September 2019Posted by David Buck on 9/13/2019
Hello Wildcat Nation!
As we move into fall, my favorite season, I wanted to take a few moments to tell you about some new things going on in the school district. A few of these things are obvious as you drive around: the new playgrounds at West and East Elementary, the parking lots at the Middle School and Early Childhood Building were resealed and restriped, and the new bleacher seating at the baseball/softball field makes it a much better place to watch games. However, we have much more that is new as we continue to strive to meet the needs of our students.
The high school now has a fire alarm system. Opened in 1967, this is the first year we have had a fire alarm system in that building. For added safety, we have also added buzz-in systems at all K-12 buildings. We want kids and staff to be safe, and we will continue to look for ways to increase safety. Schools are some of the safest, most-supervised places in our world for kids, and we want to continue that trend.
We have also added numerous opportunities for kids. This fall, our high school students can now participate in boys soccer and girls golf. In the winter, we will have a dance team. Later this semester, we will have a facility/therapy dog at East Elementary.
We also now have an early college dual enrollment partnership with St. Charles Community College (SCCC). Seven juniors and seniors are currently attending SCCC and working on their associate’s degree and high school diploma at the same time, with no cost to the family/student. This could be a savings and acceleration of two years of college. We have also partnered with Missouri Southern University to offer 13 dual-credit classes online at no cost to the student. These are college courses with a professor in Missouri, and all courses are transferable to all public colleges in the state of Missouri; we have a number of students taking advantage of this opportunity. Additionally, we have become the 13th district (out of 518 in the state) to offer a Registered Youth Apprenticeship Program. This means that if a student wanted to start early on an industry credential, like welding or CNC machining, we can alter our curriculum and partner with a local employer to start that process while the student is still in high school.
At our middle school, we have added a required 8th grade class called Project Based Learning, where kids work on real problems with our local employers and must solve them collaboratively. They are then judged not just on the solution, but their employability. We have also added a required 10th-grade course called Leadworthy to work on success skills our local employers have identified as needs in the current application pool. With unemployment down to 2.7% in Warren County, any advantage we can give our kids, to help them land and keep a job in the future is very much warranted.
Wildcat Nation has also grown in numbers and in needs. As our English as a Second Language population has increased from 2% to 7%, we have increased from one ELL employee to three. We have added a Career Education Counselor for grades 6-12 and have added staff to meet the growth we are seeing in certain grade levels. At the same time, we have continued a healthy budget and continue to be leaders in teacher and support staff pay in the region and state.
In fine, we are meeting the needs of a growing and changing group of students in ways never done before. We look forward to continuing growth within our community and meeting the needs of their future.
Dr. David Buck
September 2018Posted by David Buck on 8/27/2018
Hello Wildcat Nation!
Our school year is well under way, and we continue to grow and thrive. We were up by 41 students to 1,673 K-12 students at the beginning of the school year. The largest growth was in the middle school grades, where our 6th grade has ballooned to just shy of 170 students!
I'm often asked how one can get involved to support kids. We are at around 50% of our students receiving reduced or free lunches due to poverty. We have around 16% of our students who have an Individualized Education Plan through Special Education. We are more diverse than the majority of school districts in the state of Missouri. Yet, we thrive in part because of some great partnerships. We have volunteers at our buildings, we have community members who serve as Lunch Buddies to our kids, we have individuals that participate in groups that help kids like the Wright City Foundation or Care To Learn or via the Chamber or Unite Wright City.
Just this month, we will have a 5K on September 8th put on by the Wright City Foundation to raise money for classroom grants. The Care To Learn will have a dunking booth at Strassenbash with 100% of proceeds going to help kids who have needs in the areas of Health, Hunger, and Hygiene. And, we have so many volunteers helping out in our schools, led by East Elementary in Foristell.
For those of you involved, thank you! If you are interested in getting involved, please reach out to us and we can help you help our collective future.
As Always, IT'S A GREAT DAY TO BE A WILDCAT
David Buck, Ed.D.
APR Results OutPosted by David Buck on 11/7/2016 7:00:00 AM
It is with great pleasure that we announce that our 2016 Annual Performance Report is out, and Wright City R-II School District has set a record score for the district...96.4%!As always, we continue to be Fully Accredited by the state of Missouri.We are so pleased to see significant improvement in our scores over the last 4 years. We scored 91.1%, 96.1%, 96.1% and now 96.4% in our last 4 years. We continue to strive for Sustained Excellence.What goes into our score? 5 Standards, or larger areas, go into our score and it is based on 3 years of data in each one of those.Standard 1 is our Academic Achievement. This is the scores on our MAP/End of Course exam tests in the areas of Math, English, Science and Social Studies. We scored a 98.2% score in this area, the 3rd straight year we have obtained that score.Standard 2 is our Subgroup Achievement. This is the same as above, but a look at how our students who have an Individual Education Plan, on Free/Reduced Lunch, and/or are a minority performed on those same tests. We scored an 89.3% this year.Standard 1 and 2 make up half of our score.The other half are not based on the state tests.Standard 3, or College and Career Ready, is based on assessments like the ACT, advanced placement, and post-secondary placement. in 2013, we scored 73.3% in this area. In 2014, we scored 86.7%. In 2015, we scored 91.7%. In 2016, we scored 100%! Wildcat Nation should be so proud of this growth! Afterall, our primary purpose is to help young people grow and become successful adults. Having them college and career ready is how we measure this. Our increased rigor, student engagement, and our ability to take data to action when a student or students need support or enrichment is working. As a district, we began focusing on those 3 rocks in 2010. Our kids have benefited from our increases in all 3 of those areas.Standard 4 is attendance and Standard 5 is Graduation. We scored 75% and 100% in those areas. Attendance remains high compared to our first decade plus of this century, but did drop slightly last year. We look forward to a flu free season and high attendance as we progress this year.This year brings a particularly unique challenge. Based on a 2014 law, we have to write and implement new curriculum aligned to new standards just adopted this summer. Yet, our spring tests will still be based on the old standards. For our elementary teachers, that is many subject areas changing as we progress this year, but yet will be assessed on last year's standards. We thank them as professionals for handling this incredible ask of them this very unique year. Our kids are lucky to have them.Kudos to the students, staff and community for another great year! Wildcat Nation should be proud.
Welcome Back, Wildcat NationPosted by Jill Smoot on 8/23/2016 4:00:00 AM
Hello Wildcat Nation!
Welcome to another school year!
By popular demand, we are reinstating the Connection being sent out to all homes 5 times a year! We will still post items to our online Connection from time to time, but we are excited about providing you with the information you said you love in the manner you prefer…the Connection!
The month is September, the weather is changing, the ball fields are full, and our kids are back in the swing of school. With over 1,600 students, Wright City is bigger than 4/5ths of the state’s districts. We are more diverse than 90% of the state in terms of race/ethnicity. And we continue to grow wisely.
Our high school students now have their own Chromebook. They don’t use them at all times of course. During the school day, we can range from 40 to 95 utilizing them at any given moment. Collaboration, computation, and engagement are still foundational pieces we work with. 21st century skills are also what we work with.
A friend recently said he drove a few hours to see the Corpse Flower at the Missouri Botanical Garden recently. This is a flower only blooms every 7-10 years. It grows to 10 feet tall and smells very bad. He stood in line for 45 minutes to spend 5 minutes with it. Then, he asked himself…was it worth it?
The answer is yes. Experiencing something in person is irreplaceable. A student can Google and view pictures of the Grand Canyon. Being present and feeling the vastness of this United States treasure is so much more visceral. So much more impactful.
With that, as we continue to help our students prepare for an ever changing world, we need to help them develop 21st century skills while at the same time help students interact with each other; to create with and without technology. To read, think critically, and learn compassion for those around them. We also need to show compassion for our young people. Some of them have challenges that we can help with. And with that, we have two new programs I would like to introduce to you: Care To Learn and Lunch Buddy.
Care To Learn was created 7 years ago by Brad Pitt’s brother, Springfield, Mo. businessman, Doug Pitt. He saw that some students have basic needs not met and that interferes with their ability to gain an education, and thus affecting their future prospects. Care To Learn focuses on helping students with Hunger, Hygiene and Health needs. Now in 27 school districts in Missouri, 100% of Wright City proceeds will go to Wright City students for the three H’s. The teachers have donated $1,000 already. We have a dunking booth at Strassenbash. Stop by, dunk Officer Catron or Mr. Brown…or learn more. We will have a Trivia Night at the Lion’s Club on October 15th. Again, 100% of donations go to Wright City kids in need!
Another new program is the Lunch Buddy program. We are asking for community leaders, business owners, and elected officials to sign up for this voluntary program where we would partner you up with a young person in our schools to be an informal mentor to someone who might need a smile. We would work with you to set up a lunch date in the cafeteria with that student 2 times a month…lunch is on us. Call 636.745.7200 if you are interested in applying. A background check is required, but we will pay for that too! It takes a strong community and school to raise our young people. We look forward to this new partnership.
I hope you enjoy the upcoming fall and for your kindness to our youth!
April BlogPosted by David Buck on 4/1/2016
April is here, and the season are changing! Same is true of the school year. Excitement of the last 30 or so days is evident in the kids walking the halls. Confidence in their current year has grown. Nervousness and excitement of what next year brings is palpable. That is certainly true with our soon to be graduates.
Thank you to all that participated in the Blue and Gold Auction on April 2nd, raising tens of thousands of dollars for student scholarships. The gap between what a family can afford and even borrow and the cost of post-secondary education has never been greater. Helping our young people remove the barriers to college is so valuable, and we in Wildcat Country are so appreciative for your kindness in this area.
On April 6th, 8 employers will convene an employer panel assembly for Juniors and Seniors. They will share employment opportunities as well as tips for training, technical skills and soft skills. Thank you to Steve Etcher and the Greater Warren County Economic Development Council for setting up this unique opportunity for our students.
Later that night, on April 6th, we will have 6th grade orientation for current 5th grade parents followed by a Parent Information Night on Drug Awareness. The latter event will be in the MS Gym and open to all patrons. Troy Narcotics Division of their Police Department will have the bulk of the meeting. Wright City PD, Children’s Division, Preferred Health Services, Crider Health Services, Warren County Ambulance and others will be present as well to share out resources as well as trends. Our employers in Warren County recently listed drug free as their biggest need in the applicant pools. This is a health as well as employability topic. Come and learn from the experts what is out there, what to look for, and what to do if you find a loved on involved with one of the trending drugs in the metro area.
Throughout the month, a phone survey of the 6,300+ registered voters will be conducted at random to garner some valuable information about our district. If you receive the call, please take the 10 minutes or so to complete the survey. The survey target is 400 completed surveys. We will share out results at a May 12th meeting at 6 p.m. in the Middle School Library. You are welcome to attend.
It is hard to believe that April is here and that the end of school is just 6 weeks away. It is an exciting time. Take care of your young ones. With prom, graduation, and so many end of the year events coming up, fun and safe are what we all want for our young ones as they transition to their next step. In the end, we want them all to be happy, healthy and productive adults in our community.
Till then, and as always, IT’S A GREAT DAY TO BE A WILDCAT!
Wright City R-II School District
March BlogPosted by David Buck on 3/1/2016
It’s a great day to be a Wildcat!
Hello, Wildcat Nation!
It is March! During this month, we will enter the last quarter of the school year. That means kids are excited about their next step: new grade, new building, post-secondary work, college or military. Our Wildcats are ready to do great things.
The Greater Warren County Economic Development Council recently held a meeting with local employers to see what their needs are in terms of workforce. They did this Employer Panel a few years back, and the skill most needed then was that of certified welders. We partnered with St. Charles Community College and dozens upon dozens of adults have received their certification here at Wright City High School via a night time program.
What did they find this time? They broke down the needs into 3 areas. Technical skills, soft skills, and social skills. The top 3 for technical were industrial maintenance (e.g., fix electrical, pneumatics, hydraulics), electrical, and welding. Soft skills were around basic problem-solving and geometry. The social skill was the one that caught everyone off guard: they need folks that can pass a drug test. This matches what we see in our local media. Drug use has risen in recent years. As February closed, 50 adults were arrested in Warren County in a sting.
So, on April 6th, we have two events scheduled. The first is for our Juniors and Seniors. It is a Business Forum with about 8 to 10 businesses talking about what it takes to be hired in their company and what skills they are needing. Personal choices will be heavily discussed. Then, for our parents, we will host a Drug Awareness Night at our Middle School. The GWCEDC will help start the evening. Then, a presentation by the Troy Narcotics Division of their Police Department will show what is drugs are most prevalent, what effects they have, and what parents need to look out for. The Wright City Police Department will assist. This will be a must-see event. We want our kids to be safe. We want our kids to succeed. We want everyone’s help in ensuring they make wise decisions for today and for their futures.
We have strategically placed this to come right at the end of the 6th grade orientation night at the Middle School and a week prior to Prom. I hope to see many of you there. Our district has not been hit with the deaths and hospitalizations that our neighboring districts have over the past few years. Let’s educate ourselves to help provide a safe community for our kids.
As Always, IT’S A GREAT DAY TO BE A WILDCAT!
Welcome to Wildcat Nation!Posted by David Buck on 1/15/2016
It’s a Great Day to be a Wildcat!
Welcome to Wright City R-II School District and to our brand new website! It is an honor and a privilege to serve as superintendent in Wildcat Nation. Wright City R-II serves the communities of Wright City, Innsbrook, Incline Village, eastern Warren County and southern Lincoln County. With just over 1,600 students on 4 campuses and 5 school buildings, we are dedicated to our students’ success. Wright City R-II School District is fully accredited and a high performing district. We are proud of what our students can do and what they will become.
"Welcome back...welcome back, welcome back, welcome back..." Those of you old enough to remember the short-lived hit TV show of the mid-70's, "Welcome Back Kotter" will know how to hum those introductory words appropriately! :). For you youngsters out there, “Welcome Back Kotter” starred an up-and-coming actor named John Travolta (Vinnie Barbarino) as the defacto leader of a somewhat dysfunctional (in a slap-stick comedy sort of way) class of high school juvenile delinquents, affectionately known as the Sweathogs. Mr. Kotter, played by Gabe Kaplan, was their teacher. Mr. Kotter was possibly the only person who could reach these kids because he himself had been a Sweathog in his high school days. Mr. Kotter was integral to their present and future. He had high expectations. He had deep compassion for his students. He had great hope for their future. He is why they were on the path to succeed.
There are many advantages to being part of Wright City R-II School District, but none are greater than the fact we have many Mr. Kotters in our buildings. We are a proud institution. We are proud of our tradition. We are proud of our current successes. We are excited about our potential. Whether it is our 96.1% rating on the state’s Annual Performance Report—which is #1 in our Eastern Missouri Conference—or whether it is having three of our football players being named All-State, we have so many things to be proud of.
We are one of the most improved school districts in the state of Missouri. Our students perform at historically high rates, and we enjoy outstanding teachers and staff as well as great community support. But, most importantly in my opinion, is that we strive to meet our students where they are and help them grow to what they can be. We have a staff full of Mr. Kotters. They have high expectations. They have a deep compassion for their students. The have great hope for what they can become. That is why it is a GREAT DAY TO BE A WILDCAT!
Welcome to our new website. Welcome to 2016. Welcome to Wright City R-II School District. It is an honor to be a Wildcat!
A letter to the community from Dr. BuckPosted by Dr. David Buck on 1/10/2016
I wanted to take a moment to congratulate you and our community on the incredible achievements we have received recently. With fall sport teams all having winning records at the high school, huge turnouts at community events such as the Wright City East Elementary Pumpkin Carving night, or the high school band playing at Powell Symphony Hall, it has been a great day to be a Wildcat!
One of the accomplishments we are most proud of is our Annual Performance Report (APR). Released by the state in late October, we earned a 96.1% for the 2nd straight year! The current scoring system has been in place for 3 years, and we are one of only 2 districts in the EMO to have scored 90% or better all 3 years!
To further put that in perspective, the APR score in the St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren Counties was 93.6%. Some of the districts in these counties are some of the highest performing districts in the state. We congratulate our neighbors on improvement and excellence, and we celebrate that we are one of the highest performing districts in the region! Way to go Wildcat Nation!
As a district, we thank all of you for playing a role in our community rising to their potential. When we talked about needing books to support our classroom libraries, the community donated around 4,000 books! When we host can drives for the less fortunate, our community gives so generously. Our school and our future are better off for your dedication and hard work. We appreciate your support. We have much to be proud of.
As Always, IT'S A GREAT DAY TO BE A WILDCAT!