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.
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.
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.