River Valley Local Schools

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  • Superintendent's Update - March 7, 2017

    Posted by Jim Peterson at 3/7/2017


    Dear River Valley Community,

    River Valley Local Schools has been making great strides throughout the past year and I would ask that you join me in recognizing and celebrating some of these successes. As we quickly approach the end of the 2016-2017 school year, I want to take this opportunity to share with you.

    First, the entire district completed a book study focused on the book entitled Above the Line by Urban Meyer with Wayne Coffey. The book focuses on leadership and life. Our staff is excited and focused on putting the lessons learned from the book into practical, every day decisions being made Above the Line.

    Second, the state had approved a budget that increased funding for River Valley. Because of the increase in state funding, some classes that were cut in 2008 have been reinstated. The new classes have allowed students more options and opportunities. The positions that were added this year included a full-time Vocal Music teacher, full-time English teacher, part-time Spanish teacher, and full-time Study Hall Monitor. Along with bringing in additional teachers, we have added two new buses to our RV fleet. These buses are capable of transporting more students and provide even more reliability to our bus fleet. As we all know, state budgets change and are adjusted. We will wait patiently as the State determines the future of our budget, but will celebrate the gains that we have received thus far.

    Also, Liberty Elementary received a $600,000 21st Century Community Learning Center grant during the 2015-2016 school year. This grant has continued through the 2016-2017 school year and has helped fund an after-school enrichment program. The program offers students opportunities for extra help in meeting state content standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that compliment their regular academic programs; and offer literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

    Within the area of extra-curricular activities, the tennis courts and track were repaired and resurfaced. Our new football scoreboard was also installed and paid for through advertising fees. These improvements allow our student athletes to be proud of our great facilities. Our Athletic Department has also added a full-time trainer at no cost to our district. Also, the Board of Education reduced the cost of extra-curricular fees for all students.

    Finally, the district has also opened two new preschool programs to help enhance early intervention for the young students in the River Valley District. These programs are helping with better preparing these students for kindergarten within our district. Through Title funds we have also been able to provide a social worker for our families at Liberty Elementary and River Valley Middle School.

    As superintendent, there is no better feeling than being able to share the great successes of our district. We continue to strive for excellence and show yearly improvement academically. I look forward to continued success, excellence, and progress. Please join me in recognizing and supporting our community of Vikings at the Valley.

    Best Regards,

    Jim Peterson


    River Valley Local Schools

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  • Superintendent Update - Feb. 2017

    Posted by Jim Peterson at 2/17/2017 5:00:00 PM
    Hello River Valley Families
    I want to share with you that Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, I will be having my right hip replaced.  My surgery will be done at Riverside Hospital where I hope to spend the one night minimum.  The doctor said I would be down for 3 weeks to 3 months.  I can assure you I will not be down for 3 months.  As I recover I want all of you to know I have complete confidence in our administration, staff and students as we continue to move forward in a positive direction.  
    If there is a situation that needs immediate attention, please contact the teacher and/or the building principal.  I will be in direct contact with the district administration as my recovery continues.   
    Thank you for your continued support in making River Valley the premier school district in Marion County.
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  • Superintendent's Update 11/29/16

    Posted by Jim Peterson at 11/29/2016

    This was found on the John O'Leary Live Inspired website.  It was found valuable enough to share.


    “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” – Carl Jung [Tweet this] | [Share on Facebook]

    “Look what I made, Dad!”

    These are words I hear from my young children every time they create art, whether it was created at school or our kitchen table.

    They smile broadly, hand it to me, describe the scene they created, and light up as I compliment it. Before walking over to the fridge to hang their work, they take one more important step: they print their name on it.

    I thought about those art projects and my kids’ genuine pride in them during a recent interview for my Live Inspired podcast with one of the most extraordinary individuals I’ve ever met. Let me explain.

    Brian Buffini is the classic American success story.

    He emigrated from Ireland as a 19-year-old with less than $100. He took odd jobs to support himself: selling t-shirts, working security and painting houses. With no one to fall back on if he failed and no one to listen to his excuses: Brian worked hard.

    This work ethic was built intentionally into Brian’s fiber from a young age by his grandfather.

    Brian’s family owned a painting business. Each day after completing a job, Brian’s grandfather would walk into the room, survey each wall and assess the work done. He’d then walk over to Brian and ask, “Brian, can you put your name on it?”

    Brian knew that in their family business, the only acceptable answer was “Yes!” If there was ever a no, it was known that the work would be redone; because the Buffini name would only go on work completed with the highest of standards.

    It turns out, though, just like my kids having the passion, energy and enthusiasm to put their name on their artwork: being willing to put your name on your work is vitally important in all professions, relationships, and in all we do.

    So, Brian grew up. Moved to America. And never forgot the importance of focusing on the details and working passionately enough that he could put his name on every endeavor, every job.

    Eventually he began a job as a real estate agent. He had no network, no leads, no knowledge of the American real estate market, but he quickly built a reputation of caring deeply about the needs of his clients, in no small part because he ended each day having completed work he was confident putting his name on.

    Brian’s business grew so rapidly, that other agents wanted to know what he was doing that generated such unrivalled success. So he freely shared his strategies with the colleagues in his office. Then, another office. And then another.

    Eventually realizing that as much as he enjoyed selling homes, he could have an even greater impact teaching others how to more effectively build their business and lead their lives. Today his business is known as Buffini & Company and he’s had such influence in the real estate market three million real agents have taken his courses and one in eight houses is sold by a real estate agent influenced through his strategies.

    The greatest lesson Brian was taught in his life was to make sure he paused to ask if he could put his name on: his work, day, actions, words, faith walk, life.

    My friends, Brian shared this and so much more when I caught up with him at his California home to interview him for my Live Inspired podcast.

    Join us, overlooking the Pacific Ocean from his patio, a breeze blowing and as I ask Brian about his challenges, successes and tips on living an inspired life. Subscribe, rate and review my Live Inspired podcast here.

    Remember, you are what you do, not what you’ll say you’ll do. So as you race through your days at work and your routines in life, choose to interact, to create, to serve, and to live so passionately that you, too, are proud to put your name on it.

    My friends, today is your day. Live Inspired.

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  • Superintendent's Mid- Year Update - Feb 17, 2016

    Posted by Jim Peterson at 2/17/2016

    Now that the second semester is well underway, I would like to update you on the good things that are happening here at River Valley. There are many positive examples of our progress and achievements.

    Security has always been one of the district’s top priorities. The buildings are becoming more secure as we replace the out-dated security cameras at both the middle and high schools. Other measures include window seals for the offices, additional door locks, and additional ways to secure all of our classroom doors. As part of our security measures, we welcomed Steve Ross this year. Steve works with local law enforcement agencies to provide a safe and secure environment for students and staff.

    Our technology committee is preparing our district for the future by reviewing current policies, and working with our teams to create district-wide technology that is safe, consistent, and productive for students and staff. We want this technology to be user friendly. The technology committee will make its recommendations to the board by the end of this school year.

    Two new buses should be arriving any day. We are badly in need of these buses, and are very pleased to have been able to purchase them. If anyone would like to obtain a CDL, and become a bus driver, call the district office. Currently, we have a shortage of substitute drivers.

    I want you to be aware that the money the district is using to update the security, purchase buses, and improve our technology comes from the State of Ohio. The state budget was increased this year, allowing us to do things we have been unable to do since 2008.

    The preschool program at Liberty Elementary is at capacity, and we are very pleased with the outcome of our preschool so far. There is discussion about expanding the capacity for next year due to parent interest and district need. The after-school program at Liberty Elementary, funded through the 21st Century grant, is thriving as we support student learning in this program.

    More technology at Heritage and new online programming has helped the teachers and students focus on individual growth and success in the classroom. Teachers are focusing intently on what the data is showing them for each individual child. Another positive program that Heritage has embraced is the 7 Habits of Happy Kids – The Leader in Me. The students are learning about the 7 habits and taking steps to see how this impacts the overall development of the Heritage community. Students are working on developing their own sense of what a leader is and does.

    The middle school musical, Annie, under the direction of Danielle Meddles, was a huge success. Parent and community members alike enjoyed the energy and abilities of these talented students. The middle school robotics program is also flourishing. Students participated in the county spelling bee and were awarded many top honors.

    The music staff in the district would like to expand the vocal music program for next year by bringing in additional staff. This would allow River Valley students to continue to develop their talents in music and theater.

    At the high school, our online program, under the direction of Barry Egan, is flourishing, serving 175 students. The program allows students to take courses that the district currently does not offer, or for those who are struggling to pass or have failed a course, to take coursework for credit recovery.

    The River Valley High School VEX Robotics team, supervised by Ed Goodwin, continues to represent the district well. They competed in their eighth regional qualifier tournament at RAMTEC. Thirty-two teams from the area participated at the event. RV teams earned their 6th championship of the year. The RV team is now preparing for the state tournament to be held in March. No RV teams have ever won 6 of 8 tournaments and they are to be commended for their hard work and dedication.

    I continue to learn and grow in my role as superintendent. Recently, I attended a seminar in Marion about the “serving leader” and was convinced that we are moving in a positive direction here in the Valley. I am encouraging all of our administrators to continue to forge strong relationships with teachers, students, and families in the district, primarily by serving as thoughtful leaders. I will work closely with the administrative team to build on that concept, and to strengthen the communication between the principals and the people they serve.

    I am proud to serve you all as we strive together to help all students achieve their potential. Thank you for your continued support.

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  • Superintendent's Update - November 11, 2015

    Posted by Jim Peterson at 11/11/2015

    Dear River Valley Family and Friends:

    As I write this memo, the weather once again is becoming hazardous at times.  When I make a decision to delay or close school, I always follow a process in which student and staff safety comes first.  When the weather is questionable, I am on the roads early and I stay in constant contact with our transportation coordinator, our building and grounds supervisor, and the superintendents from nearby school districts.  My decisions are only made after careful consideration for everyone's safety.  Thank you for being flexible as we at River Valley work together to keep everyone safe.

    I am proud of the successes we have achieved together as a district.  Our focus on student success continues to yield positive results.  As our current test scores are tabulated the parent reports should be sent to your homes in the next few weeks.  Our elementary and middle school student achievement scores have steadily improved.  Our high school staff is working hard to better understand the new state assessments.  I am grateful to our wonderful staff, great students, parents, and grandparents, all of whom are committed to our educational programs and higher achievement.

    If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child's education, talk to you child's teacher or building principal.  Also, please do not hesitate to contact me if necessary.  I am looking forward to working together to create a great future for our kids.


    James P. Peterson - Superintendent

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  • Superintendent's Update - Back To School - August 21, 2015

    Posted by Mr. Jim Peterson at 8/21/2015

    Dear River Valley Parents and Community Members:

    River Valley Local Schools are off to a great start this year. Please join me in offering a warm welcome to new and returning students and staff. As we begin the 2015-2016 school year, I have good news to share.

    Thanks to the work of the custodial staff and bus mechanic, the buildings and buses are in great shape to start the year. Their work is very much appreciated.

    This year the entire staff will continue to work in teams to improve student achievement across the board. Through strong teams and positive relationships, we expect to see clear results that will confirm what we believe - that River Valley is an outstanding district by any standards.

    To support the important work that teachers and students do, we have received some valuable financial information. This makes possible several important changes.

    First of all, Liberty Elementary received a $600,000.00 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. The grant will fund an after school enrichment program this school year. The program will offer students opportunities for extra help in meeting state content standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offer students a broad array of enrichment activities that will compliment their regular academic programs; and offer literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

    Second, the state has approved a budget that has increased funding for River Valley. Because of the increased state funding, some classes that were cut in 2008 will be reinstated. The new classes will allow students more options and opportunities. In addition, due to the new state budget, the Board does not anticipate returning to the voters for a new levy this fall. If that isnt good news, I dont know what is!

    Finally, with football season already here, you will soon notice the new football scoreboard. All the funds for the scoreboard will come from advertising costs, not taxpayer dollars. The tennis courts were refurbished this summer, with a third of the total cost coming from private donations.  This is great news for our student athletes.

    There is no better way for a superintendent of schools to begin a school year than with great news for both students and community. I look forward to another year of excellence, success, and progress. Please join me in supporting our students here at the Valley.


    Jim Peterson, Superintendent

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  • Superintendent's Update - Year End 2014-2015

    Posted by Mr. Jim Peterson at 6/16/2015
    graduation CONGRATULATIONS to our 131 River Valley High School graduates! The 2015 graduates earned $880,000 in scholarships.They led the school by example, with hard work and dedication. It is with great pride that we acknowledge them and thank them for the years of study and energy they put in to reach this day. All our best wishes go with them as they face their future with skill, enthusiasm, and intelligence.
    This is also a good time to thank our alumni for setting the bar so high. I hope you will always find ways to connect with River Valley, to be part of the RV community, and become active members of our alumni group. Be part of the proud Viking tradition!
    This school year has been one of wonderful accomplishments. I want to publicly thank every student, parent, teacher, staff member, and administrator for the sacrifices made, hours of work completed, exciting events organized, and celebrations held this year. I am so proud of the education provided here at River Valley, educating the whole child, and preparing them to love learning all their lives.
    Despite our budget constraints, aging buses, older technology, and limited elective courses, River Valley Local School District encourages and expects our youth to be accomplished students, passionate musicians and artists, and competitive athletes. It may not be easy, but it is important, and we will always put our kids first.
    I personally invite the community, alumni, faculty, and staff to continue to be involved, and to work together to strengthen the traditions of the past. As we look forward to a new school year, I urge you to keep in mind that here in the Valley, we are family. Have a wonderful summer.
    See you in August!
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  • Superintendent's Update - April 21, 2015

    Posted by Mr. Jim Peterson at 4/21/2015
    We've recently received the following letter from Brad Morrow, our new Buildings and Grounds Supervisor at River Valley. In the letter below he shares his observations as an RV alumnus, an RV parent, an RV tax payer and now a new employee in the school system. Please read below to learn more about his valuable insights and we encourage you to share with your friends.

    To the taxpayers of River Valley School District:
    My name is Brad Morrow and I am the Buildings and Grounds Supervisor at River Valley Schools. Many of you know me as I was raised in Caledonia and currently live in Waldo with my wife, Sheri. All of my family has all attended the River Valley school system.

    In May the school district is asking for a tax levy. I believe that I bring a very unique view to this issue. I am new to the school as an employee. Until July of 2014, I was just a parent and district taxpayer like you, and I too struggled with the levy issues being put before us. In July of 2014, I was hired to be the Buildings and Grounds Supervisor and my responsibilities became the high school and middle school campus, Heritage Elementary, Liberty Elementary, the bus garage, and the administration office. All physical assets fall under my supervision. I am responsible for all maintenance budgets and purchasing.

    I would like to take a minute and give you some figures.
    1. We have approximately 140 acres of mowable acreage including sports fields. We own and maintain a tractor with a 14’ flex mower and two 72” diesel zero turn mowers, and these in turn require maintenance.

    2. There are thousands of square feet of flat rubber roof and pitched shingle roof that are 12 years old and require patching and repairs as needed.

    3. The district has approximately $5,000,000 of HVAC equipment that has an extensive energy management system in it and must be attended to daily to maintain peak efficiency. Maintenance costs were approximately $50,000 this year alone. We've repaired/replaced two compressors in our chillers. We are at the point in the life cycle of these units that they could fail at anytime. We maintain a service contract to contain this cost as best we can.

    4. We have hundreds of lights and bulbs. We are changing bulbs almost daily in the buildings and grounds and have many different kinds of bulbs. We are attempting to convert as many as budgets will allow to LEDs to not only reduce lamp maintenance but energy usage. We will purchase over 600 lamps this year alone.

    5. We use auto scrubbers in the buildings to maintain the extreme amount of tile and vinyl hallways and floors. These, too, are 12+ years in age. We have done most of the repairs ourselves but parts alone can be very expensive. We will replace a transaxle in the scrubber at Liberty at a cost of $1,800 and we will replace it ourselves. The cost of a new auto scrubber can run over $7,000.

    6. The high school has three elevators and these require service and maintenance. The service cost on these units can run as high as $400 per hour and must be serviced quarterly. We have a service contract to contain these costs.

    7. We have thousands of square feet of parking lot that we spend approximately $25,000 a year sealing and repairing. This year the freeze was very hard on the pavement and I expect to not be able to seal as much due to the extensive repairs that will be needed. We also had an approximate cost of $10,000 for snow removal and salt.

    8. The River Valley district is very fortunate to have the music and athletic programs that we have. We have a beautiful auditorium that is the envy of most schools in the area. However, having an area like this requires maintenance. We spent over $1,000 on lighting replacement last year to be able to use it to its fullest ability. 

    9. The sport fields are fertilized and new material is added to maintain their playability as budgets allow.

    10. The all weather track is in need of sealing and striping at a cost of approximately $60,000. This must be done soon as possible or destructive de-lamination will begin. Then, we will be looking at having to replace it at a possible cost of $200,000.  This happened at the old River Valley High School and the track teams were not able to host home meets on the track.

    Please keep in mind the things you don’t see. The State has many requirements and inspections that keep your children safe. However, these also require upgrades and service. Systems that require things like batteries - on which we spent approximately $500 just this year. 
    I hope you believe me when I say, "I too have 'walked the fence' when it comes to tax levies," but had I known the facts, I don’t believe that I would have hesitated to vote yes. The administration here at River Valley is dedicated to giving the best education experience at the most efficient cost possible. The support staff goes beyond their “job” every day to save where they can. Every decision is made with cost and safety in mind to provide your children and you, the public, with the very best in education and facilities.

    Please remember that the levy is a PERMANENT IMPROVEMENT Levy and does not pay for salaries. The monies can only be used for assets that have a permanent life span of 5 or more years.

    If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to call my office at 740-725-5407 and I will be more than happy to talk to you.

    Thank you for your time,

    Brad Morrow, River Valley Buildings and Grounds Supervisor
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  • Superintendent's Update - March 13, 2015

    Posted by Mr. Jim Peterson at 3/13/2015

    Dear River Valley District Residents:

    During my two years as superintendent of River Valley Local Schools I have traveled throughout the district, meeting with residents and families.  I have heard many compliments, but also some concerns.  Changes in state testing mandates have caused additional stress for everyone.  Common core issues prompted members of the community to ask questions.  Change is always difficult, and decisions about those changes are just as difficult.  I hope that the parents, families, and community will trust us to be knowledgeable about the issues, open in our communications, and clear as to the expectations.

    Just as when the district and community confronted the environmental issues and made the transition from the old buildings to the new buildings, I hope we can face changes, challenges, budget issues, and educational achievement united as a community.  It is my strong desire for us, as residents of River Valley Local School System, to trust one another, work together for a common purpose, and support one another like family.
    I want to bring us all together.  This is a strong, vital community.  This is a large, diverse, and vibrant community.  This is a place we are proud to call home.  Even in the happiest of families, concerns are bound to arise.  Differences of opinion happen.  Just as we do in our families, let us decide to speak openly and honestly about any issues we may have, and work together to find solutions.
    I know we share common interests and priorities.  We want the very best for both our children and our community.  My goal is to create a River Valley family, built on good relationships and trust.  In order to do this, we must understand that all district decisions are made with the best interests of our students in mind.
    As superintendent, I will continue to work hard for this goal, and to represent River Valley Local Schools to the best of my ability.  Please feel free to contact me with your comments or concerns.  Let’s work together to be the very best that we can be in 2015 and beyond.


    James P. Peterson,

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  • Superintendent's Update - February 13, 2015

    Posted by James P. Peterson, Superintendent at 2/13/2015 7:30:00 PM
    Dear River Valley Family and Friends:

    As I write this memo the weather once again is becoming hazardous. When I make a decision to delay or close school, I always follow a process in which student and staff safety comes first. When the weather is questionable, I am on the roads early and I stay in constant contact with our transportation coordinator, our building and grounds supervisor, and the superintendents from nearby school districts. My decisions are only made after careful consideration for everyone's safety. Thank you for being flexible as we at River Valley work together to keep everyone safe.

    As I near the end of my second year as superintendent of River Valley Local School District, I am proud of the successes we have achieved together as a district. Our focus on student achievement has yielded positive results. Third grade students have met or surpassed the goals for the Third Grade Guarantee. Middle school student achievement scores have steadily improved. High school students have earned many scholarships for academic achievement. Our students excel in extracurricular activities, athletics, art, and music, have won numerous awards and titles. This could not have been accomplished without dedicated teachers and coaches. I am grateful to our wonderful staff, great students, parents, and grandparents, all of whom are committed to our educational programs.

    I know a lot of you have concerns with all the new state assessments. Our goal is simple, to educate children for life, not just create good test takers. Multiple assessments can take their toll on our students, and on our parents, teachers and staff. This stress also takes a toll on our budget, as most of these tests require new technology to complete. I just read today that there is discussion among our legislators which would allow our students to take the test this year without consequences. We do not want to over-test or stress out any of our students. Our commitment is for continuous improvement. Please continue to support your students and River Valley Local Schools as we work hard to teach beyond the tests, and help our students become lifelong learners. With your help, we will accomplish our mission.
    If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your child's teacher or building principal. Also, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am looking forward to working together to create a great future for our kids.


    James P. Peterson
    River Valley Local Schools
    197 Brocklesby Rd.
    Caledonia, Ohio 43314
    Phone 740-725-5401
    Fax 740-725-5499
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