Another View: Mehlville schools enrich community, board president says

By Tom Diehl

By Tom Diehl

I am often asked why our public schools cannot or do not help parochial or private school students.

The answer may surprise you, but the Mehlville School District actually has many programs that are available for non-public students, teachers and administrators.

We offer remedial reading for children who qualify. Services are provided at one of our Mehlville elementary Title I school sites.

Title I funds follow the child — even outside the district.

However, the child must reside in our district to be eligible for services.

Non-public school staffs are eligible for a certain amount of funding toward professional development. The Mehlville School District handles the disbursement of funds to parochial/private schools.

Non-public staffs are welcome to participate in technology training through the Mehlville School District’s Mehlville Educators Technology Training, or METT, program and a number of them have participated over the years.

Parochial and private schools can participate in the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program through our district. Non-public schools have also participated in the anti-bullying program we serve as host of through BJC.

We regularly contact non-public educators about our programs, and their students are encouraged to participate in services provided through the Mehlville School District.

Some of these include our Community Education Program; our summer enrichment program; the A+ Tutors Program for high school students; STRETCH, our gifted program for elementary and middle school students; SNAP for special education students; and Emergency Mutual Services.

Besides the above-mentioned services, ad-ministrators from the Mehlville School District meet with principals from parochial/private schools to discuss registration for high school and listen to the needs of the schools to try and meet those requests. Meetings are scheduled two to three times per year with non-public school principals and our district administrators. These meetings are informative, collaborative and positive in nature.

The Mehlville School District also has a wide variety of outdoor facilities available for individual community use at no charge.

Facilities at the district’s high, middle and elementary schools are perfect for outdoor recreational activities, such as a quick pickup game of softball or a leisurely stroll on the track.

Our playgrounds, tennis courts and swimming pool are available during the district’s summer break. Our outdoor facilities are open to the public daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. If you bring your favorite four-legged friends, please be sure to clean up after them.

When it does not conflict with school-sponsored activities, our athletic facilities are also available to organizations throughout the year for a nominal fee.

As you can see, our services stretch well beyond the 11,000 students who attend our schools. We are here for all Mehlville residents. Our schools enrich our community and make south county a desirable place to live and raise a family.

(Tom Diehl was elected to the Mehlville Board of Education in April 2006 and currently serves as board president.)