Notes from Dr. Irvin

Your WGHS Weekly eNews for April 2

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Hello Parents and Guardians,

I am hopeful this communication finds you and your family safe and well. We are all struggling in various ways to navigate our newly found circumstances that have us contending with novel issues in our educational settings. Much of our information has centered on initial engagement, attempting to keep students connected to the relationships and learning that had occurred prior to the impact of COVID-19.

Below are important adjustments we are making in an effort to remain student-centered:

Initial Distance Learning experience

In our initial work around distance learning and in gathering external information, we have heard consistent information around the following:

  • Our top priority for students, faculty, staff, and their respective families during this COVID-19 pandemic should be their physical and emotional wellness.
  • We are mindful of advice provided by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) regarding grading practices as students may have competing demands on their time and varied access to devices and supports. We know that this reflects some of our students circumstances at WGHS and has an unequal impact on their learning opportunities.


  • Our staff is focusing on how students can be successful with engagement during this period and providing feedback around the intended learning. We do want to support students in continued acquisition of skills that will support future ready citizens: critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.
  • Distance learning period will be a seperate grading category/assignment type in Tyler SIS where all grades will be placed while school is conducting distance learning. It will have different weight pending how long that term will need to be conducted and with awareness that it is impacted by many variables. Teachers and staff are working with students to maintain their previous level of achievement through a myriad of supports and assessment design. Administrators and teachers are in communication when students are not able to engage and will work to excuse or reduce work missed due to lack of access. Under our current circumstances, we are working to monitor and adjust as needed for students to be successful for the remainder of the distance learning period.

Our staff is working extremely hard to connect and care for your students. Please let me, your unit office, or your student's teachers know if you have any questions.


Matt Irvin

Teachers will post their content on Google Classroom each day by 8:30 a.m. Students can work at their own rhythm throughout the day, provided they meet each teacher's deadlines/due dates.

Office Hours by School Subject/Department

Each department will host office hours for hosting virtual meetings with individual students, being available for student questions/concerns, and responding to emails. Individual teachers will also post these office hours on their Google Classroom. Some teachers may offer extra office hours outside of the times listed below, and they will post those as well. Please refer to the table below for each department's posted office hours.
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Visit our website for the most up-to-date E-Learning resources and information.

During this challenging time, we want you to know that we are here to support you as you navigate through E-Learning and sorting out the ins and outs of how it works. The E-Learning tab on our website offers:

  • General information on the importance of E-Learning, expectations, length of assignments and workload, and what to expect while school is closed
  • Resources for support, including counselor contact information
  • Tech hotline
  • Office Hours by department
  • Resources for time management and a custom WGHS Weekly Planner

Visit us HERE or click below for more information!

A Peek at the Week Ahead

  • April 3: End of Progress Period (Progress period now reflects work through March 25.)

April Event Cancellations/Postponements

In accordance with the Stay-at-home orders, we will need to either cancel or postpone our upcoming high school events. Please see the status of our events below for the month of April:


Spring Play (April 1-4)

Statesmen Service Awards (April 10)

WGHS School Service Day (April 14)

WGHS One-Acts (April 29)


Prom (April 18); new date TBA

Vaccination Clinic on April 25 - POSTPONED

The district Wellness Committee has postponed the Vaccination Clinic on April 25. We hope to offer the clinic in the future.

Virtual Events:

Top Hat Awards (April 17); format and date to be determined

Senior Awards NIght (April 30); format and date to be determined

Don't see an event listed above? Please check with individual sponsors for updates. We will send out information as we receive it.

Prom is Postponed: A Message to Our Seniors

Prom is not able to go on as scheduled this year. The Planetarium is closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic on our scheduled April 18th date, and St. Louis City and County have both issued Stay-at-home Orders during that time.

We are still hoping to have a prom this year, and we are considering different options to make this happen. We may be able to hold the event at the Planetarium at a later date, or it may be an option to have it at WGHS. The situation is evolving, but we are doing our best to hold prom in some fashion if we can.

We know that you have been looking forward to prom and are sorry to have to share this news. We will let you know the updated plans when we have more information.

Take care of yourselves!

School Celebrations/Announcements

Missouri Scholastic Press Association announced its 2020 winners on March 25. This usually occurs at the MIPA J-Day at Mizzou, but this year’s gathering was cancelled due to concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus.

The Echo staff earned an All Missouri rating for its online platform, a superior overall rating for its print version, a superior rating for its social media reporting, an excellent overall rating for its video newscast and an honorable mention for Voices of Webster podcast.

Echo staffers and journalism students earning individual All Missouri ratings were sophomore Jackson Parks for his Radio/Podcast Newscast/News Feature about Thanksgiving traditions, senior Ethan Weihl for his Broadcast News Story “Students walkout to raise climate change awareness,” junior Jaden Fields and Weihl for their Online Feature Package “Students walkout to raise climate change awareness,” junior Addie Palmquist and senior Emily Stisser for their Online Op-Ed Package “Acceptance pressure transforms admissions process,” seniors Elise Keller and Lindsey Bennett for their Online Op-Ed Package “Curriculum change threatens ‘block’ class,” Palmquist for her Personality/Portrait “Coach Clifford Ice at first home game,” Fields for her Sports Action Photo “Junior Julian Tilford challenges a Glendale player,” junior Maeve Taylor for her Student Life/Organization Photo “Cover Cutline: Sophomore Emma Hendrick…,” and sophomore Zeke La Mantia for his Student Life/Organization Photo “Senior Zia Massena, assistant director…

Echo staffers and journalism students earning individual superior ratings were sophomore Emily Goben for three of her Radio/Podcast Newscast/News Features about the Women’s March, students’ jobs and students’ wishes, freshman Lydia Urice for her Radio/Podcast Newscast/News Feature about senior football player Kam Yancey, Fields for her Radio/Podcast Newcast/News Feature about the late start schedule, sophomore Ava Musgraves for her Broadcast News Feature “Halloween Costumes, for dogs: Owners dress pets for Halloween,” Bennett for her Feature Story “New program facilitates student-created businesses,” Fields and junior Elise Wilke-Grimm for their Online Breaking News Package “Breaking News: Students walkout to raise climate change awareness,” Fields Online Sports Package “Football continues 4-game winning streak” and her News Photo “Senior Patrick Lee speaks at climate change protest,” and La Mantia’s Student Life/Organizational Photo “Jazz band plays ‘Chicago’ score...”

Echo staffers earning individual excellent ratings were La Mantia for his Feature Story “Custodial staff maintains school, makes connections,” and Stisser for her Feature Stories “Foreign exchange students leave permanent mark on community” and “Tens of veterans return, honored each year.

Echo staffers earning honorable mentions were Fields for her News Story “Students walkout to raise climate change awareness,” Stisser for her Academic Photo “Business takes trip to NYC” and Wilke-Grimm for her Student Life/Organizational Photo “Camp Wyman Activities.

A Message from Our Counselors

While conducting school virtually, WGHS school counselors and social workers will continue to support the academic, social and emotional, and post-secondary planning needs of our students. Our office hours are from 8:30-9:30am daily (for immediate attention) but we are available by phone or email throughout regular school hours. Please see our contact information below and reach out with any questions or needs you may have. Students can also request assistance by completing this form and their counselor will follow up with them.

Additionally, there are a number of outside agencies and organizations available to provide support to young people and their families during this difficult time. Below is a list of resources available to you and your family.

Virtual Counseling: Parents or guardians should call the numbers below to set up services.

CHADS Coalition: 314-952-8274

Preferred Family Health: 314-729-7050

St. Louis Counseling: 314-544-3800

Online Resources:

Unicef: How Teenagers Can Protect Their Mental Health During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

18percent Coronavirus Mental Health Resources

St. Louis County Resources (including help with food, utilities, rent, and mental health)

Special School District’s Family Resource Page

If you need support and cannot wait, please use one of the crisis numbers below:

Youth Connection Helpline: Call (314) 819-8802 or text BHEARD to 31658

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

Child Abuse and Neglect: 800-392-3738

For emergencies, please call 911

As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns. We look forward to seeing you all soon!


Alex King

Counselor (A-E)


Ken Winingham

Counselor (F-K)


Joe Hepfinger

Counselor (L-R)


Simone Cunningham

Counselor (S-Z)


Karen Verstraete
College & Career (A-K)


Jennedy Lombard

College and Career (L-Z)


Anne Gibbs

Social Worker


Suzanne Goldstein

SSD Social Worker


Ann Marie Guntli

SSD Social Worker


Barb Smith

Office Assistant

Transcripts and Summer School


Brittany Hill

Office Assistant



Counseling Department Updates

AP Testing Changes

  • Traditional face-to-face exam administrations will not take place. Students will take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home.
  • Some students may want to take the exam sooner rather than later, while the content is still fresh. Other students may want more time to practice. For each AP subject, there will be 2 different testing dates.
  • The full exam schedule, specific free-response question types that will be on each AP Exam, and additional testing details will be available by April 3.
  • We will share information as it becomes available to us. Questions? Contact our AP Coordinator, Jennedy Lombard, at

SLU and UMSL Reopen Registration for Dual Credit

In light of changes with AP testing, UMSL and SLU have decided to reopen registration for dual credit. SLU has already opened their website for registration (Adv. Forensic Science and Oceanography) with a deadline of April 5, 2020. More information from UMSL will be shared as we receive it.

Summer School 2020

The summer school planning for summer 2020 has been placed on hold in light of our current educational situation. Students will not lose classes in which they have been assigned. Once we receive more direction from DESE we will be able to provide additional information regarding our summer school programming for summer 2020.

Thank you for your patience with programming!