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This electronic newsletter from the Nampa School District includes news on academic achievement; levy investments; new staff to support schools and families; & more.

The Communicator

August/September 2016

David Peterson, Superintendent

Thanks to your support great changes are under way

We are excited at the smooth start to the 2016-17 school year!

Our constant theme is Getting Better Together and our community’s support is playing a huge role in that forward progress toward improved student learning.

The supplemental levy is making a tremendous difference and I want to showcase how this investment is paying dividends throughout the year.

New curriculum

Last year, we rolled out new K-5 English Language Arts (ELA) Curriculum, which includes reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. This year, middle and high school ELA classrooms get new curriculum.

With more than 40,000 books, each student will have textbooks and novels instead of relying on a classroom set. We also have some great online tools (and digital textbooks) for teachers and students.  Learn more in this short video.

This year, we are finishing the research and selection process for K-12 math materials. You can follow the work of the math committees here.  New materials will be here for the 2017-18 school year.

Nampa Personalized Learning  

In August, we began rolling out the first devices for students in the six schools -- Columbia, Willow Creek, New Horizons, Central, Endeavor and Lake Ridge -- that are part of Phase I of our Nampa Personalized Learning Initiative. These schools applied to be among the first schools in the initiative. We will continue to issue devices throughout this month.

We are excited about this change because it is far more than just a laptop or iPad for every student as I explained to the local media in August. (Watch the video here.)

NPL also provides teachers with extensive training through our partnership with Northwest Nazarene University’s Doceo Center and our partners at Apple, Microsoft, Dell, and Education Elements. With the devices and the teacher support, we are transforming classrooms.

Our plan is to reach every student and school in the next three years. We are soliciting applications from schools for Phase II and will announce those later this year.

It is an exciting time in Nampa, and I’m looking forward to sharing our improvements with you throughout the school year.

 

We asked. You answered. What happens next?

Last year, we asked parents, staff, and students to share their opinions and perception in two engagements – K12 Insights and ThoughtExchange. You responded in record numbers and we wanted to update you on how the information is being used.

First, all school leaders received their school level reports and overall results shared with the Board of Trustees. You can review school and district results here. 

The good news?

Overwhelming, stakeholders rate our schools as good or excellent and they say our schools are as a safe for our students.

Areas for improvement?

While schools are seen as safe, there are concerns about how students treat each other.

Hopefully, you saw the email earlier seeking volunteers for a committee that will make recommendations in this area. We will keep you updated. You can follow the committee's work online here. The goal is for recommendations to come early next year.

Also, we see lots of concerns around resource issues: teacher retention, teacher pay, class sizes, etc.

We want your feedback and perceptions of our schools to be able to improve, so we will be checking in with you again in second semester … with a shorter survey.

Gerald Williams

Scott Parker

New Executive Directors for Elementary, Secondary Education

The district is excited to introduce these new leaders who help support our school leaders and are a resource for parents and the community.

Gerald Williams is our new Executive Director of Elementary Education.

He replaces Nancy Chopko, who retired. Learn more about Gerald, here.

Scott Parker is our new Executive Director of Secondary Education.

This position was not filled last year. Learn more about Scott, here

 

Meet our college, career advisers; learn about new $ for students

One of our goals is to increase the number of students headed for college after graduation.

We are thrilled that new state funding allowed our three traditional high schools to add new staff dedicated to support students and families for the transition to higher education after high school graduation.

Here’s a short 1-minute video introducing these new college and career advisers who are eager to work with students.

In addition, the state is providing more than $4,000 per high school student to support them in pursuing advanced opportunities including earning college credit while in high school.

Learn more in this video report.

Bright spots, areas to improve identified in NSD's SAT results

Results from the SAT taken by Nampa's 11th graders last spring were released this summer. The test was revamped so results cannot be compared to last year. District leaders reviewed the results and found bright spots and area for improvement. Watch the video of Assistant Superintendent Nicole MacTavish and Assessment Director Anita Christianson provide an overview of the results.

2016 school, district ISAT results released by state

Last spring, students took state math and English language arts assessments in grades 3-8 and 10. Students reports were provided to parents this summer. School and district reports were released by the State Department of Education last week. You can find district and school results in the State Department of Education's Report Card here. Assessment Director Anita Christianson updated the Board of Trustees on ISAT results and the results of other assessments on Sept. 13. You can listen to the presentation and review the slides and the full report here. Similar to the SAT results, the district saw bright spots in English Language Arts as our student results improved compared to the prior year and we identified areas for improvement in math. 

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