Superintendent's Messages

From the Desk of Superintendent Johnson

wendywebThe following articles are the Superintendent's messages to employees of the Kuna School District. These messages are sent frequently during the school year and include the following sections: Celebrations, Updates, Professional Opportunities, and Rumor Mill. Other messages are sent out as needed and may be included here.

Superintendent Update November 17, 2017

 

 Kuna School District Updateksd1
Inspiring each student to become a lifelong learner and a contributing, responsible citizen

Nov. 17, 2017

“The leader’s job isn’t to have all of the ideas. The leader’s job is to make sure the ideas are heard and the best one wins.” – Chris Hawker

Team,

Last night I had the privilege of judging the student talent show held at Kuna High School. The variety and depth of student talent made my job as a judge incredibly difficult. The students who coordinated and facilitated the event as well as the students who performed during the event were remarkable, and these students reminded me of my purpose While it would be easy for me to look back at this month and see only the negative, these talented students reminded me how important it is for all of us to look deeper at all of the amazing things that are happening in the Kuna School District because of all of the amazing people who are dedicated to this great district.

During the talent show last night, I was also reminded of a very important lesson by a student named Delilah. In the midst of her singing, Delilah’s musical accompaniment stopped. She stood there for a moment and then quickly finished singing her lovely song without the music. The crowd went wild at the end of her song because of the courage she had to finish. When the music stopped, it would have been easy for her to put her head in her hands and run off the stage in embarrassment; rather, Delilah reminded us all that we can still sing without music.

I know that the changes we are currently working on may stop your music, but I challenge all of you to continue to sing. May you use the time you have next week to rest and rejuvenate so as to reawaken your voice. Happy Thanksgiving!

In service,

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Board Approves Recommendations from Design Solution Team
Meeting last spring through early fall, the Design Solution Team made three recommendations to the school board at the Oct. 10 school board meeting. In their board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14, the Trustees approved the following plan:

 

Elementary Plan

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Long Term Goal (timeline TBD): convert all elementary schools into K-5 neighborhood schools with Science Technology Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) pathways included in all schools.

Note: Given the investment needed to convert Hubbard from a school constructed to house primary-aged children to a school that would also include grades 4-5, a large financial investment would have to be made to make Hubbard accessible for grades 4-5 students. As schools are ready and the cost is affordable, we will implement a STEAM strand in all elementary schools in the district.

Short Term Plan (2017- 2018): keep Hubbard serving grades K-3, keep Indian Creek serving grades K-3 and have both primary schools feed into Ross which will serve grades 4-5.

Note: the 4 classroom additions to Reed and Silver Trail Elementary Schools are in the beginning stages of the planning and zoning approval process which will take from now until around January 2019 to complete. Construction should begin as soon as schools is out this summer.

Decisions Still Needed: Where will our developmental preschool be located?

Note: we will wait to make a recommendation as to where our developmental preschool will be located until after the rezoning team has finalized their work.

 Middle School Plan
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Long Term Goal (2018-2019): two middle schools to be divided by attendance zones that would provide the same programs at each school and  flexible, “project-based learning space” as currently exists at KMS. Two distinct athletic programs would exist.

Note: the classroom and kitchen additions to Teed are in the beginning stages of the planning and zoning approval process which will take from now until around July 2019 to complete. Construction should begin as soon as schools is out this summer.

Short Term Plan (2017- 2018): attendance zones will be implemented and 6th grade students will attend middle school. We will have one middle school sports program drawing from both schools. The Synergy program will be housed at Teed and the Dual Language and Extended Resource will be housed at KMS.

Decisions Still Needed: Where will the middle school TLC program be housed? How will we accommodate students next school year given that the additions will not be complete until fall 2018?

High​ ​School Plan
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Long Term Goal: two comprehensive high schools will be divided by attendance zones with some programs existing at both schools and other programs such as Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses serving to complement one another. Two distinct athletic programs would exist.

  • Phase 1 (2020-2021): the new high school would open with a focus on specialized instructional spaces for Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses but also house general ed core courses. While attendance boundaries would be in place, students will be able to transfer back and forth between KHS and the new high school based on course offerings. One athletic program would exist under Kuna High School and would be open to students at all KSD high schools.
    • CTE courses identified as priorities for phase one of the new school are as follows:
      1. Health Sciences
      2. Electronics
      3. Pre-Engineering/Construction
      4. Diesel Tech
      5. Collision Repair
      6. Auto Tech
  • Phase 2 (TBD): the focus of the next phase would be to add  the core infrastructure such as gymnasium, kitchen, etc. as well as more classroom and CTE space.

Short Term Plan (2018 - 2019): the multipurpose athletic space addition should be ready for student access around October 2018. Additionally, the school board has authorized the purchased an additional portable to offset the growth for the 2018-19 school year.

Decisions Still Needed: What will the physical design of the new high school look like?

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Other Solution Teams Make Progress this Month
With the approval of the program design on Tuesday, the Rezoning and Staffing Solution Teams were able to move forward with their work. 

Rezoning Solution Team
The primary work of this team is to review and adjust the elementary attendance zones and create middle and high school attendance zones. They presented a draft of three different options to the KSD Board of Trustees last week and will be organizing several opportunities for all stakeholders to give input before making their recommendation to the school board in January.

Staffing Solution Team
The purpose of this team’s work is to create a process that answers this question: How will we equitably staff all of our schools next year? The team is in the process of reviewing several options against the standards and hopes to have the process identified before Christmas break.

Interim Principal Hired at Ross
Bill Deakins has been selected to serve as the interim principal for Ross Elementary. Mr. Deakins comes to us with 47 years experience and is a respected educational leader in the area. Most recently Bill was Principal of Calvary Christian School, and before that, he opened Endeavor Elementary in Nampa. He was also a long time leader of Park Ridge Elementary School. “Ross has some amazing things going on,” he said after his first day on the job.

KHS Student Artwork Donations Raises Almost $500 for ISBA Scholarship Fund
KHS student art work took center stage at last week’s Idaho School Board Association’s Scholarship Fund Auction. Coordinated by KHS art teacher Lisa Hunter, KHS art students donated drawings and pottery that they created. Additionally, CTE department chair Michelle Graves donated a basket of Kuna “swag” on behalf of the CTE department. In total, the donations raised almost $500 for the ISBA Scholarship fund.

keaKuna Education Association Update - President​ ​Shelley​ ​Hopkins
The KEA Christmas party (and Dec. General Meeting) will be held at KMS on Thursday, December 14th. During this meeting we will be voting on two important topics, not to mention food, drinks, friends, and prizes!! Speaking of the Holidays, this can be a stressful time of year for many of us. The new Employee Assistance Plan can help! Access this link for information on how to take advantage of this wonderful, FREE opportunity. As you know, one way to reduce the stress in life is to stay organized, so be sure to download the KEA Google Calendar (linked here) to get meeting reminders and other event updates throughout the year!

And here’s some good news! The Idaho Legislature has unanimously passed all 7 of the current education bills - one of which secures $61.9 million for the third year funding of the Career Ladder and another provides a 4.1% increase in discretionary funding to help districts offset rising healthcare costs.

Lastly, do you know an educator, paraprofessional, support staff, or volunteer who goes above and beyond? Are you inspired to give that person some serious recognition for everything they do? Check out the IEA awards found at this link and nominate your educator crush today!

On behalf of myself and the rest of the KEA Exec board - have a relaxing and restful Thanksgiving break! We look forward to celebrating our hard work and the holidays on December 14th with everyone!

The Kuna Way Awards
Please help me to celebrate our colleagues who are examples of practicing the Kuna Way. If you know of someone who should receive this award, please nominate this person by sending an email to Cheri Carr.

November Kuna Way Awards

Putting kids first and doing whatever it takes to help students succeed

Initial Point High School Staff
“I would like to spotlight my whole team for doing whatever it takes to help students succeed. Staff is meeting with students before, during lunch and after school to provide more support, staff is contacting parents in the evenings to make sure they are up to speed on their student's progress and staff has made themselves available to students after hours through Schoology to assist with coursework.”

Kailyn Dean, Student Teacher at Hubbard
“Kailyn Dean has been my student teacher this year and has enhanced our classroom in every way. She even stepped in when I was VERY unexpectedly hospitalized and helped our very difficult class stay on track. She did all of this with a smile and I am so very grateful she is becoming an educator.”

Martin Peterson (Pete), Custodian at Crimson Point
“Not only does Pete do an amazing job of keeping our school in tip top condition. Pete has taken the time to build a relationship with a 1st grade student who has struggled. Mr. Pete checks in daily with this student to say hi and also at the student’s request, Mr. Pete has allowed this student to earn reward time with him. Pete has gone out of his way to support the classroom teacher and the student.”

Collaborating to solve problems, to make decisions, to reach win-win decisions and to continuously improve to make our system better for kids

Melissa Nielson - Silver Trail Teacher
“We had a teacher who was out with a sick kid and no sub to cover her class. Melissa brought all of the teachers' students (including desks) into her classroom and taught 50 2nd graders for the day!”

Leading from where you are

Valerie Sands, Para at Hubbard
“No matter what might be going on in her crazy day or her life outside of school, Val is always thinking about her students first. She is always trying to find the best way to support them, even if that means she is working harder and volunteering more of her personal time to be here. She is heading up our PBIS team with Josh, and she makes sure that we all have a voice and that we are working towards the goal that is best for our students. She is not afraid to ask questions and make her voice heard if she feels something is in need of improvement. She makes a point to help everyone when it comes to behavioral issues because that is something she is very well versed in. She leads us right from where she is. She is someone who shows professionalism everyday with how she treats our students and how she treats her co-workers. There is nothing that she won't do to be there for us and for our kids. Val is one of the first people to ask you how you are each day and say hello. She is such a huge part of our school culture, and we are so grateful for her!”

Working hard and having fun together

Kari Tolbert, Ross Office Manager
“Kari is the glue that holds our school together and she does it with a smile on her face and keeps us all laughing and happy everyday! What would we do without her? Thanks Kari!”

Tiffany Jones, Ross Secretary
“Tiffany has been keeping the staff morale up at Ross by coordinating all kinds of staff parties and mood boosters. We couldn’t have survived without her. Thanks Tiffany!”

Taking care of each other and ourselves

Ron Owen, Custodian at Hubbard
“For spending extra time cleaning my class and sanitizing desks as the flu has been going around. He already works so hard to keep the school clean. Thanks for doing extra cleaning to help stop the spread of germs. He has also helped me with many extra projects here and there to help implement flexible seating in my class. Such as: raising desks, making kneeling tables, moving tables in, etc. Thanks for going above and beyond to help students succeed by giving them a variety of areas to sit/work!”

Lisa Gamboa, Librarian at Hubbard
“Lisa Gamboa is our librarian and she is always so positive and thinking of fun and exciting ways to motivate kids and get them excited to learn. She is also very helpful. I appreciate her willingness to help staff and students with a smile on her face.”

Preserving our professional capital and promoting professionalism

Brandy Roberts, Teacher at Teed
“Brandy has taken over our Schoology implementation and has planned both regular professional development and "just-in-time" help for her fellow teachers. Brandy has an awesome attitude and keeps us smiling as we learn all of this new stuff!”

rumor Rumor Mill
Have You Heard a Rumor and Want to Know the Answer? Post your question on our website!

It is easy for rumors to get started in light of all the questions and concerns employees and parents have regarding the Kuna School District. If you've heard a rumor that you'd like to get an "official" response on, we encourage you visit the "Rumors, Questions and Feedback" link on our website.

Q. Why is it taking so long to make decisions about next year’s staffing?

A. Please know that while we may be taking time to think through our challenges together, it is our district’s philosophy to work collaboratively to solve problems. While collaborative work often takes more time than a top-down approach, the results are much better because more people’s talents are involved in the outcome.

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Kuna Mission and Vision

little-professorMission

The Kuna School District inspires each student to become a lifelong learner and a contributing, responsible citizen.

Vision

Working together with parents, community resources and educators, each student who graduates from the Kuna School District will have the knowledge and skills necessary to be able to have the future he/she desires.