November 2017

Nampa School District
Superintendent’s Voice
November 2017

 
This newsletter provides updates on district news, accomplishments, goals and initiatives. For more information, visit our web page, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

I spent my day on Thursday in several of our school buildings. The scene was one that I am familiar with – parents and teachers talking together, working to ensure that students are progressing and are benefitting from their education. PTA members and leadership students were in the hallways greeting parents and selling school “swag.” There were teachers in their rooms preparing for next week's lessons in between parent visits. In several teacher work rooms, there was food provided by parents and other groups celebrating and thanking teachers for their work. This is Parent-Teacher Conferences!

Although there are many times during the year when parents and teachers work together to create a strong learning environment for students, it is during this time of year that we can easily visualize the partnership. Strong communities of learning remember that teachers, administrators and parents must work together to create the best opportunities for students to achieve.  None of us can create an excellent educational system on our own – we need each other.  We commit to creating this system because our most precious resources, our children, are at stake. The cost of failure, the cost of not aligning all of our resources directly to a quality educational system, is too high to pay.

So, let me take a moment to thank you for your commitment to Nampa Schools and to your child's education. Thank you for the thousands of conversations that took place this last Wednesday and Thursday related to student learning. If you weren't able to participate, I encourage to pick up the phone or open your email and make an appointment with your child’s teacher(s).

We have another opportunity to demonstrate our partnership this week.  On Tuesday, November 7, Nampa School District will ask our patrons to vote on a supplemental school levy.  Although we have worked to share accurate information, let me take moment to give you some specifics.  The levy would replace our current school levy which retires at the end of this school year.  The Board of Trustees worked to present to our voters an alternative which actually reduces the overall school levy rate by 11 cents per $1,000 of market value. The Trustees of the school district have prioritized spending in the following areas:

  • Curriculum Updates (we have purchased language arts and math with previous levy funds. Science and Social Studies are next on the list)
  • Playground equipment
  • Facility upgrades
  • Technology – wireless capacities at several buildings and Nampa Personalized Learning curriculum needs
  • Activities (includes athletics, music and performing arts, and field trips)
  • Transportation Costs (busing for New Horizons and removal of the transportation fee for activities at the secondary schools)
  • Current Programs

If you have questions or need clarification, please refer to our district webpage for more detailed information or call the district office and we will work to answer your questions.

Thank you for your continued support of your Nampa Schools.
  
— Superintendent Paula Kellerer

Other News

Two Nampa High Seniors Named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists

Several of our high school juniors excelled on the spring PSAT test, with two being named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists. Both students are seniors are Nampa Senior High School: Matthew Kocina and Natalie Reece.

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools took the 2016 PSAT; only 16,000 were named semifinalists. 

To become finalists, Kocina and Reece will need to work with Nampa High School to submit a scholarship application detailing their academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and awards and honors received. They must demonstrate an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and do well on their SAT. National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from the pool of finalists.

Financial Audit Finds District on Solid Ground

The Nampa School District recently underwent its annual external audit, with excellent results. Eide Bailly, a local accounting services agency, found no errors or areas of concern in the district’s year-end financial statements for fiscal year 2016-2017.

Nampa School District is in a strong financial position following a 2012 fiscal crisis that left it $5 million in the hole and is doing all it can to be good stewards of taxpayer money. Currently, the district has a 5 percent revenue reserve — the amount required by board policy.

Eide Bailly also performed an audit of the district’s use of supplemental levy funds and found that all levy funds are being used for the purposes approved by voters. That supplemental levy expires in June 2018 and Nampa voters are being asked to approve a new, two-year levy for $9.375 million per year.

College and Career Readiness Progress

The district recently presented a very positive update on College and Career Readiness across schools. Scott Parker, executive director of secondary education, reported that:

  • 4,173 students were served in 2016-2017 by College and Career Readiness programs.
  • The district’s Go On rate was 43 percent in 2015 and 40 percent in 2016. Within a year of graduation, those numbers were 48 percent and 44 percent.
  • 64 percent of students in 2017 reported that they planned to go on to a two- or four-year institution.
  • 365 students graduated with a career technical certificate.
  • Nampa led the state with 7,164 college credits earned in 2016-2017.
  • High school career guidance counselors are working with middle school counselors to help kids bridge from middle school to high school.

Behavioral Health Pilot Program Launched

A new program launched this fall provides on-site behavioral health services for students at two Nampa schools.

Services are provided by licensed therapists from Pioneer Health Resources working closely with school counselors at West Middle School and Nampa High School, who identify children in need of services.

The project is coordinated by the Southwest Health Collaborative’s Behavioral Health Integration Workgroup, which is focused on enhancing access to services for school-aged children.

Funding was provided by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health and St. Luke’s. Mental health is among the top three priorities identified in the 2016 St. Luke’s Community Health Needs Assessment.

Career and Technical Education Programs Continue to Grow

NSD students enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs can now choose from 28 career pathways, which is more than any other district in Idaho. A total of 3,457 students are enrolled in one or more pathways, with an 83 percent pass rate on capstone projects.

CTE students get opportunities to be involved in the community, and to travel to regional, state and national conferences and competitions. Twelve students in the agriculture program (FFA) recently joined more than 59,000 attendees from across the nation and U.S. Territories at the 2017 National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition to strong team results, two individuals achieved impressive rankings: Anna Peterson (Skyview) paced fifth overall in the performance class section of the Horse Judging event and Nampa High School senior Spencer Stoltey placed 11th in the nation for the Agriculture Mechanics event. Other recent program awards range from teacher of the year and business recognition to an Agriculture and Natural Resources program award from IATA. Goals include future programs in Dispatching, Manufacturing and Hospitality.

Nampa Schools Post an Impressive Triple Win at Band Festival 

Nampa School District’s three marching bands pulled off an incredible triple win at the District III Mel Shelton Marching Band Festival on Saturday, Oct. 28, after judges realized an error following the award ceremony. In a very tight competition, NSD bands claimed the grand champion Sweepstakes Award (Nampa High School), as well as the top spots in the 5A (Nampa), 5A Small (Columbia) and 4A (Skyview) categories. They also earned accolades for best percussion, color guard, general effect and more.

Columbia High was originally announced as the second-place winner in the 5A Small category, but after an error was discovered in the tally sheets, they moved clearly to the top. The correct trophy was presented to them in a ceremony at the school on Nov. 1. Band members also received congratulatory notes from Rocky Mountain High School band members, who had been named the winners on the night of the competition.

Students Wing it in Award-Winning Science Course

Students in science teacher Chris Anderson’s enrichment course at Nampa High School are learning the ups and downs of flight physics thanks to a grant from the Idaho STEM Action Center (STEM focuses on science, technology, engineering and math). The course, created as part of the Gowen Thunder STEM Challenge, emphasizes the four forces of flight (weight, lift, thrust and drag) and Bernoulli’s principle of velocity and pressure.

Anderson, a private pilot and advisor to the Nampa High School STEM Club, recognized that the Challenge was a good way to connect what students are learning in the classroom with real-world principles. Part of the grant involved writing a lesson plan relating in some way to the Gowen Thunder Airshow slated for Oct. 14-15 at Gowen Field.

Anderson chose to create his lesson plan around the Bernoulli effect and how wing shape dictates how an aircraft performs. Once students understand the basic principles of flight, they will design their own aircraft wing, 3D print a model of it and test it in a wind tunnel. This lesson plan earned him an award from Idaho STEM Action Center, presented during a class field trip to Gowen Field to preview the airshow on Oct. 13.