Fowler urges support for Mehlville board, administrators, teachers


Letter to the Editor

To the editor:
As a former member of the Mehlville Board of Education and a grandfather of a Mehlville student, I feel blessed to live in a district that is on the march toward success.
Since the passage of Proposition R, Mehlville officials have been working diligently to correct a school district that was in decline for many years because of not having the necessary resources to compete.
One year after receiving that money, the school district has implemented a five-year curriculum plan that includes changes in reading, math, science and social studies. Also, benchmark testing is reflected on each school’s dashboard. Benchmarks are taken three times a year to measure outcomes. Teachers are receiving professional development for math and how to better prepare our children to learn it.
Software is being used to give the district near-real-time feedback on how well students are comprehending the content. And, that’s just a start.
While all of the above is good news, let there be no doubt that Mehlville officials have their work cut out for them to improve student test scores. We certainly have some of the best teachers in St. Louis County along with outstanding school principals to get the job done.
Any time major change takes place, as it has in Mehlville over the last couple of years, it takes time for those actions to be implemented and show improvement. That’s true in the private sector as it is in the public sector.
The Mehlville School District needed the infusion of a positive, yet disruptive leader, and we got that in Superintendent Chris Gaines. As the saying goes, “You can’t do the same thing over and over and expect different results.”
I hope that as a community we give our board and administrators time to make new changes work. We have good people leading us who need our support. That does not mean that we should not give them constructive advice when needed. Believe me, they’re used to it.
Some might say I look at the district through rose-colored glasses, and that perception may be true. Ask any board member and they know I don’t hesitate to express my opinion in private.
Our community needs the Mehlville School District to succeed for the sake of our kids and the vitality of our people. Our kids deserve the best we can give them with the resources we have.
Let’s support our board, our administrators and most importantly, our teachers.
Daniel S. Fowler

Editor’s note: Mr. Fowler served nine years on the Mehlville Board of Education and was a board officer six of those years.