Superintendent Update January 11, 2017


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

January 11, 2017

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning 's end.” – Seneca


Welcome back! In many ways, today feels like the first day of school since it has been almost an entire month since we have last seen our students and our colleagues. I hope you experienced the same hopeful and positive energy today that you did on August 22.

Since we published our district’s plan to make-up 4 of our 6 snow days, I’ve heard many questions regarding why are we making up days when other districts have published that they won’t be. We have two major reasons for requiring days to be recovered.

First, the state requires minimum instructional hours that every district must meet. Meeting the minimum instructional hours is about the only thing that is the same among school districts’ calendars. Every district has a slightly different calendar and bell schedule as well as different approaches for non-work days. For example, in our compressed calendar, we get out before Memorial Day this year, we have a longer Thanksgiving break than other valley districts, and we don’t work on the state conference days in October like some of our neighboring districts do.This means that some districts have more flexibility to meet the required instructional hours than another district who is on a shorter calendar. In the following table, I’ve outlined the minimum instructional hours by grade groupings required by the state and Kuna’s hours:

SDE Grade Grouping

SDE Required

Kuna’s Instructional Hours
Note: Instructional hours are actual time in instruction and does not
include activities such as recess, passing periods, lunch, etc.

All Day, Every Other Day


5.4 daily hours x 68 regular sessions + 72.65 hours for shortened
sessions + 11 hours of staff development = 450.8 hrs.

Half-Day Kindergarten 450

2.72 daily hours x 132 regular sessions + 81.45 hours for shortened
sessions + 11 hours of staff development = 451.5 hrs.

Grades 1-3 810

4.86 daily hours x 132 regular sessions + 147.49 hours for
shortened sessions + 22 hours of staff development = 811 hrs.

Grades 4-8 900

5.4 daily hours x 133 regular sessions + 166.93 hours for shortened
sessions + 22 hours of staff development = 907 hrs.

Grades 9-11 990

5.93 daily hours x 132 regular sessions + 186.01 hours for
shortened sessions + 22 hours of staff development = 990.7 hrs.

Grade 12 979

5.93 daily hours x 130 regular sessions + 187.01 hours for
shortened sessions + 22 hours of staff development = 979.9 hrs.

We have missed 6 days--over a week-- of instruction due to these unprecedented weather conditions. As you can see from the data in the chart, our current instructional minutes are slightly over the required hours which means we don't have much flexibility. So here’s the problem we solved: We have about an average of 5 hours of instruction in a typical day which means we have missed approximately 30 hours of instruction. We ghours of forgiveness from the SDE for emergency closures which means we need to make up 19 hours of instruction which equals 4 days. Here’s the same problem described as algorithms:

5 x 6 = 30 (average instructional hours x days missed = hours missed)
30 - 11 = 19 (hours missed - state forgiveness hours = hours to be made up)
19/5 = 4 (hours to be made up / 5 instructional hours per day = days to make up)

I’ve heard some questions about when the Governor would declare an emergency and absolve us from these requirements. This is a practice in other states, but not in Idaho. Idaho laws and practices favor more local control in which solutions are decided by local governance.

Second, we have an ethical obligation to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. In other words, our community expects us to do our best with the resources we have been allocated to educate our children. We have been paid to provide a service to the community so we need to make-up the days we have missed with children. Even more important is our ethical obligation to our students. As many of you will attest, we don’t have enough time with our students in a typical year. Every single day counts.

Guided by the input from our employee and community survey, a group (comprised of a parent, teacher, elementary principal, secondary principal, operation supervisor, Kim and I) made the following additions and adjustments to the 2016-17 calendar:

1. Add January 16, Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a full day of instruction which adds back 1 day of instruction.
2. Add February 21 as a full day of instruction and move the originally scheduled teacher in-service day to President’s Day, February 20 which ensures we meet 7.5 hours of the 22 staff development days already figured into the calendar and adds back 1 day of instruction .
3. Add April 28 as a full day of school for all grades which adds back 1 day of instruction.
Note: this is the day that was scheduled for 6th and 8th grade portfolio presentations and kindergarten open house. We will still require 6th and 8th grade portfolios, and principals will work together to find solutions to help 6th and 8th teachers assess the portfolios, reschedule the school tours and reschedule the kindergarten open house.
4. Convert the last Wednesday collaboration of each month to instructional time. The following dates will now be full days of instruction for all K-12 students: January 25, February 22, March 22, April 26 and May 24 which adds back 1 day of instruction.

Cheri has updated our calendars on the district website to reflect these changes. Thank you for making lemonade out of lemons--or maybe I should say snowmen out of snow!et 11

In service,

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