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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

USD 384 Blue Valley To Celebrate 60th Anniversary April 28th

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications.After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations.In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.

RANDOLPH, Kan. – USD 384 Blue Valley will host a district-wide open house to celebrate its 60th anniversary and completed construction of bond-funded improvements including the new $1.6 million Agricultural Education Center.

The community is invited Sunday, April 28, 2 to 5 p.m., to attend open house festivities beginning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Blue Valley High School old gym followed by student-led tours of buildings showcasing improvements in Olsburg and Randolph, and a historical display of the district’s founding 60 years ago.

The Blue Valley school district was established in 1958 when schools from Randolph, Olsburg, Cleburne, Garrison, and Fostoria were consolidated in preparation for the construction of Tuttle Creek Dam. The first graduating class of the new district was the class of 1959.

The 2017 community-supported bond effort funded technology updates across the district, classroom remodels to support core educational goals, a new preschool, Agricultural Education Center and Community Fitness Center, and district-wide security and infrastructure improvements.

“We designed the building upgrades and expansion to maximize our career and technical education programs to prepare students to be competitive and successful in their careers,” said Ruth Hutson, high school science teacher.

Upgrades to the high school science classroom and new Agricultural Education Center provide dedicated lab facilities for advanced learning in veterinary science, college biology, physics, chemistry and more.

“With a classroom and dedicated lab we can do three to four labs a week,” Hutson said. “We can start in the lab with a mini investigation, then move to the classroom for instruction and back to the lab engaging in more hands-on learning.”

Blue Valley also teaches classes for concurrent college credit such as College Biology and College Accounting. Additionally, qualified students can take college-level online courses in their interest areas ranging from robotics to conservation.

“What sets Blue Valley apart is the level of personalization and customization we offer our students,” said Anthony Meals ag education teacher and FFA sponsor.

Individual plans of study are customized to meet student’s goals in a classroom setting. Students are mentored in career exploration in areas including business, graphic arts, animal science, agriculture, and family and consumer science.

“Within our classes, I can tailor content to the students’ interests and the career path they want to take,” Huston said. “They can identify two or three career interests, know what post-secondary training is required, and begin acquiring the knowledge and skills to be successful.”

Through Supervised Agricultural Experience grants (SAEs), funded by the state and national FFA organization and local alumni, Meals provides a one-on-one learning experience for each student.

“My goal is to give students a strong foundation through laboratory experience and early exposure to animal handling and care,” Meals said. “If you’re passionate about animals, if you’re serious about wanting a career that involves animals, Blue Valley is the place to be.”

Blue Valley is the only school in the region to offer summer camps for elementary and middle school students to learn about veterinary science and shop skills.

“We have something very special here that can be so much more than just a high school, but can support the growth of our entire community. What’s exciting to me are the possibilities.” Meals said.

“We are excited to celebrate the completion of our $3.1 million bond construction project and want to thank our district patrons for making this possible,” said Brady Burton, Blue Valley superintendent. “With the completion of this construction, we have assured our current and future students state-of-the-art education facilities for the next 20 years. We are also very pleased that the cost of the project came in under both budget and anticipated mill levy tax increase. It is truly a time to celebrate education excellence at USD 384 Blue Valley!”

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