Superintendent Update October 20, 2017

 

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

October 20, 2017

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” – H.E. Luccock

Team,

The next several years will bring much change to our school district. I know that by working together, we will find the best answers to the questions we still have and make the coming changes exciting for our students, staff and parents. I’m very grateful to the many, many students, staff and community members who have been involved in, or are currently involved in, solution teams. I’m writing today to update you on the status of work completed or ahead for the following solution teams.

All of the solution teams are using the interest-based problem solving process to recommend solutions to the KSD Board of Trustees. The steps of this process are as follows:

Step 1: Establish Ground Rules
Step 2: Define the Problem/List the Issues
Step 3: Determine Interests
Step 4: Develop Options
Step 5: Develop Standards
Step 6: Evaluate Options
Step 7: Select a Solution

Land Acquisition Solution Team
This team will continue to meet as needed into the future. Their most immediate task was to find land for the new high school. Thanks to their efforts and the partnership with the Russell and Marie Durrant Family Trust, the new high school will be building on land at the northeast corner of Linder and Columbia. We will soon have signs marking the area as the future location for our next high school

Program Design Solution Team
Meeting last spring through early fall, this team made three recommendations to the school board at the Oct. 10 school board meeting.

Elementary Recommendation

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

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. Therefore, the temporary solution until this investment can be made is to 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. One school would be identified to house developmental preschool and Headstart.

  The team also suggested that the district takes steps in the future (as schools/staff are ready and the cost is affordable) to implement a STEAM strand in all elementary schools in the district.
 Middle School Recommendation
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Goal: 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.

The idea would be to eventually have two mirrored programs/buildings, realizing that some sports programs (i.e., football, track) and some academic programs (dual language, TLC) may have to be housed in one building or the other until adequate funding exists to duplicate all programs.

High​ ​School Recommendation
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The new high school would be divided by attendance zones and would open with a focus on specialized instructional spaces for Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses but also house general ed core courses. Students can transfer back and forth between KHS and the new high school based on course offerings.

The Kuna Melba News wrote a comprehensive article about the recommendations, including quotes from the presenters and Trustees.

6th​ ​Grade​ ​Transition​ ​Solution​ ​Team
This team meets again on Monday to share their recommendations with administrators in order to finalize the plan.

Rezoning​ ​Solution​ ​Team
The primary work of this team is to review and adjust the elementary attendance zones and create middle school attendance zones. They will present their recommendation to the KSD Board of Trustees in January. The first rezoning meeting was last Thursday. The team has identified their collective interests and the next steps are to create some options.

Staffing​ ​Solution​ ​Team
Their first meeting was last night and they were able to clarify their purpose and share interests. The team will not be deciding where staff members will be placed next year. Rather, the purpose of this team is to create a process that answers this question: How will we equitably staff all of our schools next year?

A main theme throughout all of the feedback we have received so far is that our community wants the solutions we employ to be focused on equity. In other words, the quality of education should not be
dependent upon where a student lives within the district. Hearing this message from our community warms my heart because public educators are about all​ ​students​. I’ve always said that I want to
make it hard for parents to choose where they would want to enroll their children because all of our schools are equally amazing. While we have some investing to do in order to achieve equity in
schools, I know we will continue to work together to achieve a high quality education for all students within the Kuna School District. Thank you to everyone who has partnered with me and with the KSD
Board of Trustees to do this worthy work.

In service,

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Construction ​Update: ​Additions
The multi-purpose addition at KHS and the classroom additions to Reed and Silver Trail Elementary Schools are in the beginning stages of programming design and planning and zoning approval process which will take from now until around January to complete. Building construction should begin as soon as schools is out.


Principal ​Opening ​at ​Ross
In order to pursue a job opportunity with the Department of Juvenile Corrections, Cindy Orr has resigned as principal of Ross Elementary effective immediately. We are appreciative of Cindy’s work during her time in the Kuna School District, and we wish her the best in her future endeavors. 

We will be working with a team of Ross staff and parents to find the person who will best lead Ross Elementary into the future. Until we can find our next Ross principal, we are exploring two options: 1) hire an interim principal, such as a retired administrator, to serve until a long-term replacement can be hired, or 2) hire a highly-skilled person to manage day-to-day operations and student discipline while our elementary principals assist with leading the school and completing evaluations until a long-term replacement can be hired.

keaKuna Education Association Update - President​ ​Shelley​ ​Hopkins
The ​Back ​to ​School ​BBQ ​was ​a ​great ​success! ​Thank ​you ​to ​everyone ​who ​showed ​up ​and ​to all ​the ​great ​volunteers ​who ​helped ​setup, ​cook, ​and ​clean ​up ​afterwards. ​There ​are ​several Professional ​Development ​opportunities ​that ​are ​FREE ​to ​KEA ​members ​on ​topics ​like, ​Federal Loan ​Forgiveness, ​Managing ​Difficult ​Student ​Behaviors, ​Idaho ​Education ​Law ​Training, ​and ​more! ​Our sunshine ​committee ​has ​reached ​out ​to ​spread ​some ​happiness ​and ​cheer ​to ​a ​few ​members ​going ​through tough ​times. ​Taking ​care ​of ​our ​members ​and ​being ​able ​to ​help ​each ​other ​in ​times ​of ​need ​is ​one ​our favorite ​things ​about ​being ​a ​KEA ​member! ​In ​addition ​to ​that, ​our ​Insurance ​Committee members ​are ​working ​diligently ​to ​make ​sure ​that ​we ​are ​able ​to ​continue ​to ​provide ​the ​best ​possible coverage ​at ​the ​lowest ​possible ​prices. ​This ​is ​especially ​important ​considering ​today’s ​changing ​insurance climate.

As always, we will continue working to provide the best possible support to the teachers and students in our wonderful district. Members can look forward to celebrating our successes at the annual Christmas party held in December. In the meantime, contact your building reps with any issues or concerns. Anyone who is not currently a member can sign up at any time! Just ask any KEA member in your building, your building rep, or you can email our membership chair, Ami Brogdon. Lastly, all certified staff, KEA Members or not, are encouraged to take the IEA survey regarding the Master Educator Grant - the link is here.

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

Melissa​ ​Roper​ ​-​ ​KMS
“Melissa has been putting kids first and doing whatever it takes to help students succeed. Melissa has been doing the work of two people as Jodi has been out on medical leave. She has "fine-tuned" well over 400 schedules for students. She has worked tirelessly in order to try to fulfill electives and has even had time to work with students.”

Kristen​ ​Gray​ ​-​ ​Hubbard
“Watching Kristen handle a medical crisis on the first day of school with such empathy and grace was a lesson to any teacher on how to be. She continuously overcomes obstacles in her classroom with a smile and her love for her students is so very apparent. If there were more teachers in the world with hearts the size of Kristen's the world would be a very different place.”

Nicole​ ​Crow,​ ​Teacher​ ​at​ ​Hubbard
“As a parent of a student in Nicole Crow’s 2nd-3rd grade combo class, I have to say “her and Arika Costa (student teacher) have gone above and beyond expectations in teaching this class. From monthly STEM projects, to reading 34 letter words, to even asking me to find a chapter book from the library so she can follow along as Arika reads to them aloud. I know that my daughter loves school and is growing academically everyday in this classroom. These two are both outstanding teachers!”

Arika​ ​Costa,​ ​Hubbard​ ​Student​ ​Teacher
“As a parent of a student in Nicole Crow’s 2nd-3rd grade combo class, I have to say “her and Arika Costa (student teacher) have gone above and beyond expectations in teaching this class. From monthly STEM projects, to reading 34 letter words, to even asking me to find a chapter book from the library so she can follow along as Arika reads to them aloud. I know that my daughter loves school and is growing academically everyday in this classroom. These two are both outstanding teachers!”


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

Jesse​ ​Park​ ​-​ ​Software​ ​Specialist
“Jesse is SO QUICK to respond to our helpdesk emails and he does it with a positive attitude! He has been staying extra hours to ensure our student computers are up and running. His quick responses help us teachers reach our students better, because it often has to do with the technology that is used to enhance our lessons.”

Matt​ ​Rauch​ ​-​ ​Database​ ​Manager
“The KHS admin asked Matt to build a program to streamline the new Intervention program. He continually met with staff, answered questions, problem solved, and in general, slayed creating an entire new system for us to use. All the while, Matt did it with a smile, and above all, patience. He is greatly appreciated!”

Deb​ ​McGrath,​ ​Teed​ ​Principal
“I would like to nominate Deb McGrath. Every time I have a crazy idea of something that I would like to do she always tells me" let’s find a way to do it". I love that!!! It is always what is best for the kids and when I am needing something for myself or my family she always tells me family is first and do what I need to do. I never feel like she is disappointed in me for needing to do something for my family. I really appreciate that.”

● Leading from where you are

Nicole​ ​Crow​ ​(Hubbard),​ ​Cindy​ ​Hunter​ ​(Teed),​ ​Heidi​ ​Dalke​ ​(Indian​ ​Creek),​ ​and​ ​Melissa Erickson​ ​(Ross)
“Many thanks to these teachers for their leadership and willingness to take on elementary combination classes this year. Combination classes are one option when it becomes necessary to balance the educational needs of students with the allocated staffing received from the state. Combination classes require teachers to be familiar with the standards, curriculum and resources for both grade levels as well as an awareness of the progression of skills presented in both grade levels so that each student can move his/her learning forward. We appreciate your hard work and willingness to take this on!”

Roxanne​ ​Fellin
“We have an entirely new Title staff this year and she has been instrumental in maintaining a high level of professionalism of training for the new staff, administering Aimsweb with all of its changes, and running data meetings to get student groups up and running at Reed. She also is involved with supporting our school helping to orchestrate coverage for extra duties to get the year off to a safe and orderly start for our students.”

Kelee​ ​Robinson,​ ​KHS​ ​Teacher
“Kelee Robinson and Barb James - two teachers and professionals organized, ran and performed our Professional Development on Thinking Maps last month at KHS for 90+ staff for 4 hours.”

Barb​ ​James,​ ​KHS​ ​Teacher
“Barb James and Kelee Robinson - two teachers and professionals organized, ran and performed our Professional Development on Thinking Maps last month at KHS for 90+ staff for 4 hours.”

● Working hard and having fun together

Dave​ ​Howard​ ​-​ ​Safe​ ​School​ ​Aide​ ​-​ ​Hubbard
“Dave is always willing to help and it never seems like a burden to him. He always has a smile on his faceand does so many jobs around the school.”

Ryan​ ​Olsen,​ ​KHS​ ​Teacher
“I just want to send a HUGE shout out to Mr. Olsen and the KHS Choirs! If you didn't get to go to the FallChoir Concert, OH MAN, did you miss an amazing show!!! Mr. Olsen, you are clearly an awesome choirdirector! And all you kids... WOW are you talented! I was so entertained! Brought back so many memoriesfrom my HS choir days. Such great memories.”

● Taking care of each other and ourselves

Lee​ ​Glover​ ​-​ ​Community​ ​Volunteer
“Recently, we purchased three specialty lights for the KPAC and realized that the equipment to operate them was already out of date.The new lighting would not operate without some software upgrade to our equipment. Lee Glover spent the better part of his Saturday afternoon configuring the system to work with the new equipment, without purchasing the software upgrades. We appreciate Lee's dedication to the district, and in particular to the Performing Arts Center and music department. "Heart of Gold"

Savanna​ ​Wade​ ​-​ ​KHS​ ​Student
“Savanna Wade is a varsity captain on the KHS cheer squad. She shows great leadership at practice and at games. She took the initiative to create a, "Captain’s Choice Award" where she surprises a squad member each week with a gift she puts together herself. She gives the gift to a squad member who has shown great improvement, has been struggling, or has just been an awesome cheerleader. Savanna is not afraid to show tough love when it is needed, however, she is also the first one to support each individual with any problem or struggle they may be having. Recently Kuna Cheer had the opportunity to welcome a darling 9 year-old girl to our squad as an honorary member. Journey has Down Syndrome and was matched with us through, "For the Ability." (4TA) While the entire squad welcomed her, Savanna went above and beyond to keep her busy and happy. These are only a few of the many reasons that Savanna Wade is deserving of this award.”

● Preserving our professional capital and promoting professionalism

Lori​ ​Ballard​ ​-​ ​KHS
“Lori recently received grants totalling $1500 for the KHS Library. Lori strives to provide students with current and interesting reading material in hopes that she can instill in them a love of reading that will last a lifetime. We are blessed to have Lori as she helps us inspire students to become lifelong learners!”

Dale​ ​Quesnell​ ​-​ ​KHS
“Dale recently received a grant from Micron for his KHS Electronics Program in the amount of $700.00. This is Dale’s 3rd year teaching for us at KHS and he has built this electronics program from the ground up. We are grateful to have him and his expertise as he continues to teach students courses at KHS in Electronics.”

Allen​ ​Dale​ ​-​ ​KHS​ ​Teacher
“Mr. Dale applied for a grant through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for a classroom set of Celestron Binoculars. Over 400 teachers nationwide applied for this same grant. Last month, Mr. Dale was selected as a winner of the Celestron Binocular Grant. Kuna High School received 10 pairs of Celestron Nature DX 8 x 32 Binoculars and one curriculum kit. This is just another example of how Mr. Dale is constantly finding ways to improve how his students learn.”

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.​ ​ ​I’ve​ ​heard​ ​that​ ​all​ ​the​ ​6th​ ​graders​ ​are​ ​all​ ​going​ ​to​ ​Teed​ ​next​ ​year.​ ​Is​ ​this​ ​true?

A. No, this is not true. Both KMS and Teed Middle School will house grades 6, 7 and 8 next year.

Q.​ ​ ​Are​ ​we​ ​the​ ​only​ ​school​ ​district​ ​that​ ​waits​ ​to​ ​hire​ ​until​ ​summer?​ ​As​ ​I​ ​understand​ ​it,​ ​our surrounding​ ​school​ ​districts​ ​make​ ​hiring​ ​decisions​ ​in​ ​January.

A. While I can’t speak for every district in the state of Idaho regarding their hiring practices, I can say that typically, most school districts don’t make hiring decisions until the spring. One main reason for this is that the legislative session begins in January, and school districts don’t know what their budget allocations are until spring, once the legislative session ends. In a typical year, our practice is to begin reviewing enrollment and making decisions about hiring staff right after spring break and then monitoring needs throughout the summer.