BVEF empowers teachers to go beyond traditional classroom limits which enables students to innovate, lead, and learn for a successful future. For more than 30 years, the Foundation has supported Blue Valley schools with over $8.4 million in grants, scholarships, and special programs.
The Dr. David Benson Teacher of the Year Award was created by BVEF in 2004 to honor retiring BV Superintendent Dr. Benson. The awards were expanded in 2010 to include the BVEA Master Teacher of the Year and the district’s Kansas Master Teacher of the year finalists. Since 2005, these awards of $1,250 each have been generously funded by Commerce Bank. The 2023 awards are as follows:
Brandon Hawks Blue Valley Southwest
Katie Karst Overland Trail Elementary
Matt Christensen Blue Valley Southwest
Misty Dimitt Liberty View Elementary
The Innovative Educator Award was created with BVEF by Blue Valley North High School parents Ken Selzer and Deb Grimes to honor classroom educators using innovative and creative teaching practices. In 2014, the $2,500 award was expanded to honor two recipients.
Chris Ollig Blue Valley North
Kelley Tuel CAPS
Our young people facing an unprecedented mental health crisis, and Blue Valley is committed to supporting mental health and wellness at every stage in school and life. The district offers a comprehensive and effective K-12 mental health and wellness curriculum - and recognizes the need to do more.
BVEF partners with generous organizations and donors to fund vital mental health initiatives for students and staff that would otherwise remain good ideas.
BVEF collaborates with BV Student Support Services professionals including School Counselors, Social Workers and Psychologists to support impactful training for these crucial staff and to deliver effective programs for parents and caregivers in partnership with BV Well.
Through a generous partnership with Keep The Spark Alive and SPEAK UP, the Sources of Strength (SOS) program is funded in all 14 Blue Valley middle and high schools. SOS provides evidence-based prevention for suicide, violence, bullying and substance abuse by training, supporting, and empowering both peer leaders and caring adults to impact their world through the power of connection, hope, help and strength.
#GiveMe20, has been instrumental in helping to break the stigma surrounding mental health in our community. Addressing the impulsivity of teen suicide, #GiveMe20 asks the question “What if, instead of spending 20 minutes deciding to end your life, you spent that same time remembering to live it?”. #GiveMe20 workshops and creation of LifeBoxes filled with resources to navigate dark moments is saving lives.
Open to all in our community, the Wellness Walk is a special place where nature, mental health and wellness come together. Come enjoy a mindful walk immersed in nature to renew your senses and refresh your body and mind. The Wellness Walk was made possible through generous support from Keep the Spark Alive.
Located within the Wilderness Science Center grounds at: 5001 W 163rd Terrace, Overland Park, KS
BV Well is a parent group committed to offering support and education for fellow parents and caregivers in Blue Valley as they navigate mental health and wellness with their families. BVEF staff provide administrative and program support.
In 2023, the district partnered with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing to train 16 Blue Valley educators as Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Instructors. They will then train up to 720 educators and administrators over three years. BVEF is actively raising support to fund this $100K initiative and to date has secured more than half of the cost.
Blue Valley Educational Foundation introduced a new “Para-to-Teacher” program aimed to take away financial barriers for special education paraprofessionals to become full-time teachers.
The Blue Valley School District, like so many others, faces a shortage of special education teachers. “Ensuring the district has sufficient special education teachers is and continues to be a true challenge,” said Michael Rea of the Rea Family Foundation, which aims to support people with developmental disabilities. “At times, there isn’t a large enough pool of qualified special education teachers to fill positions.” The para-to-teacher program will provide $13,140 per teacher.
The Blue Valley Pantry helps solve two major community problems: hunger and lack of vocational opportunities for students who receive special education services in the Blue Valley School District.
The Blue Valley Food Pantry is a community food pantry that will be operated by students who receive special education services in the Blue Valley School District. In addition to feeding families in Blue Valley, the food pantry will be a job location dedicated to helping eligible high school students who are enrolled in Career Development Opportunities Program (CDOP) to develop job skills necessary for competitive employment.