A protest against Three Rivers Community Schools’ recent Pride flag ban is scheduled for 4 p.m. today, Monday, December 6 in the south parking lot of Three Rivers High School. “100 Allies for Acceptance,” organized by Andrew George and Riley Mains, will take place during the two hours before Monday night’s Three Rivers school board meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

Former Three Rivers Middle School teacher Russell Ball joins Keep Your Voice Down to talk about his recent resignation after Three Rivers Community Schools staff were asked to remove Pride flags from their classrooms due to an “external challenge.” Ball details the events leading up to his exit, what the flag represents to members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and why the flags should remain in classrooms not only in Three Rivers but around the world.

At the top of this week’s episode Alek and Doug address Monday’s troubling news that teachers within the Three Rivers Community Schools system were asked to remove Pride flags in their classrooms in response to an “external challenge” by an unidentified party.   

The hosts of Keep Your Voice Down are also joined by Sarah Lee, Director of Marketing Communications at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. The trio discusses Sarah’s role at KZCF, her upbringing in Malaysia and how she became deeply rooted in Kalamazoo, the importance of being “equity-minded” when addressing matters of social and racial injustice, the foundation’s efforts to support local journalism, and the story behind the formation of the Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative.

Students at Three Rivers Middle and High Schools will resume full face-to-face instruction this Wednesday, Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) Superintendent Ron Moag said Monday. In a letter to parents, Moag said the move is the result of a change in the rate of recent, new cases of COVID-19 in St. Joseph County. The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency (BHSJ) provides TRCS with updated pandemic statistics on at least a weekly basis, and Moag announced the move upon receiving a BHSJ report Monday.

Members of the Three Rivers Board of Education (BOE) heard 52 comments from the public at its online work session this week. Shortly after the start of Monday evening’s livestreamed evening, BOE Chair Erin Nowak read each previously submitted comment aloud to board members, Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) staff, and the public. All of the comments pertained to a BOE decision in February to again return to the hybrid instructional mode for middle and high school students.

In a reflection of statewide pressure to reopen winter athletic programs and other school activities, the Three Rivers Board of Education (BOE) adopted a resolution in support of lifting statewide restrictions that are currently in place. The resolution asks Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to approve restarting school winter athletic programs. BOE President Erin Nowak clarified that the resolution would not actually reopen Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) sports programs and other extracurricular activities, but instead would ask the state to lift restrictions.

Dates for reopening Three Rivers Community Schools buildings to students have changed following a Board of Education meeting Monday. Pre-K through fifth grade students will now begin attending school in person next Tuesday, January 19. Middle and high school students will return to hybrid learning as previously planned on Monday, January 25. However, they will now return to full face-to-face instruction two weeks later, on February 8. Also at Monday’s meeting, new school board members were welcomed, new officers were chosen, and Superintendent Ron Moag provided an update on current capital improvements.

During a special meeting Monday, the Three Rivers Board of Education (BOE) voted to approve a plan to reopen schools to in-person and hybrid instruction on January 25. After discussion that continued from a previous meeting on December 7, BOE members decided not to approve a modification of the Three Rivers Community Schools’ (TRCS) “Return to Learn” (R2L) plan that would have continued all-virtual remote instruction for middle and high school students beyond the start of the next semester.

At a work session Monday evening, members of the Three Rivers Board of Education (BOE) and Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) administrators weighed options for returning to school following the New Year. After some discussion, the BOE tabled any final decisions on the matter pending a review and clarification of further options by administrators. Further discussion will take place at a special meeting next Monday, December 14, scheduled at 6 p.m. for the purpose of reviewing an annual TRCS budget audit.

Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) announced this afternoon that all school buildings will remain closed to in-person instruction into January. In response to a pandemic health order issued earlier this month by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), TRCS began fully conducting instruction for all in-person and hybrid students through online streaming. That closure was scheduled to last through the expiration of the HHS order, which occurs on December 8.

During a special meeting Thursday, the Board of Education (BOE) said it found Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) Superintendent Ron Moag to be “effective.” The statement came at the end of a closed session that lasted well beyond two hours. Thursday’s meeting concluded a two-meeting process wherein BOE members conducted Moag’s annual performance evaluation, facilitated by Rod Green of the Michigan Association of School Boards. During closing comments, BOE members also discussed the status and future of online instruction in the district.

With additional closure orders in place and pandemic case numbers continuing to spread, Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) announced on Wednesday evening that it plans to close additional school buildings later this week. On Sunday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new order that required high schools around the state to close. TRCS subsequently closed the middle and high schools to in-person instruction on Monday, taking all classes to a virtual setting. Elementary schools will now also be subject to closure.

At a regular Board of Education (BOE) meeting Monday evening, Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) principals and administrators discussed current performance amid ongoing pandemic measures. Through a series of presentations led by TRCS Curriculum Director Nikki Nash, principals from each of the TRCS buildings discussed where current performance measurements stand among students, and what measures they are taking to improve student engagement and results.

In response to a directive by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Three Rivers Community Schools announced it will be closing Three Rivers High School and Three Rivers Middle School starting this Wednesday and continuing through December 8. In a Monday press release, TRCS Superintendent Ron Moag said school will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, November 17, to allow teachers and staff time to prepare for a transition. Virtual instruction for students affected by the closure will commence Wednesday.

At a special meeting Thursday, the Three Rivers Board of Education (BOE) began an annual evaluation for Superintendent Ron Moag. Evaluation-related activities took place in closed session, and no action was taken pertaining to the evaluation. The purpose of the first meeting was for Moag to present a portfolio of his work and accomplishments. A follow-up meeting will conclude the evaluation process. Also at Thursday’s meeting, a pay increase vote was retaken to correct a conflict-of-interest error in a previous vote on Monday. In other TRCS news, two schools reported positive COVID-19 cases on Thursday.