We have a lot of specialized vocabulary in the education world, including a lot of acronyms that we throw around forgetting that not everyone lives in the education world. One of those acronyms is STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Nampa Schools have many avenues in which we work to incorporate the STEM areas throughout our curriculum. Many of these avenues are recognized in the state and in the Northwest as excellent programs, including our STEM academy housed at Columbia High School and many of our project-based initiatives through the Nampa Personalize Learning program at Lake Ridge Elementary, Endeavor Elementary and others.
Today, however, I want to talk about a different kind of STEM. More accurately spelled with lower case letters as “stem.” This instructional technique “gives students the opportunity to respond in the form of a complete sentence to effectively communicate.” We use sentence stems in our classrooms to provide scaffolding to assist students in getting started in speaking or writing without the added pressure of thinking about how to correctly formulate a response.
A stem sentence could look like, “Today, I learned…”, “It would be easier if…”, “I believe option 2 is a better choice because…,” etc. In a recent meeting led by one of our community partners, a facilitator presented a stem sentence for the group to consider. The topic was youth mental health and, as you might imagine, that can be very sobering. However, the stem was designed to remind us of the hope that we have in tackling difficult situations together. The stem was, “Today, I am thankful for…”.
That sentence stem has been on my mind. What am I thankful for? Today in particular, what have I found to be thankful for? If I direct the question to you, the reader, “Today, what are you thankful for?”
Here is my list. Today, I am thankful for…
- Our teachers and staff. Nampa is blessed with a staff of individuals who are here for all of the right reasons. I spoke with several teachers recently who said that although they live in Boise, they choose to work in Nampa because they love their students, their colleagues, their administrators and this community.
- Our community partners. Nampa is blessed with individuals and businesses who are committed to students. Nampa School District is purposely growing our partnerships so that Nampa students benefit. Business leaders who serve on our advisory committees for our career technical programs, community leaders who come together to create coherent systems of support for students in crisis, businesses who are engaging in learning how they can partner with the district in expanding key programs, and service groups who commit resources to and time in mentoring students – all are partnering with us.
- Our students. Each time I have the opportunity to sit down and talk with our students (your students), I learn something. They are amazing. Their voices are refreshing and their hopes and dreams are inspiring. Our next generation are well on their way to being equipped to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, care givers, and expressive contributors to our world and community. They are creating their own opportunities to give back to our community through coat drives, food drives, raking, planting, cleaning and sending. One middle school just recently collected, prepared and sent care packages for servicemen overseas.
- Our parents and guardians. As a district, it is our privilege to work with parents and guardians as partners in their child’s education. We are blessed to have the opportunity to serve our families and students. Thank you for your partnership.
- Our district and her trustees. Not all districts are great places to work. Not all districts keep students at the center of their decision making. Not all districts are committed to continuous improvement. We are. We are creating a district that focuses on valuing our employees, honoring our community, working with our parents and guardians, and continuing to improve our system so that students benefit. Our five trustees are at the heart of that commitment. One hundred and thirty-one years after its inception, our district is strong and moving in a positive direction.
So, “Today, I am thankful for…” Fill in the blank. After filling in the blank, I challenge you to share your gratitude. Share your thoughts with your students/children, the teachers who work with your students, the parents who send their children to our schools, and our community members and leaders.
Although we are not yet in a perfect place, we are in a good place with lots of things to celebrate and to be grateful for.
“Today, I am thankful for…” You fill in the blank.
Dr. Paula Kellerer
Graduation Requirements Under Review
Nampa School District administrators and trustees currently are reviewing the district’s graduation requirements, which haven’t been revisited for several years. Input is being gathered through targeted stakeholder focus groups. These groups include parents, current and past students, teachers/counselors/administrators, members of the higher education and business communities, and teachers and staff connected to special education, ELL/McKinney Vento, and Career and Technical Education programs.
The committee will reconvene in January to discuss collected data. That meeting will be open to the public and written feedback from the community will be encouraged. For more information about the committee, please refer to the webpage at https://www.nsd131.org/apps/pages/Committees
St. Luke’s Steps Up for Kids
St. Luke’s Nampa employees raised nearly $1,000 in support of Nampa schools during their recent one-year anniversary celebration. Funds will help with the needs of our homeless youth and families. The money was raised through a raffle, a pumpkin carving contest and a pancake breakfast hosted by the Canyon County Sunrise Rotary Club.
Battle of the Bells
Cheerleaders from Columbia, Nampa and Skyview high schools will ring the bell for the Salvation Army on Monday, Dec. 10, in a Battle of the Bells. Each school will attempt to collect the most donations from 3-7 p.m. at Fred Meyer (NHS), the Garrity Walmart (CHS) and the 12th Avenue Walmart (SHS).
Nampa Athletes Shine
The Nampa High football team had a winning year, making it to the semifinals for state after besting Columbia High in the quarterfinals. Several Nampa High and Columbia players were named to the 4A All-Conference Team. In 5A,
In Volleyball, Skyview High took second at state; senior Morgan Bower was named the 5A Southern Idaho Conference Player of the Year, and Skyview coach Kevin Murphy was named Coach of the Year.
Finally, West Middle School wrestlers were crowned the Treasure Valley champions, a first for the school.
New Lobbies for Two Elementary Schools
Thanks to the support of our voters, supplemental levy funds were used to improve the front lobby areas of two of our elementary schools: Greenhurst and Snake River. The new, lockable additions will improve safety and security for our students and staff.
Here’s a Taste of What’s Been Featured “In the News”
Taylor Warren, a fourth-grade teacher at Endeavor Elementary School, was featured as a KTVB Innovative Educator for this Boston Red Sox-inspired learning day that hit it out of the park. https://bit.ly/2SIBowe
KTVB continued its Innovative Educator series with a second story about a Nampa School District program. This time the focus is Nampa High School's sign language club, led by teacher Samantha Showers. https://bit.ly/2T5xA8q
This list represents a sampling of district events. Events are subject to change. For a complete calendar of events, visit our individual school websites.
Dec. 1: Christmas Bazaar, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Nampa High School
Dec. 1: Nampa High Women’s Choir, noon-1 p.m. at Nampa High School
Dec. 6: Love and Logic parenting class, 6-8 p.m. at Iowa Elementary
Dec. 7-8: Holiday Havoc Speech Tournament at Columbia High School
Dec. 7: Cookies and Movie with Santa, 6:30-9 p.m. at Park Ridge Elementary
Dec. 8: Holiday Bazaar, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Greenhurst Elementary
Dec. 8: Mini Dance Camp, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Nampa High School
Dec. 10: East Valley Middle School Christmas Band Concert, 7-9 p.m. at Columbia High School
Dec. 11: Learning Showcase, 6-7:15 p.m. at Greenhurst Elementary
Dec. 11: School Board Meeting, 6:30 p.m. in the District Office Board Room
Dec. 11: Nampa High School Winter Band Concert, 7-9 p.m. at Columbia High School
Dec. 13: Love and Logic parenting class, 6-8 p.m. at Iowa Elementary
Dec. 13: Winter Choir Concert, 7-9 p.m. at Nampa High School
Dec. 13: Choir Concert, 7-8 p.m. at Lone Star Middle School
Dec. 13: East Valley Middle School Christmas Choir Concert, 7-9 p.m. at Columbia High School
Dec. 17: Dance Team Winter Showcase, 6-9 p.m. at Nampa High School
Dec. 17: Christmas Choral Concert, 7-9 p.m. at West Middle School
Dec. 18: Nampa High School Winter Orchestra Concert, 7-9 p.m. at Columbia High School
Dec. 20: Love and Logic parenting class, 6-8 p.m. at Iowa Elementary
Dec. 21: Two hour early release
Dec. 22-Jan. 6: Christmas Break