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Stick with the Mehlville School District, One Mom Says

While some families are thinking of leaving, one parent shares why her family is staying in Mehlville.

After voters decided to pass on —the school district’s 88-cent tax hike— in November, things felt pretty gloomy around here. At our house, we discussed the campaign and filled out the about it. While we had a few reservations about one small aspect of the proposition, we knew it was great for not only the kids, but the whole community to propel the district forward. We were disappointed when it didn’t pass.

But now it’s time to shake the dust off our feet and leave the negativity behind. There are great things going on in the Mehlville School District that need to be celebrated. While some are talking about searching for what they believe are greener pastures, we are keeping our eyes on some good reasons to put down roots in Mehlville.

The Teachers

When my son started school at , I was absentmindedly flipping through the Buzz Book published by the PTO that year. I noticed that eleven of their 27 teachers at the time had been there for more than 10 years. By now, however, about half of their teachers have been in the district for that long. I was shocked, in a good way.

The Individual Schools

Many times I’ve talked with friends in the district and heard them say, “Despite any concerns about the district, I really love the school we’re in.” We are big fans of Bierbaum. The teachers and principals are excited about what they do, and though Bierbaum is the largest elementary school in the district, we see clear signs that our son is being educated with his personal strengths and weaknesses in mind.

While the school and the district is important, it’s more important to remember that parental involvement and investment is key. If you don’t commit to reading regularly with your child and taking an interest in homework and school achievement, it simply doesn’t matter what school or district they’re attending.

Promising Plans

While I am not a fan of full-day kindergarten for my family, it is a step in the right direction for the district. The district expects to implement . The funding that the state of Missouri provides for tuition-free full-day kindergarten would be revenue-neutral for the district, rather than costing additional funds.

The financial aspect is just the beginning, however. Some studies show that full-day kindergarten is a big boost for kids in graduation rates and standardized testing.

Another exciting development is the on the campus. The auditorium, paid for through refunds from Certificates of Participation, will provide new opportunities for performing arts students throughout the district.

Superintendent Dr. Eric Knost is also developing improved communication between the district and its residents by holding . Two have been held so far at area churches, with at least 50 attendees each time.

Invest in Your Community

I live a pretty inward-focused existence at this point of my life. It’s the reality of having several small children and a part-time job. However, there are ways to get involved to help the district thrive, even if your time is limited and you have at least one toddler clinging to you at all times. Become a room parent, or attend a PTO meeting or two. Attend parent-teacher conferences.

Giving even a few hours of your time to your child’s school can make a big difference in your perception of what’s going on in the district. None of us can promise to live here forever, but I’m not about to leave when so many great things are happening.

Melissa Lambert March 19, 2012 at 02:18 PM
I truly admire this article. I too raised two boys at Bierbaum. Was a very active (single) mother in the school. I have been very disheartened by our community. Taxes have not been passed for our schools since Reagan was in office. Shame on the community! I have long supported Mehlville/Oakville. I was done with this last veto after our superintendent had given back his pay raise. It is time for me to support my children and move on to a greener $$$$ community of schools. I do hope that the message gets out if you do not support your schools your community will suffer.
Bob McKitrick March 19, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I really enjoyed reading this article, Jenny. My daughter (who is only 10 months old!) will eventually attend Beasley Elementary. My wife and I are 100% committed to public education and have no reservations at all about sending our child there. We are both teachers, and very much understand the impact that parental involvement has on a child's education ... so we are planning on being very involved! I really enjoyed your insights on Mehlville from a parent's point of view!
Lindsay Toler March 19, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Very cool story, Jenny. Thanks!
Tina Spear-Dammrich March 19, 2012 at 04:57 PM
I agree. The other comment I hear quite often is that the voter doesn't have anyone attending the district so why should they pay for it. You are investing in your community and your future elected officials/teachers/emergency personnel/doctors. The better the education the less crime in your area.
D Seidel March 19, 2012 at 09:54 PM
!!! Applause !!! How refreshing to hear someone sing the praises of our district instead of complaining about taxes that have not increased for the benefit of our schools in over THREE DECADES. If only more people would realize this AND we could get this kind of support from readers of "paper" that arrives unsolicited in everyone's mailbox.
Jules March 20, 2012 at 04:07 PM
When my daughter was in the Mehlville school district, I was a room mom, and a lot of the other mothers were very snooty and judgmental. I suffered from a social disease and was struggling to communicate with other mothers, and had problems with that. They all thought i was wierd and would never talk to me and never involve me. And im not going to go around announcing my problem. My daughter has since graduated from Mehlville and i never made friends with any of the mothers because of my disorder. So I have nothing good to say about the people of Mehlville.
Jenny Wescoat March 31, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Jules, I'm really sorry you had a rough experience being a room mother. I hate to hear that you have nothing good to say about the people of Mehlville. I hope something good happens soon to change your mind!
Jenny Wescoat March 31, 2012 at 01:52 AM
From what I hear, there is a great crew of dedicated parents over at Beasley! Hope you have a great experience. Thanks for commenting.
Jenny Wescoat March 31, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Thanks, all, for your comments! We have an important school board election coming up on Tuesday--don't forget to vote!

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