Board member invites letter writers to tour Mehlville schools with him

To the editor:

Mr. William Gmerek and Ms. Regina Rathert and anyone else who may be interested, I would like to invite you to be my guest and visit our schools.

I propose that we meet at the John Cary Early Childhood Center first, followed by Bierbaum Elementary, Buerkle Middle School and Mehlville Senior High School. Then we can visit the other side of the district: Rogers Elementary, Oakville Middle School and Oakville Senior High School.

We can go at a date of your choosing, and to allay any fears you may have of the staff acting busy just because we are there, we can go unannounced at a day that works for both, any, or all of you.

I would be happy to give you a tour of the schools, and while I do not wish to speak for our wonderful Superintendent Terry Noble, I am sure that he would be willing to take some time out of his typical 12-hour day to visit with us for a little bit.

In the meantime, I think it is important that a couple of issues be addressed. The Frank Plan is not the plan for the Mehlville School District. The Frank Plan is a personal 10-year plan, with emphasis on 10 years, that serves as my contribution as one of seven volunteer school-board members. COMPASS — Charting the Oakville Mehlville Path to Advance Successful Schools — is the district’s strategic vision and plan of record.

Also, Mr. Gmerek, you essentially made my point with your letter. Even with our recent attempts to pay our teachers a fair wage, they still rank 21st out of 22 St. Louis County school districts.

Retention and acquisition of effective teachers is an issue that everyone in our community should be concerned about. The many effective teachers who have stayed with Mehlville have stayed simply because of their dedication to our district and their jobs.

They are the silent heroes of our community, and I thank them with all of my heart.

As you said, as with all human beings, there is an element of self-interest — and since our teachers are human, many will go where they are most appreciated by communities that value their profession. Isn’t that a tenant of free-market economics? Rational self-interest, which includes doing a good job, leads to better performance?

Last, and most important, your analysis of our student performance is incomplete, which is why I would like for you and Ms. Rathert to visit our schools with me and see for yourselves. There are a lot of unknowns and misconceptions about what is going on in our classrooms and I would like for you to see for yourselves.

What I am most anxious for you to see is how hard our teachers actually work, squeezing blood from a turnip every day to educate and prepare the children of the Mehlville School District for a life of independence and continued learning —for the sake of our children, as well as their own.

Call me at (314) 375-6167 and we will make a date.

Karl Frank Jr.

Oakville

Editor’s note: Mr. Frank has served on the Mehlville Board of Education since April 2005.