Superintendent Update August 31, 2016

 

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

August 31, 2016

“I am ready to act, if I can find brave men to help me.”  – Carter G. Woodson

Team,

Thank you for ensuring that we started the 2016-17 school year strong. I’ve had the opportunity to visit each school at least once last week, and I am grateful to lead with such fine professionals who work hard each day on behalf of our children. You will see more of me this year than in years past as one of my personal leadership goals is to be more present in classrooms.

In this month’s update, I’ve included the message I shared with you in our opening meeting on August 18.

Like many of you, I participated in some professional development this summer. Kim Bekkedahl and I traveled to Denver in July to attend the McRel Leadership Institute. While we were in the Super Shuttle desk at the Denver International Airport, the young man working at the Super Shuttle service line appeared to be flustered. The line to check in had gained since Kim and I began our wait because the couple in front of us only spoke Italian. We witnessed the young man attempt to help them by drawing on paper, using exaggerated hand gestures and talking louder in English. None of his attempts worked to bridge the communication gap.

As he apologized to those of us waiting in line, I witnessed a spark in his eye as he held up his right index finger and said “I’ve got it!” He grabbed his phone from under the counter and started to furiously type. Once satisfied, he held his phone to the Italian couple who read earnestly and shook their head up and down in understanding and handed his phone back to him.

The young man once again typed something into his phone, looked up to think, deleted his message and typed. He passed the phone to the couple who again shook their head in understanding. This exchange happened a few more times. When he was assured that the couple would make it to their destination, he turned to help Kim and I and said with a sigh, “How can I help you?”

“That was amazing!” I said. “What did you do to help that couple?”

“I used Google translator to communicate with them. I know it doesn’t translate 100% accurately, but I was hoping enough information would get through so I could get them to their shuttle successfully.”

Being ever fascinated with how organizations continue to improve their systems for changing demands, I asked, “Is this something that your company trained you to use when they hired you?”

“No, he said. I knew I had to help them, but I couldn’t leave my booth to take them to their stop. Plus, I had a line of people waiting on me with no one to call.”


“I would love to tell your manager what a great job you did troubleshooting the whole process.”


“I am the manager” he said with a sly smile.


“So as the manager, what was your takeaway from this situation?”


“I’m going to include training on Google translator with our staff. Seems like a pretty important skill in an international airport.”


The young manager gave me context to the rest of my professional development experience that week. We don’t always know the pathways that our students will travel after high school. What we do know is that the world will ask them to take the knowledge, skills and attributes that they have learned in school and apply them in increasingly complex situations.


So how are we doing as a system to ensure that our students are ready to have the future each desires? Let me start by taking you back to kindergarten. We know from national statistics that 10 students out of 30 kindergarten students will not graduate from high school. Kuna graduation data tells a different story from the national statistics. Less than one out of 30 kindergarten students will not graduate from high school. This statistic should be celebrated because it takes a lot of hard work from all of us throughout the system to ensure that our students graduate high school with the knowledge, skills and attributes needed to do well after high school. While none of us are satisfied with even one child not graduating from Kuna, we know we are doing a much better job ensuring that our students will graduate from high school.


In addition to high school graduation, our national statistics inform us that an additional 10 students will not go on to some sort of postsecondary education. So what does this look like for Kuna? Fourteen out of 30 students will not go on to some sort of postsecondary education. In this case, when Kuna’s results are compared to national results, we have some work to do.


Kuna is not alone in the work of ensuring more students enroll in and complete postsecondary education. The Georgetown University Center on Education in the Workforce projected that by 2020, 63% of the jobs in Idaho will require a college degree or career credential. According to recent census data, as of 2012, 38% of adults in the Treasure Valley had an associate degree or higher. We know from today’s workplace needs, a high school diploma is not enough. Just like the manager in the Super Shuttle was ready to access his communication, customer service and critical thinking skills to resolve problems, our students must have the knowledge, skills, attributes and mindset to solve increasingly complex problems in today’s world.


While the data I shared with you may translate to failure, I believe we are on the cusp of becoming one of the best school districts in our state. The little boy in this video reminds me of the attitude of every one of you. I love that this little guy is excited about his failure. He translates failure into learning just as we have translated our challenges into learning. As a district, we have had so many challenges over the last few yearsnew standards, new assessments, changing accountability measures, overcrowded schools, facilities in need, no materials, high turnover, budget constraints, and the list goes on. However, this school year, we have had the lowest turnover in staff since I returned to the district in 2005. With the stability of this talented team, we’re ready to move our student achievement to the next level.


● Our school district is growing and classrooms are full. We’re ready to put a facilities plan together with our community.

● KHS is moving to 5A. We’re ready to compete at the next level because our coaches, advisors, student athletes and students involved in activities have worked hard all summer training and preparing.

● Not all of our third grade students are reading proficiently. We’re ready to ensure all students can read when they leave third grade.
● Our ISAT and SAT student results aren’t where we want them to be. We’re ready to implement the curriculum work completed this summer, access our new instructional tools, integrate technology and blended learning, and access our Instructional Coaches to help us improve our instruction to reach more kids.
● We know that students make decisions about whether or not they will pursue postsecondary education when they are in 8th grade. We need to improve the number of our graduates who enroll in postsecondary opportunities. We’re ready to partner with our College and Career Counselor Kathy Purin and College and Career Advisors to help students and families change their mindset about postsecondary options.

Just like the little boy who used failure to jumpstart his success or the young manager of the Super Shuttle who turned a communication challenge into a system change, this
team is ready to build the system for all our children so each child has the future of his/her dreams. We’re ready.


Special Note:

As you know, our first week of school ended with the traumatic and sad loss of our recent student, Christian Page. Christian was a part of our Kuna School District family from kindergarten through February of 2016. Many of you taught, mentored and worked closely with him through the years. Friday’s tragedy is a reminder to all of us that each student matters and leaves an impression on us.

Thank you taking the time to support each other, the family, and our students during these days and for a long time to come. I am very proud of how our schools keep learning going while also provide for those in special need. Grief doesn't go by a calendar, so please continue to look after each other and our students as the months go by.

 

In service,

 

wendy signature


 

updatelogo Updates

School Board Special Session on Thursday, September 8
The trustee position for zone 4 is vacant. On Thursday, Sept. 8, KSD Trustees will interview the candidates applying for the open position. The board will appoint a new trustee in their regular session on Tuesday, September 13. A complete agenda for the special session is available online.

Third Thursday Community Meetings
The third Thursday of each month has been designated for community level meetings. All are invited to attend to discuss solutions and timelines for addressing facilities needs, how we might plan for the future of our students, funding issues, new programs, curriculum changes and updates, and handling growth in our district.. We will host them at each of the schools within our district. All meetings begin at 6:30 pm. The following is the schedule:

Sept. 15, Initial Point High School
Oct. 20, Teed Library
Nov. 17, KHS Library
Dec. 15, KMS Library
Jan 19, Crimson Point
Feb. 16, Silver Trail
March 16, Ross Elementary
April 20, Reed Elementary
May 18, Indian Creek Elementary

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.

 

 

 

 


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

Reed Title 1 staff: Roxanne Fellin, Gina Mills, Melissa Watson and Holly Massey
“They have been putting kids first by problem solving and helping with the new breakfast procedures. Every morning they help to implement new ideas to help speed up the breakfast lines so we can get students to class. They have also taken on the task on doing the new AIMSweb Plus Universal Screening all on chromebooks. They jump in wherever they see a need and make things better.They take care of each other and ourselves by carrying out our Superhero theme throughout the building. Reed is now the headquarters of all things superhero thanks to their efforts.”

KHS Security Team: Bill Doughty, Stephen Speak, Debbie Stoldt

“Working at KHS in Security, they deal with students respectfully and professionally. They are always willing to help with any task to help with student success.”

Collaborating to solve problems, to make decisions, to reach winwin decisions and to continuously improve to make our system better for kids
Dani Walker - for supporting your new teacher .
“I just wanted to let you know what a treasure we have in Dani Walker. Besides being a much appreciated thinking partner for me over the last year, she spent a few hours of her Saturday morning at school helping me work with our new first grade teacher. She is fantabulous! She's a great team member from whom I am constantly learning! She truly is wonderful and we are beyond blessed to say she's ours.”

Brittany Regli - for putting an electronic system into place for our certified contracts.

“Brittany just jumped in and helped us get this done so our teachers would have their contracts in a convenient manner and the district now has a more efficient way to manage contracts.”

Leading from where you are
Robert Callaway - for assisting with the Kuna Relay for Life this summer..
“They expressed that he met them right when they arrived and stayed with them the entire time and helped with all of their needs.”

Karen Greenhalgh

This summer Karen Greenhalgh scanned: All KHS and IP 2016 graduate
transcripts scanned (334 total); Personnel files scanned through G (863 total completed); Medicaid billing (504 files completed); SPED files and protocols (513 total) All in an effort to improve our central records.

Working hard and having fun together
Justine Burgess - 4th grade teacher at Silver Trail Working hard and having fun.
“Everything she does is done with a happy and positive attitude. It’s always a joy to be around her.”

Taking care of each other and ourselves
Misty Samson - for stepping up to fill in at the Hubbard office
“Stepped up to fill in at the Hubbard office to fill in for Marlene who is out for a family emergency. It's awesome knowing we have people who jump in to help one another with no questions asked.”

Cairlissa Morgan & Michele Gumm - for 
helping KHS Bookkeeping during Registration
“ They stepped up to fill in at KHS during registration and helped with the transition of a new software program in the bookkeeping department. They insured that registration week at KHS went as smooth as possible in spite of being shorthanded and with the new changes.”

Preserving our professional capital and promoting professionalism
Susan Gordon Nurse at Hubbard/Teed.
“The beginning of the school year is always a crazy one for our nurses. This year the addition of 50 new kindergarten students and adding more responsibilities when another nurse left, could have overwhelmed even the toughest person. Nurse Susan didn't say a single negative word nor complain. Instead she smiled and said, "it's what we do for our kids." Such professionalism in the face of some big challenges to start the year.”

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.