A Mesage from Mr. Vandemark 12-13-19


Greetings Marksmen Families!


As a parent and/or educator, one can always reflect back – or forward! – and understand that students have consistently had instances in which they experience levels of stress. Current research is telling us that students today, especially pre-teens and teens, are facing more pressure than ever before. Juggling the changing demands in grades, relationships/friendships, and growing responsibilities will place our pre-teens and teens at a much higher risk for stress. Yet some students are experiencing more than stress –they are struggling with anxiety.

Stress is our body’s and mind’s response to certain situations in life. It can make kids have sweaty palms or a rapid heartbeat. They may difficulty sleeping, their minds running wild with thoughts, conversations, and past experiences. While stress is usually short-term, it can make students feel restless, nauseous, and irritable. Stress can be either negative or positive and is usually a reaction to something in a kid’s life.

Stress is about experiencing temporary reactions like frustration, nervousness, or a jolt of energy. Anxiety is more about feeling overwhelmed and worried for long periods of time. Anxiety is an overwhelming feeling of worry, unease, or fear that lingers, interfering with how students live their everyday lives. Anxiety continues even after a stressful situation has been resolved. Sometimes we can pinpoint why a child has anxiety, and other times we cannot identify it.

While there is a certain amount of stress that is healthy, anxiety can interfere with a child’s sleep, diet, relationships, and other areas that are critical to his/her health and well-being. Anxiety can manifest itself in different ways. It’s important to know what to look for when it comes to kids and anxiety:

  • Emotional changes: more-than usual agitation or sadness, increase in withdrawn behavior – events and situations becoming “stuck in their head”
  • Behavioral changes: changes in diet, sleep patterns, or avoiding normal daily activities
  • Cognitive changes: decreased concentration, forgetfulness, and/or the appearance of carelessness

Some of these signs may sound like “normal” kid behavior. That’s why it’s important to be in consistent communication with your child – so you’re aware of what’s typical on a day-to-day basis!


            So you may be thinking, “Whoa, Mr. V, sort of a heavy topic, don’t ya think? We prefer the lighter, encouraging stuff!” Yet, this is a season of the year that is not only worrisome for adults but also for children. However, worry not…next week’s article will provide concrete guidance and ammunition on how to work through stress vs. anxiety with your kids!


Now let me follow with the “Best Thing(s) Mr. V Saw At Morse This Week”: 

  • At drop off time one morning this week, an eager Kindergarten student was carrying in his backpack which included a large item sticking out of it. The item fell out and struck the young student. A 4th grader was walking in with his friends, stopped when he saw the incident, and knelt down to check on the student. Compassion. The 4th grader then asked the Kindergarten student if he needed to go to the nurse. The younger student declined yet the 4th grader offered to carry the large item and escort the younger student to his classroom. Truly took my breath away.

We are student centered and community strong – we are Morse!

Advocating for Students,


Steve Vandemark, principal

In addition, if you would like to keep up with upcoming events at Morse, simply click on the following link: https://district.bluevalleyk12.org/schools/elementary/mor/Pages/home.aspx


If you are seeking specifics from your child’s classroom or grade level, refer to the teacher’s weekly newsletter.



blue valley bond

Bond 2020 voter registration & community information sessions

In January 2020, all Blue Valley registered voters will receive mail ballots for the no tax rate increase $186,835,000 bond election that will reinvest in facilities and technology, reinforce school safety and reimagine learning environments and programs. 


Register to vote

Registered voters who live in the district will automatically receive a mail ballot. Not registered? If you register to vote by Dec. 27 you will also automatically receive a mail ballot. If you register between Dec. 28-Jan. 8 you will need to request a ballot from the Johnson County Election Office. Please note registered voters do not need to register separately for the Blue Valley bond election.

Be informed

Review the Bond 2020 website for information about voting, answers to frequently asked questions, school-specific project lists and more. Watch a short video about the bond or listen to the district’s latest podcast to learn more about Bond 2020.

Community bond information sessions

Did you miss the school bond presentation? No worries. Make plans to attend one of the community open houses in January or join the Facebook Live event on January 6. Follow @BlueValleySchoolDistrict on Facebook for updates about the Facebook Live Presentation