Report Cards, Parent-Teacher Conferences and Levies!
I just wanted to catch your attention. These three topics may or may not be connected in some way, but they are on my mind as we enter the month of October.
October is the month that our first quarter comes to an end. Yes, soon we will be ¼ through the school year. Haven’t we just started? Teachers continue to review what their students have learned, how well they have learned it, what pieces are next in the learning cycle and what parts need to be revisited for students who need additional time to get the essential learning outcomes for the quarter.
At the end of this month, we will ask teachers, parents and guardians to come together to discuss the progress of each student. This is not merely a “thing” we do, it reflects our deep belief that teachers and parents together make a difference in the lives of students. We are a team that works together to see stronger outcomes, celebrate victories, and support each other when the work is difficult.
Some of our schools will ask students to lead the conversation, sharing what they have learned, their successes, their failures and next steps for their learning. Some schools will make specific appointments – asking parents and guardians to visit our schools at a specific, designated time. Other schools will create some open bands of time and invite parents and guardians to show up whenever it best fits their schedule.
If it’s a typical year, some schools (mostly elementary) will be able to partner with high percentages of their parents and guardians. Other schools (mostly high schools) will have a much lower turnout. There are a myriad of reasons, I suppose, that this happens. But I would love to encourage each of us to approach this season of conferences with the mindset of partnership – we are in this together.
So, here are some tips and ideas related to parent-teacher conferences. (Remember this is about a partnership, not one-way communication).
- Show up, if at all possible – we need you as a partner. If the times we have scheduled do not work for your family, work with your child’s teacher(s) to schedule another, more appropriate time. If that doesn’t seem to be a viable option, email your student’s teacher(s) and start a conversation! Stay connected through PowerSchool and ask questions when it doesn’t make sense.
- Ask about what is going well. This is important information and an opportunity to celebrate with your student. This could be an area of strength in a specific content area, a disposition or attitude that impacts the classroom in a positive way, or a specific piece of work that demonstrates understanding.
- Ask about areas that could improve. Even those students with strong outcomes can get better at something. If a student has an area of weakness, spend time understanding what the next steps are to improve. What is the plan? How can we work together to support your student?
- Share important information. Sometimes classroom performance is impacted by influences outside of the classroom. This is a great time to build understanding and brainstorm solutions.
- Share gratitude. Teachers and parents are in this together. Recognize that together as partners we can support students. We are grateful for the role that each plays in the lives of our students.
Now for the levy discussion. This is great news. Last November, our community supported a supplemental levy for the district that will raise over $9 million over two years to support programs, facilities, playgrounds, activities and more. Because of anticipated increases in property values, the district was able to promote this levy with an actual decrease in the overall tax rate. At election time, the district was certain that the overall tax rate of the district would decrease at least 11 cents per $1,000 in home value.
The numbers are in and because the market value across our taxing district has increased over 13 percent, we are able to reduce the levy rate by 30 cents, not just 11 cents. Yeah! The overall tax rate for the school district will decrease to just a little over $4 per $1,000 in home value. We are pleased to announce this reduction in levy rate for our taxpayers. Thank you for your support at the polls for our students in Nampa.
- Dr. Paula Kellerer
Skyview Senior Shapes Kindness Week
Skyview senior Tyson Cantrell spent months working with the community-wide steering committee planning the first-ever Community Kindness Day on Sept. 29. Held at the Ford Idaho Center, the day featured a number of events aimed at teens. Cantrell helped mobilize students from Nampa, Caldwell and Middleton high schools to participate in Kindness Week activities, including the Ford Idaho Center teen tailgate featuring bubbleball, Dutch Bros beverages and music provided by Impact Radio.
We want to thank our students, teachers, administrators, staff and community members for their tremendous efforts to make this week a success. We saw an outpouring of kind and thoughtful actions ranging from writing positive messages of support to performing acts of service, sharing kind words, giving high fives, and making new friends. Our kindness focus will continue throughout the year and we look forward to a new community tradition.
Speech and Debate Nationals
East Valley Middle School has one of only two middle school speech and debate programs in the state. Under the direction of Coach Jeffrey Stoppenhagen, this talented team took first place at the 2018 state middle school speech competition and advanced to nationals in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Gifts Provide for Buddy Benches
Buddy Benches donated by Ben Blessing and Recreation Today have been installed at Central, Endeavor, Iowa, Sherman and Snake River elementary schools. The benches provide a safe place for kids to go when they have no one to play with or want to make a new friend. In addition to Blessing’s gift, On Semiconductors donated two benches to Centennial Elementary School. That gift was officially recognized by a Sept. 24 ceremony kicking off the community-wide Kindness Week.
Students Troubleshoot Tech
A student club at Willow Creek Elementary School is teaching kids how to troubleshoot tech problems and download apps for the school’s hundreds of iPads. The Donut Hackers (named by founding club members with a fondness for donuts) is in its second full year and includes kids in grades 3-5. The club meets once a week before school to learn new programs and brush up on basic skills. To be accepted as part of the club, kids must submit a professional-looking resume and be willing to volunteer before school or during their lunch hour.
Fifth Graders Provide Clean Drinking Water
When fifth graders in Bryan Renschler’s class at Iowa Elementary read about the critical shortage of fresh water in many parts of the world, they were moved to take action. Thanks to a number of fundraising efforts last spring netting over $2,000, they have assured that a village in India will now have access to clean water. The money was raised through a combination of student and teacher donations, water bottle sales, and donations through Facebook.
Overall Tax Levy Rate Reduced
The Board of Trustees unanimously agreed with a district recommendation to lower the property tax rate to support schools by 6.7 percent. At the same meeting, trustees approved an emergency levy in light of increased average daily attendance over the same 10-day period a year ago. The levy will provide for $685,184 in one-time funding. Even with the emergency levy the plan reduces the 2018-2019 overall levy rate by more than 30 cents per $1,000 of taxable property value.
And Here’s a Taste of What’s Been Featured “In the News”
The popular Latino Fest held in downtown Boise on Sept. 1 garnered a nice donation of school supplies for Nampa School District kids in need. The event was sponsored by the Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Mexican Embassy. In all, the event netted three large boxes of supplies, a case of notebook paper and several backpacks.
The Idaho Press offered this look at district plans to increase the number of community family resource centers. We currently operate two centers (at Snake River and Central) that are open to the public. Two more centers (at Iowa and Endeavor) serve students and families at those schools. A fifth center is in the works. https://www.idahopress.com/news/local/2cscoop/nampa-school-district-plans-to-increase-number-of-community-schools/article_5f7b9ee7-ac2e-55bb-b53c-11696128c827.html
East Valley Middle School was front and center in this 6 on Your Side report on Delta Dental’s “Grins on the Go” program that brings dental sealants directly to kids at local schools. https://www.kivitv.com/news/-grins-on-the-go-cleaning-teeth-at-low-income-schools
Several articles recently have looked at how homeless numbers are affecting schools. Here’s one from the Idaho Press’s Betsy Russell. https://www.idahopress.com/news/local/homelessness-on-the-rise-among-idaho-schoolchildren/article_8f61d25c-63c9-533e-b038-5c5e59ce89f7.html
Centennial Elementary’s ribbon cutting ceremony for their new Buddy Bench drew this coverage from Channel 6. The ceremony kicked off Kindness Week and drew attention to the issue of bullying. https://www.kivitv.com/news/centennial-elementary-school-gives-a-space-for-kindness
Paula Kellerer joined Amy Stahl from St. Luke’s and Trish Groh from St. Alphonsus to talk about the Community Kindness Day for this KBSX interview. http://www.boisestatepublicradio.org/post/community-kindness-day-bolster-civility-idaho
This list represents a sampling of district events. Events are subject to change. For a complete calendar of events, visit our individual school websites.
Oct. 3: School Carnival, Snake River Elementary, 5-7 p.m.
Oct. 4-5: No School
Oct. 4-6 & 11-13: “Almost, Maine,” Skyview Colias Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6: Kuna Marching Band Invitational, Kuna High School
Oct. 6: 8th Grade Volleyball Tournament, Middleton Middle School
Oct. 6 & 13: “Almost, Maine,” Skyview Colias Performing Arts Center, 2 p.m.
Oct. 9: Regular Monthly School Board Meeting, District Office, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 10: National Walk to School Day
Oct. 10: 8th Grade Football, East Valley Middle School, 4 p.m.
Oct. 6,8,9,11: District Soccer Tournament
Oct. 12: Fall Festival/Walk-a-Thon, Ronald Reagan Elementary School, 5-7 p.m.
Oct. 12: Harvest Festival, Willow Creek Elementary, 5-8 p.m.
Oct. 18: 4A Districts for Cross Country
Oct. 18: Fall Orchestra Concert, East Valley Middle School, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 18: Fall Band Concert, Lone Star Middle School, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18-20: State Soccer Tournament
Oct. 20: Treasure Valley Festival of Bands, Vallivue High School
Oct. 22: Fall Choir Concert, East Valley Middle School, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 22: Fall Orchestra Concert, Lone Star Middle School, 7 p.m.
Oct. 22-26: Red Ribbon Week
Oct. 23: District Swim Meet
Oct. 23: Fall Band Concert at East Valley Middle School, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23: Fall Choir Concert, Lone Star Middle School, 7 p.m.
Oct. 24: 8th Grade Girls Basketball, East Valley Middle School, 4 p.m.
Oct. 25: End of First Quarter
Oct. 25: Lake Ridge Elementary Literacy Night, 5-7 p.m.
Oct. 26: Teacher Work Day, No School
Oct. 27: State Cross Country Championships
Oct. 27: DIII Marching Band Festival, Boise State Albertsons Stadium
Oct. 30 and Nov. 1: Parent-Teacher Conferences