The Blue Valley Schools Podcast

The Blue Valley Schools Podcast

This podcast is your window into the work happening behind the scenes of Blue Valley Schools. Superintendent Dr. Tonya Merrigan, along with our amazing district leaders, will host a variety of guests to talk about a variety of subjects. It's a conversation about what we're doing here at Blue Valley Schools and how we're striving to make every day a #BVBestDay for our students, staff and community.


November 7, 2023 24 mins

Join host Dr. Tonya Merrigan as our #BVUnmuted series continues with a focus on academic success in Blue Valley!

Guests Kelly Ott and Adam Wade from Academic Services discuss what success looks like in classrooms at the elementary, middle and high school levels.


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Join host Amy Farthing as we discuss the kindergarten experience for students, teachers and families in Blue Valley!


  • Christy Taylor, Indian Valley Elementary teacher with close to 40 years experience teaching kindergarten
  • Hannah Battleson, IVE parent of a current kindergarten student and former educator
  • Ayla Battleson, current IVE kindergartener in Mrs. Taylor's class

Listen in as Amy, Christy, Hannah and...

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Join host Dr. Tonya Merrigan as she talks with Susan Tideman (Executive Director) and Lisa Austin (Communications Manager) from the Blue Valley Educational Foundation.

Hear about some of BVEF's upcoming events, exciting fundraisers and learn how you can make an impact on our schools, staff members and community.


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"One of the things that I hope people are hearing is how much planning and thought goes in to decisions around inclement weather... safety is really what we're looking at. We know it's an inconvenience if we have to cancel school, but if it's not safe to come to school because of the weather, we're going to cancel every single time." - Dr. Tonya Merrigan, Superintendent 

You might have heard t...

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January 6, 2023 14 mins

"It's amazing the number of cyber attacks that come in from outside. We've weathered those very well and it's because we have great systems and up-to-date equipment... Bond funds allow us to refresh this technology, ensure a high level of access for our kids, and maintain our network systems so it's a safe experience." - Kelly Ott, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Innovation

Technology ...

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November 14, 2022 21 mins

"We try to make all our security measures work together - put them together like a puzzle - so they offer the best protection for our students and staff." -  Dan Carney, Director of Safety and Security 

There is no single safety measure that will keep Blue Valley safe. But there are many layers of security that, when used effectively, can continue to reduce the risk of injury and violence. This episode about Bond...

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November 3, 2022 16 mins

"I think most people are surprised when they hear that the average age of Blue Valley buildings is 29 years... If you have owned a home, you've probably had to replace a roof or an air conditioner... This bond helps us do that." Jake Slobodnik, Executive Director of Operations 

As Blue Valley grows and our buildings age, we need to find ways to build new schools and fix existing facilities. Bond 2023 is a ch...

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"When you walk in to Leawood Elementary, you're going to see so many familiar faces because it's our parents who have stepped up and are in here helping us day after day." - Jenny Hayes, principal at Leawood Elementary

It's one thing to build a school building, but it's an entirely different task to build a school community and culture. In our first BV Unmuted podcast of the 2022-23 school yea...

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June 2, 2022 9 mins

"I'm looking forward to meeting my new teachers and classmates... and I'm also looking forward to my elective classes and joining clubs in middle school." - Amber Gao, 5th grade student 

For many students, the end of the school year is also the end of an era. Our 5th grade and 8th grade kiddos will be moving up to middle school and high school, while our 12th graders will be moving on to new adventures ...

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April 19, 2022 16 mins

"I think the lifeblood of our school system is the athletics and activities side of things... it's an important aspect of the development of our kids. It's learning how to work with others and have big wins or big defeats because that's life. We're teaching them life lessons on a daily basis." - Anthony Orrick, head football coach at BVSW. 

Athletics and activities provide opportunities to nea...

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March 21, 2022 27 mins

"I get to see my fifth graders every single day... and that means they retain what we do really well. I had a fifth grader tell me 'I just want you to know that I look forward to this class all day!' and I replied 'Well, that's really cool, because we get to do it again tomorrow!'" - Michael Arbucci, strings teacher

Blue Valley’s performing arts program is one place where students can fi...

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February 16, 2022 24 mins

"We need to be careful to be consumers of technology, but not let technology consume us."
- Heather Jones, Blue Valley parent

The internet is a wonderful place for learning and entertainment, but like the world around us, it can pose dangers if precautions are not taken. Through digital citizenship, Blue Valley students learn how to responsibly use technology to learn anytime, anywhere, and how to stay safe ...

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January 21, 2022 18 mins

The Learning Connection will be a resource for all families, from those with children entering early learning to those with graduating seniors. The resource allows Blue Valley to engage with the community on a regular basis and serve as an additional platform to expand families’ knowledge about the district’s learning and teaching initiatives and operations. 

In this episode of BV unmuted, Executive Director of Curriculum,...

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December 2, 2021 13 mins

"I think with all of the arts, it's learning to perform and to handle performance anxiety, which is a natural anxiety to have... that's normal. So normalizing that anxiety and having a professional who knows how to help you with that and coach you through that. That's an amazing skill to have because we all face that in life." - Janelle Brower, Performing Arts Coordinator

In this episode of BV unm...

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"This is a year, if you will, of recovery. There may be times that our curriculum calls for certain skills to be taught. But we may realize... that our students aren't quite ready for that content. We're trying to communicate the need to slow down and back up." - Dr. Katie Collier, Deputy Superintendent.

Sometimes, it's important to slow down before you speed up. This is especially important in ad...

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"Quite frankly, I've worked in this community for 30 years and I've never seen anything like it - people coming together, for a common cause, led by students." - Tim DeWeese, Director of Johnson County Mental Health Center.

Our 2021-22 season of BV unmuted starts off with one of the most important topics out there - student mental health. Blue Valley seniors and #ZeroReasonsWhy members Anna Hamilton an...

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"I'm excited to get everybody back for sporting events and all that stuff. I'm really excited to get back to the normalcy of school. I feel like everyone deserves to have that high school experience." - Gage Roach, junior at Blue Valley West.

We close out our third season of the Blue Valley Schools podcast with a look back at a school year unlike any other. Three BV high school students - BVNW senior E...

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January 5, 2021 29 mins

"With COVID-19, you get exposed and may not have symptoms for up to 14 days. You can spend 14 days potentially exposing everyone wherever you go. With the flu, often times it's only 2 days from when you get exposed to when you show symptoms and get sick." - Jenna Miller, MD, FAAP 

We've had a lot of questions from our listeners about the differences between COVID-19 and the seasonal flu. In this episode...

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November 24, 2020 22 mins

"We've had a lot of great questions from our parents, students and staff regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and these questions are important... We wanted to hit them head-on and share the results with you." - Dr. Chris Jenson, Blue Valley Medical Consultant

When circumstances are changing fast, sometimes you've got to change gears. That's why we've teamed up with Blue Valley's very own Dr....

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"We need to ensure staffing needs are met, we need to look at master schedules, and we're going to go hand-by-hand through all of our student's schedules to make sure things are right. In order to get all of that done and still give our staff a winter break, we need time to get that accomplished." - Kelly Ott, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Innovation

The deadline is quickly approaching for fa...

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