7 29 RV Assistant Principal

Lacy Payne (named River Valley Elementary assistant principal during the July 26 School Board meeting) with Principal Patrick Zuccala.

THREE OAKS — The River Valley Board of Education approved hiring Lacy Payne as Elementary Assistant Principal during its July 26 regular meeting.“Last year I was an educator on loan for the county as a literacy coach for both Three Oaks Elementary and Brandywine Elementary School, in addition to my role at Bridgman Elementary (a K-4 literacy specialist for the last three years), Payne said after the meeting.

Payne, who starts Aug. 2, said she is excited to support the development of literacy and practices in a K-5 setting, to be able to learn from RV Elementary Principal Patrick Zuccala, and to grow the outcomes at River Valley.

“Strengthening student outcomes is one of my big goals,” she said.

An item to “Approve Recommendation and Contract to Hire a Middle High School Assistant Principal/Athletic Director” was removed from the agenda at the beginning of the meeting.

Board President David Whitlow said the candidate listed on the agenda had withdrawn, but an answer was being awaited from another viable candidate.

Interim River Valley Superintendent Andrea van Der Laan went over the proposed back-to-school plan (later adopted by the board) based on a plan that Berrien County superintendents have been working on well before she arrived at River Valley. She said the plan gives local districts a lot of leeway based on what’s going on on their community.

van Der Laan said the plan includes a color-coded system ranging from blue where no precautions are necessary, to yellow, orange and red (with red status resulting in remote learning),

“We are currently in yellow … we’re still in-person, athletic practices and competitions will be permitted, additional health and safety protocols may be put into place, we’ll be looking at the Michigan High School Athletic Association for some guidance on those types of things. We’ll follow (additional) cleaning and disinfecting, which we do all year,” van Der Laan said.

At this point she said masks are not required, they are optional (except on busses where they are a federal CDC requirement).

“If students are choosing to wear masks we want to make sure they’re still treated in a respectful manner,” van Der Laan said.

Social distancing rules will likely vary depending on the situation and grade levels involved.

van Der Laan said not sending students (or staff members) to school if they are sick is crucial the plan’s success.

In other business, the River Valley Board of Education:

• OK’d a 2022 Washington D.C. trip led by Pam Kaniuga for grades 7-10 scheduled for June 21-24.

• Approved a bid of $97,972 from Holland Bus for a 53-passenger special education school bus.

• Added three board committees with the following members – Curricula Committee (Vicky Wagner, Phil Bender and Jennifer Alderink); Personnel Committee (Gail Freehling, Nikki Springer and Whitlow); and Policy Committee (Wagner, Bender and Alderink).

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