State of the District: Looking forward to the future

State of the District: Looking forward to the future
Posted on 09/16/2021
State of the District 2021During his annual State of the District address on Sept. 14, Superintendent Dr. Chris Gaines spoke on three important issues for Mehlville School District: enrollment figures, the new strategic plan and Prop S facility improvements.

Enrollment is up for the 2021-2022 school year
Following slow declines in enrollment over the past several years, the 2021-2022 September enrollment count is up slightly. There are currently 9,974 students in grades K-12 enrolled in Mehlville School District, up from 9,765 last year. This enrollment is above our demographer’s projected enrollment. However, these projections were made before the COVID-19 pandemic. We will conduct an additional demographic study in the fall of 2022. Demographic research helps district leaders plan future budgets, staffing and facility needs.

New strategic plan up for board approval
Following a series of thorough public feedback opportunities, Mehlville School District has prepared a renewed strategic plan to guide our work through the 2025-2026 school year. The strategic plan will go to the Board of Education on Sept. 17 for approval.

This touchstone document helps us set high expectations for ourselves and our students, focus on continuous improvement and ensure our energy is directed toward achieving our goals. The strategic plan is focused on five themes.

Theme 1: Personalized Student Preparation
- Mehlville School District will identify pathways, or career clusters, that identify various career paths and highlight the types of classes and skills needed in order to have success within a particular career.
- Educators and learners in Mehlville School District will co-create profiles, which contain rich, current information regarding each learner, including demographic data, Academy status, learning-related skill sets and potential learning drivers.
MHS GIC students
Image: Students in the innovative Geometry-in-Construction course collaborate on a project during the 2019-2020 school year.

Theme 2: Safety
- Mehlville School District will ensure its facilities are safe and secure.
- Mehlville School District will improve staff and student sense of belonging and mental well-being.
Trautwein Elementary School interventionist

Image: Social-emotional learning interventionist Morgan Mueller talks with a student in a classroom at Trautwein Elementary School.

Theme 3: Access and Opportunity
- Mehlville School District will ensure all students have access and opportunities to programs and services regardless of parental involvement, race, sexual orientation or identity, socioeconomic status, or disability.

Theme 4: Employee Support
- Mehlville School District will support its workforce in achieving individual and organizational goals.

Theme 5: Effective and Efficient
- Mehlville School District will make the biggest impact possible for its students while being a responsible steward of its resources.

The first two projects funded by Prop S are close to completion. 

The replacement of Forder Elementary School’s heating, cooling and ventilation systems is largely complete. HVAC upgrades are cyclical, and the equipment at Forder Elementary was last upgraded in 1994. The typical life cycle of an HVAC system is twenty years.  If the system isn’t upgraded towards the end of its life cycle, it leads to costly repairs. 
HVAC work at Forder
Image: HVAC work done at Forder Elementary School this summer was the first project completed through Prop S funding, which will also add more secure front entrances and improved safety at every school.

In July, work began to make the baseball/softball field at Oakville High School safer. The field had safety issues related to poor drainage. Crews are regrading the field, adding a new drainage and irrigation system and installing a new fence and backstop. This project is expected to be completed by the end of October.

The district is in the design phase for several other projects and anticipates bid packages will open this winter with construction to follow. Projects are currently on track to be completed by the start of the 2024-2025 school year.

Prop S was passed by voters in April 2021 to complete several projects to improve student safety and accessibility, and complete deferred maintenance without increasing the tax rate.

The Mehlville School District strictly prohibits discrimination and harassment against employees, students or others on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sex including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity and other characteristics protected by law. The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: contact Adam Smith at 314-467-5006 or [email protected].