"Supe's On"

11/21/22

It is always a great time for reflection, but November and Thanksgiving serve as an ideal opportunity to express appreciation for those having a positive influence. I am extremely thankful for the strong public education system we have for our children in the Brandon Valley School District. I greatly appreciate our school district community. Reflecting upon our organizational success, the realization regarding the importance of the school – community relationship is only further enhanced. Schools thrive when the community thrives and vice versa.

I am thankful for a community that has high expectations of its public schools, values the importance of education, and supports growth and the importance of proactive planning throughout our school district. Drawing further upon the Thanksgiving theme, I would express my sincere thanks to our administrative team, school staff, students, and families. In addition, I would like to thank my family, especially my wife, for all the support, understanding, and encouragement.

Undoubtedly, as a growing school district, we have challenges and obstacles to work through and overcome. But together, we can continue to build upon our foundation of excellence and move forward as a school district and community.

I hope you have an excellent Thanksgiving holiday and from our family to yours – Happy Thanksgiving!

Go Lynx!

11/14/22

The 2023 South Dakota Legislative Session is right around the corner opening on January 10 with the State of the State Address. The Brandon Valley School District works to actively engage with our District Legislators to promote public education.

Drawing upon the legislative positions of the Large School Group, Associated School Boards of South Dakota, and the School Administrators of South Dakota, we work to advance public education in our district and across South Dakota. In addition to ongoing communications throughout the session, a few key engagement strategies our district utilizes is a Legislative Breakfast. Our 2023 Legislative Breakfast is tentatively scheduled for mid-December. The event provides the Brandon Valley School Board, Administration, and Brandon Valley Education Association an opportunity to share district happenings, provide input on key upcoming legislative issues, and hear from our Legislators on their focus for the upcoming session.

While we may not agree on all education issues, I greatly appreciate each of our Legislators civic service. Their commitment and dedicated service play a critical role within South Dakota governance.

Go Lynx!

11/7/22

In observance of Veterans Day, there will be no school on Friday, November 11. Veterans Day serves as an opportunity to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism and willingness to serve and sacrifice for our country. On behalf of the Brandon Valley School District, we would like to thank all those who have sacrificed, served, and are serving in our nation’s military.  

Next week, is American Education Week on November 14-18. Across our great country, communities celebrate America’s public education system during American Education Week. The process of educating our youth takes many individuals, serving in a wide variety of roles. Each of those roles play a critical part in our ability to educate our children. Every day within our schools, staff work with students to promote positive learning experiences and create learning environments that result in success. Everyone within our school system plays a critical part in our ability to educate our 5,014 students. 

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

There will be no school in the Brandon Valley School District for Thanksgiving Break November 23-25. 

Go Lynx!​

10/31/22 

Weather we like it or not, it is on the way. As we all know, winter in South Dakota means cold, snow, and ice. Please take the time to make certain your contact information in Skyward is updated to ensure you receive weather related announcements by completing the Skyward Family Access Update. In addition to updating your contact information, it is also important to review the following winter weather safety guidelines with your child. Whether riding the bus, driving, or walking to school, dressing appropriately is extremely important for all students during the upcoming winter season. 

Winter Weather Safety Guidelines:

·         Dress in layers

·         Wear appropriate winter clothing (Coats, Hats & Gloves)

·         Winter Driving – Ice & Snow, take it slow

·         Defrost car windshields and windows completely

In addition to discussing winter driving with our teens, all vehicles in South Dakota should contain a winter survival kit. As outlined on their website, the National Weather Service advises a winter weather safety readiness kit be placed in your vehicle to prepare for the winter season.  

Talking with your child about weather safety will help with their winter weather preparedness. 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.

Together, we can promote winter weather safety for our children. 

Go Lynx!  

10/24/22

Overall, the Brandon Valley School District’s accountability report card demonstrates the tremendous work being done by students and staff on a daily basis. The three main areas I would like to highlight are district-level data in English Language Arts (ELA) Proficiency, Math Proficiency, and High School Completion Rate. In addition to our district data, included within the chart is state level data in those three respective areas.

 

ELA Proficiency %

Math Proficiency %

High School Completion %

BVSD

73

64

97

South Dakota

51

43

90

 

For more information and to review all publicly reported school and district level data, visit the South Dakota Department of Education webpage. 

We should be very proud of our children and staff for the student outcomes being produced by our education system. In addition to our schools, supportive communities and actively engaged families play a pivotal role in student achievement. It takes everyone, at every level to promote student success. As there is always room for growth and improvement, we should be very proud, not satisfied.

Lastly, a quick reminder there will be no school on Friday, November 11 in honor of Veterans Day.

Go Lynx! 

10/17/22

National School Bus Safety Week is October 17 – October 21. Within the Brandon Valley School District, student safety is our #1 priority.

Working to ensure student safety is everyone’s responsibility. A component of “The Lynx Way” is “We Are: Safe.” Whether the conversation surrounds distracted driving, pedestrian or bike safety, appropriate bus behavior, school zone laws, or stranger danger – it is critical that we engage our students in these discussions at school and at home. Engaging our children in the conversation about commuting to and from school safely is an essential step in the promotion of student safety.  

Rider Safety

·         When waiting for the bus, stay back away from the road

·         Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop before loading  

·         Exercise classroom appropriate behavior while riding the bus

·         Always stay in your seat

·         Wait for the bus to stop completely before getting up from your seat

Traffic Safety

·         Stop when a school bus has red flashing lights

·         Never pass a school bus that is loading / unloading children

·         Phone down – Head-up

School Zone Safety

·         Slow down

·         Pay extra attention for pedestrians and bicyclists

·         Obey all traffic laws and posted speed limits

·         Do not park in school bus loading / unloading zones

As we strive to instill “The Lynx Way” in our students and promote safe choices, I strongly encourage all our families to discuss these school bus safety tips with their children. Reviewing these critical safety guidelines with all our students, whether a bus rider, pedestrian, or driver is extremely important. 

Together, we promote student safety.

Go Lynx!

10/7/22 

We want to thank all our parents and guardians for attending Fall Parent-Teacher Conferences!

Overall, we had an excellent turnout. This is great news because kids need an adult that values their education. Research demonstrates an engaged adult is important for a student’s success. Engaging in a child’s education and encouraging the importance of learning is powerful. The active participation of an adult in a child's education leads to improved academic outcomes, improved school behavior, and reduced absenteeism. 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 teacher(s). Together, we promote student success.

The South Dakota Department of Education will publicly release school report cards on October 13. In November an overview of the Brandon Valley School District’s student achievement data will be provided at a Board of Education Meeting. Report card information can be found at the South Dakota Department of Education website.  

In the end, the absolute most critical factor as an educational system is that we utilize the information and data available to best meet the needs of our students in the areas of curriculum and instruction. We should be very proud of our students and staff for their levels of achievement, but continually strive for improvement and excellence in education.  

Go Lynx!

10/3/22

National School Lunch Week will be celebrated October 10-14.

Meeting the foundational needs of our children is critical to student learning and development. The Brandon Valley School District operates a school kitchen, offering breakfast and lunch, in each of our school buildings. The eight kitchens serve over 4,000 meals per day to our students.

Research demonstrates that school nutrition programs positively affect student learning, benefit student health through improved dietary intake, and reduce food insecurity for children receiving free or reduced priced meals. Further, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs clearly demonstrates that the physiological need of food is critical to mental development, learning, and self-actualization. Simply put, hungry kids cannot learn.

It takes everyone within our organization to promote student learning and our Child Nutrition Services Staff play a vital role in student success. They are a group to be proud of! A special thank you to Director Kruse and our Child Nutrition Staff for their work and commitment to excellence in the area of food service. Their daily efforts fuel classroom success.

Go Lynx!

9/26/22

Parental engagement and involvement in a child’s education is critical for their academic success. Research demonstrates that students with an engaged adult in their education have much higher graduation rates, academically perform better, and have fewer behavioral issues at school. The Brandon Valley School District will be hosting Fall Parent-teacher Conferences on the following dates:

·         Monday, October 3 - Elementary Buildings / Brandon Valley High School

·         Tuesday, October 4 - Brandon Valley Intermediate School / Middle School

We strongly encourage all parents and guardians to attend conferences and be actively engaged in your child’s education. Additional participation strategies parents and guardians can utilize to create a home environment that encourages learning may include:

·         Inquire daily about your child’s school day

·         Assist your child with homework

·         Discuss books or read together

·         Volunteer at school

No matter the strategies utilized, communicating the importance education to our children is essential. Together, we promote an outstanding educational experience for our children.

Go Lynx!

9/19/22 

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 create an environment where it is critical for our children to have an adult continually engaged in conversation about the importance of digital citizenship.

As online dangers to kids continually change, it is near impossible to develop specific safety messages for all the inappropriate apps and games our children may be exposed to. However, parents and guardians can support digital citizenship and on-line safety 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 student safety, quality digital citizenship and appropriate technology use.

Go Lynx!

9/12/22

Fall Parent-Teacher Conferences offer parents and guardians an opportunity to engage in critical conversation with teachers about their child’s educational programming. A child with an engaged adult in their academics is more likely to read at grade level, have appropriate school behavior, and graduate from high school. Your active participation in your child’s education is a key to their success. 

The Brandon Valley School District will be hosting Parent-Teacher Conferences from 3:30-9:30 p.m. on the following dates:

·         Monday, October 3 - Elementary Buildings / Brandon Valley High School

·         Tuesday, October 4 - Brandon Valley Intermediate School / Middle School

We strongly encourage all parents and guardians to attend conferences and be actively engaged in your child’s education. Attend – Engage – Discuss. Attend conferences. Engage with your child’s teacher(s). Discuss what was shared at conferences with your child. Meaningful engagement and follow-up has the power to propel a child to new levels of academic success.

Communicating and reinforcing the importance of an education to our children is essential. Together, we promote an outstanding educational experience for our children.

Go Lynx!

9/2/22

In a child’s academic life – Every School Day Counts. September is Attendance Awareness Month and to be an “Active Learner” students must have consistent and regular 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, Kindergarten and 1st grade students who are chronically absent 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 9th grade attendance was significantly correlated to high school graduation. 

To make it as simple as possible, school attendance at every age matters. Every school day counts. Making school attendance a priority today will positively impact your child tomorrow. Thank you for making school attendance a priority!

Go Lynx!

8/29/22

We are off and running. Overall, we have had a smooth start to the school year and our students and staff are settling into daily school routines. Student enrollment continues to grow in Brandon Valley and emphasizes our need to maintain a proactive approach to managing student growth. The long-range vision of our school district is outlined in BV VISION 2040. It outlines how Brandon Valley will manage student growth for the next twenty years.  

Our most recent Facility Review Committee Report and BV VISION 2040 are available on our district website and provide a wealth of information on short and long-range facility plans within the Brandon Valley School District. Currently, a major facility project at Brandon Valley High School is underway. Priorities within the project include:

·         General Classrooms

·         Ground Floor Special Education Classroom Space

·         Science Lab Classrooms

Working to maximize land usage, upgrade the east facility face, and minimize the impact to parking space, the BVHS Addition is being located on the east side of the existing building. Construction will occur during the 2022-2023 school year. The building addition will be available next school year for occupancy in the Fall of 2023. We continually work to manage our financial resources effectively and efficiently, so it is important to note that cash from Capital Outlay reserves is being utilized to fund the construction of the BVHS Addition project. An informational website outlining the project and operational impacts to the current school year is available on on-line.

Go Lynx!

8/22/22 

Welcome to the 2022-23 school year! Excitement is in the air, and we are thrilled to have our Lynx back learning in our classrooms! For the most up to date information for school news and activities, patrons should monitor our school websites.

Effective communications with the parents and guardians of the Brandon Valley School District requires that we maintain accurate and up-to-date household contact information. In addition to contact information, the Skyward Family Access Update also includes the various parent permissions that are required annually. We are asking all parents and guardians to complete the Skyward Family Access Update prior to Friday, September 9. We appreciate your timely cooperation and completion of this important task. 

We greatly appreciate our parents and guardians understanding and patience as we navigate the road construction season and start of school. School zones are high traffic areas, especially during the a.m. drop-off and p.m. pick-up. If traveling to BVHS, please review the BVHS Traffic Flow, Parking, and Bus Loop informational video located on the BVHS Classroom Addition website.

For our children’s safety, please slow-down, take your time, and observe all traffic laws and signage. It is critical that motorists are attentive and exercise extreme caution when in school zones. In addition, a special thank you to the Brandon Police Department for their strong presence and patrol of our school zones during a.m. drop-off and p.m. pick-up. Our law enforcement’s presence and assistance in our efforts to keep students safe is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in helping keep our kids safe. Together, we promote student safety.

Go Lynx!

8/15/22

The first day of school for children in the Brandon Valley School District is August 24. As the start of school is upon us, excitement is in the air, and we are thrilled to have our Lynx back in the classroom! For the most up to date information for school news and activities, patrons should monitor our district’s website.

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 promotes 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 active learners.

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 promote student safety.

Go Lynx!

8/8/22

Effective communications with families of the Brandon Valley School District requires that we maintain accurate and up-to-date household contact information. In addition to contact information, the Skyward Family Access Update also includes the various parent permissions that are required annually. We are asking all parents and guardians to complete the Skyward Family Access Update as soon as possible. We appreciate your timely cooperation and completion of this important task.

There is a tremendous amount of infrastructure construction currently in progress within the Brandon Valley School District. While these types of improvement projects are positive and signs of growth and improvement, they can cause travel delays and traffic congestion during morning and evening commutes. Further, road construction projects and closures are continually changing and may have an impact school bus timing. We greatly appreciate our parents and guardians understanding and patience as we navigate the road construction season and start of the 2022 school year. 

Compounding the challenges associated with road construction, school zones in general 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 observe all traffic laws and signage.

Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in helping keep our kids safe. Together, we promote student safety.

Go Lynx!

8/1/22 

As summer break is winding down, I cannot help but be impressed at the quantity and quality of work done by our Custodial, Building & Grounds, and Maintenance Staff. In preparation for the coming school year, these valued individuals have maintained, prepped, and cleaned the over one million square feet of school buildings and grounds within the Brandon Valley School District. Their critical role makes providing a great education possible. Great work and thank you to all our Custodial, Building & Grounds, and Maintenance Staff!

The bus pass purchase and ridership notification 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 for the upcoming school year. With bus passes purchased, the start of school is right around the corner, and it is important to engage our kids in conversations about traveling safely to school.

As families 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 and prepared for their school commute. Together, we promote student safety.

Go Lynx!

7/25/22

With the school year approaching, a wide variety of fall extracurricular activities are scheduled to begin in the coming weeks. I would strongly encourage all students to get involved in an activity. 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.

Last call for bus pass purchases and ridership notification! The deadline for purchasing a bus pass or notifying the Transportation Department of ridership is Friday, July 29. Students whose passes are purchased, or ridership confirmed after the deadline will be eligible for transportation no earlier than Monday, October 3. 

Safely, efficiently, and effectively transporting nearly 2,000 students requires substantial planning. We greatly appreciate our families’ timely cooperation with the purchase of bus passes and ridership notification.

Go Lynx!

7/18/22

Free and Reduced Lunch Applications for the 2022-23 school year are open and available for submission. If a family believes they meet the income eligibility criteria to qualify for this benefit, they must complete the application online. Applications are available through Family Access on Skyward. Please note, Free and Reduced Applications for school meals are based on income eligibility. The Free and Reduced Application must be completed to determine eligibility for free school meals.

In addition to the Free and Reduced Application, the bus pass purchase and ridership notification is another critical process for families to complete in a timely manner. All individuals that use school transportation in the Fall must contact the Transportation Department to be placed on the ridership roster. This includes families that are not required to purchase bus passes.

There will be Open House events at the Transportation Department from 4:00-8:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 21 and Friday, July 29.

The deadline for purchasing a bus pass or notifying the Transportation Department of ridership is Friday, July 29. Students whose passes are purchased, or ridership confirmed after the deadline will be eligible for transportation no earlier than Monday, October 3. 

We greatly appreciate our families’ timely cooperation with the completion of the Free and Reduced Lunch Applications and the purchase of bus passes and ridership notification.

Go Lynx!

7/8/22 

With the 4th of July gone, the start of another school year is quickly approaching. However, it is not too late for students to meet our summer reading goal. Like all goals - If you put it off until tomorrow, it will never come.

The Brandon Valley School District has partnered with Siouxland Library and Pizza Ranch of Brandon to make our Lynx Summer Reading Program possible. Students that meet their goal are eligible for various prizes, including a free kids Pizza Ranch buffet or small pizza. I want to send a giant shout-out to all our Lynx that have already met their summer reading goal. Great job – Keep reading the rest of the summer!

With the start of the school year on the horizon it is critical that all individuals that use school transportation in the Fall contact the Transportation Department to be placed on the ridership roster. There will be Transportation Open Houses held from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. on July 11, July 21, and July 29.

The deadline for purchasing a bus pass or notifying the Transportation Department of ridership is Friday, July 29. Students whose passes are purchased, or ridership confirmed after the deadline will be eligible for transportation no earlier than Monday, October 3, 2022. 

Go Lynx!

7/1/22

ALL individuals that use school transportation in the Fall must contact the Transportation Department to be placed on the ridership roster. This includes families that are not required to purchase bus passes. Bus Pass purchase information will be made available July 5. Bus passes will be available for purchase from July 5-29. Bus passes will no longer be available by the Semester. Bus passes will be sold on an annual or “yearly” basis.

In-district students: (closer than 5 miles from their respective school)

A one-time annual fee $150 per student, per year, with a family maximum of $350 per year.

Out-of-district Open Enrolled students:

A one-time annual fee of $300 per student, per year. There is no family maximum applicable to the out-of-district open enrolled transportation fee. 

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

The deadline for purchasing a bus pass or notifying the Transportation Department of ridership is Friday, July 29. Students whose passes are purchased, or ridership confirmed after the deadline will be eligible for transportation no earlier than Monday, October 3, 2022.

We greatly appreciate the timely cooperation from our families regarding the purchase of bus passes and ridership notification.

Go Lynx!

6/27/22

As hard as it is to believe, a month of Summer Break has flown by in the blink of an eye. Make leisure reading a component of your child’s summer routine to help ensure they do not incur summer learning loss and catch a ride down the “summer slide”!

Summer reading matters and a few key tips for successful summer reading include:

·         Set a summer reading goal

·         Make it fun – Invite a friend to the library

·         Match interest and ability in selected books

·         Read every day

I want to extend a special thank you to Brandon Valley Board of Education member Dr. Gregg Talcott for his service over the last three years. Dr. Talcott has played a valuable role at the board and committee level within the Brandon Valley School District. The children of our school district have benefitted from his work, especially in the areas of student safety, buildings and grounds, and student activities. Thank you, Gregg, for all that you have done.

On a special note, 2022-23 Bus Pass Sales will begin after the 4th of July holiday. In addition, our FY23 Budget Hearing and Annual Organizational Meeting will be held on Monday, July 18, 2022. The budget hearing will be held at 6:00 p.m. with the board of education meeting to follow at 6:30 p.m.

Go Lynx!

6/13/22

Construction on the BVHS Classroom Addition Project is off and running. The construction project will continue through the 2022-23 school year with an opening date scheduled for the Fall of 2023. A BVHS Addition Classroom Project informational website is available on the High School webpage and provides relevant information about the project, timeline, and summer facility access. Along with the substantial construction project underway at the high school, we have many smaller building maintenance projects taking place this summer.

Please, stay out of construction areas and obey all safety signage. We appreciate your attention to these safety precautions.

In addition to our immediate facility improvements, the long-range vision of our school district facilities is outlined in BV VISION 2040. It defines how Brandon Valley will manage student growth for the next two decades. The Facility Review Committee Report and BV VISION 2040 are available on our district website and provide a wealth of information on short and long-range facility plans within the Brandon Valley School District.  

With our growth and the continuation of strong academics – Our Future Is Bright!

Go Lynx!

5/31/22

As a school district, we utilize summer to deep-clean facilities, perform building maintenance, conduct upgrades, and continue working through construction projects. I would like to thank our Custodial, Grounds and Maintenance Staff for their valuable work during the summer break. They perform the necessary summer work that prepares facilities for the up-coming school year and provides our students with quality learning environments that result in success.

We have a few substantial projects scheduled for the coming months. Construction on the BVHS Addition project is beginning and will continue through the 2022-23 school year with an opening date scheduled for the Fall of 2023. A BVHS Addition Project informational website is available on the High School webpage and provides relevant information about the project, timeline, and summer facility access. In addition, Fred Assam Elementary carpet will be replaced, and other buildings will receive various upgrades. Along with those major projects, we will have many smaller building maintenance projects taking place this summer. Please, stay out of construction areas and obey all safety signage. We appreciate your attention to these safety precautions

As summer break gets underway, do not forget to head to the library and find a great book! The “summer slide” for students can be avoided through leisure reading. The Kids and Family Reading Report found that 92% of kids say they are more likely to finish a book they pick out themselves. Brandon Valley students reaching their summer reading goal are eligible for a Brandon Pizza Ranch gift card, in addition to the Siouxland Library Summer Reading Program prizes.

Go Lynx!

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