Superintendent Update January 28, 2016


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

January 28, 2016



sm mlkOn January 18, a former student of mine shared this image with me. She said it reminded her of me as the quote used to be on my wall in my classroom. Now the quote is on the wall in my office. The full quote actually reads, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

By now, you have heard the amazing news that longstanding Kuna residents LaVar and Wilma Thornton generously donated 100 acres of their land to the Kuna School District. They donated the land to ensure that our district would be able to grow and plan for the future. Their donation leaves a legacy for many generations of future Kuna School District.

Even before the land donation, LaVar and Wilma, their parents and their children have a long history of giving much to the community they love. The land that has been entrusted to the school district originally belonged to Wilma’s parents who made it their homestead. Wilma’s father arrived in Kuna from Germany as part of the original homesteaders to the area, and he built her family’s home on the land.

After LaVar and Wilma graduated from Kuna High School in 1950, Wilma went to college to become an educator and LaVar farmed. Wilma returned to Kuna to marry LaVar and to teach home economics at Kuna High School. Soon after, the Thorntons purchased the acreage from Wilma’s mother, and together LaVar and Wilma farmed the land successfully for many years.

A history of service to the community is in their example. LaVar’s father, Wilma and their daughter Connie Roberts all served on the Kuna School District Board of Trustees. Additionally, they have been active in leading the charge to get a Boys and Girls Club in Kuna.

As with any donation, especially one of this magnitude, the district is committed to honor the Thortons’ wishes that a school be built on the site. Additionally, should a high school be built on the site, the Thorntons have included the stipulation that at least one acre of the land be set aside for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to construct a seminary building. The final commitment is that the district will reimburse the Thortons for the cost of drilling the well on the donated property.

The gift came to our community just as Kuna has started to once again rapidly grow and will give us land to grow with the community to meet the educational needs of our children. Student population has exploded at our middle and high school with our elementary schools starting to fill as well. Clearly, this donation comes at a great time for our district, community, and kids. As the largest land donation to any school district in the history of Idaho, we are excited to be a part of history. No predetermined plans exist yet for the land, just a requirement from the Thorntons that a school is built. We will be working with staff and community members to develop a master plan that meets the needs of our students for years to come.

We all have our own ways of contributing to the good of our youth and community. As I walk through our schools, I’m grateful to the many parents I see volunteering, the talent of each staff member working to make our district better for kids, and community members who support us with their words and actions.

It takes all of us to educate each of our over 5,300 students and counting. All of you have invested your money, time, and talent, making the Kuna School District the best place for our children to receive a world class education. My special thank you to the Thornton family and to each of you for living the Kuna Way everyday!

In service,

wendy signature


updatelogo Updates

sm chargeThe Post-Winter Blahs

The winter months often bring many challenges to those of us in the helping professions. Our patience levels are low, stress is high, people have more illnesses, all of which causes us to have the tendency to be grumpy. (I also think there’s a correlation with our levels of grumpiness and when the legislature is in session but I have no hard evidence from which to prove it.)

When our energy levels are taxed, it is easier to believe the worst in a situation or person than to practice positive intentions with one another.

Sam Parker from the organization Inspire Your People explains that when he gets into a funk and starts giving way to his negative thoughts, he finds it helpful to remember the following four things:

1. I’m a grown up.
2. It’s not about me.
3. It won’t last forever.
4. I want to make good things happen for other people which in turn will make good things happen for me.

Mr. Parker has some great advice, and I would add to his list a fifth item:

5. Turn to one another for support, don’t turn away from one another.

The work we do as educators is very difficult and we need one another in order to make sure that our children have a world-class education. When you see that you or your colleague has a case of the winter blahs, encourage him, make her laugh, go for a quick walk and remind him that this will pass because the good we do for children leaves a legacy. Make the legacy a great one!


Legislative Updates

The 2016 legislative session is still early so not many education related topics have yet been addressed. Many educational legislative experts believe that the legislators will continue to fund the career ladder for teachers as well as return operational funding levels to 2009 levels. Two other interesting pieces of legislation to keep an eye on are funding for college and career counselors and the reading intervention/all day kindergarten proposed legislation. I will keep you updated and informed as I know more.

Like Us on Facebook and Instagram and Follow Us on Twitter

The school district facebook page has 117 new followers this month! If you haven’t connected with the district via social media, please follow the Kuna Jt. School District on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you have information you would like to share on the page please let Cheri Carr, Brittany Regli or Dave Reinhart know.

kuna wayThe Kuna Way Awards
Please help us to celebrate our colleagues and community partners who are examples of practicing the Kuna Way. If you know of someone who should receive this award, please nominate this person via the website feedback link.





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

Yvonna Bocci and Brenda Saxton from the Transportation Department, for providing support to Indian Creek students and staff.

“On Thursday afternoon we called at 1:10 and asked if we could get some buses to take our kids to the 4th St. Gym and needed the bus within the next ten minutes. Yvonna did not even hesitate and started making arrangements. When we realized our students had already started walking we called back to cancel that request, but asked for a bus to return our remaining students back to Indian Creek. Again, she did not hesitate or become annoyed at our need for help so last minute! And to top it all off, Supervisor Saxton herself drove the bus to come and pick up our students!”

Supervisor Ben Gleaton and Custodial Department, for providing extra support.

“We just found out that a student was at school yesterday with MRSA. Ben jumped on it and brought over 5 or 6 folks to quickly and thoroughly clean and sanitize the whole building. It was amazing to see them jump in so quickly and take care of it!”

Deb Bradburn, for facilitating and reviewing the senior project.

“She is working so hard on this huge, important work and never gets discouraged!”

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

KinderGrow teachers and para, for all your extra support to the program.

“They often give up their lunches to serve snacks to the incoming kindergartners, take extra time to walk students to their classes, and offer to cover in areas where the need is. The KinderGrow staff is always flexible and willing to do whatever it takes to put kids first!”

Lyla Folkins, for putting in extra efforts as an amazing music teacher at Hubbard Elementary School.

“She comes in before contract hours each day to hang out in the hallway as kids exit lunchroom. She sets up instruments such as pianos, orff, and more. As kids leave they get awesome learning opportunities with her leading the way. She does this every single day and the students and staff love it!”


Take care of each other and ourselves:

Dave Bradburn, for taking care of all of us.

“Every day he works hard to make sure we have our mail and packages delivered in a timely manner. He makes sure we have what we need to do our jobs, including bringing copy paper as soon as he receives a request. He’s so kind to everyone!”


Preserving our professional capital and promoting professionalism:

Special Education Staff, for their commitment to professional development so they can support their students to make progress.

“A total of 42 special education staff attended a recent workshop and I was proud of their contributions and learning. A special shout out to Robbie Reno, Cindy Orr, Josh Noteboom, Kevin Gifford and Brandon Crusat for attending with their sped team.”


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.