Community’s investment hard at work in Blue Valley schools

From the first step inside a school's secured front entrance to classrooms with enhanced technology, it is evident district staff worked diligently this summer to ensure Blue Valley students have the best learning environment possible. These updates are just a small example of how students and staff members are benefitting from the 2012 bond thanks to the Blue Valley community.

Providing the safest learning environment possible for students, staff and the community continues to be a top priority in Blue Valley. From a safety philosophy focused on trusted adult relationships to physical security measures, a strong safety culture is present in all Blue Valley schools.

As a result of a district-wide school safety study during the 2012-13 school year, several bond safety projects were moved to the top of the list of projects to be completed. Construction plans were accelerated so all Blue Valley schools would have secured front entrances by August 2014. Seven schools received new secured entrances during the summer of 2013 and the final 13 were completed during summer 2014.

"When a patron drives by a Blue Valley school, they should feel good knowing their investment supported a district-wide standard for entrance security," said Pam Robinson, Board of Education president.

Secured front entrances, or pinch-point entrances, are designed to channel visitors through the front of office first and restrict direct access to the rest of the school. This type of entrance has been a strategy Blue Valley has embraced for several years and is now the standard.

A significant portion of the 2012 bond is also providing students and instructional staff with the technology and training they need to learn and teach effectively. Over the summer, district staff enhanced technology in classrooms and libraries through the Innovation Spaces program. Nearly 100 classrooms and libraries were equipped with innovative mobile, audio/visual and instructional technologies as part of the program. Teachers and students have access to different types of technology based on what grade and subject is being taught.

During the 2014-15 school year, the district will begin piloting technologies in middle school math, special education and gifted classrooms, Early Childhood and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classrooms to support student learning.

Early Childhood, Elementary and High School Science Innovation Spaces: Technologies piloted include Dual touch SMART boards, iPads with instructional apps, netbooks, ELMO document cameras, DEWEY iPad stands, Wi-Pad iPad receivers, virtual clickers and a variety of web-based resources.

Digital Learning Centers (K-12): Provide student-centered library media facilities, resources and relevant educational experiences to meet learning challenges and opportunities created by advances in information and communication technologies.

Special Education & Gifted Education (K-12): Identifies resources and technologies that meet the needs of students and enhance individual learning styles.

Middle School Math Innovation Spaces: SMART board recording features capture and create lessons students can access outside of the classroom to reinforce concepts.

ESOL Classrooms: Mobile devices and technologies provide resources to staff and students to expand interactions and enhance communication with peers.

Re-investment in the district's aging facilities is important to creating and maintaining exceptional learning environments for student success. A significant portion of the 2012 bond was earmarked for improvements to existing facilities. Renovations at the 51-acre Hilltop Campus were completed including spaces designed for the Early Childhood and Parents as Teachers programs, much needed professional development space and accommodations for many Student Services team members. Early Childhood satellite sites also received improvements in preparation for the 2014-15 school year including technology upgrades, interior renovations and minor playground modi cations.

Thanks to a supportive community, that values the importance of a quality education and exceptional learning environments, Blue Valley students are experiencing an Education Beyond Expectations.