Representative Jeff Coleman is running unopposed on the Republican primary ballot for Missouri’s District 32. Recent redistricting resulted in District 32 incorporating more of Grain Valley than the prior map. Coleman previously served on the Grain Valley Board of Aldermen and currently serves on the Grain Valley School Board.
Valley News sat down recently for a conversation with Coleman, discussing recent national hot button issues as well as his priorities if elected for another term.
The topic of social media and its ability to both connect with constituents as well as provide a forum where productive discussions can be difficult arose when Coleman raised the June 2022 decision by the Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade.
“I love to talk to people and hear their opinions on issues, but social media makes it difficult to have real conversations.”
“I have my own story and my own reasoning about why I vote the way I do. When I voted for the heartbeat bill originally, I put it out on Facebook. One particular person hammered me all day, every day. I finally came online, and said that I’ve tried to tell people without telling people why I voted the way I did. I have my own reasons and I am not going to discuss them on Facebook. If you want to talk to me, I will talk to you in person. I will talk to you on the phone. But I’m not doing it on Facebook.”
She said, ‘Nope. It’s got to be public. You’re a public figure and this is a public forum’. I get that part, but I’m not going to do it, and that was my last post on the thread.”
“After about a month, I get a private message and ask if I would like to talk. I gave her my number and she called me. We got to talk about real things, and not just all the stuff on Facebook. And it was more personal, and that is what doesn’t happen on social media.”
“I didn’t change her mind. And that’s not what I was trying to do. But I wanted her to know this is why it’s so important to me.”
With Coleman raising one recent national hot button issue, the issue of gun control and Coleman’s views on the topic were discussed.
Coleman was one of 45 Missouri House members who signed a letter in June 2022 urging Senator Roy Blunt to oppose a Senate gun deal that would give states incentives to enact “red flag” laws, which allow courts or law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from individuals who may be a danger to themselves or others. The effort to offer such incentives came in response to the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of 19 children and 2 educators.
Additional information from Missouri Independent: https://missouriindependent.com/2022/06/16/group-of-missouri-republican-state-lawmakers-push-blunt-to-oppose-senate-gun-deal/
“In reference to gun control, the problem for me is that no matter what we do, there’s not going to be anything that’s going to keep these guys from getting the guns if they want to do something. It’s like everything else…there’s always going to be the underground stuff you can get to whatever you want to get to.”
“When you take away the opportunities for good people, it then opens the door for these other people. (With issues such as) red flag laws, when you start down a path, if there is an issue that you are against and you have something that sounds good and will make a difference, we call it the camel’s nose getting under the tent. It starts opening the door for other things.”
“My position on the 2nd amendment is it states that your rights are not to be infringed upon at all. Regardless. The fact that we have people doing these things today I think is heightened by the media, meaning that we talk about it more, therefore it puts ideas in people.”
“I believe that what we see on television, what we see on movies, what we see in our video games, is something that is taking our kids who are maybe going through a phase, and it desensitizes them.”
“I think that if it hits somebody right at the time when they are going through something, like the kid in Texas or the kid in New York, (it can affect them). Something is happening to our mental health (as a society).”
“Our society is changed from a family organized society, to ‘all is good’. Whatever you want to do is what you want to do. And I think that is part of our problem. We don’t have that family core to help our kids grow up in a world where they don’t have these issues.”
Given Coleman’s position as a member of a local school board and the impact the threat of gun violence has on schools, staff, and students, Valley News asked how this shapes his perspective of how to best equip schools and teachers to address the issues surrounding safety and identifying students who may be in crisis.
“I have taken a lot of heat because I don’t want the stickers (referring to “safe space” stickers) in classrooms, as you know. I voted against having a ‘listen and learn’. Not that I don’t care about what people think. First of all, I want people to know that the Board may have done things a little bit differently, had we been given the right information. We were under the understanding that those stickers were new – new within the week. We wanted that to be taken down right away.”
“Had we known that they had been there as long as a year, we probably would have phased it out. This is the issue people need to understand. This is a political issue. Down at the bottom of that sticker is a website and they are supposed to be there for kids. But if you look at them deeper, you can see who they are contributing to. I don’t want politics – my side or the other side – in the school. That is not our job. Our job is to teach our kids. I don’t care who they are, what they identify as, it doesn’t matter. We are going to give them tools so that when they get out of school, they can go on and be good productive citizens.”
“To your point earlier, how do we get kids the help that they need? If a teacher sees something going on in the child’s life. I don’t want the teacher taking on that responsibility. They can be there as a friend, but I want them to push that kid on to our counseling which have the credentials to help that kid through those issues. And then if they can’t help, then they can get them to the right people outside the school.”
Looking to his priorities if elected to another term, Coleman points to his ongoing efforts to place a cap on property tax rates. The ongoing battle over redistricting in the state took much of the air out of the past legislative session, and many measures, including Coleman’s proposal to cap property tax rates ran out of time to be considered.
“That was frustrating. One of my priorities, especially for Jackson County, was to cap how much the assessor can raise property values. A firm from Texas has been hired to look at every house in Jackson County to give them the ability to raise your property values by 15% or higher. Because they can’t raise it more than 14.9% unless they have seen your house in person. That gives me concern that there will be a big increase the next time around.”
“The reason that was a priority for me and my biggest concern is lower income and fixed income folks, because their incomes don’t increase as much as their property values do, so they are afraid they are going to get taxed out of their homes.”
Another priority for Coleman is human trafficking. The Kansas City area has proven a major hub for activity, with interstates 35 and 70 intersecting the region. Coleman is working with Restoration House, a local faith-based nonprofit in Harrisonville, that provides housing and programs for adult women and child survivors of human trafficking.
“They do amazing things for victims,” Coleman said.
“The way our laws are set up right now, the victims of traffickers are the ones who get thrown in jail. The johns only get a misdemeanor and a $1,000 fine if they get caught. We’re changing it to a felony, and I will get it through this year. The younger the victim, the bigger the felony. In addition, there will be a $5,000 fine if found guilty. Half of the money collected will go to law enforcement where the arrest takes place, and the other half goes to facilities like Restoration House who serve victims.”
Coleman said his focus remains on the people he serves.
“It’s not about me, it’s about helping people. Everything I’ve done to this point has been helpful to Missouri citizens, and it’s not about Jeff. If you’re going down there (Jefferson City) to try to make a big name for yourself, you’re going down for the wrong reasons.”
“It’s all about service. That is what my whole life has been about.”
Coleman is eyeing a State Senate run when he terms out in two years. Current Missouri Senator Mike Cierpiot will also term out in two years, and Coleman is likely to run for his seat.
For more information on the August 2nd primary ballot, visit https://jcebmo.org/election-information/on-the-ballot/.
See the profile of Democrat Janice Brill, who is on the primary ballot for the Missouri District 32 House seat: https://www.grainvalleynews.com/news/candidate-profile-janice-brill
by Michael Smith
Over the summer, Nick Small’s boys and girls cross country teams have been hard at work.
Most of his runners have been running up to 65 miles and working out six days a week over the summer to prepare for the 2022 season.
The preparation that is done over the summer is valuable, according to freshman Landon Blew, as it gets the Eagles into shape for the fall season.”
“Building up a high mileage over the summer definitely helps,” Blew said. “It just makes running feel easier as you are building that mileage up.
During summer workouts, Small has his teams on a 10-day cycle, as run and exercise at different locations and work on different types of cardio every day.
The team will run on trails, the school track, and even a frisbee golf course near the high school.
“We try to change it up on the body and get in a couple of long runs,” Small said. “We will do a couple of shorter workouts and get some mileage.”
“Also, we have some speed days and you don’t typically think of that as a long-distance runner. They don’t typically think of that being their strong suit. It’s a system that we work. Last week, we did 60-meter runs 10 times.”
One workout consists of something Small calls the “BYU challenge,” where runners move at a faster pace like they are trying to break their personal best time for a 5-kilometer race before slowing down for a period of time, then they repeat the process.
“It’s challenging, but you get to control the challenge,” Small said of the BYU challenge. “It gives them the opportunity to push the envelope for a certain amount of time while getting rest and recovery in between.
So far, Small has been pleased with the turnout for summer workouts as around 40 runners (20 boys and 20 girls) have been running during the summer.
“We have tried to hit recruiting at the middle school level the last two years, especially coming out of the pandemic and those sorts of things,” Small said, “and that has really started to pay off.”
While there is quite a bit of training for the cross country teams during the summer, Small makes sure to schedule some fun activities for his Eagles.
Last week, the teams got to participate in an event last week called the Twilight Relay. It’s an event that goes from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. at the Grain Valley High School track. In the event, there is at least one Eagle running at all times and they pass the baton to a teammate that keeps going until the event is over.
“You can run as fast or as slow as you want,” Small said. “We split the kids into teams and have them compete against each other.”
Small said during the off time, there are field games that the athletes can partake in such as ultimate frisbee. The coaches also order pizza for the Eagles to eat while they are taking a rest from the activities.
The event also allows for Grain Valley alumni, who were cross country runners for the Eagles in the past.
“It was really fun, we have done quite a bit of team bonding stuff,” Blew said of the Twilight Relays. “That has helped with chemistry.”
The Grain Valley cross country team, along with alumni pose for a photo after the Twilight Relay Thursday, July 21. The event was a team bonding activity that involved athletes racing against each other in relays at the high school track in an event that lasted from 8:00pm to 2:00am.
Photo credit: Michael Smith
by Cory Unrein, Co-Owner/Publisher, Grain Valley News
This summer, Valley News was privileged to hire three summer interns: Cole Arndorfer, Jake Hipsher, and Ezra Whitaker. All Grain Valley graduates, and all pursuing degrees in journalism. Over the past two months, they have covered Board of Aldermen meetings, Board of Education meetings, community events, profiled local leaders, candidates, and covered prep sports. We gave them a bit of guidance, a few ideas, and let them loose. They delivered thoughtful, quality pieces, and truly understood our mission: to shine a light on the stories that matter.
It is pretty easy to read or watch regional or national news and come away with a feeling of dread. There are far too many so-called adults in charge at all levels of business, government, media, and community affairs who never cease to embarrass and disappoint us. The rest of us can’t seem to go more than five minutes without arguing or harming each other. More than five minutes of morning news coverage is enough to turn one’s coffee sour.
Working with our interns this summer has been an absolute pleasure and a tonic against the hopelessness one can feel these days. They have an innate sense of their ethical responsibilities as journalists, and the importance of hearing and elevating all voices in a community. As the saying (and The Who song) goes, “the kids are alright”, and we look forward to continuing to provide opportunities for the next generation of local news hounds to hone their skills.
The support of our advertisers and sustaining members made this possible, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to reinvest in stories that matter while providing an outlet for the next generation of journalists.
Grain Valley should be very proud of their work this summer as well as their pursuit of a career that is integral to a functioning democracy. I know I am.
Valley News is now accepting applications for fall 2022 interns. Students may submit their cover letter, resume, and a writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Cory Unrein, Co-Owner/Publisher, Grain Valley News
About a week ago, Valley News asked readers to send nominations of "unsung heroes" in the community. We stated that we give plenty of attention to elected officials, city and school leaders, and other prominent folks in the community, but we know there are countless individuals who make Grain Valley a wonderful place to live, work, and learn, who do not often receive recognition.
Within a few minutes of our post, we received the first nomination. And, full disclosure, as a fellow Grain Valley High School marching band parent, I was thrilled that this nomination came in:
"I would like to nominate Karen Gleich. Karen is an unsung hero because she has given so much of her time and experience for the Grain Valley Marching Eagles. You do not see her with a baton in hand or directing a group of young musicians; however, her contribution allows the band to look stellar on the field. She spends many hours customizing the band uniforms to fit each individual. She ensures buttons stay on and seams are steamed into the pant legs. She can spot an uneven hem and make plans to correct before the band even makes it back out for halftime. She organizes the uniforms and keeps them spotless.
"It could be easy just to put the uniform on a hanger and stick it in a truck, but she takes the time to inspect, repair and clean so that the marching band looks its best. As a parent, I can appreciate that I am not solely responsible for the uniform. I did well to keep baseball pants white and rhinestones on dance costumes, however I am unsure if I would be up to the task that faces Karen on a daily basis during band season."
Gleich has had three children go through the GVHS band program - her youngest is now a senior. Gleich spent four years as a color guard parent and uniform volunteer, before managing band uniforms for the past eight years. The job is year-round, with preparations for the next season starting in the spring.
"The process started in April, when we did initial measurements at our registration night. And since then, it's a matter of getting a roster, getting it updated, doing adds and drops, getting it refined, and then taking those measurements, comparing them to the sizes we have, and pulling a new uniform for each student. Our goal, and we're very close to it, is that every student comes in with a uniform to try, that hopefully is close, and then we just adjust from there."
Now that students are two weeks into band camp, each grade level is making its first stop to Gleich and her small army of volunteers, to try on their uniforms and make sure everything fits well, and adjustments to hems, etc. can be made. With growing students, this is an ongoing process throughout the season.
"We keep an eye on them during the season. I watch my student for a few minutes, and then I'll look around the field and notice 'Oh, those pants are too short. Or, those are pants are too long', and then I'll make a note and take care of it right away.
Gleich has seen her fair share of wardrobe malfunctions over the years, and is adept at tackling issues as they arise.
"With a safety pin, I can fix almost anything and get them through a competition," Gleich jokes.
Gleich is quick to recognize the people who work with her to make the band look its best. "We've got lots of people who pitch in to help, and we're always looking for more helpers. There is a great crew of washers who take home a load of uniforms, wash them up, and bring them back so they're ready for the next competition. This is a great volunteer job for parents who cannot attend the competitions but want to help out behind the scenes."
"And, I have an amazing husband who lets me do these things, and just handles getting everybody fed and where they need to be, so it's wonderful."
As Gleich looks back over 8 years of keeping the Marching Eagles uniforms in perfect order, she says the interaction with students makes the job worthwhile.
"The most rewarding thing is putting the uniforms back on the trailer after a competition or event. Especially if they've done well, just to see the excitement on their faces. It's so fun, and it's nice to be able to share that excitement with them. At the same time, if they didn't happen to do very well, it like, 'Hey, did you do your best? Well, then I'm proud of you.' Just to give them that bit of encouragement and let them know it's not all about winning. It's about doing their best, and I'm proud of them."
Do you have an unsung hero you'd like us to feature? Send your nominations to email@example.com.
Above: Karen Gleich, GVHS Marching Eagles uniform coordinator, has dedicated 8 years (and four years as a color guard uniform volunteer) to making sure the Marching Eagles look perfect on the field. Below: Gleich assists a sophomore member of the Marching Eagles with his uniform. Photo credit: Valley News staff
by Jake Hipsher, Grain Valley News Intern and Valley News staff
Grain Valley’s Board of Aldermen met for a regularly scheduled meeting on July 25th in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
In its first item of business, the Board approved 5-1 the rescission of a vote taken during its last meeting on July 11th, which concerned a zoning change for The Lofts at Creekside Landing. Two members were absent on July 11th, and the vote on the motion was 3-1. City attorney Joe Lauber explained that the ordinance requires four votes to pass. In order to reconsider the ordinance, the Board would need to vote to rescind the ordinance so it could be placed on a future agenda.
Alderman Arnold mentioned counsel he had received from unnamed parties indicated the City Attorney’s recommendations are in error. Arnold requested an interpretation by a registered parliamentarian to ensure the Board is “doing the right thing by this particular motion”.
Lauber succinctly responded to Arnold’s comments, dismissing them as incorrect.
“Alderman Arnold is incorrect in that a motion to rescind can be a motion to repeal or annul an action taken altogether, so you can annul a vote. Alderman Arnold also mistakenly mixes apples and oranges because the rule that would say that an ordinance cannot be passed with less than four affirmative votes is a rule that is set by statute, not by rules of parliamentary procedure,” Lauber said.
“A motion to rescind is absolutely in order. It was previously notified. It was put on the agenda, and therefore a motion to rescind would require only a simple majority vote of the Board of Aldermen.”
Arnold continued to raise procedural questions, and Lauber suggested Arnold make a motion to have the Board consider consulting a parliamentarian on the matter. The motion was raised; no aldermen would offer a second, so the motion did not move forward. Mayor Mike Todd then asked for a vote to rescind the motion, and the motion passed 5-1, with Arnold as the ‘no’ vote.
The Board welcomed Nicholas W. Jeffries, a new officer to the Grain Valley Police Department, who took the oath of office during the meeting.
Under New Business, the board reviewed citizen participation guidelines. Mayor Mike Todd suggested the addition of a time limit for each citizen, as well as a more detailed sign in for each participant.
“It's really important from a clerical standpoint, because we don't always get the full names or addresses necessarily... Just so we have that record and make sure we get all that documented correctly,” Todd said.
On the time limit topic, Alderman Cleaver suggested a three-minute timeframe for each participant. With the board’s approval, the present city attorney recommended flexibility with that amount depending on the scenario.
“In my opinion we should have some sort of digital clock timer up front,” said Alderman Bass.
Mayor Todd agreed, expressing the need for a visual countdown for the benefit of everyone involved.
The board agreed with these revisions and went on to approve the two recommendations for citizen participation.
The Board approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the Grain Valley Municipal Code to include stop sign locations for recently completed subdivisions.
The second ordinance on the agenda brought up changes to Section 400.230 of the city’s Code of Ordinances. This section pertains to residential garages and accessory buildings.
The proposed ordinance would prohibit a wheeled trailer, portable storage container or roll-off trash container or similar container as an accessory building.
Several members raised issue with language regarding the styling of accessory buildings.
“It's just a little bit intrusive government control,” said Alderman Arnold.
“I think the language needs to be cleaned up. It's kind of all been lumped together, and I just think it's overreaching… We are just overreaching our boundaries,” Alderman Knox said.
“If someone builds a brick house, does the shed have to be brick too? If somebody goes to Home Depot and buys one of those nice Rubbermaid sheds, is that really an issue?” questioned Alderman Skinner.
By the end of the discussion, the board amended the ordinance to remove language regarding the styling of accessory buildings. The board then approved the first reading of the ordinance to not allow certain accessory buildings.
During Mayor comments, Todd mentioned an event hosted for Grain Valley’s business owners on August 2nd from 4:30 to 6:30pm at Iron Kettle Brewing. The event’s purpose is to create more connections between local businesses and the rest of the community.
The next Board of Aldermen meeting is scheduled for August 8th at 7:00pm, located in the Council Chambers of Grain Valley City Hall.
The Grain Valley Historical Society will host its annual Ice Cream Social from 5-8pm on Thursday, July 28th on the patio between the Society and Iron Kettle Brewing, 506 S. Main.
A variety of homemade ice creams and desserts will be featured at the fundraising event for the Society. Tickets are $6/adults, $5/children 12 and under and may be purchased at the door.
For more information on the Grain Valley Historical Society, visit www.grainvalleyhistory.com.
by Michael Smith
Last season, the defense for the Grain Valley football team was a model of consistency.
The Eagles surrendered an average of 20.4 points per game and allowed fewer than 14 points in seven of their 12 games.
Head coach David Allie said he hopes they can repeat the similar or greater success in 2022, and that will start with the team’s most experienced unit – the defensive line.
That group will be led by returning starters and defensive ends Rhylan Alcanter and Jake Allen, both of whom were adept at pressuring the opposing quarterback last season.
Alcanter is long and strong at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds and has received offers from some college programs in the Midwest. In 2021, he racked up 27 ½ tackles, 9 ½ tackles for loss and 6 ½ sacks to lead the team.
“Rhylan is long and fast and great at pressuring the quarterback,” Allie said. “We are working on trying to stop the run better, too. He’s been doing a good job of working on that this summer.”
While Alcanter will line up as the left end, Allen will be on the right and also presents a pass rushing threat for the Eagles. He is at a good size for the position, standing at 5-foot-11 and weighing 230 pounds. Allie called Allen the emotional leader of the defense and a player who has a high motor.
Last year, Allen totaled 38 ½ tackles, 10 ½ tackles for loss and 2 ½ sacks.
“He probably has the best motor on the team. He never stops,” Allie said. “He only has one speed and that’s full speed ahead. He is also pound for pound the strongest kid on the team. He’s also a great leader. We think (Alcanter and Allen) will make the edge of our defense pretty solid.”
And that kind of talent could lead to Alcanter and Allen to achieve their goals.
“I want to get all-state this year,” Allen said. “I was all-conference and all-district last year, but couldn’t get that all-state. That is what I am working for.”
Added Alcanter: “I definitely want to get all-state and all-conference and that’s all real sweet to put on your letterman’s jacket, but I want that ring (state championship).”
Those two will contribute to a big strength of the defensive line, which is speed. Alcanter said that will be a factor in getting after the opposing team’s quarterback.
“We should be just as fierce and just as aggressive as last season and even more aggressive,” Alcanter said. “We will be extremely fast this year. We also play intelligently. We don’t just rely on size and force to beat the other team, we are using our intelligence.”
Added Allen: “It starts up front. The game depends on us. We have to win up front. We are a little bit smaller than we were last year, but we are just as fierce.”
Joining Allen and Alcanter up front is defensive tackle Stylz Blackmon, who mainly focused on the offensive line in 2021. He played a few snaps on defense last season and even had a sack in Grain Valley’s first game against Smithville. He will provide a good amount of size at the position at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds.
“He was important for us on the offensive side of the ball last year, and as a sophomore, it’s hard to get a kid to go two ways,” Allie said of Blackmon. “Mentally, it’s hard to focus on both offensive and defensive schemes.
“This year, we plan on him not coming off the field. He will probably be involved in special teams, too. He’s got high character and he’s dedicated, and he’s been blessed with size and strength.”
Some newcomers joining those three in the defensive line rotation are Collin Burd and Cam Nelson, who should contribute some at defensive end and possibly defensive tackle. Eli Early also could see some time on the defensive line, as well.
Allen and Alcanter praised the newcomers for their hard work over the summer.
“These are younger guys, and they have something to prove,” Allen said.
Added Alcanter: They just bring work ethic. They want to be here, and they want to be better.”
The Eagles defensive line will have a chance to show what it can do at the preseason jamboree Friday, Aug. 19, at Lee’s Summit High School. Grain Valley will have its season opener against Fort Osage at 7 p.m. Aug. 26.
Grain Valley defensive ends Jake Allen, left, and Rhylan Alcantrer will lead the defensive line unit for the Eagles in 2022. The duo combined for 9 sacks and 20 tackles for loss in 2021. Photo credit: Michael Smith
by Cole Arndorfer, Grain Valley News Intern
When many people think of school and summertime, the two don’t necessarily mix. As Dr. Glenna Bult, Grain Valley Schools Director of Curriculum and Instruction, says, it is the district administration’s busiest time.
“At the district level, your busiest, craziest time is the summer,” Bult explains. “That is when we are working our tail-ends off.”
Director of Operations, Gary Goetz adds with a bit of a chuckle, “In three weeks my favorite question will be ‘what’d you do all summer?’ Well, we were here getting ready for you all.”
There is so much that goes on over the summer within the schools that nobody really thinks about because they don’t ever see any of it. Things as simple as wiping down each and every desk, to much larger items such as complete overhauls of kitchens and bathrooms.
Director of Maintenance, Josh Elefson, as well as Goetz described their work as having two seasons; the first being the school year maintenance and the second being the summer prep.
Elefson explains that each building gets a deep cleaning every summer which consists of each desk being cleaned, along with carpet cleaning or replacement, and new paint. Each principal also receives a summer request list around March where they are able to mark down the needs and wants for each building for that summer.
Goetz says that with nine buildings over four campuses, it can be a tall order trying to get everything done in the relatively short amount of time summer provides.
“We look at their lists and determine what’s a wish and what’s a need.”
After they determine that, they take care of the needs first and if they are able, they can take care of as many of the wants as they can.
“A lot of that is budget driven,” Goetz says. “Costs of everything is going up so that limits how much we are able to do each year.”
The world of technology is a rapidly changing environment and especially in the education field. Director of Technology JaMere Waddy explains that he does everything he can to keep schools, classrooms, and kids up to date.
“One of the things I am proud of is our four-year refresh cycle for students and staff,” Waddy said. The four-year refresh cycle means that the longest any student or staff member in the district will have a Chromebook or computer will be four years.
“This allows us to stay current and it allows us to be sure that the technology is useable.”
After that, Waddy says the student or staff member will receive a new piece of technology. His department will look at their old one and determine if they can use it somewhere else, in some cases they may find that they will be able to get another few years of use by sending it to one of the elementary schools in the district.
Waddy says that it is very important to stay creative with technology in the classrooms. Something they have done is using Apple TVs in order to let teachers move around their classrooms freely instead of being stuck in one spot while projecting something to the class. He says they like to try out new things with focus groups of teachers in the district who welcome the technology and embrace it in their classrooms.
The Technology Department was also able to replace a whole computer lab at North Middle School this summer, another project Waddy is very proud to have been able to do.
One of the critical tasks tackled over the summer is curriculum, which is Dr. Bult’s job. When building a curriculum, the Missouri Learning Standards are the legal guide, but after those standards are met, there is a bit of flexibility.
Bult said that it usually takes about three or four years to build a full curriculum so there isn’t always a whole lot of change from year-to-year; rather, it comes in waves.
“I pull groups of teachers, I believe that teachers need to be heavily involved in writing the curriculum,” Bult said. Within those groups, they take the standards from the state and apply it to the district by writing essential questions, learning targets, and essential vocabulary.”
Bult mentioned that she has a particularly busy week this week as she is meeting with different groups of teachers for various reasons almost all day each day. She says what gets her through the busy times is teamwork and the fact that everyone is working toward the same goal.
Everyone at the table nodded in agreement when Bult said that the first step in preparing for a new year is expecting that not everything will go perfect. She said that somewhere along the line something will go wrong and they will have to roll with it and adjust what they are doing.
While not everything may be able to go perfectly, each of them are excited for a new school year and they are ready for what’s in store.
Pastor Shawna Meierarend was appointed July 1st to serve at Faith United Methodist Church (UMC) at 1950 SW Eagles Parkway. Meierarend brings her experience working as a hospital chaplain at both Centerpoint and Research Medical Center. Meierarend also served as the Director of Congregational Life at Faith, providing congregational care, guiding the children’s ministry, and raising up new leaders in the church.
Meierarend is married to Wally Meierarend, and they have four grown children and four grandchildren.
“Our vision at Faith UMC is to create a place, a purpose, and a passion for all people. Pastor Shawna is a witness to this vision in so many ways,” Senior Pastor MIke Cassidy said.
“A longtime member of Faith, Pastor Shawna started volunteering in care ministry a few years ago. Because Faith had a place for her to experience a sense of purpose, she discovered her passion for caring for others in Christ’s name. The opportunity to preach followed soon after, with Pastor Shawna proving her unique perspective on scripture and a life in faith. We are thrilled to have a woman in the pulpit again in our community. It has been 20 years since Cheryl Bernard served at Faith. Pastor Shawna is an example to so many that there is a place for them as pastoral leaders in Christian ministry. She brings heart, passion, and a deep faith not only to our congregation, but also to the Grain Valley community.”
Faith UMC has been a part of Grain Valley since 1889. You can find Faith UMC online at valleyfaith.church.
Pastor Shawna Meierarend was appointed July 1st to serve at Faith United Methodist Church at 1950 SW Eagles Parkway. Photo courtesy: Faith UMC/Shawna Meierarend
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
As I continue to read the Sociology Report of Miss Marjorie Tate, I am more and more convinced that it was written 100 years ago, in 1922. This week I want to share with you, in Marjorie’s own words, a bit about the recreation in Grain Valley.
Question 1 started with a list of the recreational activities of the community. Marjorie listed 9 sources of recreation.
If one substituted eating at restaurants for picnics, and fall festivals for fairs, not much has changed in 100 years!
Next, she was asked to make a list of recreational facilities in Grain Valley; parks, public playgrounds, etc. She was required to report how many were private, tax supported or free.
To quote Miss Tate, “Recreational facilities are: baseball diamond, The Royal Playhouse (basketball court, roller skating, dance hall, picture show, and plays) None of these are supported by public taxes. Most are community affairs backed by subscriptions and admission fees to cover expenses.”
Question 3 asked to what extent is wholesome and adequate recreation provided by home? By school?
“Grain Valley is a small town and has a tendency to make all of its social affairs include the town. The homes do not provide much in the way of recreation. The school is very efficient in providing recreation. The students are interested in athletics, and the community backs the school. The school being consolidated has much territory to draw from and creates large interest. Amusements, other than athletics, are pie suppers, bazaars, programs, parties, wienie roast and hikes.”
Question 4 asked what festivals, pageants or celebrations of special days are held?
"The chief pageant was the celebration of Missouri’s Centennial Day. The community celebrated all special days, but proximity to K.C. led many to go there instead of having special features in the community.”
Question 5 asked do towns of your county hold street fairs.
And again, Miss Tate’s answer, “Grain Valley has a moonlight carnival. Independence has a County Fair for four days in August” (In the 1950s and 60s the Jackson County Fair was held in Lee’s Summit) “Grain Valley has the Sni-A-Bar Stock Fair two days in September.”
Question 6 asked about the value of spelling bees, pie suppers, and literary societies .
Miss Tate’s reply. Spelling bees are of value to to review social instinct, to entertain and to bring back interest in spelling. Pie Suppers are chiefly of value because they are given to obtain money for some purpose and people will spend money who would not make a contribution. Literary societies are valuable for the training they give. They also encourage young people to develop their talents. They bring together people and develop social skills.”
And finally, Question 7 was to state the benefit of community singing.
Miss Tate listed five benefits:
1. People secure training who would not have other opportunities.
2. (Singing) Promotes social feelings.
3. Provides harmless recreation.
4 Disseminates musical productions
5. Promotes taste.
Some of the questions were as interesting as their answers, especially number 7! I also found it interesting that Miss Tate did not have an answer for the last question…What is total amount of money spent by your county for public recreation as compared with its expenditures for courts, fire protection, jails, etc.
Next week, learn about cooperatives and social clubs.
Script from the Community Christmas Play at the Royal Playhouse, Circa, 1912
Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society