R-III, parents, and in the past we had Agape, churches, Hannibal Regional, and others present as well.

At the last meeting, I inquired about some proactive curriculum / programming / assistance in light of an incident in one of our buildings regarding some ill use and racially insensitive language used by a few kids. Crider will work with us over the summer in doing just that. I have no tolerance for such lack of foresight or caring for a fellow human based on race, religion, orientation. I hope you in joining me in that lack of tolerance.

More to come. We have great kids. We need to empower them to make great choices.

Trivia Answers

  1. Where would you find a funicle? Plant
  2. Which of these was not the name of one of the Pointer Sisters? June, Anita, Ruth, Babette? Babette
  3. Where any of them actually sisters? Yes
  4. What would someone with alektorophobia be afraid of? Chickens
  5. Who released a song called 'Call Me' in 1980? Blondie
  6. Where do researchers believe they may have found Captain Cook's sunken Endeavour? Near Rhode Island