January 19, 2017 Recognition - BOE, Holiday Assistance and PLTW Conference Organizers
Board of Education
January is Board of Education Appreciation month, and as Missourians we benefit every day from the dedicated energies and countless hours devoted by a group of more than 3600 men and women in every community across the state. These public servants are elected by local constituents and do not receive compensation for their tireless efforts. The Governor’s proclamation for school board recognition urges all Missourians to recognize school boards as they strive within their communities to improve public schools by advocating for children through quality leadership. We are pleased to take this opportunity to thank each of YOU for your hard work on behalf of the students, staff and stakeholders in the Wentzville School District.
Holiday Assistance Partners
Each year in December the District’s Holiday Assistance Program helps to provide gifts for our students in need. Every year the program evolves as we add new partners in the effort. Nine schools participated in the District’s traditional "Adopt-a-Family" program which matched families in need with caring donors. Six schools partnered with Morning Star Church and their Christmas Shoppe and Heritage Elementary partnered with Calvary Church to participate in a Christmas Shop as well. When all was said and done, over 350 families and 1,000 students received gifts for the holidays. Each of those efforts is a tremendous undertaking and only made possible through the work of our dedicated school counselors in cooperation with staff, student groups, families, community groups, local businesses and caring individuals. We have two of those counselors here with us this evening –Jacki Fine from Duello, and Anita Hampton-Harris from Heritage Intermediate.
We are very fortunate to have our church partners assist us in this endeavor and I would like to recognize The Way church in Wentzville for adopting 13 families and 45 children from Peine Ridge Elementary. Here with us this evening from The Way is Kelly Rufkar.
Unfortunately, no one could be here from Calvary Church this evening, but we want to thank them for hosting a Christmas Shop for Heritage families...23 families and 66 Heritage students benefitted from that partnership.
And for the second consecutive year, we partnered with the wonderful folks at Morning Star Church. Prairie View, Discovery Ridge, Duello, Frontier, South Middle and Liberty families in need all had an opportunity to purchase gifts for their own children at deeply discounted prices. One hundred families participated in the shop where the thought is by having the families pay even a small portion for their gifts it allows the parents to be empowered and invested in the process rather than simply receiving a handout. It was a pleasure to work hand in hand with a group of people who dedicate their time all year long preparing for a two-day event that has proven to be a heartwarming experience for our families and benefited about 300 WSD students. Here representing Morning Star Church and their team of volunteers is Terese Spore.
At this time I would also like to recognize Julia Luetkenhaus and the Wentzville NEA. Each year Julia and the NEA come to our rescue in the last weeks before Christmas and cover any remaining families. This year they shopped, wrapped and delivered gifts at the last minute for nine families and 22 students. We appreciate their generosity and we appreciate knowing we have that safety net each year very much.
We would also like to publicly thank etrailer.com which is based right here in Wentzville. A representative was not able to join us this evening, but each year they donate funds they raise throughout the year where employees pay a dollar to wear jeans on Fridays and this year they donated $5,000 to our student assistance fund which is used not only for Holiday Assistance but to meet the needs of students throughout the year.
Additionally, we want to thank Saints Joachim & Ann Care Services for taking care of 23 of our families, Wentzville United Methodist Church covered 17 families, and Kathy Thompson and LINC, the outreach center in our Hidden Valley Neighborhood covered 15 of our families. Just to give you an idea of how this is all interwoven, and a community effort, LINC was short gifts going into their the week before Christmas and put an all call out to area churches for help. Immanuel Lutheran School and their families responded in kind. Additionally, when the Christmas Shoppe wrapped up at Morning Star Church and I mentioned the need in Hidden Valley, we were invited to take whatever we needed for those families. This is truly a remarkable example of people coming together for our kids and a reminder of how fortunate we all are to live and work in such a caring community.
Lastly, I would like to give my partner, Kathy DeLaquil a public shout out for all the time and effort she put in coordinating the program. She put her heart and soul and countless hours into the effort and did a fantastic job ensuring every child identified as needing help received it.
Project Lead the Way Conference Organizers
Over the last weekend in October, the WSD hosted over 1,000 educators for the second consecutive year for the Project Lead the Way State Conference at Timberland High School. Teachers, administrators and counselors from across Missouri attended sessions on PLTW teaching fundamentals and collaborated on ways to engage more students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In addition, educators learned strategic ways to promote PLTW and create corporate partnerships within their communities that ultimately benefit students. Dr. Vince Bertram, President and CEO of PLTW, gave the keynote address at the conference and expressed his appreciation for the fine job the WSD did hosting the conference. Additionally, then Governor Nixon was in attendance and Education Commissioner Dr. Margie Vandeven spoke at the conference as well.
Hosting the state conference is a tremendous undertaking and would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of a few key people: Dr. Karen Hill, our Director of Professional & Program Development, Ashley Gregory, our lead teacher and master teacher for Project Lead the Way, and Greg Lawrence, our Director of Technology who volunteered many hours of his own time to ensure Timberland was up to speed to host the conference.
We would also like to recognize Timberland teacher Jim Weber, Assistant Principal Dan DeClue and Principal Kyle Lindquist, who could not be here this evening for their contributions as well. Hosting the conference was a great opportunity for the Wentzville School District to not only showcase our facilities, but also our fine educators and our commitment to STEM initiatives.