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Webster-Kirkwood Times

November 8 - 14, 2013

In Kirkwood Schools

Good News At Kirkwood High

Graduation rate is up, more students take AP classes by Jaime Mowers

Rachel Reilly and Ellie Hintze read early American stories to those who came to tour Sappington House during its 205th anniversary celebration Oct. 13.

History At Sappington House The Webster Groves High School History Club participated in the recent celebration of the 205th anniversary of Sappington House, located at 1015 S. Sappington Road in Crestwood. In conjunction with the anniversary, Charlotte Gavin, Sam Bennett and Virginia Lee gave tours of the Father Dickson Historic Black Cemetery, highlighting African-American history. Those buried in the cemetery include veterans from the Civil War,

Spanish American War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War. Also buried there are civic leaders such as Moses Dickson, founder of the cemetery and a civil rights activist in the late 1800s; James Milton Turner, founder of Lincoln University and the first African-American ambassador appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant; and Susan and John Vashon, for whom Vashon High School is named.

Kirkwood High School (KHS) Principal Mike Havener said enrollment is increasing, more students are taking college-credit courses, the graduation rate is up, and students are going on to prestigious colleges and universities. Havener pointed out these positives and several others during his school improvement report at Monday’s Kirkwood School Board meeting. KHS enrollment currently stands at 1,824 students – roughly a hundred more than last year. Havener pointed out that 961 students are enrolled in Advanced Placement college-credit courses, with some students taking more than one course. The high school offers 16 AP courses for college credit through the University of MissouriSt. Louis, Missouri Baptist, Missouri State, the University of Iowa and the Rochester Institute of Technology. “We want to encourage students to take at least one AP course,” Havener said. “We are doing college-level work at Kirkwood High School and students should get credit for that.” Havener was pleased to report that 2013 saw the school’s highest graduation rate at 98.1 percent and the African-American graduation rate was also at its highest at 98.8 percent.

The majority of those who graduated in May 2013 went on to a four-year college or university. Top in-state schools for Kirkwood grads include the University of Missouri-Columbia, Southeast Missouri State University, Missouri State University, Truman State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology and St. Louis Community College – Meramec. Top out-of-state schools students attend include the University of Arkansas, the University of Kansas and others. Kirkwood also has graduates attending Princeton University, Rice University, Vanderbilt University, the Berklee College of Music and others. Students are performing well because of the high school’s excellent teachers – of which 91 percent hold a master’s degree, he said. The average ACT score of KHS students who take the test is 23.9. In 2013, 359 members – or 84 percent – of the graduating class took the ACT. With the goal of getting more students to take the test, KHS will provide the ACT to all juniors in the spring. That’s just one of Havener’s goals for 2014. Others include continuing to close the achievement gap and work on the Portrait of a Pioneer, which entails what every student should know when they graduate from Kirkwood. Havener is also hoping for a 100 percent graduation rate and is working to establish the PRIDE Center, a centralized location for all students to receive extra support in math, science and reading.

New Gasmart Planned For Big Bend/Murdoch from page 4 Also, new canopies would be installed, 13 feet back from the Big Bend-Murdoch roads right of way, rather than the current five feet, Perry said. Street trees and landscaped islands would be installed on the property. Hours of operation would be 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Perry said police records show that, from January of 2008 to the present, eight traffic accidents have taken place at Murdoch and Big Bend, with only property damage and no injuries. Staff recommendations include that no sale, lease, storage, repair or maintenance of vehicles take place on the site. Jim Wiedemeier, with Wiedemeier Architects and representing Gasmart, said the firm plans to invest about $1.5 million in this development.

However, some individuals at the meeting had concerns. Joe Fichter, co-owner of Webster Groves Subaru at 7982 Big Bend, said the accident rate quoted by Perry was an unrealistic figure because the incidents took place at a time when no business was operating on the site. He also feared the effect of reducing the number of entries to the property. “I’m worried about safety,” he said. “I know that corner needs to be used, but there will be a lot of cars going into this convenience store.” Courtney Sullivan, who lives on Lake Avenue, said he also worried about traffic ingress and egress at the property. “Convenience stores attract more traffic than service stations, and I’m afraid these cars will find it hard to get back on to Big Bend or Murdoch

when traffic is backed up,” he said. “Having cars sitting in traffic lanes, blocking the flow, will cause an ugly situation.” Dave Buck, who lives on South Elm Avenue, said Webster Groves already has a lot of convenience stores and gas stations and wondered if any more were needed. “They need to be able to offer something the other guys don’t,” he said. Council Member Debi Salberg said the current building has been vacant and an eyesore for many years, “and no one else is coming forward with a plan. This is a good location, and I’d like to see something happen there.” “I share some concerns about traffic congestion and pedestrian safety, but there was a gas station on this property before,” Council Member

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Anne Tolan said. “There will be more traffic with a convenience store, but it will be a nice amenity for those living in this area who’ve not had access to a grocery store since the old National closed.” Mayor Gerry Welch said she hoped the new business, through use of landscaping and architectural updates, could fit in with the “Main Street feel” of the retail shops in the area. “But this intersection, due to the new I-44 bridge, has become much busier than it’s ever been, and I know that cars getting in and out of this site will be really difficult, and that may be an impediment for Gasmart,” she said. The council is expected to take a final vote the Gasmart proposal at its Nov. 19 meeting.

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