Each semester, students at Missouri State University who attain academic excellence are named to the dean’s list.
For undergraduate students, criteria include enrollment in at least six credit hours during the summer semester and at least a 3.50 grade point average (on a 4.00 scale).
Grain Valley Schools, in line with several other districts in the area, has decided to delay the start of school and develop a hybrid model of instruction for students in grades 6-12.
The School Board voted during a special meeting on July 30th to change the start of the school year to Tuesday, September 8th. The Board also approved a recommendation by the administration to change to a hybrid model of instruction for students in grades 6-12. Families will continue to have full time virtual as an option.
Middle school and high school students with a last name beginning with A-J will be in person on Mondays and Wednesdays and those with last names beginning with K-Z will be in person on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Students will learn virtually from home the other three days each week.
Elementary students will attend school in person full time. The Early Childhood Center will also begin school with its traditional in-person model.
“Jackson County health officials have asked school districts to consider starting the school year virtually and to delay the start of the school year until after Labor Day - both due to case numbers in Jackson County trending the wrong direction. We have chosen the option we feel responds to county concerns, while ensuring at least some in person instruction for all students. Going with our hybrid model for middle school and high school students hopefully sets up everyone involved with the greatest chance of a consistent and predictable routine,” Brad Welle, Deputy Superintendent, Student and Community Services, said.
“By reducing the number of students who are in our middle schools and high school at one time, we reduce the likelihood that a confirmation of a positive case with one student leads to large numbers of students being excluded for 14 days at a time. Elementary students, by comparison, stay with the same group of classmates much of their day. If the need arises for a classroom of students to stay home along the way due to exposure, we are less likely to need to close an entire elementary school due to widespread inter-mingling of students like what you find in a middle school or high school operating at full capacity.”
In an email to parents announcing the decision, the district stated it is committed to the hybrid model through at least September.
In an effort to further reduce course loads at the high school level during this time, students will follow their “A” day schedule for the first nine weeks of the school year and their “B” day schedule for the second nine weeks.
Middle school students will be equipped with Chromebooks, and high school students will be receiving Dell 3100 Chromebooks this fall.
“The current plan is for students to come to the high school during their assigned date and time window for a ‘Chromebook swap’ where they will receive their new device,” Welle said.
Details regarding the Chromebook swap for high school students will be communicated by the school in the near future.
The district had already planned to replace high school student Chromebook devices this school year. Devices still in good working condition will be used to supplement devices in elementary schools.
While the elementary schools are planning in-person learning full-time, the district is implementing a new learning management system, called Seesaw, at the elementary level to support virtual learning.
Families without access to the internet may contact their schools to request mobile hotspots for student use.
While students have gained a few extra weeks of summer break, teachers and administrators have been hard at work preparing for the new school year.
“By delaying the start of our school year by two weeks and beginning after Labor Day, we are able to front load a year's worth of teacher professional learning days before the first day of school. The focus of our teacher training in August will be to support the adoption of the hybrid model in middle school and high school, and to prepare for any other need for online learning K-12 this year that arises. Our goal is for any virtual experience this year to look very different from last spring. We intend to set our parents up to be supportive parents to their children, rather than feeling like too much of the teaching burden for all these subjects is on them,” Welle said.
Dr. Amanda Allen, Principal at Grain Valley North Middle School, said that teachers and administrators are excited to have students return to school this fall.
“We are so thankful for the opportunity to see our students in person. Being in-person is essential to building relationships and connections with students. Ever since the decision for hybrid learning was made, I have witnessed our teachers immediately shift their planning to accommodate for part in-person and part virtual instruction. They are eager to meet their new students and see the new opportunities this learning model will bring, such as increased one-on-one time with smaller daily in-person numbers and more personalized and individual attention,” Allen said.
Parents had a taste of online learning this past spring, but Allen explains the focus will be different in the fall.
“Hybrid learning will vary greatly from the virtual learning last spring. While I believe our staff did a fantastic job of staying in contact with students last spring, our primary focus was not the learning of new material. In the spring, we focused mostly on maintaining school-home connections and making sure students knew that we cared and were there to support them. This fall, our teachers will receive extensive training in blended learning and virtual learning models. All teachers will have a learning management system and proper tool training for conducting online courses.”
“With the hybrid learning model, secondary teachers will work to flip much of their direct instruction. Flipped instruction asks students to watch videos, complete and annotate readings, actively research, or practice new skills that will then be put to use during the in-person instruction. Many of our teachers have spent their summer filming direct instruction videos for the upcoming school year. The in-person instruction will be a valuable time where students can collaborate (safely distanced), hold discussions and discourse, participate in hands-on activities (with elaborate cleaning protocols), and receive in-person feedback from their teachers.”
While families had to adjust quickly in the spring to home-based learning, Allen has some tips for families to create the best learning environment at home.
“Based on child development research and our own experiences as a district this past spring, we know that students perform better when a consistent routine is in place. Keeping a regular sleep schedule, establishing regular learning hours, and maintaining regular mealtimes on both virtual and in-person days will keep students more attentive and engaged in their learning. The other benefit of keeping a schedule throughout the week is that it will better serve students when teachers are available for ‘live’ online help on Fridays during regular school hours,” Allen said.
“The other key to success at home is frequent communication. Teachers, students, and parents/guardians should be in constant contact. With students attending in person two days a week and virtually three days a week, we want to ensure that the two in person days are not the only days that students interact with their teachers. Students will receive feedback virtually on online assignments that are essential to their education. It is essential that teachers and parents/guardians partner to keep students actively engaged and adjusted to the new instructional strategies.”
Missouri State University awarded 2,872 degrees to students in spring 2020.
Students earned a total of 2,168 bachelor’s degrees, 592 master’s degrees, 98 doctorate degrees and 14 specialist degrees. Past the standard expectations, the university recognized 117 students for their work with a more rigorous curriculum in Missouri State’s Honors College.
Several hundred students also received scholastic honors:
202 students graduated summa cum laude (with grade point averages of 3.9-4.0 on a 4.0 scale).
220 students graduated magna cum laude (with GPAs of 3.75-3.89).
398 students graduated cum laude (with GPAs of 3.5-3.74).
While Missouri State’s May 2020 commencement ceremony was canceled due to COVID-19, spring 2020 graduates have two opportunities to participate in an in-person commencement ceremony later this year at JQH Arena. The dates are Oct. 18 or Dec. 11.
Grain Valley Graduates:
Kaylyn Jean Gasser: Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education , Summa Cum Laude
Sydney L. Holcomb: Bachelor of Science, Marketing
Grant Alexander Jones: Bachelor of Science, Exercise and Movement Science
Christopher Ryan Minx: Bachelor of Science, Mathematics , Summa Cum Laude
Truman Heartland Community Foundation (THCF) is pleased to announce more than $470,000 in scholarships will be awarded to 235 area students this year.
Scholarship recipients include Grain Valley students:
Blue Springs Rotary Club Scholarship and Walters-Magee Scholarship
Independence Young Matrons Scholarship
Forrest and Marjorie Martin Undergrad Scholarship
Council of Clubs Undergraduate Scholarship
Truman Heartland awards scholarships to students based on criteria set by their donors to support students pursuing a variety of educational disciplines.
This year, the Community Foundation reviewed 926 completed scholarship applications and awarded 326 scholarship awards to 235 area students. Since 1982, Truman Heartland has awarded more than $4.6 million in scholarships.
To view the full list of scholarship funds and recipients, visit www.thcf.org/Grant-Scholarship-Seekers/Scholarship-Recipients
In a June 22nd email to parents and community members, Grain Valley Schools announced a state budget shortfall of $1,086,997 for the district for the budget year ending June 30th. The shortfall in revenue is attributed to the impact of the stay at home orders instituted due to COVID-19.
The district stated it anticipates continued cuts in funding in the “foreseeable future”, and will take steps to review spending, including not filling some open staff positions in the coming school year.
The Jackson County Health Department will host traveling immunization clinics throughout Eastern Jackson County in an effort to make required school immunizations more accessible for families and students during COVID-19.
From July 7th through August 19th, Jackson County Health Department nurses will travel to different cities each week and provide immunizations to students. The clinics will be open Tuesday through Friday from 8:30am to 6:00pm.
A separate clinic for kindergarten students will be available at the Jackson County Health Department in Independence from July 7th through August 21st, Tuesday through Friday, 8:00am—6:30pm.
Missouri law requires students to be up-to-date on immunizations. The state of Missouri does not plan to waive this requirement to provide extra time to get vaccinated as of June 10th. If immunizations or waivers are not completed before the start of the school year, students cannot attend school until the requirements are met.
“As we navigate COVID-19, it remains essential for families to stay up-to-date on school immunizations,” Jackson County Health Department Director Bridgette Shaffer said.
“Although immunization clinics will look different this year, our staff is committed to providing resources to help students and families.”
For both kindergarten and traveling clinics, registration must be completed at least one week before the scheduled visit. Walk-ins will not be taken. The health department can’t guarantee a second appointment if the first is missed.
To ensure the safety of staff and patients, early arrivals will not be permitted to wait in the clinic. It is recommended that parents and students show up no more than five minutes before their appointment and wear a mask or cloth covering. Students may only be accompanied by one parent or guardian.
These will be the only clinics provided by the health department for the back-to-school season. Parents are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible to secure their desired date and time. The full schedule and registration links can be found at jacohd.org/events.
Stay up-to-date on back-to-school immunization schedules and sign-ups by following the Jackson County Health Department social media accounts (@jacksoncountyhd) or signing up for updates on their website (jacohd.org).
Each semester, students at Missouri State University who attain academic excellence are named to the dean’s list. The following students from Grain Valley were named to the Spring 2020 Dean’s List:
For undergraduate students, criteria include enrollment in at least 12 credit hours during the fall semester and at least a 3.50 grade point average (on a 4.00 scale).
Metropolitan Community College has released the Dean's List for the Spring 2020 semester. The 3,265 students who received Dean's List recognition this semester earned a GPA of at least 3.5 while being enrolled in six or more credit hours.
Gregory Allen Armstrong
Julia Marie Bagby
Cortnee Jean Barnett
Taffy Ann Beachner
Stephanie Sue Branson
Bailey Michelle Burney
Amanda Nicole Cole
Morgan Elizabeth Crozier
Ryan Leann Erwin
Elizabeth Louise Favor
Alana Maria Gorman
Matt Ryan Green
Ethan L Grisham
Kyle R Hammond
Jackson Adam Hoover
Andrea Marie James
Brittney Rose Konko
Lisa Kay Kutzner
Payton Rylee Lawhead
Jacquelyn Renae Lowe
Aby Leann Miller
Hayden Dallas Mitchell
Andy Andres Reyes
Allison Ericka Riker
Maria Cruz Ruiz Albor
Jake Anthony Spangler
Peyton William Temple
Jill Breanne Wenger
Hillary Danielle Wheeler
Robert Hayden White
Adam Christopher Williams
Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) has released its Deans List for the spring 2020 semester.
The students qualified for the honor by earning a grade point average of 3.75 or above on a 4.0 scale while enrolled in 12 or more credit hours.
Brady R. Garmon
Alyssa M. Lampe
Garmon, a pre-med student at MSSU, was also honored as a spring 2020 Glenn Dolence Leadership Award honoree.
The awards are named in honor of Dr. Glenn D. Dolence, former vice president for Student Services at Missouri Southern, who retired from MSSU in 1996 after 27 years of service and was a founding member of the Golden Crest Circle of ODK. He later served as mayor of Webb City, Mo., and has held a variety of other posts in the community.
Park University announces its Spring 2020 graduates from the University’s flagship Parkville Campus, as well as the Downtown Kansas City, Independence, and Lenexa campuses, and online graduates from across the region.
These graduates were scheduled to participate in the University’s commencement ceremony on May 9th at the Community of Christ Auditorium in Independence, but the event was cancelled earlier in the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The University had 615 students eligible to graduate — 253 students received a master’s degree and/or a graduate certificate, and 362 students received a bachelor’s degree, associate degree and/or undergraduate certificate.
Master of Healthcare Administration
Navadene F. Harris, Healthcare Administration, Grain Valley
Harris also earned a Graduate Certificate in Health Services Management and Leadership
Master of Social Work
Rachelle Lynn Brown, Grain Valley, (attended Lexington [Mo.] High School)
Bachelor of Science
Fatima F. Figueroa, Business Administration/Management, Grain Valley, (Summa Cum Laude)
Elisabeth Fleischmann, Biology, Grain Valley, Mo. (Summa Cum Laude)