Ladue Schools will be closed Nov. 22 and 23 for Mental Health Wellness days for students and staff.
The following is the message sent to district families on Nov. 2 from Superintendent Dr. Jim Wipke:
Dear Ladue Schools Families,
As I reflect on the past 20 months, I do so with the utmost respect for our Ladue Schools community of students, parents, and staff. No matter what your role has been, navigating the past 20 months has been a difficult journey to say the least. However, through it all, we have grown together. We may not have always agreed but sharing in the belief that our students are our priority continues to unify us. I can say without hesitation the support of our community has been felt and appreciated.
In speaking to my student advisory groups, students have shared with me that it is common for them to push themselves in striving to achieve all of their academic goals on top of recalibrating their routines and habits to a more normal school environment. They have also expressed concern over anxiety and a need for additional support; thus, we added more support counseling services this year. Our students are amazing but they are feeling the toll of all of the changes over the past 20 months.
Taking a deeper look at our staff, their dedication during this pandemic has been remarkable and in actuality, I have seen nothing like it during my entire career in education. With all this being said, our quest to educate children during a pandemic has definitely come at a cost for staff and students in terms of social and emotional health. Fortunately, we continue to persevere and there is a tremendous amount of hope on the horizon.
For the last two years, students’ and staff’s social and emotional health has been embedded in our Board of Education and district goals. I cannot imagine a time where these goals were more important. As a result, I, with the support of our Board of Education and my Leadership Cabinet, have made the decision this year to reclassify Nov. 22 and Nov. 23 (Monday and Tuesday) as Mental Health Wellness days for our staff and students.
This means the Ladue School District will be closed Nov. 22 – 26, the week of Thanksgiving break.
Our teachers, staff, and students are encouraged to use this opportunity to practice “self-care.” It is my hope that these two additional days will help everyone recharge and when we return on Nov. 29, everyone will be refreshed and energized heading into the final weeks of the first semester. The additional two days will allow our students to take a breather before first-semester testing begins and allow our teachers to be their best selves in preparing our students for the end of the first semester.
The letter is an advanced notice to give you plenty of time to absorb the news and plan accordingly. We will communicate directly with our families that utilize the BASK program for childcare services.
If you or your child are in need of social and emotional resources, I encourage you to visit the Missouri Department of Mental Health website to access information and services on self-care.
If you have any questions about our Mental Health and Wellness days, please direct them to your building principal.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Dr. Jim Wipke