Mehlville superintendent responds to reader’s ‘ill-informed letter’

To the editor:

My days in Mehlville are numbered, but I felt compelled to reply to the ill-informed letter sent to the editor in last week’s issue.

Until June 30, I will still be available to talk to Robert G. Willmering or anyone else interested in an educated conversation regarding the Mehlville School District. I can be reached at (314) 467–5001.

After June 30, I’m confident my successor, Dr. Norm Ridder, will also be available to discuss any concern or topic pertaining to Mehlville.

To suggest we do not have graduates who move on as experts with careers in math, science, technology, et cetera, is absolutely inaccurate and absurd. I’m wondering when was the last time Mr. Willmering spent any time in our classrooms?

I’ve kept an open invitation for many years for those truly interested in seeing what really goes on in our schools. Our programs in biomedical science, robotics, engineering and advanced placement college credit subjects are second to none.

In addition, Mehlville remains a very fiscally conservative school district. All of our accomplishments in recent years have been done without knocking on the doors of the taxpayers. Mehlville is one of the lowest taxing districts in St. Louis County and we maintain one of the lowest starting teacher salaries as well.

Regarding our decisions to support arts in education, I can’t stress enough how very important this is for the academic success of our students. Kids who are connected to their schools are much more likely to achieve academically and to lead successful careers.

It has been our mission to help kids thrive in the world and to do so, we must connect them to their passions. Large percentages of our student population participate in our arts programs.

I am absolutely proud of the supports we have put in place to help these kids achieve in life.

As a nationally recognized School District of Character, we have been focused on educating the whole child. Critics who care little about supporting the public schools will always find ways to change the information, alter the information, or to play semantics in an attempt to make others believe inaccurately about the success of our schools.

If contacted, I would also gladly discuss the existing data that compares schools in our country to those in other industrialized nations.

As I depart, I remain very proud of this school district and its wonderful accomplishments. I contend that our community, in large, supports our progress and our efforts. I encourage everyone to continue backing the students in this wonderful, high-ranking school district.

Thank you, and again, feel free to contact me for further discussion.