Notes from Dr. Irvin

Your WGHS Weekly eNews for May 12

Hello WGHS Families,

There 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. A recent New York Times article, "The Benefit of Exercise for Children's 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.

Exercise and movement combat the ill-effects of the digital age, promoting better mental health outcomes when connected with increased physical activity and lessened screen time (JAMA, 10/21).

Student-athletes are getting some of the benefit, but not consistently or at the most ideal 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. It's all done in order to generate a performance for a limited window, just enough to move on to the next credential. I would suggest this is not conducive to long-term impact nor is it providing the protective factors of fitness when students need it most. More concerning, there are entities, led by educators, that foster this corrupt bargain 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 staffing in this important area at WGHS in the effort to serve our students and families. It is most hope that families give taking additional courses their fullest consideration.


Matt Irvin

Next Week's Schedule: Late-Start A, A, B, C, A

A Peek at the Week Ahead

  • May 13: Best Buddies Ball, PV Commons, 6-8pm
  • May 13: Spring One-Acts, 7pm, Blackbox Theatre
  • May 16: Late-Start A Day; School starts at 9:15, and doors open at 8:30.
  • May 18: WGHS Parents for Racial Equity Meeting, 7pm, Library
  • May 20: WGHS A Cappella Extravaganza, 7pm, Auditorium

2021-22 Late-Start Days

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2022-23 School Year Start-up Dates

The 2022-23 school year starts on August 22. Sports dead week is August 1-5, and fall sports begin on August 8.

The full 2022-23 calendar will be published on our website in late May.

2022-23 Bus Transportation Form due May 15

The Webster Groves School District is currently determining transportation needs for the fee-based service for the 2022-2023 school year. If your student will be attending Webster Groves High School or Hixson Middle School and you would like bus transportation for your student for the 2022-2023 school year, you must complete the application at the link below. Even if your student rode the bus last year, you must fill out a new application for the 2022-2023 school year. Please read the information in the link and fill out the form if you want your student to ride the bus for the 2022-2023 school year.

2022-23 Bus Form

Application deadline is May 15, 2022.

Thank you,

WGSD Transportation


Win a Spot on the Lot Raffle

Win a SPOT IN THE LOT Support the mission of the WGHS Parents Club by purchasing a raffle ticket for your chance to win 1 of 2 Reserved Parking Spots in the Lot for your driving student for the 2022-2023 School Year. One entry for each $10 spent. Ticket purchase ends midnight on Thursday, May 26th. Drawing for two (2) winners will be held on May 27th with winners announced later that day.

Freestyle Pool Passes

Dear Families,

The Freestyle Pool Pass is BACK for 2022, after a very successful inaugural year last summer. The Freestyle Pass removes barriers to the community swimming pool by providing free daily swim passes for individuals and families that require financial assistance. Thanks to the generosity of this amazing community, 604 pool passes were used last summer!

It is our pleasure to report that together we raised enough money last year to run the program again for summer 2022. Webster Groves is a great place to live, work, and play--and our community is striving to be consciously inclusive. We want everyone to feel welcome, included, and vital in all spaces! The Freestlye Pool Pass is a partnership of the Alliance for Interracial Dignity, the Webster Groves School District, and Webster Rock Hill Ministries. We are also grateful to the City of Webster Groves for their administrative efforts to accept and track the pool passes.

To those families who may currently be in need of financial support to access the pool, our goal (pending funding) is to provide:

  • WGSD PreK – 5th grade students: 4 Freestyle Pool Passes per student upon request
  • WGSD 6th – 12th grade students: 2 Freestyle Pool Passes per student upon request
  • If you have more than one child attending the same WGSD school, then you will receive a family pack of Freestyle Pool Passes.

If you currently are in need of financial assistance and are interested in receiving Freestyle Pool Passes (each is good for one daily admission), then please complete this WGSD Freestyle Pool Pass Request Form by May 13, 2022, or contact your child’s counselor. The passes will be given to your child May 19 - 20, 2022. During pool season, Freestyle Pool Passes will also be available at Webster Rock Hill Ministries and inside the Rec Center front desk.

As the Freestyle Pool Pass program continues to find its footing in future years, we hope to expand the program to include snack bar vouchers and possibly swim instruction. We are not actively fundraising for summer 2022, but If you would like to support the program's future, the fund is being held by Webster Rock Hill Ministries (WRHM). Checks can be made payable to WRHM and mailed or brought to 111 East Waymire, Webster Groves, 63119. Checks must include “Freestyle Pass Fund” in the memo line. You may also donate online at

We look forward to seeing you at the pool this summer, which opens on May 27th!


Dr. Shane Williamson


Farrell Carfield


Elyssa Sullivan


Emerson Smith


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Senior Car Parade Information for Seniors

The Senior Community Car Parade will be Saturday May 21st at 10am. Start gathering your friends and planning decorations for your vehicle to be part of the community celebration of you! The parade will start on Lockwood Ave West of Rockhill Stand run East on Lockwood Ave to Gore Ave. A link to sign up for the parade is attached. EVERY student that wants to participate must complete the sign up. The deadline to sign up is May 14. 2022 by 11:59 pm. Once you have signed up, you will receive a confirmation email with further instructions. Please feel free to contact Jennifer Pires at with any questions.

WG Class of 2022 Senior Parade May 21, 2022 at 10:00 am

To Report an Absence, Please Call:

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Important 2022-23 Immunization Information

Please see the Missouri school immunization requirements for the 2022-23 school year at the link below. Per Missouri state law and WGSD Board of Education policy, all students must present documentation of up-to-date immunization status of each immunization before attending school. Please be aware that a second meningococcal immunization is required before 12th grade unless the first dose was administered to a student who was 16 years of age or older, in which case only one dose is required. At least one dose must be given after 16 years of age. Additional information regarding medical and religious exemptions can be found on the attached link as well.

News from the Chelsea Center

WGHS’ in-house experiential learning center

Student Opportunity Spotlight

Check out these opportunities available through GivePulse via the Chelsea Center Canvas course or stop by the Chelsea Center for more info and to get registered!

Webster University Phage Biology Camp July 25-29

The Webster University Department of Biological Sciences is offering a one-week, full-day intensive summer day camp studying the microbiology of bacteriophages (phages). Throughout the week, students gain experience with useful field and lab microbiological techniques, study how phages are used in health and medicine, and they actively contribute to real, novel research in the discovery of new bacteriophage lines. Ultimately, students get the rare opportunity to participate in real research closely mentored by college professors in their field of expertise.

Service Learning

Is your child looking to serve the community while also strengthening their resume for their post-high school plans? Encourage them to sign up for the Chelsea Center Service Learning course where they can earn elective credit by volunteering. Team Chelsea will happily help them find volunteer opportunities within community organizations connected to their areas of interest.

Did You Know?

The end of the school year is a great time to pay your child's fines. Please check in the Parent Portal to see if your child has fines and pay directly from the Portal.

Counseling Office Updates

Digital Strike Will Award Online Google Career Certificates

Local digital marketing firm, Digital Strike, has announced they will be awarding 20 area high school students an opportunity to complete an online Google Career Certificate.

Upon completion, this certificate will propel students on the fast track to in-demand jobs within fields that are and will continue to be crucial to our country’s economy, including technology, science, business, finance, energy, and more.

For more information and to apply visit

College Admissions Testing

We have fielded a lot of questions regarding the ACT and SAT lately. Here's an article with answers to some of the top questions we hear.

2022-2023 Course Selections

Counselors are meeting individually with all students (during their Science class) to review student transcripts and finalize course requests for the 2022-2023 school year. Parents can view their child’s course requests in the parent portal by selecting the 2022-2023 school year (dropdown menu in upper right hand corner) and selecting “Course Requests” (menu on left). Please reach out to your child’s counselor if you have any questions.

In Person College Visits are Back

Beginning this week, admissions representatives will visit to meet with prospective juniors and seniors to share information about their institutions. Students who would like to meet with admissions representatives should sign up in the counseling office ahead of time and will receive a pass from class. To visit the full calendar, click here. Check back frequently as visits are being added daily.

Upcoming ACT and SAT National Test Dates (Saturdays)

Junior parents: Is your child planning to attend a four year college or university? While many colleges have been “test optional” for the past two years as a result of covid, plans for next year are not yet clear and many colleges will still require ACT or SAT scores for admission and/or scholarships. Here are the ACT and SAT test dates for the rest of the school year.

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Shop the Parents' Club Spirit Store!

The Spirit Store is open! Hours are 8-9:15 a.m. daily.

The online store is open 24 hours a day at

Every time you shop at the Spirit Store, you are supporting student scholarships and teacher grants!

News from Dr. Irvin

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