Twin Valley District News-Dec. 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

December 6, 2019 Twin Valley Admin Friday Lunch Bunch webinar

Dec 6 2019 Lunch Bunch zoom 0

ACT and/or ACT WorkKeys assessments for Kansas Students

Below is the text from a KSDE press release from LAST YEAR regarding the ACT and ACT WorkKey assessments that were available to ALL juniors and seniors that have not taken either test as of yet. The purpose of including that information is to give you an idea what the assessments are all about. The funding is once again available for this opportunity throughout the state.

At Twin Valley, we are telling junior students they MUST take one or the other at a minimum. We do encourage them to take BOTH to see where they stand. We greatly appreciate the KSDE and KS Legislature for providing this opportunity for students at NO COST to them or their parents. The state as has been assigned days for spring ACT assessments this year. The ACT date will be on February 25. The ACT WorkKeys assessment will be on February 26. There is an inclement weather make-up day, but that will only be enacted if the first dates is cancelled school-wide.

Kansas juniors will be able to take the ACT test and WorkKeys assessment for free during the 2018-2019 school year, the Kansas State Department of Education announced Tuesday, Aug. 7.

Kansas joins 18 other state education agencies currently providing the ACT for students.

The ACT test, introduced in 1959, gauges a student’s readiness for success in the first year of college. The test provides standardized data on student achievement and readiness. The no-cost ACT test will be offered statewide Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. That date this year (2020) will be announced soon.

The ACT WorkKeys assessments have been used for more than two decades to measure essential workplace skills and help people build career pathways. WorkKeys measures foundational skills, including both hard and soft skills. Every junior in Kansas will have the opportunity to earn an ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate. There are three assessments required to qualify for the certificate, ACT WorkKeys applied math; ACT WorkKeys workplace documents; and ACT WorkKeys graphic literacy. The free WorkKeys assessment will be administered statewide Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. That date this year (2020) will be announced soon.

KSDE recommends that all juniors – as well as those seniors who didn’t have an opportunity to take the assessments – take both assessments.


Link to Kansas-specific ACT information for THIS YEAR:

School messenger application-for your phone!

Below is setup information for an app that you can download onto your smartphone from the company that provides our school messenger system that we use for announcements such as school closures, etc. The app is easy to download and set up. You will need to use the email address that you use for PowerSchool access in order to be able to access information from our school as the system is integrated into PowerSchool from our end.

Below is the stock message from the company as to how to set up the free app once you download it from the app store. If you have issues as it relates to the email account being tied to PowerSchool, you can check your login settings on that account to make sure you are using the correct one. If you continue to have issues, email (Sheila Fiske-our Tech assistant in charge of PowerSchool and other applications).

Influenza information from Nurse Becky Racette

Nurse Racette originally had this posted in late October but I thought it might be a good to follow up in the December newsletter.

A Note from the School Nurse…….

It is time for Cold and Flu Season to begin. The state regulation this year for Influenza is that students are to be in home isolation for 5 days following onset of illness. If fever over 100 degrees continues past 5 days then must be fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.

The school needs to be notified when students are out with the flu. Please specify Influenza or stomach flu. The following illnesses also need to be reported to the school as well: strep throat, impetigo, pink eye, head lice, mononucleosis, Fifth’s disease, MRSA, and chickenpox.

Just a simple reminder… If your child has been vomiting or having diarrhea they must remain out of school till they are free from vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours before returning to school.

Thank you in advance for helping me to keep our students healthy and strong this school year.

Becky Racette BSN, RN

Twin Valley Schools

College and Career Readiness (CCR)-Career Cruiser Activities

In October, I mentioned the things we are doing in grades 7-12 regarding CCR by the various campus and employment trips we send our students on at Twin Valley. This month, I am going to feature the activities that students are to engage in, mainly during their advisor time with their mentors, using the program Career Cruising.

Below are the basic descriptions that students are to engage in within the program.

Directly below the descriptions is a photo that gives you a breakdown by activity and grade level.

Below the descriptions is a display featuring the career clusters mentioned within the activities.

College and Career Readiness Activity Definitions

Ability profile - A timed assessment of work aptitude abilities.

Career and life goals activity - Students identify short and long-term goals.

Career planning activity - Activities like completing a resume or attending a job fair are listed for students to check-off on.

Career selector - Allows students to search for careers based on criteria such as earnings, working conditions, and core tasks.

Create a post-secondary plan - Intended to help students bring together all of their career exploration activities into a concrete plan for after high school.

Do the financial aid selector - Searches for available financial aid and scholarships based on students' information.

Learning styles assessment - Identify "How They Learn"

List extracurriculars (for resume) - List of all school activities participated in (BB, FB, etc).

List hobbies and interests - List of all activities outside of school (4-H, etc).

Matchmaker - Interest survey to match potential careers with self-identified student interests.

Resume - Self Explanatory

Review 4-yr plan - IPS

Save career clusters - Students select potential career clusters based on matchmaker results.

Save schools to profile - Once clusters are identified, students research schools offering degrees/studies in those needed areas.

Saved career - See "Clusters"

Skills and abilities activity - Students in the selected grades will be required to enter their skills and abilities in their Portfolio. Students may enter information about their personal attributes, computer skills, language skills, or other abilities.

Work skills assessment -Students in the selected grades will be required to complete the My Skills component of Career Matchmaker, which asks users to rate their skills in 45 areas and compares their responses to the skill requirements of each career, and save their results to their Portfolio.

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Better Futures for Twin Valley

Below is information about a group that has formed and is aligned with the Twin Valley Education Foundation whose sole purpose is to help meet the material needs of students and families within our district. This group is led by Mr. Steven Kimmi, principal of Tescott Schools and serves are coordinated by Mrs. Crystal Van Coervern, USD 240 Social Worker. Additional members of that governing board are: Tucker Hilbert, Cynde Cleveland, Reverend Ever Mudambanuki, and Fred Van Ranken.

If you are interested in donating to this group, please see the attached donation form below the article for details. Those donations are tax deductible through the foundation.


As a school district we diligently work to provide quality educational experiences for students, yet there are times that individuals encounter struggles and/or barriers that directly affect a child’s ability to be successful at school. Some of the struggles in reference may include:

  • The inability to cover school fees and needs that may include: meal fees, extracurricular activity supplies (cleats, uniforms, sport shirts, etc.), registration fees, school clothes, shoes, personal hygiene items and/or educational supplies.

  • Infestations at home; ie: bedbugs and lice that affect a student’s ability to acquire a restful nights sleep and/or the resources needed.

The School Social Worker for USD 240 Twin Valley Schools works to assist families with resources; however often times lacks resources needed to assist families who may truly benefit from the assistance. With your assistance, we would like to help relieve some of these struggles and/or barriers for students/families. This would in return enable students to be an active part of their educational experience instead of worrying about one of the aforementioned issues. Better Futures for Twin Valley’s mission is to meet the unmet material needs of students in the Twin Valley School District.

How to help your students learn... A great website and resource and an opinion on learning from the Supt.

If you remember the lesson on the USD 240 Tenets from the last publication, one of them spoke to the desire to create expert learners. I am including a link to a website called "The Learning Scientists" that I think is some of the best free resources out there to truly help students become the learners we know they can. There is an additional link included to downloadable materials that are GREAT!



Something to remember is that these strategies are not necessarily intuitive NOR do they always "feel good" when you are engaging in them. For example, the retrieval practice strategy is one in which you try to recall as much as you can WITHOUT assistance DURING the actual retrieval (ex. reviewing your notes while trying to retrieve is a no-no!). It is not what goes in your brain, it is what comes out. The thing that makes this hard and frankly an unpleasant experience is that you do not always get everything right. We equate failure=bad when many times one learns more from the failure. It is ONLY a failure if you DON'T learn from it...

I think of this stuff many ways, but simply put, learning is hard. As a parent and a student you SHOULD want this to be the case. Desirable difficulties are...desirable. If you do not struggle, you may not be learning and stretching yourself. You should demand difficulty on the road to achievement. The world does not care if you received a 4.0 GPA if you cannot adapt, perform, and have the ability to engage in difficult tasks.

I could go on and on but suffice it to say these are important topics that are not always covered in school, although we are working to change that in our district. Teachers learn a LOT about teaching. They sometimes make assumptions that students already know how to learn. One thing within our redesign initiative is that we want to teach kids to be the lifelong learners that will allow them to be successful individuals.

Meet Emily Smith-Parents As Teachers Assistant

Below is short bio of the new PAT assistant, Emily Smith. Emily's role in the district will include 15-20 hours per month assisting Tammy Jilka with playgroups and a few other roles that will allow Tammy to serve more families within the district. This position is paid with PAT funds.

I have been a member of Parents as Teachers for 8 years with my 3 girls and I’m very excited to be working for the district as the new PAT assistant. I’m a 2010 graduate of Kansas Wesleyan University where I studied mathematics and elementary education. I’ve been a stay at home mom for the last 8 years. I love baking, reading and all things Harry Potter. I am very excited to be a part of the PAT program and I look forward to meeting all the families at both the Bennington and Tescott playgroups!

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Meet Melissa Sherman-PreK Para in Tescott

This hire was made earlier in the year due to grant requirements and enrollment numbers at Tescott. We welcome Melissa to USD 240.

Hi! My name is Melissa Sherman, Ms. Melissa, and I am the new preschool para for the Tescott Preschool Class! I am so thrilled to be joining Ms. Tammy’s classroom! I can’t wait to learn all about your child but first a little bit about me! I currently live in Tescott with my husband, Dustin and our two children, Lux and Silas. Outside of preschool I run a local business called Lux’s Attic as well as hosting the Tescott Vintage and Outdoor Market. I previously owned a licensed childcare for 5 years in Salina, for ages 3-5, where I taught a preschool curriculum with a strong emphasis on social-emotional development. So I am beyond excited to be back working with the preschool age group! I look forward to getting to know the children in the class and watching them learn, grow, and flourish this year! If you should ever need to contact me you can email me at ​​ Thank you!

Melissa Sherman

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Twin Valley FFA Newsletter

Below is a link to the most current Twin Valley FFA District Newsletter written by Emma Adams and forwarded by FFA Sponsor, Anna Williamson. Read and enjoy!

Happy Holidays to all!

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and look forward to seeing our students on Monday, January 6, 2019!

Enjoy the time with family and friends!