Regardless of their nature, sometimes changes occur in a gentle and predictable unfolding. Sometimes changes happen rapidly, in ways that are hard to anticipate and in quick succession. OES continues to find itself in the center of the rapid changes that have reshaped the Mehlville School District over the past two years. We are currently learning how many of our students have been selected to attend MOSAIC Elementary and how many families are being impacted by redistricting. Both opportunities are worthy of conversation. MOSAIC Elementary represents the opportunity to engage students through project-based and personalized learning in a systemic approach that is unique to St. Louis County. I fully support this effort. The instruction that I have seen in visits to Liberty Missouri and learned during my own reading delight the science teacher that is still trapped inside of me. I’ve had several conversations with families who have a long lasting relationship with OES and are torn about the decision to potentially leave. Ultimately, this is a family decision that I understand can be hard to make. My job is to keep it a hard job, to present our families with the choice between two great schools. I will continue to lend my support and input, although now more indirectly, to MOSAIC Elementary. At the same time, I will be examining our practices at OES, working with my staff to examine how we can more deeply embed innovation, deeper learning, and higher level thinking activities into our daily instruction. Please know, wherever your family decides to attend, that we are part of a larger community and you will continue to be welcome at OES.
Many of our families are also subject to redistricting. I won’t lie. This is tough. I take a tremendous amount of pride and ownership over the experiences that are given to every one of our OES lions. I don’t like letting go of families. At the same time, I understand its necessity. We have been largely overcrowded since I arrived at OES eight years ago. We currently have classrooms with twenty eight students compared to classrooms of seventeen in a neighboring school. Rooms have been divided and divided. Meanwhile, new subdivisions are being built. This is not sustainable and has impacted student achievement levels. So, I understand the need. I will also say that if we have to send away students, there is no better place for them to go then Blades Elementary School. I spent five years serving as a teacher at Blades Elementary School and two years serving as the Assistant Principal. I respect the staff, consider the principal, Dr. Jeremy Booker, to be both a brother and amazing colleague, and promise that many of the building practices and procedures at Blades Elementary are synonymous with those taking place at OES. Blades Elementary provided me with some of the highlights of my teaching career. Your child will make equally powerful memories. Dr. Booker and I will be creating opportunities to make the transition from OES to Blades Elementary as smooth as possible. These opportunities will be shared once we are given more clarity which families are granted school choice and which families will need to move. Please contact me with any questions that you have. Sometimes it helps, in the face of rapid change, to slow down and have conversation about the important decisions that need to be made. I’m happy to have those conversations with you.