"Supe's On"

1/17/19

Youth mentoring is an incredible way to give back to the community and support youth facing challenging situations. Mentoring is an important factor in young people’s lives, helping them process situations and make thoughtful choices. Many youth have appropriate and built-in mentors within their support group. However, some do not and there is a need for a mentoring relationship to be provided.

I would like to extend a special thank you to Lynn Nielson and all of our staff that serve as youth mentors within our community. In addition, I would like to thank all of our students that serve as “Peer Helpers” within their respective schools. Youth mentoring has a tremendous impact on the child served. Mentors help youth realize their potential and inspire success.

Research Demonstrates Youth with a Mentor have:

·         Increased social and emotional development

·         Increased likelihood of attending college / technical school

·         Increased likelihood of participating in activities

·         Decreased negative behaviors (drug/alcohol use & absenteeism)

A youth’s need for a positive role model is strong. Perhaps Denzel Washington said it best, “Show me a successful individual and I will show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living – if you do it well, I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way – A Mentor.”

In just one hour per week, a mentor has the ability to make a tremendous difference in the life of a child. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, contact Lutheran Social Services at Mentoring@LssSD.org. Over 400 area youth are awaiting a mentor assignment – You have the ability to positively influence our future through mentorship.

Go Lynx!

1/11/19

The focus of our district’s character program, “The Lynx Way,” during the month of January is Kindness. In addition to the daily efforts within classrooms, we will be hosting the Tour of Kindness January 16-18. The Tour of Kindness is presented by Justine Kougl.

Justine is a mother of three and a ranch wife. She is also a non-profit executive director, financial manager, and public speaker. Her youngest born, Quinn Marie aka “Twinkles,” was born with a cranio-facial syndrome called Treacher Collins. This syndrome is most commonly know from the book and movie, “Wonder.”  Justine and her children have been speaking across the area to share their story and let others know that being different is beautiful, challenging, and amazing all at the same time. No matter how different people may be, kindness and empathy are important as we accept others and ourselves.

Tour of Kindness Mission

Empowering all people (especially students) through kindness, to be the change in their own world.

Tour of Kindness Vision

The Tour of Kindness is designed to provide people (especially students) with an opportunity to celebrate everyone’s uniqueness through immersing them with individuals who may be seen as different.

Tour of Kindness Core Values

Kindness, Empathy, Caring

In addition to the Tour of Kindness making stops in all of our school buildings, the public has the ability to hear the Tour of Kindness message between varsity basketball games on January 17 in the Community Room at BVHS.

Lastly, please remember there is no school on January 21 for Teacher In-service.

Go Lynx!

1/4/19

In preparation for the 2019 South Dakota Legislative Session, the Brandon Valley Board of Education and Administration hosted our District 10 and 25 legislators for collaborative a meeting to discuss the upcoming legislative session. In addition to sharing school district data and information, we shared and discussed potential legislative items. We greatly appreciate our legislators’ willingness to meet and discuss the continued need to drive education forward.

In late January, our Brandon Valley High School Student Council will be joining the Chamber of Commerce in Pierre for Brandon Day at the Legislature. Meeting with Governor Noem, lunch with legislators, and a tour of the capital are all on the tentative agenda. This outstanding educational opportunity will provide our student-leaders with an opportunity to engage with our elected state officials and gain a greater understanding of the governing process. As outlined within the BV Vision of a Graduate, we strive to inspire our students to “serve” within our community through dialogue, service, and leadership and this event will further advance that mission.

Lastly, I would like to thank former Governor Dennis Daugaard for his eight years of service and leadership in the highest office in South Dakota. Education in our state has been significantly impacted by his support and the work of the 2015 Blue Ribbon Task Force, which established the framework for the legislation that led to historic teacher salary increases. Thank you for your dedicated service to South Dakota students.

Go Lynx!

Upcoming Calendar Items:

·         Wednesday, January 9 – Bus Pass Purchase Deadline

·         Friday, January 11 – No School (In-service)

·         Monday, January 21 – No School (In-service)

·         Friday, February 15 – No School

·         Monday, February 18 – No School (President’s Day)

12/26/18

Happy New Year – Welcome to 2019!

I hope your 2018 was filled with happiness, fulfillment, and success. The New Year marks an opportunity for renewed focus and energy. A goal without a plan is a wish. Don’t wish for success – plan for it. With that, my challenge to our BV Lynx in 2019 is simple – Follow a Plan for Success: Do your very best and bring a positive attitude and outstanding effort every day. Make it great to be a Lynx in 2019!

January is forecasted to be a cold month. It is critical that students dress appropriately for the cold weather. Hats, coats, and gloves are essential to a student’s safety.  Whether riding the bus, driving, or walking to school, dressing for the cold weather is critical. Please, reinforce the importance of appropriate winter dress with your child. In the unlikely event school is in session and your child is unable to attend due to travel issues, contact your respective school, and the absence will be excused.

The deadline to get your child’s 2nd Semester Bus Pass is January 9.  The deadline must be met for your child to be able to continue riding the bus for the 2nd Semester. We greatly appreciate timely cooperation with bus pass purchases. Contact information for bus pass purchase is provided below:

Brandon Valley Transportation Facility
812 E. Redwood BLVD
Brandon, SD 57005
605-582-3514

https://bv.revtrak.net/ (webmall internet address)

Our 1st Semester ends on January 10 and there is no school in the Brandon Valley School District on Friday, January 11 for Teacher In-service.

Let’s make 2019 a great year - Go Lynx!

12/21/18

I hope each and every one of our students have a safe and enjoyable Winter Break. With the extended vacation, students will have additional free time and likely engage in additional internet and social media usage. We strongly encourage parents and guardians to speak with their children about the importance of digital citizenship and internet safety. In addition, with the increase in travel in the coming weeks, we also encourage parents to engage with their children on the topic of distracted driving and how critical it is to not engage in distracted driving.

Continuing past practice, we utilize 5-year planning documents, which are prepared and submitted by our building level administrators, in order to plan for and accommodate our future needs and growth. Undoubtedly, there are more needs than resources, but this planning process is our proactive approach to the management of our available resources. Previous planning documents are available at the Administration Center and the new 5-year plan will be presented in the coming months.

The deadline to get your child’s 2nd Semester Bus Pass is January 9.  The deadline must be met for your child to be able to continue riding the bus for the 2nd Semester. Contact information for the purchase of a bus pass is provided below:

Brandon Valley Transportation Facility
812 E. Redwood BLVD
Brandon, SD 57005
605-582-3514

https://bv.revtrak.net/ (webmall internet address)

We greatly appreciate our parents’ timely cooperation on the purchase of bus passes. 

Go Lynx!

12/14/18

Digital Citizenship is an extremely important topic as technology and social media have become mainstays within our society. Over the last decade, we have seen the explosion of technology use. Things have changed and continually change in our digital world. The evolving social media applications and availability of online gaming creates an environment where it is critical for our children to have an adult continually engaged in conversation about the importance of digital citizenship. In addition, monitoring children’s technology usage is important.

Cyberwise.org and Connectsafely.org provide a variety of resources and tips for adults in their efforts to keep their children's on-line activity safe and digital footprint appropriate. A few of the key tips provided within the parental support resources regarding digital citizenship include:

As online dangers to kids continually change, it is near impossible to develop specific safety messages for all of the inappropriate apps and games our children may be exposed to. However, the strategies listed above support digital citizenship, on-line safety, and the on-going efforts of parents to keep their children safe. As a school district, we utilize a wide-variety of approaches to teach our students about appropriate technology usage and digital citizenship.

Together, we can promote quality digital citizenship and appropriate technology use.

Go Lynx!

12/7/18

An important component of school safety is student awareness. Drawing upon “The Lynx Way” component – We are Safe; I would suggest that all parents and guardians speak to their child on the premise of “if you see something, say something.” Providing our students with a safe, positive, and functioning learning environment is critical to our children’s academic successes. The students themselves play an extremely valuable role in the creation of our safe learning environment. Together, we promote student safety.

The deadline to get your child’s 2nd Semester Bus Pass is January 9.  The deadline must be met for your child to be able to continue riding the bus for the 2nd Semester. Contact information for the purchase of a bus pass is provided below:

Brandon Valley Transportation Facility
812 E. Redwood BLVD
Brandon, SD 57005
605-582-3514

https://bv.revtrak.net/ (webmall internet address)

We greatly appreciate our parents’ timely cooperation on the purchase of bus passes. Safely, effectively, and efficiently transporting 2,000 students daily takes substantial planning. The timely purchase of bus passes ensures a smooth transition into the 2nd semester.

Go Lynx!

Up-coming Calendar Items:

·         December 21 – 2 Hour Early Dismissal

·         December 24 – January 1 – No School (Winter Break)

·         January 11 – No School (In-service)

·         January 21 – No School (In-service)

11/30/18

As outlined in the Brandon Valley Strategic Plan, within the domain “Parent & Community Relations,” we are continually working to strengthen school, family, and community engagement. The promotion of positive and collaborative partnerships is essential to our school and communities’ continued success. Two very specific upcoming strategies to strengthen key relationships within our community include collaborative work sessions with the City of Brandon and our District 10 and 25 state legislators.

In addition to strengthening community partnerships, we strive to provide our parents with opportunities and resources to engage in their child’s education. Parents and guardians have the ability to access their child’s educational program electronically as the Brandon Valley School District utilizes Skyward for our student management software. In addition to a web-based login, an app is available. The Skyward Mobile Application is available in the "App Store". If parents or guardians are interested in quicker and easier access to their child's school programming information, the Skyward Mobile Application is for you. Feel free to contact Jennifer Swenson at the Central Office if you have questions or need assistance with the Skyward Mobile App.

Together, we can promote outstanding educational opportunities for our children.

Lastly, there will be a 2 Hour Early Dismissal on Friday, December 21 and there is No School for Winter Break from December 24 – January 1. School will resume on Thursday, January 2. 

Go Lynx!

11/22/18

“The creation of learning environments that result in success” serves as the Brandon Valley School District’s core operating principle. The work of the 2018 Facilities Review Committee was grounded within that principle and guided by our district’s strategic plan. Discussion amongst the group, whether in small group or large group settings, was open and passionate.  The best interests of our students was the driving force. The group’s formulated decisions and recommendations for facilities within the Brandon Valley School District can be found in their entirety in the 2018 Facilities Review Committee Report available on the district’s website and at the Administration Center.

The 2018 Facilities Review Committee was appointed in mid-August 2018 by the superintendent through recommendations from the members of the school board. The committee consisted of the two board members serving on the Building & Grounds Board of Education Subcommittee, eleven patrons representing the school district community, and fourteen staff members. The group was tasked with two specific objectives:

·         Recommend a building location for the next elementary building

·         Develop a long-range vision for the Brandon Valley School District

The non-binding recommendation to the Brandon Valley Board of Education is to build an elementary school at the school-owned property on 41st Street and Sparta Avenue to open in the fall of 2021. In addition, the long-range vision of the group is outlined in “BV Vision 2040” and is included within the report. BV Vision 2040 outlines the long-range facility vision of the committee and outlines facility recommendations for 2040, when our student enrollment is estimated to be approximately 7,300. The committee’s recommendations and long-range vision is the result of many hours of discussion. The committee believes the recommendations and BV Vision 2040, included within their final report, is a highly viable approach to meeting the needs and future growth challenges facing the Brandon Valley Schools.

 

11/17/18

With winter weather driving right around the corner, it is critical for our young drivers to be reminded of a few key winter weather driving tips. One of the components of “The Lynx Way,” our district-wide character program, surrounds being safe. Emphasizing the following winter weather driving tips with our young drivers will reinforce the importance of practicing safe winter weather driving.

Key Winter Weather Driving Tips:

·         Scrape and defrost windows completely

·         Always allow extra distance between cars

·         Slow down and take your time

Always buckle up and never be a distracted driver. As Bob Logan, the voice of the Lynx, would say, “Click it and stick it in the glove box.  Buckle up and place your cell phone in the glove box until you arrive at your destination.”

In addition to discussing winter weather driving with our teens, all of our vehicles in South Dakota should contain a winter survival kit. As outlined on their website, the National Weather Service advises you to place a winter weather safety readiness kit in your vehicle to prepare for the winter season. Resources and additional information regarding winter weather preparedness may be found at https://www.weather.gov/oun/safety-winter-safetykit

Together, we can promote safe winter weather driving for our teenage drivers.

Go Lynx!

11/10/18

American Education Week is November 12-16.

Across our great country, communities celebrate America’s education system during American Education Week. The process of educating our youth takes many individuals, serving in a wide variety of roles. Every individual within our school system plays a critical part in our ability to educate our students. Every day within our schools, our staff work with students to promote positive learning experiences. It takes many departments to educate our 4,250 Lynx. 

To all the individuals working within the Brandon Valley School District and all the other schools across the country – Thank You. You make educating our children possible. 

With fall activities coming to a close, I want to extend a special congratulations and job well done to all of our fall activity participants, coaches, and directors. Overall, we had a very successful fall activity season. As the winter activity season approaches, I would encourage all patrons to attend student activities and support our children in a positive and sportsmanlike manner. The modeling of positive and appropriate behavior by adults while attending activities is important for our students’ development.   

In addition, I would like to extend a very special Thank You to all of our military personnel for their service to our country.

 There will be no school in the Brandon Valley School District for Thanksgiving Break November 21-23.

Go Lynx!​

11/2/18

Providing safe transportation to nearly 1,900 Brandon Valley School District students requires student cooperation and appropriate behavior. Approximately 25 million students across the country start and end their school day on a school bus. The great news for our riders and riders across the U.S. is that research demonstrates school bus transportation is the safest mode of transportation for school age children.

To continually support safe transportation, it is very important that students conduct themselves in an appropriate manner while in transit. We ask that all parents and guardians review a few simple bus riding safety tips with their children. These may include:

Getting on the Bus:

·         Arrive 5 minutes early to the bus stop

·         Wait until the bus has completely stopped before boarding

·         Use the handrail and quickly take your seat

Behavior on the Bus:

·         Sit-down and remain seated at all times

·         Follow directions from the driver

·         Allow the bus to stop completely before getting up

Getting off the Bus:

·         Use the handrail when exiting

·         If necessary, Cross 10 feet in front of the bus

·         Always look both ways before crossing a road

Encouraging and reinforcing appropriate bus riding behavior helps support the Brandon Valley School District Transportation Department’s efforts to safely transport our Lynx to and from school.

Together, we can promote safe bus transportation for our children.

Go Lynx!

10/27/18

School Accountability in the state of South Dakota is based on the School Performance Index (SPI) score. The SPI for elementary, intermediate, and middle schools is based on Student Achievement, Academic Growth, and Attendance. The SPI for high schools is based on Student Achievement, High School Completion, and College and Career Readiness. Academic accountability data plays an important role in the school improvement process and student learning. Maintaining a continual growth mindset and always striving for improved academic performance is key to our success.

The 2017-18 SPI data is scheduled to be released to the public in mid-November. Prior to the release, our school administration completes a review of the data for accuracy and submits appeals to the South Dakota Department of Education on inaccurate items. A presentation providing an overview of the Brandon Valley School District SPI data will be delivered to the public at the November 27 Brandon Valley Board of Education Meeting.

Weather, we like it or not, it’s on the way. To ensure the school has the most accurate contact information, it is very important for parents and guardians to make certain that they have completed the Skyward Family Access Update. Weather related announcements are communicated through school messenger and television close-lines.

Up-coming 2018-19 Calendar Items

·         November 12 – No School (Veterans Day)

·         November 21-23 – No School (Thanksgiving Break)

Go Lynx!

 

10/20/18

I would like to extend a GIANT thank you to all of our parents and guardians who participated in parent-teacher conferences last week in the Brandon Valley School District. An actively engaged adult is critical to the academic success of a child. Attending and participating in the parent-teacher conference demonstrates the importance of education to a child. Communication with your child’s teachers is not and should not be limited to conferences. In the event you have questions, please, contact your child’s teachers. Together, we promote student success.

On the topic of success, ACT data was recently released to the public. Our Brandon Valley High School students taking part in the ACT assessment performed extremely well. Our students outperformed the state average in all areas, which are English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. Overall, the Brandon Valley composite ACT score is 1.5 points higher than the state average. In addition, the percent of Brandon Valley ACT-tested students ready for college-level coursework exceeded the state average by more than 10 percentage points. Our students’ success on the ACT is a direct result of the top-quality teaching in the classroom, the active involvement of our parents and community within the educational process, and outstanding building-level leadership within the Brandon Valley School District. We are very proud of our students, staff, and parents for their outstanding results, due to their extraordinary effort.

Lastly, our 2018 Fall State Aid Enrollment count was 4,250 students, an increase of 193 students from the 2017 count. As it is with any strength, there are challenges associated with an increasing student population. Utilizing our Facility Review Committee, a large diverse community group, we are able to proactively plan for student growth and outline a long-range vision for the future of the Brandon Valley School District. With the continuation of strong academics – Our Future Is Bright.

Go Lynx!

10/13

A component of “The Lynx Way” is being an “Active Learner”. Working to engage our students in “The Lynx Way” and embed our core character traits throughout our school system, through Mr. Matt Christensen, I have invited some Brandon Valley High School Students to author a Supe’s On Column reflecting upon a component of “The Lynx Way”. I would like to thank Mr. Christensen for his leadership and work on this collaborative effort. 

It is my pleasure to welcome Ms. Danica Kocer, BVHS Senior and Guest Supe’s On author.  

I have learned many valuable skills throughout my education at Brandon Valley High School.  One particular skill I have learned that will be a great benefit to me throughout my life is responsibility.  My last three years at BVHS have taught me to be responsible through classroom expectations, opportunities for leadership, and now as a senior, leading the underclassmen by example.

My teachers throughout my experience—not only in high school but from elementary through high school—have helped me learn responsibility.  We have always been held accountable for turning in assignments on time.  If an assignment was not finished on time, there would be consequences in either the deduction of points or a zero in the grade book.  Also, we were always expected to come to class prepared.  That meant we were to have any class materials we needed such as notebooks, textbooks, pens, and pencils. With the introduction of the MacBooks once we entered into high school, we were responsible not only for the safe care of the computer, but also to make sure we came to school with it fully charged and used the computer in a responsible way.  My teachers also taught me how to responsibly manage my time by giving projects or larger assignments.  Sometimes we were given checkpoints along the way to make sure we were working on the project and not trying to finish it all at once.  This taught me to use my time responsibly and to not save a lot of work for the last minute.

Brandon Valley High School has also given me the opportunity to learn responsibility through providing clubs, organizations, and sports (cross country & basketball) to be involved in.  Participation in Best Buddies, FCA, and sports have helped me learn to be responsible to other people and to the group as a whole.  Through Best Buddies, I am responsible for helping organize activities for the group as well as doing activities with my friend that she will enjoy.  My involvement as a FCA huddle leader for the middle school has made me responsible not only in organizing meetings, games, and devotions, but also being responsible in my actions.  As a huddle leader, I am in the position of being a role model for the younger participants, and I hold myself accountable for representing the values and beliefs that FCA represents.  Participating in sports at BVHS has also taught me responsibility not only by helping me learn to use my time wisely but also by providing leadership opportunities.  As a captain of the basketball team and the cross country team, I am responsible for showing the values our team represents.

Seniors, such as me, demonstrate responsibility daily at Brandon Valley High School. We try our best to be positive role models by leading the underclassmen by example.  When I was an underclassman, I remember looking up to the seniors I came in contact with.  So now as a senior myself, I feel a responsibility to model good character for those who are now underclassmen and be there to help them as they go through high school.  Every day we seniors show responsibility by being respectful of the school rules, turning our assignments in on time, and being helpful to anyone who needs it. 

When I continue my post-secondary education, the sense of responsibility I have learned while attending Brandon Valley will empower and propel me to new triumphs. The challenges will grow in number and in rigor—but I will rise to meet them with a determined smile and a full heart.

 

10/6/18

Fred Assam Elementary Boundary Line – Proposed Change Effective 2019-20 School Year

As a growing school district, at times it is necessary to alter attendance center boundary lines to effectively maximize usable classroom space, proactively manage student growth, and operate in a fiscally responsible manner as we utilize effective and efficient business practices. The proposed change reduces the size of the Fred Assam Elementary Attendance Area and redistributes approximately 130 students from the northwest portion of the school district to Brandon Elementary. 

When formulating recommendations and making an elementary boundary decision, we work to minimize impact on students and establish attendance center boundaries that align to the future growth of the district. The proposal is driven by the  continual growth of our Fred Assam Elementary enrollment and the available classroom space in Brandon Elementary. 

Current 2018-19 Enrollment / Building Capacity

Estimated 2019-20 Enrollment / Capacity with Fred Assam Boundary Line – Proposed Change

The decision time-line for the proposal is as follows:

As outlined in policy, open enrollment will be allowable when there is space available without crowding or opening extra classrooms in a building.

On a student activity note, I want to thank our Brandon Valley High School students for an outstanding Homecoming week. From positively supporting fellow classmates  while attending school activities, to participating in sponsored to events, or leading an elementary pep rally, our BVHS student body made the 2018 Homecoming a great experience.

Go Lynx!

9/28/18

Parental engagement is important to student success. Fall Parent-teacher conferences offer parents and guardians an opportunity to engage in critical conversation with teachers about their child’s educational programming. In conjunction with the parent-teacher conference experience at BVHS, we will be hosting a College and Post-secondary Fair from 5:00-8:00 p.m. At the event, students and parents will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from colleges, technical schools, and military branches to explore options and opportunities after high school. I would encourage our high school parents and students to explore this new post high school planning experience after meeting with their teachers.

Our Facility Review Committee has convened and begun an extensive process of reviewing the district’s current facilities. The purpose of the committee is to: Review the current facility plan, Assess facility needs, Provide non-binding recommendations for facility projects and needs, and Develop long-range vision for the Brandon Valley School District.

Beginning with the end in mind, the Facility Committee is charged with two specific tasks:

* Provide a non-binding recommendation for a building location for an elementary school

* Develop a long-range vision for the district

Managing a school district that has continual growth requires processes that proactively plan for facility needs to support student learning, such as our Facility Review Committee process. The initial phase of the process is a review of current facilities, including current enrollment and building capacities. Having a foundational knowledge of our current situation is critical as we make informed facility decisions and work to effectively and efficiently maximize our facilities. The work of the committee will conclude with non-binding recommendations and a report to the board of education in late November.

Up-coming 2018-19 Calendar Items

October 8 – No School Teacher In-service

October 15 – Elementary / High School Parent Teacher Conferences

October 16 – Intermediate / Middle School Parent Teacher Conferences

October 19 – No School

Go Lynx!

9/21/18

The Brandon Valley School District strives to provide relevant and rigorous academics grounded in best practices. Whether planning to attend college, a technical institute, or joining the military or workforce, K-12 education works to create engaging opportunities for students to learn and grow. Within the domain of Student Achievement in our district’s strategic plan, we have outlined a variety of action strategies for goal attainment. Specifically in the area of creating students that are prepared for life after high school, multiple action strategies are scheduled or in the process of being developed.

BVHS Post-secondary Night

Our BVHS administration and school counseling staff have organized and developed a post-secondary event that will run in conjunction with Parent-teacher Conferences at the high school on Monday, October 15. Universities, technical institutions, and other training organizations will be available to share information and meet with students and parents about post-secondary opportunities.

Expanded Internship / Apprenticeship Programming

Our student curriculum, activities, and technology committee is engaged in an extensive review of regional programs and will begin the development process for expanded internship and apprenticeship opportunities for high school students. The Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce is involved and critical to the development process, which is being facilitated by Mr. Mark Schlekeway, Associate BVHS Principal. An internship or apprenticeship experience will not be mandatory, but rather an elective that will serve as an enhancement to the core curriculum and course work offered at BVHS.

In addition, both of the above action strategies align to the Parent & Community Relations component of our district’s strategic plan where continual work is done to strengthen school, family, and community engagement. Together, we can create opportunities for students to make informed decisions about their future as we strive to make our high school graduates college, career, and life ready.

Go Lynx!

 

9/15/18

School zone safety is critical. Slowing down, abiding by all traffic signage, and being aware of the increased pedestrian, bicycle, and bus traffic are a few of the ways we can keep our school zones safe. In addition, it is important that kids exercise safe practices when commuting to school on foot or bicycle. A few simple rules to reinforce with your child regarding their morning commute if walking or biking to school are:

* Always look both ways before crossing the street

* Use a designated crosswalk and wait for a safe opportunity

* Wear a bicycle helmet

Together, we can educate our youth on school zone and traffic safety. In addition to the regular school day commutes, communicating the importance of not ever being a distracted driver is critical to our teens. Research studies suggest that distracted driving is responsible for nearly 60% of teen crashes. Parents and guardians can reinforce the critical importance of not being a distracted driver by engaging in conversation with their child about the importance of not texting while driving. Undoubtedly, modeling appropriate driving techniques and exhibiting safe driving habits are the most impactful things adults can do for their child.

There are a variety of resources available to educate and assist parents in their efforts to work with their child on the topic of distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission, National Safety Council, and TeenSafe are just a few of the online resources available for parents.

Bob Logan, the voice of the Lynx, says it best, “Click it, and stick it in the glove box. Be safe; buckle up and don’t text and drive.”

Lastly, a special thank you to Chief Kull and our Brandon Police Department for their strong and consistent presence in and around our school zones. Your efforts and work in keeping our children safe is greatly appreciated.

Go Lynx!

9/8/18

One kind word can change someone’s day!

Perhaps, you have noticed the consistent theme amongst our school building marquee boards or you know a child that is participating in a special kindness project within their respective building. As a district, we have designated specific months to our components of “The Lynx Way”.

We Are:

“The Lynx Way”

Respectful – Responsible – Safe – Kind – Active Learners

#WEareBV

Our focus during the month of September is kindness.

Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. As a core fundamental character trait defined within our district’s character program – “The Lynx Way”. Kindness is a powerful character trait and perhaps the most important factor in meaningful relationships. Our actions of kindness are timeless. Instilling the trait of kindness in our youth, infuses the trait of kindness in our future.

So, this month – every month, be kind and make someone’s today better than yesterday.

I would like to thank all of the volunteers, students, parents, and patrons that made the Pigskin Classic possible. The Pigskin event is an incredible experience that involves children of all ages in a wide variety of activities. It is an incredible tradition and a clear demonstration of the Lynx Pride that runs through our communities.

Go Lynx!

9/1/18

Every School Day Counts. Make school attendance a priority for the 2018-19 school year.

To be an “Active Learner” and do it “The Lynx Way” students must have regular and consistent attendance. The benefits of great attendance extend far past a child’s current year of schooling.

Research studies demonstrate the strong relationship between student attendance and student achievement. Chronic absenteeism, defined as 2 school days per month or 18 days for the year, has been directly correlated to deficiency in student reading. Specifically, chronically absent Kindergarten and 1st grade students are much less likely to read proficiently by the end of 3rd grade. This finding holds significant value because 3rd grade reading proficiency is a strong indicator of a student being a grade-level reader throughout their entire academic career.

Additional research findings demonstrate a non-proficient 3rd grade reader is four times more likely to drop out of high school. While further examining the importance of attendance, a recent study found that regular and consistent 9th grade attendance significantly correlates to high school graduation.   

School Attendance and Student Achievement – Key Research Findings:

·         A strong relationship exists between attendance and achievement

·         Chronic absenteeism is connected to student deficiency in reading

·         K/1st grade students chronically absent are much less likely to be proficient readers by the end of 3rd grade

·         3rd grade reading proficiency is a strong indicator of future reading proficiency

·         Non-proficient 3rd grade readers are four times more likely to drop out of high school

·         9th grade attendance has a significant correlation to high school graduation

School attendance at every age matters. Every school day counts. Making school attendance a priority today will positively impact your child tomorrow.   

Go Lynx!

8/25/18

With the first week of school in the books, our Lynx are off to a great start in the classroom.

As projected, student growth has occurred and is an extremely positive factor within our district. Our current enrollment is approximately 4,210 students, an increase of approximately 160 students from last fall. While the growth exceeded that of our expectation, we have managed the student numbers very effectively and efficiently through the use of our unassigned teacher growth pool and building assignments. Across the board, school enrollments are strong, class sizes are manageable and appropriate for grade levels, and we have building capacity space for additional numbers in the near future.

As we utilize enrollment triggers and continue to proactively prepare for future growth, our Facility Review Committee will begin the process of evaluating future facility needs, developing a 20 Year Vision of BV, and develop nonbinding facility recommendations for the Brandon Valley Board of Education. The Facility Review Committee is a large group representing individuals from the public, staff, administration, and school board. With broad representation, we are able to take into account many different perspectives and insights while building consensus on future facility needs. Tentatively, the Facility Review Committee is scheduled to meet over the months of September and October with a report to the board of education in November.

Lastly, I want to thank our Transportation Staff and Department for their work and effort over our first few days. Transporting approximately 2,000 students, many of whom are young elementary children, is an incredible task. Their ability to collaborate and communicate effectively has been key to our safe transport of our children. In addition, we greatly appreciate our parents’ patience and understanding as we finalize schedules and make minor adjustments to our routing system.

Go Lynx!

8/18/18

Welcome to the 2018-19 school year - We are fired up to have our Lynx back in the classroom!

The Brandon Valley School District continues to utilize our district-wide character program “The Lynx Way” to promote positive student behaviors and instill the fundamental traits we want in all students. Creating consistency and common language throughout our schools supports positive behavior intervention systems and easier transitions between school buildings. We encourage all parents, guardians, and patrons to utilize the common language and engage with our kids on the importance of being respectful, responsible, safe, kind, and an active learner.

 With students back at school, there is a tremendous increase in pedestrian, bicycle, school bus, and vehicle traffic within our communities. Further, school zones are high traffic areas, especially during the a.m. drop-off and p.m. pick-up. For our children’s safety please slow-down, take your time, and abide all traffic laws and drop-off signage. It is critical that motorists are attentive and exercise extreme caution when in school zones. In addition, speaking with your child about pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle safety rules is an important component to student safety.  

If your child is riding the school bus, please talk with them about bus riding etiquette and appropriate behavior.  When the bus approaches the bus stop, stay back and wait for the bus to come to a complete stop. Once onboard, students are to remain seated at all times and conduct themselves in an orderly fashion. Appropriate behavior on the bus is critical to student safety.

Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in helping keep our kids safe. Together, we can promote our children’s safety.

Go Lynx!

 

8/11/18

The bus pass purchase deadline has come and gone. I want to extend a GIANT THANK YOU to all the families that met the cutoff date. Your timely cooperation was critically important to our planning and preparation as we work to transport nearly 2,000 students daily within the Brandon Valley School District. With bus passes purchased, the start of school and student activities are right around the corner.

Parents and guardians are invited and encouraged to attend their child’s open house. The open houses are scheduled as follows:

Brandon Valley Open Houses provide an opportunity for students and parents to meet teachers, tour facilities and classrooms, and ask any questions they may have. In addition, attending your child’s open house can help establish the lines of communication, ease anxiety, and create a positive tone for the school year. We look forward to seeing our Lynx at their respective open house!

Whether it be Marching & Melon Madness August 20 or an up-coming sporting event, I would strongly encourage our patrons to come out and enjoy a student activity performance. Our students and staff work extremely hard to prepare for performances and competitions. When in attendance, we ask that all spectators conduct themselves in a positive and sportsman-like manner. Little eyes are upon all of us. We must model the behaviors we want to see. We look forward to another great year of Lynx activities. 

Go Lynx!

8/3/18

With August 22 slated as our first day of school, there are a wide variety of improvement and maintenance projects being finalized in the next couple of weeks. Whether they are roofing projects, asphalt repair, or ceiling and lighting improvements etc., we are constantly working to ensure that our children have quality facilities and learning environments. As aligned to the district’s strategic plan in the area of “Facilities and Operations,” maintenance and facility improvements, in addition to larger scale construction projects are essential as we work to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments.

As summer break is coming to an end, I cannot help but be impressed at the quantity and quality of work done by our Building & Grounds, Maintenance, and Custodial Staffs. Over the last few short months, in preparation for the coming school year, these valued individuals have maintained, prepped, and cleaned the over one million square feet of school buildings within the Brandon Valley School District. Their valuable role makes providing a great education possible. Great work and thank you!

As parents and guardians begin to prepare for the coming school year, it is important to engage our kids in the stranger-danger conversation. Engaging our children on the topic is a proactive measure and supports your child’s safe commute to and from school. Kids need to be aware, cautious, and prepared for their school commute. Together, we promote student safety.

Lastly, do not forget to purchase your bus passes by the August 8 deadline. The deadline must be met for your child to be able to ride district transportation the first two weeks of school. Safely and successfully transporting nearly 2,000 children daily requires substantial planning. Thank you for your timely cooperation.

Go Lynx!

 

7/27/18

With the school year approaching, a wide-variety of fall extracurricular activities are scheduled to begin in the coming days. I would strongly encourage all students to get involved. Participating in an extracurricular activity has tremendous benefits. Research studies have demonstrated that students involved in extracurricular activities have higher rates of academic achievement and are more likely to graduate from high school. In addition to the academic benefits, extracurricular activities teach valuable life lessons such as commitment, teamwork, leadership, and the acceptance of a role. Encourage a child to participate in an extracurricular activity. Activities are a critical component of providing a well-rounded education.

On the topic of activities, if you are interested in the coming school year’s activities, the 2018-2019 Master Activities Calendar is a valuable resource for activity dates. It can be found on our district’s homepage (www.brandonvalleyschools.com). Located under Quick Links, the “Activities Calendar” is a centrally located document that outlines the year’s activities. As always, schedules are subject to change, but the activities calendar provides great information on all the district’s activities.

The Brandon Valley School District utilizes Skyward to manage our family and student information. Every year parents and guardians must complete an annual update and confirmation of their contact information and provide student permissions. In addition, the Free and Reduced Meal Application is also included within this portion of Skyward. The Skyward Family Access update and the Free & Reduced Meal Application will be available for completion on August 1.

Lastly, a quick reminder that the Bus Pass Purchase Deadline is August 8. Visit our school webpages for additional information on the up-coming school year. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Go Lynx!

7/23/18

Bus passes must be purchased by the August 8th deadline for your child to ride school district transportation during the first two weeks of school.

If you plan to utilize district provided transportation, please purchase your bus pass on-line at the webmall or at the transportation facility prior to the deadline. Successfully transporting over 2,000 children daily requires substantial planning and we greatly appreciate your timely cooperation regarding the purchase of bus passes.

Bus Pass Purchase Contact Information:

Brandon Valley Transportation Facility 812 E. Redwood BLVD Brandon, SD 57005 605-582-3514 https://bv.revtrak.net/ (webmall internet address)

Recently, the Brandon Valley School District FY19 budget received official approval. Budget information and the budget presentation is available on the Business Office website, which is located on the district website. The FY19 budget presentation outlines the $44.3 million dollar financial plan, which provides educational opportunities for the children of our school district for the 2018-19 school year. A special thank you to Business Manager Paul Lundberg and his staff for their exceptional work on the FY19 budget.

Lastly, for all those families new to the Brandon Valley School District – Welcome! Contact Jennifer Swenson at the Central Office for school enrollment information. Our first day of school for the 2018-2019 school year is Wednesday, August 22, 2018.

Go Lynx!

 

7/16/18

 

As summer winds down, so does the Summer Lunch Program. Friday, July 27th is the last day for meals to be served at the Summer Lunch Program at Brandon Elementary. Overall, it has been a successful year with over 11,000 child meals served to date. I want to thank our CNS employees for making the program possible and the great work over the course of the summer!

 

Further, I want to extend a special congratulations to Gay Anderson, Director of Child Nutrition Services in the Brandon Valley School District. Recently, Director Anderson became the National President of the School Nutrition Association representing school district nutrition programs all across our country.  Director Anderson’s pursuit of excellence in child nutrition has propelled her to this nationally recognized leadership position. Her involvement at the national level has led to increased efficiency within our program, brought innovations to our district, and provided capacity-building experiences to our staff. Congratulations Director Anderson, we are very proud of your accomplishment!    

 

We are working to wrap-up and finalize many maintenance and improvement projects throughout the district prior to the start of the school year. Progress continues at Brandon Valley High School with the construction of additional classroom spaces and the installation of artificial turf at the Brandon Valley Outdoor Stadium. The classroom spaces and artificial turf are scheduled to be completed in early August.

 

I was able to attend the Booster Days Parade in Valley Springs last Saturday. My family and I enjoyed an outstanding parade and an impressive showing from the Marching Lynx under the direction of Mr. Tyler Nettestad. Great work kids!      

Go Lynx!

7/9/18

With the 4th of July behind us, the start of another school year is on the distant horizon. However, it is not too late for students to set and meet a summer reading Goal. The Brandon Valley School District has teamed up with Siouxland Library and Pizza Ranch of Brandon to make our Lynx Summer Reading Program possible. Join us on Wednesday’s from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Brandon Elementary Library for story-time and book checkout. Students that meet their reading goal are eligible for various prizes, including a free Pizza Ranch Buffet and $5 County Fair game card. Lynx, let’s get reading this summer!

For all those families new to the Brandon Valley School District – Welcome! Contact Jennifer Swenson at the Central Office for school enrollment information. Our first day of school for the 2018-2019 school year is Wednesday, August 22, 2018. The 2018-2019 Academic Calendar is available on the district homepage under the “Calendar” tab.

There is a critical deadline approaching that parents and guardians must be aware of. The deadline to get your child’s bus pass is August 8th. The deadline must be met for your child to ride the bus the first two weeks of school. If your child will be riding the bus, please purchase your bus pass on-line at the webmall or at the transportation facility prior to the August 8th deadline. Contact information for the bus pass purchase is provided below:

Brandon Valley Transportation Facility 812 E. Redwood BLVD Brandon, SD 57005 605-582-3514 https://bv.revtrak.net/ (webmall internet address)

We greatly appreciate your timely cooperation as we work to safely and successfully transport nearly 2,000 children daily throughout the school year. Thank you for your timely cooperation on the purchase of bus passes.

Go Lynx!

6/25/18

The Brandon Valley School District has spent the last 18 months engaged in a strategic planning process. The process was inclusive and sought feedback from a wide-variety of stakeholders. We utilized a patron survey and focus groups representing parents, staff, students, and administration. In addition, multiple public input meetings were held. Our strategic plan focuses specifically on Student Achievement, Staff Development, Facilities and Operations, Fiscal Responsibility, and Parent and Community Relations.

In the area of Student Achievement, an emphasis is placed on academic excellence and the development of positive character traits in students. Staff Development focuses on professional development and work environment. Facilities and Operations emphasizes the continued need for quality facilities and growth management. Fiscal Responsibility centers on short and long term planning and fund balances. Parent and Community Relations focuses on parent and community engagement.

In addition, specific goals and action strategies are outlined within each respective area in our district’s plan. The holistic plan involves and incorporates all aspects of our system and provides strategic direction to inform decisions.

Brandon Valley School District Strategic Plan Overview:

·         Student Achievement: Provide relevant and rigorous academics grounded in best practices

·         Staff Development: Support highly effective teachers, leaders, and staff

·         Facilities / Operations: Create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments

·         Fiscal Responsibility: Practice effective, efficient, and sustainable business practices

·         Parent / Community Relations: Strengthen school, family, and community engagement

A complete version of the Brandon Valley Strategic Plan is available on the district website.

I want to thank each one of the individuals that was actively involved in the process and provided valuable insights. Together, utilizing a growth-mindset, we have developed a strategic plan to drive continuous improvement.

Go Lynx!

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