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Taking the newest CAPS course, called Ignite, is a challenging and exciting time for a group of approximately 15 students from Washington High School.

The course is in the Business/Entrepreneurship strand and will provide a unique opportunity for students. The experience is focused on business innovation.  

The course is grounded in design thinking as students learn foundational skills in the area of business when starting a company. Students will engage with real professionals in the field throughout the process.

“We will be soliciting the help of local business partners to share concepts of teamwork, project development, and management,” said School District of Washington Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer. “Students will have ample opportunities to pitch their ideas in order to develop their skills and talents while inventing their own career opportunities.”

Additionally, the students also will assist in the process of classroom design as space at Four Rivers Career Center is remodeled for the purposes of creating workspace for the programs. 

“It’s a great idea because there’s nothing else like it. There’s no other class you can take that actually gives you real life experiences. With this, you actually get professional experience,” said Washington High School senior Molly Landolt. “I’m interested in advertising and marketing, so learning those skills and doing internships with businesses, interacting with business people, would be a good opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to getting real life experience in the business world.”

CAPS (Center for Advanced Professional Studies) is a nationally recognized, innovative high school program. Students fast forward into their future and are fully immersed in a professional culture, solving real world problems, using industry standard tools and are mentored by actual employers, all while receiving high school and college credit.

This is the second CAPS course to emerge as part of the school district’s Advanced Professional Studies option. The Teaching Careers course was the first. 

“It’s good because it gives the students more options and more paths to take when considering their future,” said WHS junior Conlan Jarvis. “By taking this class, I hope to get more experience business wise. I want to learn the basics and get as much knowledge as I can about business.”

Cathy Jinkerson is the instructor of the Ignite course. For the first week of the school year, the group met at Exit 11 Workspace  in Washington. Owner Angela Garland spoke to the class about her business experiences during that time. From here on out, students will be visiting various businesses and meet for class at the Four Rivers Career Center.

“I want to go into the graphic design or multi-media fields. This class will give me an opportunity to work with businesses and help design things for them. I love to design ads, logos, brochures, things like that,” said WHS senior Taylor Hanneken. “It’s a neat opportunity to work with businesses. We’ll be getting opportunities to shadow different businesses, so maybe I’ll like something else that I can pursue. It’s just a really cool idea.”

CAPS courses are among three choice programs for students seeking this type of experience. 

Choice programs include: 

*Career and Technology courses offered at Four Rivers Career Center;

*Project Lead the Way courses in the areas of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering offered at Washington High School; and 

*Advanced Professional Studies or CAPS courses in the area of Teaching Careers and Entrepreneurship (Ignite) offered at FRCC or off-site as projects demand.

“We have listened to students, and overwhelmingly, they have expressed a sincere interest in career exploration and more creative ways to learn. This course helps them test drive their future,” VanLeer said. “The immersion of real-world projects as well as authentic connections with business professionals makes this course meaningful. We look forward to watching the students evolve and learn over the course of the school year.”

The students are eager to dive into their projects.

“It sounds really interesting. I want to learn the basics of business and maybe one day start my own business,” Jarvis said.

“With it being a new class, it’s a really good opportunity. It’s a good way for me to get better with my business skills,” Landolt added.

“The class is a different atmosphere than what we’re used to. I really love that,” Hanneken said. “You’re treated like an adult. You’re on your own. It’s not a set schedule. You never know what the day will bring. That’s exciting.”

CAPS Ignite 1.jpg
CAPS Ignite Students

Front row, from left, are Molly Landolt, Calvin Obermark, Connor Lewis, Ian Dotson, Taylor Hanneken and Sara Hamer.

Back row, from left, are Paige Nye, Kailey Robinson, Emily Hopkins, Morgan Holdmeyer, Nichole Brinker, Cassidy Nurnberger, Reese Mauro and Conlan Jarvis

Not Pictured is Parker Nye.

CAPS Ignite 2.jpg
CAPS Ignite Students, Staff

Front row, from left, are Four Rivers Career Center Director Andy Robinson, Molly Landolt, Calvin Obermark, Connor Lewis, Ian Dotson, Taylor Hanneken and Sara Hamer.

Back row, from left, are Ignite Instructor Cathy Jinkerson, Paige Nye, Kailey Robinson, Emily Hopkins, Morgan Holdmeyer, Nichole Brinker, Cassidy Nurnberger, Reese Mauro, Conlan Jarvis, School District of Washington Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer and Exit 11 Workspace Owner Angela Garland.

Not Pictured is Parker Nye.

CAPS Ignite 4.jpg
Exit 11 Workspace Owner Angela Garland speaks to students.

CAPS Ignite 3.jpg
Exit 11 Workspace Owner Angela Garland speaks to students.



The School District of Washington held an opening ceremony for all staff members Friday, Aug. 12, at the C.J. Burger Theater at Washington High School.

Students returned to the classroom for the 2016-17 school year on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

The theme of the opening ceremony was, “Together We Rise,” emphasizing the ability of taking risks.
Following the theme, some staff members showed off their talents with various singing, dancing and musical performances during the ceremony. See the photos below.

Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer gave her annual back to school message to the staff. The district employs over 700 teachers and staff members.

A WINGS staff appreciation picnic was held following the program at the city park.

Additionally, Chris Arnold, instruction support paraprofessional at Washington Middle School, was named the WINGS 2016 Support Staff Person of the Year. See the photo below.

Arnold Support Staff.jpg

Chris Arnold, middle, was named the WINGS 2016 Support Staff Person of the Year. Front row, from left, are Janie Chalem (WINGS), Arnold and Carol Zanin (WINGS). Back row, from left, are  Laura Bruckerhoff (Washington Middle School Associate Principal) and Lori Strubberg (WINGS).

(Washington Missourian Photo).

SDOW Staff Choir.jpg
School District of Washington Faculty/Staff Choir

(Washington Missourian Photo).

Straatmann, Brinkmann Dance.jpg
Swing dancing by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Straatmann and Four Rivers Career Center Automotive Technology instructor Dan Brinkmann.

(Washington Missourian Photo).

Meghan Brueggemann 1.jpg
Orchestra instructor Meghan Brueggemann plays the violin

(Washington Missourian Photo).

SDOW Sychronized Swimming.jpg
School District of Washington Synchronized Swimming Team

(Washington Missourian Photo).

SDOW Sychronized Swimming 2.jpg
School District of Washington Synchronized Swimming Team

(Washington Missourian Photo).


Representatives from the Washington Area Ambulance District visited the Four Rivers Career Center to speak with Health Occupations students on Thursday, Aug. 18.

The group of students received a first-hand look of two ambulances that were at the scene.

During the second semester of the 2016-17 school year, the health occupations students at FRCC will spend two days at an ambulance station in their own respective community.

The students also will spend time in the second semester at hospitals to witness the operations at the facility.

Photos from the Washington Area Ambulance District’s visit to the Four Rivers Career Center are below.

FRCC Health Occ Ambulance Visit 2.jpg
FRCC Health Occ Ambulance Visit 3.jpg
FRCC Health Occ Ambulance Visit 1.jpg
FRCC Health Occ Ambulance Visit 5.jpg
FRCC Health Occ Ambulance Visit 4.jpg
FRCC Health Occ Ambulance Visit 6.jpg


The School District of Washington’s $15 million zero tax rate increase bond issue passed during the Aug. 2 election.

The bond issue required a four-sevenths majority (or 57.2 percent) of the vote to pass.

Unofficially, there were a total of 9,514 votes casted for the bond issue in precincts covering Franklin, Warren and St. Charles counties. There were 7,270 (76.41 percent) yes votes and 2,244 (23.59 percent) no votes.

“I would sincerely like to thank the patrons of the School District of Washington. We encompass approximately 275 square miles within three counties, and in all three of them our bond issue passed with flying colors. In total, we had an approval rating of 76 percent,” said School District of Washington Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer. “A high functioning, quality public school system is absolutely critical to the communities in which it serves. We appreciate your support now and always. Thank you so very much.”

In Franklin County, with 17 of 17 precincts reporting, there were 6,188 (76.66 percent) yes votes and 1,884 (23.34 percent) no votes.

In Warren County, with six of six precincts reporting, there were 719 (71.97 percent) yes votes and 254 (25.43 percent) no votes.

In St. Charles County, with three of three precincts reporting, there were 363 (77.4 percent) yes votes and 106 (22.6 percent) no votes.

Click on the attached links below for election results in Franklin, Warren and St. Charles counties.

The approval by the voters allows the district to convert $1.5 million in annual lease certificate payments currently being paid out of the capital projects fund to the debt service fund through general obligation bonds.

By moving the existing debt, the district can levy fewer pennies in capital projects when it sets the tax levy in August and levy more pennies in the operations fund, which will significantly ease budget constraints.

Approximately $13.6 million of the $15 million bonds issue will service the debt, while the balance, about $1.4 million, would be used to finance roof replacements, make some safety and security upgrades and do some minor classroom renovation.

Since August 2015, the district has slashed about $3.5 million from its budget due to drops in assessed valuation and state aid.

Prior to the election, VanLeer and members of the Citizens for Great Schools Committee met with different groups and organizations in the district to explain the bond issue. The feedback was very positive.


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