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 January 12, 2018

 

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

January 12, 2018

“With every ending comes a new beginning.” – William Bridges

Team,

Happy 2018 to all of you! I hope each of you had a restful and enjoyable holiday break. I know many of you returned to work with a lot on your mind as you ponder what 2018 means for you. With all of the changes coming, I understand the apprehension you may have as you look forward to next school year. One thing I know for sure is that even though change brings fear, change also brings possibilities.

When I was a sophomore in high school, our varsity basketball coach moved me from the JV team to the varsity team. While this move was exciting to me, I was also sad because I would no longer be playing with the girls I had played ball with since sixth grade. I had to learn a whole new team of girls who were one to two years older than I with more experience playing at the varsity level than I did.

Just like any change, I had challenges that year, but I also had the joy of learning from senior girls who mentored me the whole season. While we all knew that the season would come to an end and that our team would change once again, we didn’t let this knowledge impact our teamwork and found ourselves qualifying for state.

Just as worried as I was at the beginning of the season, I found myself worried again at the end of the season. We had done well my sophomore year, and I was worried that without our senior girls we would not be able to ever be as good again. Of course, this was not the case. New seniors took on leadership roles and even though our team was different, over the course of the next season, we learned to come together as a team. And the cycle repeated itself until I was a senior. I learned from my previous teammates to lead my team and mentor the younger players.

Rezoning our attendance boundaries, opening a second middle school, and moving 6th grade to middle school, brings lots of change, but it also brings lots of possibilities. Our teams--whether they be sporting teams, grade level teams, department teams or leadership teams--are different every year. Regardless of this knowledge, we continue to give 100% in the current year and find ourselves leading new challenges in the years to come. With each ending, comes a new beginning that shapes us into stronger people.

In these times of change, look for the opportunities to lead and mentor while new teams of students and staff come together to build the foundation of the future for generations to come.

In service,

wendy signature


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School Board Votes on New Attendance Zones

At the board meeting on Tuesday night, the board approved new attendance zones for elementary and middle schools in our district. I am very grateful to the many people who served on the Zoning Solution Team. The solution team that designed these zones recommended them based on future growth, social economic blend, and school capacities. 

An interactive map will be available on our website by the end of next week which allows parents to enter their address to get their zone. In addition to this tool, we will send a letter to each family who will have a change in their attendance zone notifying them of the change. Letters will be mailed on January 29.

I’ve included links to the the maps of our new elementary and middle school zones.

Staffing Solution Team Finished Their Work 

With Tuesday’s decision finalized, our administrators can begin the process of staff placement for the 2018-19 school year. The Staffing Solution Team comprised a variety of roles within the district. They created the staffing survey that is due today. If anyone struggled to complete the staffing survey, please contact David Reinhart who can assist you.

The team also created the following standards to guide the administrative team as they work together to finalize staffing for the 2018-19 school year:

● Fair & Equitable
● Best for Children
● Best for Staff
● Legal
● Timely
● Can Replicate (when the next high school opens)
● Transparent
● Practical
● Logical

Timeline

Feb. 1-28 Open Enrollment Window
Feb. 5-28 Administrative Team Begins Reviewing Survey Results and Creates Initial Placements
Feb. 22 Elementary Student Showcase Night
TBD Middle schools Host “Ready, Set, Go” Event for 5th and 6th Grade Students
March 5 Open Enrollment Requests Reviewed by Administrators
March 12 Using Enrollment Estimates, Adjust Staffing Placements as Needed
March 23 Announce staffing placements for 2018-19

KSD Named in Lawsuit

Recently, we were named as defendants in a case involving our former Kuna Middle School Office Manager, Melissa Whitely. As with any negative publicity, much speculation will be expressed on social media and in the community. Please do not comment publicly as any comments can be misunderstood and may make the district and/or you legally vulnerable.

keaKuna Education Association Update - President​ ​Shelley​ ​Hopkins
Do you have student loans? Are you interested in learning about and starting the process of Federal Student Loan Forgiveness? Attend the KEA’s “Degrees Not Debt” Professional Development class! It will be held on February 15 from 4-7pm (location tbd) and dinner will be provided! This is a FREE PD event available to all KEA members. Any potential-members are welcome to attend with the addition of a $100 registration fee. (One can also sign up to join the KEA at the event and the $100 fee will be waived) Check future KEA updates for the registration link and additional information!

Secondly, the next KEA general meeting is just around the corner! Join other passionate educators as we discuss potential policy changes, upcoming professional development opportunities, and other exciting IEA updates.

Lastly, here’s a really neat website called Better Lesson Plans - it’s partnered with the National Education Association (NEA) and contains hundreds of FREE, K-12 Common Core aligned math, ELA, and Science lessons plans (documents and videos included). If you’re looking for help or inspiration, check it out and expand your teaching toolbox.

As always, thank you for supporting teachers, students, and those who fight for education. On behalf of the whole executive board, I thank you for your continued solidarity.

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.

December Kuna Way Awards

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

Renee Angle, Teacher at Teed
○ “I'm observing Renee Angle's classroom while she is doing a 4th grade writing lesson. At the beginning of the lesson, her student Camron Pedigo, who is in the burn unit in Salt Lake city, called into her class on her iphone. Renee gave the phone to another student. Cameron listened in to the lesson, and then practiced his writing while the other student in the class was holding the phone and answering Camron's questions. It was a beautiful thing to witness, and seamless use of technology without any distraction to her class!”

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

Jessica Young, Teacher at Ross
○ “We would like to recognize Jessica Young and Brandi Nelson for their collaborative leadership in putting together a terrific school-wide student recognition plan that will reinforce students for success in academics, service to others, involvement in school activities, and positive interactions with others.”

Brandi Nelson, Paraprofessional at Ross
○ “We would like to recognize Brandi Nelson and Jessica Young for their collaborative leadership in putting together a terrific school-wide student recognition plan that will reinforce students for success in academics, service to others, involvement in school activities, and positive interactions with others.”

Leading from where you are

Lalli Martinez, Teacher at Reed
○ “Lalli Martinez organized and led the dual language staff in preparing for our annual Down Home Country Christmas. When we hit a snag a few days before and had to change locations she stepped up and handled it like a champ. We had more people come and watch (no room left in the gym) than ever before and completely sold out of tacos, tamales and baked goods.”

Taking care of each other and ourselves

Jami Carney, Teacher at KHS
○ “Jami took all of the girls in the KHS ERR, TLC and Transition programs as well as all of the girls in the KMS ERR rooms to the Paul Mitchell Beauty School for a day of pampering. They also had a luncheon for the girls after they had their hair and makeup done. It was a really fun day and a day to help everyone remember why we do what we do!”

Preserving our professional capital and promoting professionalism

Eileen O’Shea, Administrator of Student & Community Services
○ “Eileen went out of her way to be interviewed to help other Kuna staff members further their education. When asked to be interviewed, not only did Eileen agree to answer questions, she traveled to a school due to time constraints. Her ability to help others and maintain professionalism is admirable and appreciated!”

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. Will seniority be a priority in staffing placements?

A. Seniority is definitely a consideration but the clear message from the Staffing Solution Team was that we need a balance of experience levels at all of our schools. Our community clearly stated in multiple surveys that they want equity among all of our schools; therefore, we don’t want to have all of the experienced teachers at one school and all of the new staff at another school.

Q. I heard that KMS teachers are requesting 6th grade positions so they will get the building they want. This doesn’t seem fair to the existing 6th grade teachers.

A. While we haven’t reviewed the staffing survey results yet, we are uncertain if this rumor is true or false. However, we want to reiterate that we want a balance of experience levels at all of our schools, this includes experience teaching a grade level or content area.

Archived Superintendent Messages

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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.