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

March 22, 2018
“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” – Epictetus


“We are one. We are Kavemen and being a Kaveman means that we protect the Kave, and it also means that we protect each other and our community.”

I heard KHS ASB President Caden Cobb say these words last week when I had the privilege of participating in the assembly our high school student leaders organized in lieu of a walk-out. I was proud. Not only was I proud to see such wisdom from a young leader, I was also proud that such a diverse group of student leaders came together to organize an event to help their peers. All of the students involved knew that no matter how different they may be from one another--no matter what race, religion, orientation or gender--they are all Kavemen. These student leaders know what Aristotle so wisely determined so long ago, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

When I was thinking about what I wanted to share with all of you in my message this month, I thought about how difficult yesterday was for many of our K-8 teammates as they learned where they would be working next year and with whom.

We have great people throughout our district and if you have an opportunity to experience a change in school, grade or principal next year, you will have the excellent opportunity, like I do, to experience the excellence of the many, many people working hard on behalf of our community’s children.

During this time of reflection and of opportunity, I encourage you to lean on one another to grow forward through these changes to see the opportunities ahead. Whether you are staying in your current position, moving to a new building, or waiting to see what position you will have next year, change is impacting you. The exciting thing is that all our kids benefit from your contributions no matter where you are.

We all have something to learn from our valiant KHS student leaders. We are one district. Regardless of where we work, who we work with or what role we play in the district, we are one KSD.

In service,

wendy signature


Conservative Approach Taken on Initial Enrollment Projections
As you know, public school budgets are dependent upon student enrollment and attendance. Given that these variables are hard to predict, we typically take a very conservative approach to estimating our student enrollment to determine staffing needs for the next school year. The reason for doing this is that it is easier to plan now to avoid drastic reductions later. Enrollments begin to solidify as we inch closer to the first days of the new school year, and we adjust staffing to meet the needs of children. (Honestly, this process is frustrating to everyone involved and shows how broken school funding is in Idaho.)

This year we face even more variables which means planning for the coming year is an increased challenge.
First, our growth continues in grades 9-12. The current trend is that new families moving into Kuna do not have elementary-aged school children or are retired with no children.
Second, another charter school is opening into the area which means that the Kuna community will be supporting three different school districts. With another charter school in the area, we are estimating that 180 students will be transferring (it could be more or less) which equates to approximately 15-20. The new charter opening is why some people were notified yesterday that they do not have a job yet.
Finally, through the rezoning process, we are implementing an equity model of staffing across the district.
We will continue to monitor our enrollment, especially after the lottery is finished for the new charter school.

Staffing Models that Focus on Equity
One of the constant themes within all of the solution teams was that we need to ensure equity across our district. As we listened to concerns, we heard that some of the inequities exist in the form of staffing supports at each school. I formed a team to research this and as a result of their research, we created a staffing model. (This document is still pretty messy and incomplete, but I still wanted you to see the logic behind the models. We are still working on the high school, alternative high school and district office models.) The following table shows our projected enrollment for next school year compared with the current year:


2017-18 Current Student Enrollment

(as of Jan. 26, 2018)

2018-19 Estimated Student Enrollment & special programs



367 (K-3)

264 (K-3)

Houses developmental preschool


Indian Creek

218 (K-3)

263 (K-3)



210 (4-6)

309 (4-5)



597 (K-6)

482 (K-5)

Houses district K-5 ELL, DL & Extended Sped


Crimson Point

500 (K-6)

364 (K-5)

Houses district K-5 TLC


Silver Trail

606 (K-6)

373 (K-5)

Houses Extended Sped



862 (7-8)

853 (6-8)

Houses district ELL, DL, TLC  & Extended Sped



315 (4-6)

440 (6-8)



1583 (9-12)

1,595 (9-12)

Houses district ELL, DL, TLC  & Extended Sped



101 (9-12)

86 (9-12)


K-8 Team Members Notified of Placements Yesterday
Certified Staff
I'm happy to report that of the 192.75 teachers (continuing, category 3 and category 2) we have serving in grades K-8, only 4 teachers were not placed in their first or second preference. This means that 98% of our teachers were placed in their first or second placement as indicated in the survey.

We also have five category 1 teachers that were not placed in a position. This is not a new process for us--we do this every year with category 1 hires. By statute, category 1 teachers have to reapply for a position for which they are required, should one be available.

Classified Staff
The really difficult news yesterday is that approximately 20 classified staff were notified that they do not currently have a placement for next school year. Given that some positions were eliminated, consolidated and/or the job responsibility changed, the placement team decided that it would be a best practice to open positions for people to apply. Teed, Ross and KMS all have classified positions that will be posted for internal applicants soon, and as future openings occur, all current classified employees will be given priority status for all positions for which they are qualified.

In addition to some of the reductions in staff in grades K-5, we also reduced two positions at the district level, one in Title I and one in the business office.

Ross Principal and Teed Middle School Building Administrator to be Hired After Spring Break
Now that we have finished with our initial placement of K-8 staff for the 2018-19 school year, we will begin the process of hiring administrators at Ross and Teed Middle.
The Ross Principal job posting closed yesterday, and I will work with the new Ross staff to form a team that will assist me to hire their next principal. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please let Instructional Coaches Dani Walker or Andrea Willadsen know of your interest.
Similarly, the Teed Middle School Building Administrator position will be posted by the end of this week. Deb will form a committee comprised of the new TMS staff and some district administrators. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please notify Cheri Carr.

We are planning to publish the district staffing placement today but we still have a few moving pieces before we have a complete-as-of-today picture. I will send this out tomorrow so you will know where your teammates across the district will be working next school year.

KSD Offers Free All Day Kindergarten for 2018-19 School Year
With support from grant funds, we have decided to offer free all day, every day kindergarten to all families who choose this option living within Kuna School District boundaries beginning the 2018-2019 school year. After surveying the community, studying the evidence and securing the funds, the district has decided that offering all day, every day kindergarten will be helpful in giving students a positive start to their formal education. Studies indicate that students who attend all day everyday kindergarten have higher levels of academic achievement and social-emotional development.

We can currently only open this option to residents of our district and children of employees. We will keep a waiting list for any out of district requests.

keaKuna Education Association Update - Shelley Hopkins, KEA President
March was a great month for the KEA! Supporters from our schools, district office, and parent board banded together with countless others across Idaho to answer the call to defend public education. The Senate Ed. Committee ended up not hearing HB 590, the private school voucher bill, effectively shelving it for this legislative session. The teamwork shown by everyone played a big role in stopping the bill, a bill which was opposed by not only the IEA (Idaho Education Association), but the Idaho School Boards Association, the Idaho Association of Administrators, the State Board of Ed., and pretty much every educational organization in the state.

In other legislative news, the Idaho Senate gave the green light to a number of other bills, including a bill strongly supported by the IEA, HB 634, which would provide training to school employees in suicide prevention strategies. The Senate also passed HB, 443, which would allow (but not require) schools to provide gun safety classes. The house voted down the proposed budget for the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction by a 42-27 margin because they have not yet come to an agreement on how the state should handle literacy tests for K-3 students. Read more about what seems to be the major legislative barrier to ending the session from journalist Clark Corbin of Idaho Education News.

In addition to that, in March’s general meeting, members voted to pass/revive the KEA PD Scholarship program (yay!) - this means, starting next year, KEA members can (easily) apply for a scholarship that will help pay for a continuing education credit, PD class registration fee, or even help pay for a course itself! Look for those applications at the start of the 18/19 school year.

Lastly, as we head into Spring Break, don’t forget to take advantage of our Employee Assistance Plan, especially if you’re feeling extra stressed out or going through a difficult time right now. Call 208-367-3300 to schedule an appointment. Remember, you and your dependents get 10 free visits per issue. Don’t wait until you’re burnt out to try and reignite that spark, that passion for the important work you do every. single. day!

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.

Kuna Way Awards March 2018

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

Laurie McCord
“Laurie strives to make personal connections with her students and their families. She works to meet the needs of her middle school students by giving them daily walking brain breaks to get the wiggles out which helps them concentrate on doing their best work. She learns her student's strengths and weaknesses and collaborates with them on making a plan for improvement.”
Neva Noe
“Along with incorporating best practices in her ELA classes, Neva provides middle school students with the opportunity to become an Honor Society member. She informs students about what it takes to be a member and guides them through the process. She works with students to collaboratively plan and implement the Honor Society Induction Ceremony each year.”

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

Paul Souza, KMS Principal
“Paul allowed us to schedule a two hour time to come over and visit with each individual 5th and 6th grade class to field questions and talk about the middle school. We sent a survey out to our students on their concerns and he addressed them all! Thank you Mr. Souza!” - Brandon Crusat, CP Principal

Leading from where you are

KHS Students - Emma Gunn, Caden Cobb, Tucker Heindel, Jamie Sugai, Olivia Webster, Sarah Vandenbos, Ciyara Dye and Kylie Makris
“These students leaders organized a response to the nationwide school walkout on March 14th which was inspired by students from Parkland, Florida. Not wanting to be limited to walk-out as the only response regarding school safety, these student leaders organized a powerful alternative for their peers with a week of “Kindness”, an assembly paying tribute to the 17 students killed in the Parkland shooting, and finally they created a 17 minute “hallway walk-out” which honored those impacted by school violence. These students are true leaders. With this kind of leadership, our future is in good hands.”
Rebecca Mecham & Teri Husted, Indian Creek office managers
“When the day custodian was out sick at Indian Creek, office managers Rebecca Mecham and Teri Husted dawned vacuums to help out. Now that’s going the extra mile and leading from where you are….way to go!”

Working hard and having fun together

KMS Kitchen Staff
“My name is Patty Roberts, the Kuna Middle School Kitchen Manager, and I would like to nominate my kitchen staff. We started the year short staffed cooking for five schools. In January we took on a sixth school and my staff knocks it out of the park everyday! They are real shining stars that do whatever it takes to make sure all the kids are fed at all six schools, and we have fun at the same time. Thank you to: Bobbie Wiggins, Sheila Gladhill, Shanna Fox, Teresa Allen, Melinda Enochson and Nathan Stoddard.”

Taking care of each other and ourselves

Margarita Colunga, Hubbard/Teed Custodian
“I would like to nominate Margarita as she does so much for our staff and our buildings! We appreciate her willingness to always help us and how she keeps everything so clean. I know with the after school sports schedules, she is always trying to prioritize her time. She always works around people showing up unexpectedly and is never upset or mad. She is the kindest person and we all appreciate her very much!”
Benson Johnson, Technology
“I would like to nominate Benson Johnson for a Kuna Way Award. He has worked tirelessly all year to get my technology working properly. He always makes it a priority and never seems agitated that I am constantly asking for help!”

Preserving our professional capital and promoting professionalism

Cathy Gealy
“Cathy has sought out grants and opportunities to support the middle school Afterschool program. She has brought in funds, resources and guest speakers to enhance the experience for students. She doesn't settle for status quo. and continues to look for ways to improve the program.”

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.