A Message From Our Superintendent Dean Koppelman

*Special note: This is a message that Dean Koppelman sent out to the media and the parents of the Valley City School district via email. We thought it was such a good letter that some of you, who arn't on the school email list, would also like to read it.

Thank you, Times-Record Staff

Good evening everyone,

There are times I like to send information from a school board meeting when there are topics of importance to our district. Last night's meeting had several of those topics on the agenda and I would like to share some information with you.

1) Lindsey Yanish was approved to receive a full-time teaching contract as of February 4th to teach elementary art at both of our schools. Lindsey has been teaching art on a part-time basis at Washington Elementary School. Thank you to Val Anderson for doing a great job of helping to get our elementary art program off the ground at both of our elementary schools. Val has been teaching part-time at Jefferson Elementary School. Val's last day with our children at Jefferson Elementary School will be January 31st and we certainly wish her the best.

2) School Safety and Security – I mentioned to our Board the fact that each of our buildings is in the process of reviewing our safety plans and having our local Police Chief involved in meeting with each of our staffs and touring our facilities. I also mentioned that as administrators it is our plan that once the Chief has completed his last visit, we will meet to review all of the plans, to include any recommendations the Chief has made. We will then look to provide a report to our School Board at its' regular meeting on Feb. 11th. One immediate step that we will be discussing is to have all of our entrances to our buildings locked during the school day. I have contacted a security firm to see if they could stop by, take a look at each of our buildings, and give us some idea what it would take to implement some type of security system at designated entrances at our buildings. Without a buzzer/intercom type of system at the designated entrances, there are definite logistics to work out to have all entrances locked, but as administrators it is something we are going to discuss to see if this is something we can possibly implement before a security system could be installed. If any of you have ideas on how this could be accomplished in our buildings, I would ask that you share those ideas with our building principals as we are very open to your input. What I am struggling with is without an operable system of some sort in place how/who would be going to entrances to let people into our buildings? Again, with all of the great thinkers we have in our district maybe we will come up with something that we can make work.

I am saddened by this topic as I have always believed school buildings were designed to be conducive environments for learning, warm and welcoming facilities, and open to the public. I have also come to realize that we live in times that call for schools to evaluate the overall safety of facilities and possible programming to help schools continue to have a positive and safe learning environment.

There is discussion on school safety and security taking place in our legislature, which is very good. I would like to remind you of the legislative forum we will be hosting this Saturday morning from 8 AM to 10 AM in the Hi-Liner Activity Center lobby. I am thinking our legislators will have a report on this topic plus many other topics of interest. Hopefully you are able to attend.

In closing on this topic, I believe how people are treated by others can really have a positive or negative impact on one's life. I would encourage all of you to continue doing everything you can to help our students and others you come into contact with feel important and respected, that their opinions and comments are valued. If someone is having some difficulties, do what you can to help or contact someone who may be able to provide some assistance. Positive human relations and promoting that with our students and others every day can go a long ways in helping to keep our buildings safe and produce that positive school and community climate we all want to have.

3) Full-Time Activities Director – I made a recommendation to our School Board that as of next school year our administrative structure at the Jr/Sr High School should be the following:

1) A Full-Time Grades 7-12 Activities Director
2) A Full-Time Grades 7-9 Principal
3) A Full-Time Grades 10-12 Principal

The Board approved this recommendation with a unanimous vote. If you recall, a few years ago we had an Activities Director who had an assignment of Activities Director and teaching for two periods. We also had a grades 7-9 Principal and a grades 10-12 Principal. I felt we made some progress as a district as we had provided time for the people in these positions to be more effective and productive as educational leaders. After one year of this structure, we returned to the previous structure with two administrators filling these positions. For the past year and a half I have been evaluating and analyzing this structure and decided we had reached a point as a district where I needed to develop a plan to help the people in these positions, help our students, and help our staff. I had numerous conversations with Class A Superintendents and our staff at the jr/sr high were great in providing input through a questionnaire I sent. A vast majority of our staff indicated the need for us to hire a Full-Time Activities Director and have two Full-time building Principals to work with them and our students.

I do look forward to this reorganization of our administrative structure as I believe it will bring about some very positive results for our district.

Advertising for this position will start very soon, with the hope of filling the position by the middle of March.

***Mr. Larson gave a nice report in regards to a recent EDC Activities Director meeting he attended. Specifically, pertaining to boys basketball for next year, because of a concern we have with upper class numbers, we will be looking to schedule games for two teams, a varsity and a "C" squad, which could potentially have jr's, soph., and freshmen on the team. We are also hopefully going to be able to schedule some additional games for freshmen as we want our younger athletes to receive as much playing time as possible. The Times-Record sports reporter was at our meeting and I feel did a nice job of reporting the story in reading today's edition of the TR. Mr. Larson will be sending you further information which may include this article.

If you have any comments or questions in regards to any of the items I have mentioned, please let me know as I value your input.

Take care. Thanks for your time and support.

Dean Koppelman
Valley City Public Schools