Wilkinson Early Childhood Center @ Roe School (WECC), is a magnet school in the St. Louis Public School System (SLPS). It serves children in grades pre-school to 2nd. WECC is housed in the Roe Schoolhouse built in 1919 by renowned architect Rockwell M. Milligan and is located at 1921 Prather Street in the Franz Park Neighborhood, otherwise known as "Dogtown".
Wilkinson used to be housed in Wilkinson School, also designed by Milligan in 1927 at 7212 Arsenal in the Ellendale Neighborhood. They kept the name after moving to the Roe building since Wilkinson was already an established and recognizable name.
Physically speaking, this is an ideal settings for an urban school. It is directly across the street from Franz Park, a charming little city park for which the neighborhood takes its name with tons of great stuff for the kids to do. A baseball diamond, soccer field, playground, pavilion, etc. exist for the kids to play before or after school.
The school is even involved in sprucing up the park and adding some sculpture to the corner of the park at Prather and Mitchell.
Franz Park the neighborhoood also hugs the school grounds with residential alleys and streets flanking WECC on 3 of 4 sides. I admire the way these old schools were built to be beacons of pride for their humble surroundings. The bar was high for public education back when these schools were built. Roe is no exception. It is good to see these buildings still in use...and in the case of WECC...thriving.
The school yards have basketball hoops and nice playgrounds.
Roe School is an achitectural masterpiece . It takes its name from John J. Roe (1809-1870), a self made man of great wealth. He was a Union man up to and during the Civil War and believed in abolishing slavery. At one point in time, he was the largest pork producer in the U.S. (source)
The school sits at Prather and Mitchell Avenues:
The curriculum of Wilkinson is based on Constructivist Theory:
Constructivist teaching is based on constructivist learning theory. Constructivist teaching is based on the belief that learning occurs as learners are actively involved in a process of meaning and knowledge construction as opposed to passively receiving information. Learners are the makers of meaning and knowledge. Constructivist teaching fosters critical thinking, and creates motivated and independent learners. This theoretical framework holds that learning always builds upon knowledge that a student already knows; this prior knowledge is called a schema. Because all learning is filtered through pre-existing schemata, constructivists suggest that learning is more effective when a student is actively engaged in the learning process rather than attempting to receive knowledge passively. A wide variety of methods claim to be based on constructivist learning theory. Most of these methods rely on some form of guided discovery where the teacher avoids most direct instruction and attempts to lead the student through questions and activities to discover, discuss, appreciate, and verbalize the new knowledge. (source)
Basically a hands on approach.
The Boehlje's have 3 children, a 7th grader at McKinley, a 5th grader at Humbolt and a Kindergartener at WECC.
What other schools did you consider before deciding upon WECC?
Their first child went to Kennard, and their second did not initially test in to that program, so they decided to search for other options. This ended up being a blessing because they looked into Stix (the other Early Childhood Center) and Wilkinson.
They immediately fell in love with WECC as it had a great vibe and a tight knit community of families. The teachers seemed experienced and nurturing and it appeared to be a special place, so they ended up choosing WECC for their 2nd and 3rd kids. It seemed like an ideal place for young children.
How do you sign up for the school?
As of 2011, the student body was:
56% male44% female61% black35% white
1% Hispanic/Latino47% eligible for reduced or free lunch
The Boehlje's are in a carpool, but there is full bus service at WECC as is the case for all SLPS schools.
When asked to rank the following on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best, they assigned the following:
Safety: when the kids are dropped off and run into school, there are no safety concerns. Completely confident in safety, no worries.
Principal: She is phenomenal. Even the administration downtown thinks the world of her. She has been there for 3 years and is an amazing and innovative leader. Her staff is happy. She came from a similar environment in another district where she was teaching. She has been excellent.
Are there enrichment courses available?
Is there good parental involvement and accountability?