Twin Valley District News-Nov. 2019

Information from the district perspective-November 2019

The purpose of the newsletter from Superintendent Van Ranken

Twin Valley parent and patrons,

My goal is to keep you informed as much as possible as to what takes place with the district but in all honesty, we do not have the personnel to do a more regular newsletter well. I will try this electronic format for the 2019-2020 school year in hopes of sharing the positive things as well as the challenges we face in the district.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to share them with me, Fred Van Ranken at the USD 240 Central Office by phone at 785-488-3325 ext 401, in person at 107 N. Nelson in Bennington, or via email at


Did not get this newsletter in an email? We can fix that!

I am pushing this newsletter out via our social media sites on Twitter and Facebook in addition to distributing to all email addresses within our PowerSchool directory. If YOU did NOT get it via email and want it delivered in that manner, supply the necessary information in the link below. Let me know if you have questions by emailing me at


November 1, 2019 Twin Valley Admin Friday Lunch Bunch webinar

The second Friday Lunch Bunch Webinar is complete. Topics covered below:
-Introductions through 2nd minute
-College and Career Readiness to ~ 2-15 min.
-ACT/WorkKeys discussion~16-24
Nov 1 LB

Student HotSpot Checkout

Did you know that the district has made available 10 Internet HotSpots for student checkout through their respective library/media centers. There are five in each attendance center that can be checked out for STUDENT use. When checked out by a student, the device is tied ONLY to their Chromebook, which allows for continued filtering offsite.

Coaches and sponsors also take them along as they can accommodate up to ten devices serving as a mobile hotspot if they are available.

This is to help eliminate any barriers to access for students. Thanks go out to the USD 240 BOE members for continuing to provide this service!

Below is a pic of the agreement parents must sign PRIOR to the school allowing checkout of the hotspots. Please check with the school media center for details.

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State Assessment Information for Spring 2020

The Kansas State Department of Education is required by the reauthorized “ESSA” federal legislation to give some sort of state assessments. For several years, the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) at KU has provided that contract for the KSDE. This year, students will take state assessments in the following areas and grade levels:

  • Mathematics in grades 3-8 and 10 for two sessions, 45–60 mins each
  • English Language Arts in grades 3-8 and 10 for two sessions, 45–60 mins each
  • Science in grades 5,8, and 11 for Two sessions, 45 mins each

Although they HAVE reduced the length of time these assessments take away from instruction, we ARE required to give them to all students. The testing window runs from March 16-May 1, 2020. Each USD 240 building will have their state assessment schedule set some time after the Christmas break.

One thing you might NOT be aware of is that the KSDE, working with CETE, has developed correlations for state assessment scores for grades 8 and 10 in relation to predicted ACT performance. If you have an interest in seeing those correlations, please click the link below.

Meet Amanda Davidson

A reminder that Mrs. Davidson will serve in the role as liaison between mental health services and our district. She will be in the district on a half-time basis as we are sharing this position with USD 239. This is a part of a state-funded grant to assist students.

The excerpt below was written by Amanda Davidson to allow parents, staff, and patrons the opportunity to get to know her better.

I have lived in Ottawa County for twenty years and very excited to have this opportunity to work locally again. My career as a licensed social worker began in Topeka and changed to a rural focus when my husband and I desired small town living for our children who are both teenagers now. I worked as a social worker for the Department of Children & Families and their contracted partners for sixteen years. My work experience includes assisting families in their homes with resources, serving as a liaison for the family with service providers, and setting up services for children to thrive.

Balancing a household with work, children, bills, transportation, and more can be challenging. These factors can amplify if your child has additional needs relating to social, emotional, or behavioral health in the home and/or school setting. Maintaining attendance, behavior, and academics for all children in the home can be overwhelming, as a social work liaison in the schools, I’m here to assist families in accessing services to benefit both the school and home environment.

Work experience:

  • Family Mediation & Crisis Intervention

  • Facilitation of adolescent behavioral groups

  • Connecting families with available services

  • Case planning and implementation

  • Safety plans and treatment plans

  • Effective communication with children

  • Emotional Support

Role of the Social Work Liaison:

  • Assess needs of identified students

  • Refer students to behavioral health services

  • Partner with others to address barriers

  • Support students & families navigating community services

  • Conduct student observations

  • Communication between family, providers, and school

  • Collaboration of BH services with family, school, and treatment staff

Amanda Davidson

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YMCA After-School Opportunity

The Twin Valley BOE heard a presentation at the October regular meeting from Marti Higdon, the School Age Director from the Salina YMCA in Salina, about the possibility of getting an after-school program started in both the Bennington and Tescott attendance centers for students in grades K-6. Principals then determined interest from their respective schools, which indicated there is enough interest to move forward.

The proposal was approved at the November BOE meeting to move forward. Details will be worked out as we progress through the school year as there are Memorandum of Understandings (MOU's), facilities issues to address, staff to hire, work through the screening process, and provide for training needs. It may be March of 2020 before it is in place at the two Twin Valley Schools.

To be clear, PreK would not qualify for the program due to licensing restrictions on the part of the YMCA. I have attached the flyer below explaining the program components. When they get this program going it would begin after school and end at 6 pm each school night. Parents would be charged the member rate of $145/month. There is a part-time rate available as well with rates, etc. in the flyer attached below this article. There is also financial assistance available for families that struggle financially.

This program will be run by the Salina YMCA even though it will be in our district. This is not a district-run program nor would the district be responsible for its operation, etc. Also keep in mind that this flyer references Salina schools but would be run similarly in our district.

This is a great opportunity for parents and kids in the Twin Valley schools! Be on the lookout for more information on this after-school program.

Updated District Calendar

Below is the updated district calendar reflecting the changing of what was the February 5 late start date to a full inservice day for staff. Buildings will also reinforce this within their communication as we will NOT have school on that day.

The Twin Valley Education Foundation is accepting Food Service donations to help pay overdue student lunch balances.

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