ksd1Kuna School District Superintendent Update
Inspiring each student to become a lifelong learner and a contributing, responsible citizen
#futurereadystudents


March 22, 2019

lifeisshort


Team,

As we gear up for hiring for the coming school year, I want to update you on our plan to reduce class sizes.

Class sizes/student loads is a simple math problem: divide the # of students by the # of teachers. However, lowering class sizes is a little more complicated.


When we want to lower class sizes/student loads, we need to add teachers. Thankfully, the levy passed so we are moving forward with our plan to hire at least 20 “new” teachers.


Deploying those new teachers in 2019-20 to lower class sizes/student loads depends on many moving parts: our target, # of students, # of new teachers, and funding.

  • What’s our target?

  • How many students do we expect?

  • How many “new” teachers to we expect to hire & where will they be assigned?

  • How is our funding for next year shaping up?

What’s our target?
One of our levy commitments is to lower class sizes by 10%. Below shows our current class size recommendations and where they will be lowered for 2019-20 staffing decisions.

2018-19 Current Recommended Class Sizes/Student Load

Grade K 1 2 3 4 5 6-12
Class Size/Student Load 20 23 25 26 28 32 160


2019-20 Levy 10% Adjusted Recommended Class Sizes/Student Load

Grade K 1 2 3 4 5 6-12
Class SIze/Student Load 18 21 23 23 25 29 144

In planning for the levy, our analysis showed we could achieve this reduction with about 20 new positions – with roughly 14 assigned at the elementary level and six at the secondary level. As of last Wednesday, I allocated 17 positions and reserved 3 until we have a stronger sense of our kindergarten numbers. So far, here’s how the additional staffing allocations look for our schools:

School Additinal Teachers
Crimson Point

+ 2

Hubbard

+ 1

Indian Creek

+ 2

Ross

+ 1

Reed

+3

Silver Trail

+1

KMS & FMS

+3

KHS & IPHS

+ 4 (1 is AG position)

How many students do we expect?
How many students and where they will attend school is essential to our hiring and class size management, but the final numbers aren’t known until after the first weeks of school. Using information we have currently, we estimate as best we can.

Here’s our process:

  1. In early spring, we roll up students to the next grade level. For example, current 1st graders move to second 2nd grade and so on.
  2. We also factor in open enrollments – requests for students to transfer to a different school or to join or leave our district. Those are due in late April.
  3. We also ask parents to register their incoming kindergarten students.
  4. With this information, we project grade level enrollments at each school.
  5. Then we look at what class sizes and loads may be at every school and every grade level. This first look uses our existing staffing numbers and our new targets. And we look for the pockets that exceed our targets and tentatively assign staff.
  6. We take that staffing plan and begin to hire which is why you see postings on our HR site now. (Our elementary principals collectively conducted a first round of interviews on Wednesday.) We know in the fall changes will be needed as we learn of newcomers to the district and others who have left.

How many “new” teachers will we hire & where will they be assigned?
We plan to hire 20 “new” teachers thanks to the levy. I’ve asked our elementary principals to be a “hiring team” to interview candidates for the majority of the new positions. Levy-funded teachers will be offered a school assignment with a clause that it could change depending on where bubbles of crowding emerge.

How is our funding for next year shaping up?
The great news is the levy passed and public schools budget with an increase in funding-- the 5th year of the career ladder included--was signed by Governor Little.

The improved economy is good for our state and our families. It also means that levels of poverty in the state are down and that federal funding is down as well.


We’re seeing a decrease in poverty in Kuna (although this doesn’t translate to a decrease in needs of our children), and we are working to estimate what a reduction in these funds means for staffing. We expect more firm numbers from the State Department of Education later this spring.


Additionally, we learned yesterday that we should expect an increase of 19% in our insurance costs which translates to about $180,000 increase to what we tentatively budgeted for 2019-20. The insurance committee is continuing to explore options for the future that will help us better control insurance costs.


We will learn more about our budget after Spring Break, but for now focus on enjoying your break and take time to rest and rejuvenate. Thank you for all that you do to help our children.

 

In service,

wendy signature


updatelogoSwan Falls High School
Two weeks ago, the KSD Board of Trustees reviewed all of the feedback from the community and named our next high school Swan Falls High School. A mascot and school colors have yet to be determined. SFHS is located on Linder Rd. and Columbia Rd. (across from Linder Farms). Bids for the school will be awarded this Friday, March 22 at 5:30 in a special school board meeting.

Elementary ELA Curriculum Decision
For the last two years, our elementary teacher leaders have worked on researching reading curricula. They have recommended National Geographic Reach as our new core reading curriculum and McGraw-Hill Maravillas as the reading curriculum for our dual language Spanish program at Reed. Over the next two months, we will be working on getting materials ordered and a plan for professional development for teachers. Anticipated questions staff may have are answered in this document Elementary Reading Adoption Questions. Many thanks to our KSD community for passing the supplemental levy to make this happen!

REDO Scholarships for ENL/bilingual Endorsement
As a part of a federal grant, BSU is offering a great opportunity for those of you who are considering an endorsement in bilingual/ENL education. The scholarship covers all tuition fees (approximately 21 graduate credit hours), application to Boise State Graduate College, and Praxis licensure exam. Details and information can be found on the Department of Literacy, Language and Culture website in the College of Education at Boise State University.

https://education.boisestate.edu/literacy/enlbilingual-endorsement/

The application link is posted below. Applications and the accompanying application essay need to be submitted to Dr. Diane Booth via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://education.boisestate.edu/literacy/files/2017/10/StudentApplication-forGrant-2018.pdf

Education Legislation to Watch

 

  1. SB1196 - on Monday, March 18, the Senate Education Committee scheduled a hearing on the revised public school funding formula. The Committee listened to testimony for approximately two hours and the message consistently shared by most who testified is that more time is necessary for correcting the formula for all districts. This was my testimony as well as was the issue with incorrect data included in the model. Dr. Don Coberly from Boise School District captured the majority of superintendents’ concerns in his blog post. A summary of the hearing was published by Idaho Ed News.
  2. HB153 - $40,000 teacher minimum salary. -- SIGNED INTO LAW BY GOV. LITTLE
  3. SB1061 - school districts that have passed a levy for at least seven (7) consecutive years can allow voters to extend the levy length from three (3) to ten (10) years without going back to the voters every year. We currently have this ability, but the levy must equal at least 20% of the total general maintenance and operation fund. This bill removes that qualification in the language. -- SECOND READING IN SENATE ON WEDNESDAY
  4. HB120 - sex education opt-in (instead of opt-out like it is now); specific concern is the vague language “any instruction or presentation regarding sexality” which would require parents to opt in before kids could be taught an array of topics that are a part of graduation requirements. -- PASSED THE HOUSE BUT DIED IN THE SENATE

Important Dates Coming Up
March 22 Special School Board meeting, 5:30 p.m. at the District Office Conference Room End of Quarter 3, grades 6-12
March 25-29 Spring Break
April 1 Elementary Administrators Meeting, 4:00 - 5:30
April 2 State Department of Education Legislative Roadshow, 9:00 - 3:00Negotiations Meeting, 4:00 - 5:30
April 4-5 Idaho Mastery Education Network workshops

 

kuna wayThe 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

  • Debbie Ryan - Crimson Point Kindergarten Teacher
    “Debbie has been doing innovative lessons in Kindergarten this spring. One day her class were all heart doctors, every student got a lab coat and an MD Name badge. All day the lessons were centered around the heart. The students did heart reading, heart math. Last week the class was training to be astronauts, they wore/made space suits, the room was decorated like the students were in space and all of the days lessons were centered around training for and learning about space. We challenged our teachers to be innovative and to excite kids about their learning, and Mrs. Ryan has taken our request further than we could have imagined. Not only is she being innovative with her students, but she is inspiring her co-workers to take chances and try their own innovative lesson plans.”

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

  • Deann Greany
    “Deann spent long hours in assisting those on the calendar committee to arrive at their final recommendation. She was in charge of the survey, designing the calendars, and making sure it was disseminated to all of the right people. Thank you Deann for your dedication and hard work!”

Leading from where you are

  • Joslyn and Lydia Beers - students at Silver Trail
    “Joslyn and Lydia Beers have been helping a kindergarten student be safe on the bus. I so appreciate their kindness and leadership.” - Nancy, bus driver

Working hard and having fun together

  • Kat Campbell and the KHS Video Editing Class
    “Kat Campbell and the Video Editing class collaborated with our district communications team and made some impressive videos to help educate our community on the levy, voting, and bullying. We are so impressed with their extreme talents in creating such fresh engaging content for our social media platforms. We look forward to many more epic videos from them in the future.”

Taking care of each other and ourselves

  • Deb Reinhart
    “Deb (Dave Reinhart’s wife) made delicious cookies for our groundbreaking ceremony and for the election night party. Thank you Deb for sharing your time, energy and talent for cooking with us.”

Preserving our professional capital and promoting professionalism

  • Rachel Cyr   Cindy Hunter   Tami Evanow   Chris Jones   Mary Holmes
    These fifth-grade teachers graciously volunteered to train and score Direct Writing Assessments from fifth-forward. It’s never easy to leave your classroom for even one day, let alone three! We appreciate all the work and efforts to improve writing in our district!”grade students throughout the SIC. This experience provided them with an opportunity to bring powerful feedback to their buildings and students, instigating rich conversations to move writing 

 

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
. Will our current bell schedule be the same next year as it is this year?

A. This year provided us with quite a transportation challenge which resulted in a change to the bell schedule. Starting about two weeks ago, the transportation department has been working with a new transportation software and has partnered with our Finance Manager Adam Bell to see how we can maximize routes for next year. This will help us know what is possible so we can determine bell schedules for next year prior to the end of the school year.