Mehlville School Board Chooses New Leadership
Mehlville School Board selected Samantha Stormer as its new president
during a reorganizational meeting on Thursday, April 14. Stormer
replaces Venki Palamand as president. The board also selected Jean
Pretto as board vice-president and Dr. Lisa Dorsey as board secretary.
The board reorganization comes following the April 5th
election, when voters selected Larry Felton and Kevin Schartner for
three year terms on the board. Felton was re-elected, Schartner was the
top vote getter and replaces Lori Trakas on the board.
Mehlville Voters Pass Prop A, Choose Two Board Members
Residents of the Mehlville School District passed Proposition A and
picked two people for the Board of Education on Tuesday, April 5.
For the school board, Kevin Schartner received 7,056 votes, Larry
Felton received 6,731 votes and Lori Trakas received 5,455 votes. Felton
and Trakas were running for new terms on the board. This was Kevin
Schartner’s first time as a board candidate. Schartner and Felton will
be sworn in at the April 14th board meeting.
Proposition A received 7,861 votes in favor and 4,455 opposing the
measure. Prop A moves 4 cents out of debt service and into a fund used
to repair school roofs and HVAC systems. There is no increase in taxes
for District residents. Prop A funds were approved for ten years.
Superintendent Dr. Chris Gaines said, “We greatly appreciate the
financial support our community continues to show the school district.
Having funds specifically dedicated to building repairs will help
eliminate bigger, more expensive problems in the future.”
Senator Sifton Checks Out School Lunch Program
Missouri State Senator Scott Sifton joined students for lunch at Blades
Elementary on Friday, February 19th, to learn more about how food and
nutrition services are operated in public schools.
Director of School Food and Nutrition Services Katie Koester walked
Sifton through the food line and pointed out the healthy menu choices
offered to students, many of which are now mandated by the federal
government’s National School Lunch Program (NSLP). During the past few
years the NSLP has increased the emphasis on fruits, vegetables and
whole grain foods. While the state of Missouri does not oversee school
food programs, elected officials like Sifton can take local concerns to
the federal regulators who set food and nutrition standards.
Superintendent Updates Prop R Spending Plan
As part of the Proposition R initiative, the administration of the
Mehlville School District made a pledge to keep the community informed
about how, when and where those tax dollars would be spent.
While Prop R money will not be available until the 2016-2017 school
year, there has been a lot of progress in hiring new teachers, restoring
programs that were cut this year, providing more training for our
educators, and scheduling badly needed repairs for our facilities and
Click here to watch a video by Dr. Chris Gaines, who explains what has been happening since the levy passed in November.
District Chooses New IT Director
The Mehlville School District has selected Paul Westbrook to be the new
Director of Technology Services for the district. Westbrook is
replacing Steven Lee, who has retired following a 34 year career with
the Mehlville District.
Paul Westbrook has been the Assistant
Principal at Bernard Middle School for the past four years. He
previously taught science for ten years at Bernard. Westbrook has a B.S.
Degree in Education from Southern Illinois University, a Masters Degree
in Administration from Southeast Missouri State University and an Ed.S
Educational Specialist Degree from Lindenwood University.
Westbrook’s background in education will be a key component as efforts
continue to better integrate technology and curriculum in the District.
“I am excited to help continue the good work that the IT department is
accomplishing,” said Westbrook. “I believe that I can help serve as a
bridge to identify the balance of concerns from the department while
maintaining focus on the educational goals of the district.”
Paul Westbrook begins his new duties on Monday, February 8.
District Picks Leader For Innovative School
Dr. Scott Clark has been selected to lead the efforts to create a new
innovative elementary school in the Mehlville School District. For the
past seven years, Dr. Clark has been the principal at Forder Elementary
The new elementary school is the centerpiece of a plan
by Superintendent Dr. Chris Gaines to expand the educational rigor in
the district and to introduce student-centered teaching techniques to
improve academic performance. The innovative elementary school will be
located in the St. John’s school building, which currently houses the
SCOPE alternative education program. Children throughout the Mehlville
School District will be able to apply to attend the new school. A random
lottery will be used to select students.
Dr. Clark has two
Master’s Degrees in education from Lindenwood University as well as a
doctorate from Maryville University. He began his education career as an
art teacher in Vienna, Austria. Dr. Clark later taught at Point
Elementary and became an Assistant Principal at Bierbaum Elementary
before being hired as Forder Elementary’s principal in 2009. “This is an
amazing opportunity, both for me and the children in the Mehlville
School District,” said Dr. Clark. “Making this school a reality will
truly be a collaborative effort by the administration, the school board,
our teachers and members of the Mehlville and Oakville communities.”
The proposed timeline calls for the new innovative elementary school to open in August 2017.
John Cary Earns Character Award
The John Cary Early Childhood Center is the latest Mehlville District
school to be named a State School of Character. JCECC Director Ann
Westbrook said, “This is an honor that is shared by the entire staff at
our school. It shows their dedication to caring and nurturing the
children of our community. It is nice to see all that hard work be
recognized on a national level.”
The Schools of Character
application process is an opportunity for schools and districts to
receive thoughtful feedback for growth and excellence in the area of
character development through Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education framework. It is also a method of recognizing exemplary schools and districts in the nation.
Since its inception, Character.org has awarded more than 500 schools
with the distinction of State School of Character. Criteria for the
designation are based on Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective
Character Education, which includes providing students with
opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership and engaging
families and communities as partners in character-building efforts.
Bus Fees Eliminated
The Mehlville School Board has voted to stop charging a bus fee to
families that live less than one mile from their schools. The decision
came during the board meeting on Thursday, January 7.
fee of $218 a year was included in the budget package that eliminated $4
million in spending for the 2015-2016 school year. Because of continued
control over expenses and favorable balances in some spending accounts,
the board voted 5-2 to eliminate the bus fee. While there were no
incidents reported during the first half of the school year, board
member Jean Pretto cited her concern for student safety as her main
reason for restoring free bus service for all students.
Families that live less than one mile from their schools will be
contacted by the Transportation Department to further discuss the
elimination of the fee program.
Superintendent Proposes Major School Changes
A plan to add innovation and extra rigor to the Mehlville School
District was unveiled by Superintendent Dr. Chris Gaines at the Board of
Education Meeting on Thursday, January 7.
The centerpiece of
the plan is to create a new elementary school that would use cutting
edge teaching methods to expand both what students learn and how they
learn. While the planning is still in the early stage and needs final
approval by the Board, the new elementary school would be based in the
old St. John’s school which currently houses the SCOPE program. The
SCOPE program would be moved to the Witzel Learning Center, located next
to the administration building.
Under the plan outlined by Dr.
Gaines, middle schools and high schools would also be enhanced by the
potential for International Baccalaureate programs, magnet programs and
early college options that would let high school students take college
After hearing the presentation, the board
overwhelmingly and enthusiastically told the superintendent to move
forward with development of the innovative school program and to
determine the cost of implementing the plan. Dr. Gaines says he would
like to have everything in place for the 2017-2018 school year.
Click here to watch the superintendent’s presentation to the school board.
Mehlville High Basketball Scrimmage Food Drive
On Wednesday, November 18, the Mehlville Varsity Girls Basketball Team,
along with St. Pius, Fox, and Parkway West Varsity Girls Basketball
teams are participating in a 4 team scrimmage at Mehlville High School.
As a suggested admission, all the athletes and parents in attendance are
encouraged to bring at least one item to donate to the Mehlville Gives
Back food pantry
Oakville High Holds November Food Drive
Students at Oakville High are collecting food donations throughout
November in order to help take care of families who might be struggling
during the holidays. All the food is being given to Feed My People,
which is a South County food pantry that does a great job caring for our
Prop R Passes
the Mehlville and Oakville communities voted overwhelmingly to approve
Proposition R, which will increase District revenues by $8.3 million
beginning next year. Prop R will raise property tax rates by 49 cents
per $100 valuation. The cost to the owner of a $150,000 home is less
than $12 a month. The additional revenue will pay for 16 new teachers
who will focus on struggling learners, as well as purchase new textbooks
and library materials, provide computers for high school seniors,
restore most clubs that were cut for the 2015-2016 school year, and
increase professional development training for District teachers.
Congratulations to Washington Middle student Alanna Crumley, who was
honored as the Student of the Month by the Mehlville Optimist
Club. Alanna is an 8th grade student who has an A average at school.
Washington Middle Principal Adam Smith praised her for not only her
academic achievements but for her kindness to other students and the
respect she shows to teachers and administrators.
Food Bank Success
A well deserved tip of the cap to the Junior Counselors at Beasley
Elementary for hosting a Hunger Stops Here food drive. The students
collected 1,168 items for the food bank at Beasley. Great job!
Fredbird Visits Rogers
Fredbird stopped by Rogers Elementary on Monday, October 26, to help
unveil the National School of Character banner. Fredbird and retired
pitcher Kyle McClellan also hosted the Doin' It Right program that urges
kids to stay in school, stay away from drugs, eat healthy and to
participate in sports. Plus...a serious case of Dance Fever broke out
with Fredbird and the Rogers teachers.
Red Ribbon Kickoff
Sometimes a serious message is best served as entertainment. Look no
further than Bernard Middle, which kicked off Red Ribbon Week on Monday,
October 26 with teachers dancing and lip syncing at a school assembly.
The Red Ribbon program teaches teens about the dangers of drug and