Raymond Central Public Schools

May 2021

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From the Desk of the Superintendent...

Happy May, Raymond Central Nation! It has been a fast-paced spring and I know everyone is gearing up for the summer months. As we prepare to close out the 2020-2021 school year, we are simultaneously getting ready to transition into the 2021-2022 school year. Mark your calendars for May 15 at 2:00 PM to celebrate our senior’s journey to graduation. It is one of my favorite events of the year to say good luck as seniors begin their lives outside of high school. The most exciting part is that we will be able to have this year's graduation inside our gym on the scheduled date.

This has been an extremely successful year despite the challenges we faced. Every single day we have a choice to make - will I choose to be positive and productive or the opposite? I know there were a lot of times throughout the year it would have been easy to quit, but we found a way to become better together and navigate a global pandemic and keep our school doors open. I am proud of the commitment to excellence from our students, staff, parents, and community members. Our students and staff were resilient in their pursuit of ensuring learning loss was minimal from losing out on 2 1/2 months of face-to-face instruction at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. We will reflect on the 2020-2021 school year to make improvements and adjustments for the 2021-2022 school year. Raymond Central will continue our efforts this summer to address the unfinished learning as a result of COVID-19 by implementing a K-5 Summer Academy during the month of June. The academy is invite-only which came in the form of a letter sent home with K-5 students at the end of April.

There are still a lot of questions we will address as we prepare for the 2021-2022 school year. We will continue to partner with the local health departments to ensure our school sites are safe and healthy places to learn and work. Raymond Central will send out communication with the policies and protocols in July to allow time for families and staff to prepare. It is too early to speculate what the Directive Health Measures will include four months into the future. The DHM’s have been loosening up during the spring, but masks still remain to be worn at all times while in a school facility. It is important we continue to be safe and follow recommendations from health departments over the summer. Doing our part now will increase the probability that we can go back to “somewhat normal” operations at the beginning of next year.

Raymond Central hosted a 16-year-old and older vaccination clinic at the Jr/Sr High School on April 22nd. We had 25 students participate in this opportunity which was on a volunteer basis. I would like to thank the Lancaster County Health Department and the Three Rivers Health Department for making this possible. They will be coming back in three weeks to administer the second dose.

The 2021-2022 school year has already broken a student enrollment record. Our preschool program has 56 young mustangs signed up to attend our amazing program. This has led the school district to create a 3-year-old program and a 4-year-old program. The district is currently researching the extra space needed for the 3-year-old program. Finding space for the 3-year-old program has been a difficult task. Right now space may look like adding portable in the parking lot on the north end of the Jr/Sr High School or adding walls to the north of the existing preschool. The RC Board of Education will be determining what this will look like at their May 12th meeting.

May 7th is National School Lunch Hero Day and to celebrate, Nebraska SNAC (Student Nutrition Action Committee) reached out to administrators, teachers, nutrition staff, and parents and asked them to nominate school nutrition heroes in their communities. Over 50 nominations were submitted, including one for Patty Hudson. Patty is Raymond Central’s Director of Nutrition Services and she does an amazing job!

  • "Since entering the global pandemic in March 2020, Patty has worked diligently to ensure the students of Raymond Central have had access to at least one healthy meal per day. From serving meals during the week from March-May 2020 to creating the district’s first-ever Summer Lunch Program, Patty has donated her time and energy to support our students and families. Patty also planned and executed three weeks of meals for students over Winter Break and is planning to do the same over Spring Break. Patty approaches every challenge with an open mind and an action solution focus. For this, she is a hero!"

As a component of the RC Vision 2025 Strategic Plan, several large projects will take place over the summer. Each year the Raymond Central Board of Education reviews the five-year facility priority list. The projects this summer will include:

  • Create a waterway in the 67 acres of farmland owned by the school district (this land is directly south of the Jr/Sr High School)

  • Replace four large HVAC units on the roof of the Jr/Sr High School

  • Replace the flat roof sections of the Jr/Sr High School

  • Resurface the Jr/Sr Hgh School main drive and bus pickup and dropoff area

  • Phase I of III concrete work - this phase will concrete the northeast side of the Jr/Sr High School where the new storage shed is located.

I would like to welcome our new staff who will begin their RC Journey with our next school year. More introductions will come out this summer, but here is the list:

  • Amanda Coufal, Director of Special Education

  • Jenifer Highstreet, High School Special Education Teacher

  • Kathryn Arp, Agriculture Teacher and FFA Sponsor

  • Paige Mestl, Ceresco Elementary Special Education Teacher

  • Jenna Winfrey, High School English Language Arts Teacher

  • Aliya Spale, K-12 Vocal Music Teacher

  • Johanna Jackson, 6th Grade Teacher

  • Court Croghan, High School Special Education Teacher

  • Megan Kemnitz, 3-Year-Old Preschool Teacher and Elementary Special Education

  • Rachel Beck, Speech Pathologist

  • Catilin Roussan, School Psychiatrist

  • We are still looking to hire two positions for next year:

    • Industrial Technology Teacher

    • Secondary ELA Teacher

REMINDER! 2020-2021 Last Day of School

We knew this year was going to be one like never before. Raymond Central utilized flexibility granted by the Commissioner of Education and the State Board to provide our staff more time to plan and prepare for face-to-face and remote learning. Because of these days, the Nebraska Department of Education will allow schools who do not meet the minimum requirements for instructional minutes to file a waiver which allows for us to have our last day for students on Friday, May 14th. The last day of school will be an 11:45 AM dismissal for the elementary school sites and a 12:00 PM dismissal for the Jr/Sr High School.

Wednesday, May 12th will no longer be a late start, but instead a full day for students and staff. Our plans for the last day of school remain contingent on winter weather not returning for the last seven weeks of school.

Like every year, summer will be here and gone in the blink of an eye. Please remember to recharge your batteries and spend time with friends and family in a safe and healthy way. Have a fun, safe, and relaxing summer break. I look forward to seeing everyone in August!

Go Mustangs!

Dr. Joel

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The Commencement Ceremony will be held on May 15th, 2021 at 2:00 PM in the main gym. The following protocols and procedures will be followed:

  • Masks required

  • Families of graduates must sit together and distanced from other families

  • The band and choir will not perform to allow us for additional space for families

  • Every student is allowed up to 12 guests. Tickets will be given to students after they successfully complete their check in.

  • Remote learning students and early graduates will receive their tickets and complete check out at rehearsal.

  • Doors will open at 1:00PM.

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District Music Contest...

On Thursday, April 22, vocal small groups and solos attended District Music Contest at Milford. Alainey Marshalek received a Superior rating on her vocal solo. The bass quartet composed of Ryan Isaac, Austin Anderson, Gabe Benes, and Wyatt Ramsey also received a Superior rating.

Pictured from left to right: Ryan Isaac, Austin Anderson, Wyatt Ramsey, Gabe Benes, and Alainey Marshalek

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Congratulations, Mrs. Kendra Carlson!

Canadian author and world traveler, Scott Hayden, once said, "Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together." If there is one teacher who has been able to follow Hayden's words, it is our very own Kendra Carlson.

Congratulations to Mrs. Kendra Carlson for being awarded the Outstanding Elementary Teacher for the 2019-20 school year by the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association. The award was delayed due to COVID. Mrs. Carlson represents the excellent teachers across the 213 NRSCA member schools in Nebraska. She has taught at Raymond Central Public Schools for 32 years and is a strong advocate for children, an innovative and respected educator, and a tremendous asset to our district. A special presentation was held at Valparaiso Elementary on March 3. We are proud of Mrs. Carlson and all of our amazing teachers at Raymond Central!

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Retirement Announcement....

Mrs. Lori Maxwell will be retiring at the end of the school year. Mrs. Maxwell has served as the special education teacher at Valparaiso Elementary School. She plans to spend more time with her family, particularly her grandchildren. Congratulations to Lori Maxwell on an amazing career in education! Thank you for all you have done to encourage growth in our children and to ensure their individual successes! We are so thankful to have had you in our district.

Mrs. Maxwell answered some Journalism Class questions about her years at Raymond Central and her upcoming retirement plans:

1. Please give a brief history of your educational career path. In what schools have you worked? In what areas have you worked? Which one have you loved the most? The least??

I started out at Central Community College and transferred to Kearney State College (UNK) where I received my BA in Elementary Education. I received a job offer from Mullen Public Schools to teach the K-12 special education program. I spent the next two years teaching in Mullen and working on my special education degree through Kearney and later UNL. I spent the next 30 years as part of the RC family, teaching special education at Valparaiso Elementary School. I have loved every minute of it.

2. What interested you in working with Special Education?

I love working with a variety of students and the small groups. You can really get to know students.

3. What do you love most about your job?

I love being able to celebrate the growth students make on a daily basis. We talk a lot about the goals they have for themselves and how they are helping themselves achieve them. The relationships I have built with students, staff and families are another great part of the job.

4. What is your favorite part of each day?

I love seeing the students in the morning before school starts. Their energy and enthusiasm are contagious. It makes a great start to the day.

5. What are your plans for retirement? Anything exciting?

I plan to spend time with my grandkids and my parents. I plan to take up some old hobbies and start some new. There may be a small piano recital in my future :). As one of my students told me this week, "This is just a new chapter for you and your story is not over." I can't wait!

6. What is one of your favorite memories of working at RC?

Sharing a room with Shelly Hlavaty: We dressed up for Halloween as Lavern and Shirly, Daphne and Velma, and Wilma and Betty and Cindy Peterson as Dino. We had a lot of fun. The staff at Valparaiso through the years has been fantastic. A great group of people to work with and have fun with.

7. What special advice do you have for a student seeking to qualify for a position in Special Education?

The profession is challenging, but those challenges are opportunities to grow as a person and an educator. Arm yourself with knowledge of how the brain works, and social emotional well being.. Be prepared to be impressed by your students, they all want to do and be their best.

THANK YOU, LORI MAXWELL!! We are all excited to see what your next chapter will entail!

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Spanish Club has been active this year!

Even though the Spanish Club wasn’t able to get together to do fun activities this year, the club was active in helping with the Backpack Program. Below are pictures of the students helping out at different times of the year.

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Raymond Central Before and After School Program

Announcing Raymond Central’s Before and After School Program video. Watch this to see how much the program has meant to the community this year. And get ready to sign up for summer and fall programming!

Raymond Central Before and After School Video

The Raymond Central Before and After School program is having a Summer Program! Please see details on our summer program below.

Specific Summer School Support:

Summer school will be running from 9:00 am-11:30 am from Tuesday-Thursday during the month of June.

The Raymond Central Before and After School program is providing wrap-around care for Summer Academy.

Available care includes:

* 8:00 am to 9:00 am at each school

* Summer Program following Summer Academy in Ceresco. Students will be transported from Valparaiso to Ceresco in a school van. This includes lunch and an afternoon snack. We'll charge $45 per week, or $225 for the entire summer school session.

Programs open to all RC families:

All Raymond Central students that have completed grades K-6 are welcome to attend day-long programming running from 8 am-5 pm on the same days as summer school, which is Tuesday-Thursday during the month of June. These days include enrichment and academic activities, as well as a morning snack, lunch, and an afternoon snack. For a 3-day week, the cost per child is $75 per week, or $375 for all 5 weeks of June. We are also planning a couple of field trips in the month of June.

We are offering two special enrichment sessions in July for all Raymond Central children that have completed grades K-6. These weeks will follow the same Tuesday-Thursday schedule from 8am-5pm. They will also cost $75 per week, or $150 for both sessions. We hope to be able to host a family film festival event on July 15th.

Location: Ceresco; Valparaiso students in summer school choosing to enroll will be transported to Ceresco in a school van.

Summer Program Enrollment

If you have any other questions contact Kara Nelson at kara.nelson@civicnebraska.org
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RC Unified Track Meet did an amazing job!

The Ashland-Greenwood Unified Track Meet was held on Wednesday, April 28th. This event pairs students with different abilities together to compete in track and field events. Over 100 athlete/unified partner pairs competed this year. This is always a fun event that the students and teachers look forward to for months!

All of the participants were incredible and represented Raymond Cental well! Thank you to all of the students and staff who helped with this event and getting everything organized. It is an amazing opportunity for these students to participate in something that is so much more than a track meet. The compassion and kindness to others displayed at this event is something that these students will never forget.

Pictured left to right: Brielle Burcham, Ta'lyn Houchin, Rachel Bos, Ayla Rech, Katelyn Priefert, Shanna Bronston-Husdon, Micah Roubal, Jody Albrecht, Lizzy Richter, Kaitlyn Hughes, Travis Silverstrand

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Introducing the 2021-2022 Student Council...

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Boys Basketball Information

Boys basketball Mustang Skills camp info:

2nd-5th Grade June 3-4, 12-1:30 pm

6th-8th Grade June 7-8, 12-1:30 pm

9th-12th Grade June 3-4 and 7-8, 9:30-11:30 am

Cost: $20 for 2nd-8th Grade; $25 for 9-12

Click below for the form.

Open gyms:

JH/HS Boys: Wednesday and Friday Mornings at 6:45 AM

Open to the community: Sundays 4-6 PM

Find Your RC Volleyball Team Camp Forms Here!

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But NOT until May 14th.....so FINISH STRONG!