Notes from Dr. Irvin

Your Weekly eNews for February 11

Hello Parents and Guardians,

The Case for Year-round Activity via Physical Education

There is considerable information available to advocate for wellness and the impact physical activity can have on it. Long-term benefits of mitigating lifestyle conditions such as obesity, heart disease and dementia have been well chronicled. I would like to address the more temporal concerns of mental health, cognitive function, and positive impact on learning issues such as ADD. The connection between mind and body is crucial to personal growth and development as consistent exercise can help you be better and allow you to do your best work.

Exercise is more for the brain than the body.

Consistent purposeful movement improves cognition and learning readiness by increasing alertness and have a positive impact on ADD/ADHD. John J. Ratey, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of “Spark--The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” states exercise is like “taking a little Prozac or a little Ritalin at just the right moment.”

Further, increased evidence has suggested that exercise may be a neglected but important intervention in mental health and self-care. While exercise does not impact on all mental health concerns, research supports its impact on the most common among adolescents. Recent NY Times article "The Benefit of Exercise for Children Mental Health" noted significant research demonstrating the “clear association between more frequent physical activity and lower levels of depression and anxiety.” Another study declared “physical activity might be an efficient antidepressant” while many others promoted exercises ability to reduce anxiety.

Student-athletes are getting some of the benefit, but not consistently or at best times.

If students are practicing after the school day, the benefits for their brain are present, but post-competition and practice is after the school day or on a weekend. In addition to the timing not being optimal, a limited number of students participate in after-school activities, with WGHS athletics or otherwise. How much activity are those students getting in their respective off-season? That varies drastically but could be more consistent with a PE class.

Summer School PE allows for credit attainment but limited long-term impact.

Summer school PE is similar to cramming for a test in school; a sprint through a condensed curriculum that provides limited exposure to worthwhile wellness goals. All done in order to generate a performance for a limited window, earning a credit but often not in a window that would best support student wellness nor offer the protective factors of fitness when students need it most. More concerning, there are entities, led by educators, that foster this process in the effort to capture state monies with their indiscriminate offering of “PE lite.” I do not support that path for most students. We have continued to elevate our course offerings and support staffing in this important area at WGHS in the effort to serve our students and families. While PE course are not the sole resource for these important issues, I hope that families give taking additional courses their fullest consideration.

In gratitude,

Matt Irvin

Show the Love!

Show the Love

The Parents' Club's virtual fundraising event is going on now through February 14th! Through Show the Love we hope to raise AWARENESS about the impact you've made for the students of Webster Groves High School by sharing positive stories and raise FUNDS to continue our tradition of excellence to support educational enrichment grants, student scholarships, and a safe and fun Senior party!

How do I donate?

You can donate on the Parents' Club website. When donating, you can do so in recognition of a class. Second, you can send us a name or kind note to be shared on walls of WGHS!

Why is This Important?

Webster Groves High School thrives because of the strong support shown by families, friends, and alumni. For decades we have been a school that provides a wide array of opportunities, thanks to a strong partnership between teachers and the community of Webster Groves. In the midst of a pandemic, the students and staff of WGHS need your support now more than ever.

To Show the Love, go to

Statesmen Service Awards Update

Spring is coming and so are the annual Statesmen Service Awards!! We understand that this year has not allowed for as many in person volunteer opportunities so we are decreasing the minimum number of hours required to 25 (instead of last year’s 50 hours). So now is the time for your student to take full advantage of their generosity to others and submit their 25+ volunteer hours so they can be honored for their awesomeness!!! Forms are due by 3/18 – just before Spring Break. Forms are in Office 124. Questions? Contact Julie Simonson, Administrative Assistant, ( or John E. Thomas, Assistant Principal.

Form and additional information can be found HERE:

Term 3 Important Dates

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Term 3 Schedule

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Did You Know?

If the District calls a "Snow Day," WGHS students will complete asynchronous learning. In order to meet DESE state-required hours of instructional time, any inclement weather days are to be conducted at WGHS as asynchronous virtual learning days. There will be no live Zooms; rather, teachers will assign work to be done independently.​​​​​​​ The only exception to this is a "late start" on M, T, TH, or F. See the graphic below for details.

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Inclement Weather and School Closing Information

Although we've had a mild winter thus far, please be mindful of the procedures for school closings due to inclement weather. Please visit our district website for detailed information.

Should bad weather or other adverse conditions prompt us to consider closing schools, the District will make a decision as early as possible. Information will be available through the following outlets:

Early Dismissal
The Webster Groves School District will consider closing schools early due to emerging weather and/or road conditions that will make it unsafe for children to be dismissed at the regular time. If school is dismissed early, all after school programs and activities, including Adventure Club, will be canceled. Non-district related events will also be canceled (ex: YMCA’s Hoopsters).

Transportation provided by First Student, the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation, and ZipCare will transport children home at dismissal.

Unless special circumstances exist, the high school will be dismissed at 12 p.m.

Delayed School Start Time
The Webster Groves School District will consider opening schools with a “late start” on inclement days when roads are expected to be cleared within a few hours. This option would keep children, families and staff off the roads during the busy morning rush hour. A late start would mean that all schools would open one hour and thirty minutes later than their usual start times. A quick breakfast would be available for students. Transportation provided by First Student, the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation, and ZipCare will be scheduled to pick up students one hour and thirty minutes later than their regular pick up times.

All schools and Adventure Club would close at their regular times.

WGHS Delayed Start Time:

Student Arrival Time: 9:10 a.m.

School Start Time: 9:25 a.m.

WGHS Term 3 Blended 4x4 Daily Schedule Delayed Start due to Inclement Weather

This schedule is only applicable in the event of an announcement by the district of an inclement weather delayed start.

Building opens at 9:10 a.m. for Morning Session

Building opens at 12:30 for Afternoon Session

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Bus Payment for Semester 2 Due March 18

Bus Payment for semester 2 is due by March 18. Checks can be written to the WGSD and mailed in or dropped off by your student to Leigh McKittrick in Office 308.

One way bus transportation is $80, and AM/PM transportation is $160. This fee is prorated to only reflect our in person days this semester. If you have any further questions, please email or call Leigh McKittrick at or 918-4139.

Learning at WGHS

Please visit our website for all the latest information regarding in-person learning, the virtual program, schedules, and support for our students and families.

A Note from the Nurse

  1. Please keep your student home if notified they were exposed to COVID-19
  2. Please keep your student home if a COVID-19 test is pending in student or household member
  3. Please keep your student home if your student OR another member of your household, including siblings, is exhibiting symptoms that need to be verified as non-COVID-19 versus COVID-19.
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Free Breakfast and Lunch Available for All WGSD Students

During in person learning and distance learning, Webster Groves Students will continue to have access to FREE breakfast and FREE lunch Monday-Friday.

Meals are available for pick-up at Webster Groves High School and home delivery. Students who have opted for in person learning, will be able choose their meal choice daily in the classroom.

For home delivery or meal pick up , please sign up using the below link .

Please contact us at with any questions.

Check out our menus at or download the Nutrislice app!

Counseling Department Updates

The St. Louis Area Regional Representatives (STARR) group has teamed up with Darr Tutoring to offer free ACT prep prior to the ACT on 3/30. Students can register for as many sessions as they’d like to attend.

Math Section – Monday, February 22nd from 6:00pm-7:30pm

English Section – Thursday, February 25th from 6:00pm-7:30pm

Science Section – Monday, March 1st from 6:00pm-7:30pm

Reading Section – Thursday, March 4th from 6:00pm-7:30pm

Register Here:

Juniors! Mark Your Calendars

All juniors will take the ACT on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. This is at no cost to students and no registration on your part is necessary. More information will be shared as we get closer to the test date.

Scholarship Information for Seniors
Applications for the 2021 Webster Groves local scholarships are now available. Please visit our Counseling Webpage here for more information and instructions to apply. The deadline to apply for all local scholarships is February 16, 2021.

St. Louis Area Scholarship Search St. Louis Graduates Scholarship Central (Note: Many of these applications have not opened up yet so keep checking back.) This is also where you can apply for Interest Free Student Loans from Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis.

Where can you find other scholarships? There are a number of scholarship databases out there. While it can seem a little overwhelming, it can be very rewarding if you put some time into it.

National Scholarship Searches
College Board’s Big Future

Upcoming College Admissions Testing

The SAT—Saturday, March 13, 2021

Register at by February 12, 2021.

As a reminder, all juniors will take the ACT at school on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Test fees are paid for by WGSD and no registration on your part is required.

As a reminder, WGHS school counselors and social workers are working to support the academic, social and emotional, and post-secondary planning needs of our students. If you or your child are having difficulties or need assistance, please reach out to their counselor or social worker.

School Counselors

A-E Alex King (

F-K Ken Winingham (
L-R Joe Hepfinger (
S-Z Simone Cunningham (

College and Career Counselors
A-K Karen Verstraete (
L-Z Jennedy Lombard (

School Social Workers
Anne Gibbs (
Anne Marie Guntli (SSD) (


For students or families having technology issues, please do the following:

  • For specific Canvas issues, contact Ms. Liz Forderhase at or call her at 314.963.6400, ext. 11928.
  • Below is a link to the technology support ticket system we are utilizing to help give our learners and families the most efficient system to help us keep track of technology support requests. Use this site to submit when you are having technology difficulties with your child's equipment/access/accounts/etc.

As always, you are welcome to contact us at 314.963.6400 for assistance.

COVID-19 Information

We have now moved all COVID-19 information to a separate link. We will update this as we receive new information.

News from Dr. Irvin

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