Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bond Issue for Feb 2, 2016 to Support Next Phase of High School Expansion & Renovation

The next phase of the high school facing west from the current tennis courts features seven new classrooms, plus restrooms, collaboration spaces and the renovation of existing classrooms. This new entrance will serve students who ride buses to and from school.

Our district continues to grow. We currently have 4200 students in pre-Kindergarten through 12th grades, including nearly 1200 students in our high school.  This is twice as many students in our district as we had just 11 years ago.

Prior to 2012, our high school building had a capacity of 850 students.  In 2012 the school district hosted public forums to address the needs of a much-overcrowded Grain Valley High School. Based on the input from stakeholders in these sessions, the School Board approved a long-range plan to double the square footage of the high school building and renovate the existing structure to provide the infrastructure, instructional space, and activity space needed to accommodate as many as 1600 high school students. This long-range plan has led to the passage of school bond issues in 2013 and 2014, resulting in additions and renovations to the southeast corner of the school. Improvements have also been made to the entrance and north plaza of the stadium. The next phase of the long range plan shifts attention to the northeast corner of the school.

The School Board has approved the placement of a $9.5 Million bond issue on the ballot for February 2, 2016 to allow for the next phase of work to our high school. Passage of this bond issue does not require raising the district tax levy rate.

This year’s bond issue for $9.5 Million will allow us to:
1. Add seven classrooms to the northeast corner of the high school, north of the science rooms added in 2013. Five of these will be larger classroom spaces for business labs, video broadcasting, and computer science. Smaller existing classrooms will be combined or expanded and renovated to create new larger classrooms for family and consumer science lab classrooms. New collaboration spaces and student restrooms are also included in the base bid.
2. Renovate approximately one-half of the classrooms and hallway spaces between these new business classrooms and the science classrooms that were constructed in 2013.
3.  Add a greenhouse to the southeast corner of the school, the outline of which was defined when new science classrooms were added in 2013.
4. Re-purpose the former transportation building into student activity space.
5. Add eight new tennis courts south of the school, west of the baseball and softball fields.
6. Add a plaza area with restrooms, concession stand, press box, and storage to support baseball, softball, and tennis.
7. Add 200 parking spaces south of the building for use as school and activity parking.
8. Renovations to the remainder of classrooms and hallways connecting this business classroom addition to previous phases, the addition of a practice field, a concrete hitting wall for tennis, the complete renovation of existing restrooms near the school office and commons area, plus additional parking (beyond the base bid 200 spaces) are included as alternative bids with this bond issue.

The work to transform our high school campus to meet our students’ needs into the future is going to take more phases over multiple years.  This phase continues the work of our long-range plan to have the classrooms and other facilities needed to meet the demand of a growing school district.

The election is Tuesday, February 2, 2016.
The bond issue on the ballot for Feb 2, 2016 will cover the classroom addition and renovation work shown in medium blue along the east (pictured right) side of the high school, as well as the new tennis courts and plaza/concessions/restroom/storage near the baseball and softball fields. Two hundred additional parking spaces are included in the base bid. The classroom renovations shown in dark blue are included as one of the alternate bids. Other alternate bid projects include: additional parking beyond the 200 in the base bid, a practice field (lower/center of image), concrete hitting wall for tennis, and renovations to restrooms near the office and commons.

A new plaza area supporting baseball, softball, and tennis is included in the base bid of the Feb 2, 2016 bond issue. This plaza will include concession stand, press box, restrooms, and storage.

The bond issue that passed in Feb 2013 led to the addition of new science lab classrooms to the SE corner of the school and provided a preview of how Grain Valley High School will look and function as a modern high school.

The bond issue that passed in Feb of 2014 funded engineering and industrial arts classrooms on the SE section of the school. With passage of the Feb 2016 bond issue, attention moves to the NE corner of the school.

A concept drawing of what the new main entrance of the high school could look like when it is eventually added to the northeast corner of the building. The addition supported by the Feb 2, 2016 bond issue extends the school north to just behind this future phase. What is pictured here is NOT associated with the Feb 2, 2016 bond issue.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Veterans Invited to Schools on Veterans Day

All Grain Valley Schools will take time on Wednesday, November 11 to celebrate Veterans Day.

On Veterans Day we honor those who have served their country in any military capacity. The day was originally proclaimed as Armistice Day by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 to honor World War I veterans.

Our area veterans are invited to Veterans Day celebrations at any of the schools listed below.  All host schools will feature students in leadership or performance roles.  Special features are listed with the schools and start times:
  • South Middle School, 901 SW Ryan Rd, at 7:15 am. Breakfast will be served to any Veteran in our community.
  • Prairie Branch Elementary, 2100 Dillingham Rd, at 9:30 am.
  • North Middle School, 31608 NE Pink Hill Rd, at 9:45 am.
  • Matthews Elementary, 144 McQuerry Rd, at 10:30 am.
  • Stony Point Elementary, 1001 Ryan Rd, at 2:30 pm.
  • Sni-A-Bar Elementary, 701 SW Eagles Pkwy, at 2:30 pm.

Thank you, veterans, for your service to our great country!

Friday, July 17, 2015

School District Families Must Prove Residency Annually

Our school district is introducing a new process for families to provide proof of residency and to verify emergency contact information, two things all families are asked to each year. Our annual residency requirement helps ensure that only children living in our school district are attending our schools. Verifying contact information helps ensure that we are able to reach a parent, guardian, or other designated contact person in the event of an emergency. This year we are introducing an online process so families can do both from home. We expect this new system to improve the accuracy of contact information and to give parents more direct control over contact information on their child. Parents will access their child's contact information through the PowerSchool parent portalInstructions for getting started are listed on the back of a letters being mailed to all families this week.

If parents prefer to prove residency in person or to have us help with the new online process for verifying emergency contact information, representatives from all schools will be on hand at Grain Valley South Middle School on Tuesday, July 28th, from 2:00-8:00 PM and on Wednesday, July 29th, from 8:00 AM-12:00 PM, to answer questions and accept proof of residency documents. We will have computers available for parent use to update the emergency contact information for their child.

Students become eligible to receive a class placement and/or a class schedule only after proof of residency is provided.

Residency can be verified with one of the following:
1.      Utility bill in the resident's name may be uploaded online or shown in person. Instructions for uploading a utility bill are included in the parent letter.
a.      Gas bill, electric bill, or water bill accepted.
* Water bill must include portion with the resident’s address.
* June or July statements only and no final or disconnect notices will be accepted.
2.      Rental lease agreement including names of occupants, date of agreement, landlord’s name, address, phone number, and signatures, must be shown in person and are not accepted online.

Again, instructions for verifying emergency contact information and to submit proof of residency online are included in a letters being mailed to all families.

Call our district office at (816) 847-5006 with any questions about the process for proving residency or updating emergency contact information on your child.

The first day of school is Wednesday, August 19.

Friday, June 26, 2015

New Transportation Facility is Completed

Board President Chris Bamman and Transportation Director Shawn Brady
cut the ribbon as Board members and guests look on.
Nearly 60 community members and district personnel were on-hand for a ribbon-cutting and open house at the district's new Transportation Center last night. The 10,627 square foot building includes department offices, a meeting room for bus drivers, and work bays for four buses.  The secured parking lot holds 56 buses. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Roy Moss told those in attendance that both the building and the parking lot can be expanded as the district continues to grow.

Dr. Moss reminded guests that the $3.8 million project was paid for by setting aside funds over the past few years specifically for this project. "The final bills have been paid," reported Moss.

Many community members and district personnel
were on-hand for Thursday night's open house.
The new facility is on the north end of a 17-acre property located on the northeast corner of Eagles Parkway and Sni-A-Bar Boulevard, three-quarters of a mile west of Grain Valley High School.  The south half of the property, along Eagles Parkway, will remain undeveloped at this time.

Moving the transportation operation from behind the high school secures the buses and makes room for the next phases of the ongoing expansion of the high school. Additions to the high school began in 2013 and are expected to continue for several years as part of the district's long-range plan to expand and renovate the high school facility.

The transportation department can begin moving in any time. The buses will make the move before the start of the new school year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

School Board Receives Governance Team Award

Pictured left to right are MSBA Executive Director
Dr. Carter Ward, Board Secretary Ms. Jan Reding,
Board Member Mr. Michael Hackett, and Board
Vice President Mr. Eddie Saffell. 
The Grain Valley School Board has received the Missouri School Boards’ Association’s 2015 Governance Team Award. Grain Valley is one of twenty-three Missouri school boards who received this prestigious award. Recipient school boards have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to ongoing professional development in areas such as student achievement, school law and finance, board operations and contemporary issues in education. The award also recognizes a commitment to regional and statewide leadership and to active participation in legislative advocacy for public schools and the students they serve.

School boards in the Kansas City metro receiving the award include: Grain Valley R-V, Independence, Park Hill, and Raymore-Peculiar R-II.

The 2015 Governance Team Award winners were recognized at MSBA’s Leadership Summit at the Lake of the Ozarks on June 13.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Grain Valley Makes Washington Post’s List of Most Challenging U.S. High Schools for 2015

For the third time in five years, Grain Valley High School has been named to the Washington Post’s list of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools.”  Grain Valley High School is ranked in the top five percent of public high schools in the United States, fifth in the state of Missouri, and number one among Missouri schools in the Kansas City Metro.

Rankings are based on the total number of Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduate in May.  The list also looks at ACT scores, Advanced Placement scores (the percentage of seniors who score a “3” or higher on at least one exam), and free and reduced lunch numbers. 

Jay Mathews compiles the list for the Washington Post. He states the significance of Advanced Placement courses that is shared by the Grain Valley School District: “AP, IB and AICE are important because they give average students a chance to experience… heavy college reading list and long, analytical college examinations.  Research has found that even low-performing students who got a “2” on an AP test did significantly better in college than similar students who did not take AP.”

This honor is the third national recognition for Grain Valley Schools in the past nine months.  Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report have also recognized Grain Valley High School as a top U.S. high school for preparing students for college.

Please check out  http://apps.washingtonpost.com/local/highschoolchallenge/ for the full list of rankings and additional articles.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Grain Valley Preschool Program

The Grain Valley School District is offering a preschool program for the first time beginning in August 2015.  The purpose of the preschool program is to provide a partial day school learning experience to children prior to entering Kindergarten. Children who turn four prior to August 1, 2015 will be admitted to the program based on results from a standard screening process. Classes will be taught by a certified early childhood teacher with assistance from a classroom paraprofessional. The curriculum will be geared towards the developmental needs of children this age intended to strengthen the school readiness of each child.

Preschool Screenings - April 20 3:30-7:30 PM
Screening will take place at the Early Childhood Center located at 31604 NE Pink Hill Rd on April 20 from 3:30-7:30PM.
Please call (816) 994-4901 to schedule an appointment.
What are the days and times for the preschool?
This is a half-day program that runs Monday through Thursday. The morning session runs 8:00-11:00 AM and the afternoon session runs 12:15-3:15 PM. The preschool program will follow the school district calendar for holidays.
What is the cost to families?
The cost for the program is $60 per child, per week. Discounted rates are available for families who qualify.  
Is transportation provided?
Transportation will be the responsibility of the parents/guardians.
Location of the Preschool?
The program will be located at Prairie Branch Elementary, in a classroom specifically equipped for 4-year-olds.
Who can attend?
Children showing the greatest need based on a standard screening process will be given first consideration for the program.
Please share this information with anyone who you think might be interested in this program in the Grain Valley area.

Monday, April 13, 2015

GVHS The Scene of Mock Car Crash April 15

This Wednesday, April 15th students at Grain Valley High School in conjunction with the Grain Valley Police Department, Missouri Highway Patrol and the Central Jackson County Fire Department will take part in a program aimed at educating young drivers about the consequences and impact of risky driving behaviors.

The Missouri Highway Patrol will show the video, "Gone Too Soon," showing video testimonials of the effects of inattentive and distracted drivers.  Students will then take part in a mock accident and rescue to visualize the dangers that can befall distracted drivers.

Area residents may notice emergency first-responder vehicles, equipment, and personnel on the high school campus the day of the event supporting the learning experience. This is a staged mock catastrophe for the benefit of students.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Former School Board Member Phil Hutchinson Honored

Phil Hutchinson was recently honored by the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) for his service to public education. Hutchinson was one of eight individuals to receive the association's Friend of Education Award. This special recognition was made during the awards banquet at the MASA Spring Conference on March 25 at The Lodge of the Four Seasons at Lake Ozark, Missouri.

This award is presented annually to recognize non-educators, one from each of the eight MASA Districts, for their contribution to education locally or statewide.

Hutchinson was nominated for the award by school administrators in the Greater Kansas City MASA District. He served on the Grain Valley School District Board of Education from 2001-2014.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

District Earns Fleet Excellence Award for Inspection of School Buses

The Grain Valley School District Transportation department has earned the 2015 Fleet Excellence Award from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Grain Valley received a 95.7% percent first pass rate by the highway patrol during the February 2015 school bus inspection.  The Fleet of Excellence Award means that the Grain Valley School District bus fleet had a 90 percent or better rate with no “out of service” vehicles. Grain Valley has a fleet of 47 school buses owned and serviced by the District’s Transportation department.

“We are pleased to have the endorsement of the Missouri Highway Patrol that our buses are safe and well-maintained,” said Dr. Roy Moss, superintendent. “The Fleet Excellence Award brings attention to our transportation department for their hard work and attention to detail.”

The district’s bus fleet will soon have a new place to be serviced and stored. Construction continues on a new facility for the transportation department on the northeast corner of Eagles Parkway and Sni-A-Bar Boulevard, three-quarters of a mile west of Grain Valley High School. The district expects to occupy the facility in June 2015. The overall design allows for future expansion as the student population within the district grows.