Great news from the Valley!

I hope we can all draw a collective deep breath of gratitude as our COVID numbers continue to drop very rapidly. We have had consecutive days of no reports of COVID illness in our district which is a wonderful change from the past several months. I had hoped we would get to this place after the extreme January and early February and it is wonderful to see our attendance rates increasing, staff presence, and a collective health improvement overall. 

In anticipation of ongoing strong funding options for our school which are long overdue, it is time for us as a district and community to begin the exciting work of planning opportunities for our students to learn, grow and prepare for their lives as productive adults. We will be hosting a Virtual Town Hall on March 2nd from 5:30- 6:30 pm. The focus of that meeting will be to have an overview of the ESSER III funding we have received from the federal government as part of the recovery planning. We will give a brief explanation of the funds, restrictions on spending, and our intended themes for implementation of programming which was supported in our first round of survey data. Attendees will have the option to choose two areas of interest. The breakout rooms will be hosted by: Mr. Josh Leatherman regarding technology improvements, Mr. Eric Chamberlain for building safety improvements, Mr. Trent Harvey for intervention and small group programming, Mr. Joel Smith for curriculum and training, and Dr. Katherine Bertolini for life skills and social-emotional plans. When you select a session you will hear our current planning within those themes and then have a chance to ask questions and make suggestions for areas to consider within those themes to the facilitator.  After a fifteen-minute session, you will be invited to join the second area of interest and follow the same format. We really hope to get a nice cross-section of our entire community in this meeting. Students, Teachers, Support Staff, Parents, Community Members are all welcome, and necessary for us to have a comprehensive conversation around these plans that will drive our district for the next few years. The meeting will be held on the Zoom platform, and we will provide a link for the meeting on the landing page of our website at

In addition to our ESSER III planning, we will be reaching out for community volunteers to join us in evaluating our Social Studies curriculum options in the next month or so. Preliminary work is underway to start narrowing our options down. Once we have selected some potential options, we will reach out for community input, so please stay tuned if you are interested in evaluating the curriculum. In preparation for any curriculum work you may want to learn about, we encourage you to Google “Michigan Academic Standards” or go to this link to begin learning about the standards for evaluating bias in Instructional Materials and getting familiar with the academic standards required of all Michigan Schools. 

As we move eagerly forward into proactive planning rather than the reactive and crisis-driven space we have lived in for more than two years now, our partnerships will be as important as ever. We are eager to make the best possible educational system worthy of our kids and our community.

It is a great day to be in the Valley!

Dr. Bertolini