Now that the legislature has finished their work, I find we are left with more questions than answers. The relative broad range of changes has us all wondering what the actual effects will be on our district, but more importantly, how each of us will be impacted.
At last week’s School Board meeting, and at our Negotiations meeting, all parties expressed the same interests--in regard to these new laws, we should take small steps, carefully, and patiently, to serve Kuna best.
Toward that end, a team of teachers, administrators, and board members will be attending the Education Law Institute next Monday and Tuesday; as well, a similar collaborative team will be present at Supt. Luna’s Post-legislative meeting on April 25. We hope to learn a lot at these meetings, so that we can better understand what will be productive next steps as we craft new policies and practices in this district that are both legal and feasible.
You may be hearing from some of your colleagues in other districts how quickly their administration and boards are moving to implement this new legislation. Let me assure you, Kuna School District will not be following the herd on this one. We will NOT abandon our core beliefs. The practice of shared decision-making and open communication have been majors factors in the successes we have earned to date and will be key to us weathering the storm we find ourselves in today.
Celebration of Our Superheros!
If you have a celebration that you'd like to share, we encourage you visit our news web site and select the "Rumors, Questions and Feedback" tab. Congratulations to the following amazing members of the Kuna School District:
- The following was submitted by KMS Band Director April Peterson:
“I want to give big congratulations to the awesome KMS band kids that were selected for the BSU All-Star Honor Band. These students are excellent in every way and I'm very proud of their accomplishments and their efforts to always strive for the best. Their concert will be on the Morrison Center Stage at BSU on Sunday April 17th at 7:30pm.”
The following students will be performing with the best 7th, 8th and 9th graders in the valley as well as the BSU Symphonic Winds:
- Kimber Hill - Flute
- Sarah Wollan - Clarinet
- Lindsey German - Clarinet
- Hannah Lichter - Bass Clarinet
Brayden Wickel – Oboe
- Congratulations to the fantastic KMS musicians that recently performed at the District III Solo and Ensemble. They represented KMS very well and they all returned home with ratings of Excellent or Superior! We are proud of our music department at Kuna Middle School!
- Sarah Wollan/Kimber Hill – Mixed Duet – Excellent
- Joni Cleary – Bass Clarinet Solo – Excellent
- Sarah Wollan – Clarinet Solo – Excellent
- Melissa Woods/Kimber Hill – Mixed Duet – Excellent
- Kimber Hill/Rachel Hale – Flute Duet – Excellent
- Sage Cox – Flute Solo – Excellent
- Wyatt Bell/Kyle Brown – Clarinet Duet – Excellent
- Kourtney Dawson/Riley Christensen – Mixed Duet – Excellent
- Nathan Townley/Logan Jansens/Ashlee Brain/Will Meredith/Hannah Lichter–Mixed Ensemble-Excellent
- Ashlee Brain/Jackie Bowling – Mixed Duet – Excellent
- Carl Healy – Snare Drum Solo – Excellent
- Calvin Blitman/Ben Compton/Quinn Oster – Mixed Trio – Excellent
- Isaac Summers/Owen Moss – Snare Drum Duet – Excellent
- Dillan Tidwell/Valerie German/Daniel Brauniesen/Sierra German – Mixed Quartet –Excellent
- Lainie Brooks – Trumpet Solo – Superior
- Rachel Hale/Megan Newville – Mixed Duet – Superior
- Rylan Manzer – Trumpet Solo – Superior
- Lindsey German/Geri Mills – Mixed Duet – Superior
- Kimber Hill – Flute Solo – Superior
- Megan Newville/Kimber Hill/Will Meredith/Rachel Hale/Hannah Lichter/Sarah
- Wollan/Melissa Woods – Mixed Ensemble - Superior
- Sierra Manzer – Trumpet Solo – Superior
- Congratulations to Angela Hemingway who was awarded the Kuna Grange’s Educator of the Year award.
A committee comprised of parents and representative from each school created three calendar options that represented various interests from the committee. At Tuesday’s School Board meeting, the Trustees showed a preference for the “Calendar A” option. At their direction, we have posted that calendar option to the website for people to provide further feedback. All three of the calendar options are attached in this email.
- March 17 Supplemental Levy
Many of you have asked for information about the supplemental levy so that you can include it in your newsletters. Two informational brochures have been posted to the district website for your reference as well. Additionally, we will be hosting a meeting with all employees on May 2 at 3:30 so that you will be informed about the levy and an update on budget related topics.
Please remember that by law, public employees are not allowed to lobby, so it’s important not to encourage parents to vote a certain way. However, we do want to make sure our parents and patrons are informed of the upcoming supplemental levy vote, so it would be appropriate to include something like the following in your newsletter to parents:
The Board of Trustees of the Kuna School District is asking patrons to vote on a measure that would provide $1.5 million each year for the next two years to offset an estimated budget shortfall of $3.6 million over the next two years.
The current levy rate for Kuna School District patrons is 0.00503. Passage of this Supplemental Levy measure will increase property taxes by an estimated $3.47 per month for every $100,000 of assessed taxable property value (based upon 2010 market values).
A supplemental levy of $1.5 million each year for two years will allow the district to do the following:
- Maintain existing staff; stabilize class size and student contact days.
- Prevent loss of educational programs, athletics and activities.
- Maintain current safety staff such as School Resource Officers, Playground Aides, Safety Aides and Crossing Guards.
If the levy doesn’t pass, the following are some of the possible implications:
- Reductions in student-teacher contact days.
- Increased class sizes of 36 or more at many grade levels.
- 17+ additional reductions in employees (administrators, teachers and staff).
- Reductions to course offerings at secondary schools and extra-curricular and co-curricular programs.
More information is available on the KSD website, http://news.kunaschools.org/
- Professional Development Opportunities
Mathematical Thinking for Instruction (MTI)
- MTI Credits—We Have an Answer!
Legislation has been passed that does not require teachers to have the MTI credits on a transcript in order to count the course toward the certification requirement or column movement for pay increases. If you have taken the MTI course this spring or are planning to take a course in the coming months, please be sure that you keep a copy of the completion certificate, make a copy of the certificate and turn the copy into Susan Crew at the District Office.
Summer course schedule are posted to the MTI website. The registration link can be located at the following URL: http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/math/mti.htm
Project Learning Tree (PLT)
- Professional Development classes for educators and others who work with youth.
- Variety of topics addressed in different workshops: trees, forests, recycling, energy, aquifers, STEM, communities, wildlife, ecosystem services, early childhood and more.
- Already had PLT? Think again! Check out our list of workshops—each title worth a different credit. Materials are continuously created, updated and revised. All activities are correlated to Idaho Content Standards.
- Levels: Early childhood. PreK-8. 9th-12th grade modules on a variety of topics. Abundant online activity support at www.plt.org.
- Sign up on-line or via mail. www.idahoforests.org/plt1.htm.
PLT Field Trip Transportation Funds
- Who is eligible? Idaho educators who have taken a PLT workshop and/or attended the Sustainable Forestry Tour
- What is it for? Taking students on a field trip to a certified tree farm. Enjoy a spectacular day learning in the forest!
- When? Funding is available only in 2011. Field trips can take place spring, summer or fall.
- Who is providing the funding? The Idaho Tree Farm Program is providing the funds, via a grant from the American Forest Foundation.
- Interested educators should contact: Jennifer Childers,
Never Again Now – Holocaust Educators Network
With the sponsorship of the Holocaust Educators Network from New York, the Boise State Writing Project, and Boise State University, we are proud to offer a six day teacher workshop called "Never Again is Now: Using the Holocaust to Examine Ourselves Our Humanity, and Our Communities." If you teach the Holocaust or other social justice issues, do we have the course for you! We would like to extend this to educators from all across the state and we can help with housing for out of town participants!
-The "Never Again Now" course will take place from Sunday, June 12 - Friday, June 17th in Boise. The course can be taken at a reduced rate for three graduate credits, but you can also opt to just take it just for the fabulous experience. I can't even stress how excited we are about this and how amazing the opportunity is going to be. Participants will be treated to:
- a presentation by "Echoes and Reflections" which is a joint program between the Anti-Defamation League and Yad Vashem (the book of resources they give you alone would cost $100 but participants will get it for free)
- a presentation by nationally renowned author and speaker, Linda Christensen, an expert in social justice in the classroom
- a speaker on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- a session with Holocaust survivor, Rose Beal.
- Participants will also receive hundreds of dollars of books and other resources on human rights, the Holocaust, and social justice in the classroom.
-If you teach the Holocaust and other social justice issues, you can't pass this up. We still have space, so get those registrations done and send them off to
CapEd Teacher Grants
Deadline: ongoing October – April
CapEd is offering a grant program is an effort to help teachers and students explore additional educational opportunities they might not otherwise enjoy. Each month during the school year (Oct - Apr), CapEd awards outstanding teachers with grants to pay for programs, materials, field trips, or special projects for the students in their classrooms. $2,250 is awarded monthly, with a $750 maximum per individual grant. To apply or to learn more, visit http://www.capedfcu.org/resources/teacher-grants/. Only teachers in certain regions of the state are eligible.
IEA Cold Hard Cash Awards
The Idaho Education Association is offering Cold Hard Cash awards for Idaho classrooms. The IEA will draw eight winners each month from September through May. Each winner will receive $50 to be used to upgrade his/her classroom. The entry form is available at http://idahoea.org/explore-iea/cold-hard-cash/. Just click on the "Cold Hard Cash" icon and submit your completed form. If your name is drawn, you will receive a check from IEA to use in your classroom. If you don’t win, your name will be placed in the drawing for the next month. Please note: Only "New Teachers” (those in their first through fifth year of teaching) are eligible to win.
Nominate an educator for Teaching Tolerance Award – The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program is seeking nominations for the Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Culturally Responsive Teaching, which has been created to recognize outstanding teachers and promote their practices in the nation’s schools. Five winners will be selected to receive $1,000 at an awards ceremony in Washington in late 2011. An expert panel of scholars and National Board Certified teachers will pick the winners. Teachers are invited to apply for the award at www.tolerance.org/award. The deadline for applications is June 1, 2011. All teachers are eligible for the award and need not make use of teaching resources developed by the SPLC to be eligible for the competition.
Have You Heard a Rumor and Want to Know the Answer? Post your question at KSD News!It is easy for rumors to get started in light of all the questions and concerns employees and parents have regarding the future of the Kuna School District. If you've heard a rumor that you'd like to get an "official" response on, we encourage you to visit news web site. Select the "Rumors, Questions and Feedback" tab.
Question..... Rumor has it that the classified employees will not be given any new sick leave next year and will also be stripped of any current sick leave that they now have.
Answer.....This rumor is false. Full-time classified employees will be eligible for sick leave next year. Current sick leave that employees have accrued is not lost as long as the employee continues employment in a state agency that contributes to PERSI.
Question..... Not sure what happened today but as a parent who paid the "transportation fee" I find it absolutely unacceptable. The JV baseball team has had the JV Spring Classic @ Skyview High School on the schedule since the season began. Today, the coaches loaded the team up on the bus & drove them to Skyview only to be told the Kuna JV team was NOT in the tournament because the Athletic Director DID NOT pay for the team to play. How does this happen? For a district so tight on funds they're looking to cut more & asking more of the parents - yet the Athletic Director can waste funds by sending the boys out in a bus to a tournament they aren't even in??? How wasteful. And completely unacceptable. Why didn't the coaches verify the schedule with the tournament director @ Skyview prior to today at 1 pm when they arrived? There's NO WAY to take away the horrible disappointment the boys felt today but the Athletic Director needs to own up. Or someone does.
Question..... The Kuna A.D. failed the baseball program last week. The JV team rode the bus to Skyview High school only to be told they weren’t playing because a confirmation was never received. This was a great disappointment to the team, etc. Spring break plans were made around this tournament and the kids missed out on playing 4 games. The district has already limited the baseball program to 2 teams and this snafu on the part of the A.D. is an embarrassment. The kids should receive part of their $100 back. Who is going to pay for the bus ride- I hope it isn't the baseball program-- it should be the A.D.
Answer..... A communication gap between Skyview and our Athletic Director occurred over the payment to participate in the tournament. The Skyview A.D. told our A.D. that Kuna was in the tournament. However, the Skyview head coach scheduled the tournament and invited another team to play in our spot because he had not received confirmation from us. Because of our failed communication, we sent a bus to Skyview in error. The A.D. sincerely apologizes for disappointing the players and their families.