A Message from Mr. Vandemark 1-24-2020

Greetings Marksmen Families!


I have shared that in the last year, Mrs. Vandemark and I moved into a new home. And when I say new home, I mean newly built. We essentially purchased it when it was about 95% complete. I had told myself, years ago, that I would never build or purchase a brand new, never-lived-in home. The reason: prior to getting into education 30 years ago, I worked for a lumber company and my role was to do bids on new home construction blueprints. Once we earned the bid we my role changed to being on the job site, ensuring all materials were delivered. It was a process that took several months – as some of you have experienced – and one I did not personally desire to experience. Never say never, right?!


When it was my time to show up at the job site for the first delivery there was already one key portion in place – the foundation. We are currently watching houses go up around us in our new home and many are trying get those foundations in on moderate weather days. It takes time for that concrete to properly set up, or “cure”, as it is termed. A basement/foundation may not be the most desirable looking part of our home yet I suspect we can agree it is the most important piece of a home as opposed to the walls, roof, siding, windows, etc. When foundation companies pour those, they ensure they are not being poured on simply sand or dirt. There is great value in the strength and stability of that foundation.


“So where are you headed with this, Mr. V?!” A home’s concrete foundation is much like the foundation of our family. A home’s foundation has framing and footings which include a steel material called rebar, which holds the concrete together, helping it properly settle and cure. Being a parent is a legacy opportunity, right or wrong, take it or leave it. That much is true. When you zoom out from a 30K foot view and look at the “foundation of your family”, what do you see? Have you ever found yourself saying something to your kids, perhaps a piece of advice or guidance, and realize, “Man, that sounds just like what my own mom or dad said growing up!” I know I have…on many occasions. Never thought I would do so.


A solid family foundation can included many pieces. What would you identify as the “rebar” of your family?! Intentional and consistent meal times, together as a unit, sitting at the dinner table. Intentional “No Device Zone” – it works and you would be amazed at what it brings – to my knowledge, there is no history of anyone passing away due to what I call “DD”, device deprivation. Intentional “date nights” with your kids – keep it simple, it’s all about the quantity of quality time. Intentionally get to know your kids’ friends and even take it one step further – especially when they get older – get to know the parents of your kids’ friends. Speaking of that, is there an intentional “village” in place for your kids? Intentionally model and even role play tough subjects and conversations, allowing your kids to safely, freely, and respectfully express themselves. Set consistent routines in place that will become life skills such as homework, school attendance, chores, bedtimes, morning drill. Diligently attempt to not over-schedule events for your kids.


Storms of life have no mercy and know this…our kids are constantly “researching” us through our words and actions – do you live by the mantra, “Do as I say, not as I do?” It’s all about how we say, what we say. Our inner voice as an adult becomes their inner voice as a child!


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

  • I sat in on a primary classroom Morning Meeting this week which revolved around the question, “How can I as an 9 year old impact or make a difference for an adult or family in need?” The discussion quickly went to Barrow, Alaska. Have you heard of their situation? They are currently winding down over 65+ straight days of darkness. Ugh. Significant lack of Vitamin D! The class was sending uplifting, sunny cards to the 3,000 residents to get them through this time. It was truly amazing the students’ knowledge of the event as well as their genuine empathy and compassion for those who have been directly impacted by this environment. What was so uplifting was the students’ realistic understanding of how they could assist. Warmed my heart, we have some wonderful young Marksmen!

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.