Becoming Bridge Builders
Bridges span barriers. Most are carefully constructed under the watchful eye and expertise of a civil engineer. Information is gathered and examined regarding the depth of the support structure, the type of material that will be used, the feasibility of various types of structures. New bridges are patterned after previous successes, building on the knowledge and experience of bridge builders that have gone before. Designs are altered to meet the context of the area — consideration to withstand frequent earthquakes, the volume of traffic it will support, severe temperature swings, and more. In many cases, design incorporates beauty as well, like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River.
Besides spanning barriers, bridges often shorten the distance between two locations. They increase the likelihood that travelers will arrive at their destination without traveling a long way out of their way around an obstacle. Bridge builders create pathways that benefit those who come after them.
Many poets have written eloquently about bridges, their purpose and their place in our lives. A friend shared a poem entitled The Bridge Builder, by Will Allen Dromgoole. In the first two stanzas, an “old man” is traveling alone down a highway and encounters a deep and wide chasm. He is able to successfully maneuver through the barrier. Instead of continuing his journey, he stops and returns to the chasm and builds a bridge that spans the chasm. A “fellow pilgrim” on the journey stops and chastises the old man for building a bridge that he will never use again. The last stanza shares the bridge builder’s response to his fellow pilgrim:
The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”
In Nampa, we have youth following after us. The path, the journey, they are taking has been traveled by others before them. Some of the pathways they encounter include barriers or detours, or perhaps the map has not yet been made clear and they have taken an alternate route. Some are looking for bridges that will span the barrier that they face.
The Nampa School District has been intentional about building bridges. Working with teachers, parents and community partners, we are working together to build bridges to assist our students in their journey to what lies beyond school. Our students may encounter many barriers, including learning disabilities, access to quality healthcare, poverty, low self-esteem, drug and alcohol abuse, apathy, lack of vision, etc. Many of our students have natural bridge builders around them – pastors, counselors, parents, friends, teachers – and already have benefitted from the bridges built by previous travelers. Others don’t quite yet see the bridges that lay before them.
Although there are many bridges that address specific needs, one intentional bridge that has created a clear pathway for Nampa students is the district’s Career and Technical Education Programs (CTE). Some bridges lead to four-year degrees, some to two-year degrees, some to the military, some to a mission. All should lead to a positive future.
The CTE bridge can create a clear pathway for students into a career field. Nampa has 28 career pathways that are industry-recognized and lead students into a hopeful future. In February, we celebrate CTE month, recognizing and honoring our students who choose pathways into accounting, broadcasting, drafting technology, pre-engineering, culinary arts, welding, law enforcement and more. Over 3,000 Nampa School District students take one or more of our courses in CTE, and for those students who persevere and successfully take a CTE capstone class, 100 percent graduate and 99 percent go on to some type of post-secondary education or are hired immediately into a position directly related to their course of study.
CTE is just one of the “bridges” intentionally created for students in Nampa. We offer a shout out to these programs during this month. We also offer a reminder that each of us could be building bridges that our students may one day traverse. Bridges like mentoring, coaching, volunteering, making connections and building relationships. These are the bridges that make a difference for students and make Nampa stand out as a community where students benefit from all sorts of bridge builders.
- Dr. Paula Kellerer
Nampa’s Graduation Rates Top State’s
Idaho’s graduation rates are at an all-time high, reaching 80.6 percent. This number tracks students in four-year cohorts from ninth grade through 12th grade. This is great news for Idaho kids and reflects the success of intervention efforts at all levels.
The Nampa School District is excited to report overall graduation numbers from last year that exceed the state average. In 2017-2018, NSD graduated 81.7 percent of students in its four-year cohort, an increase of 3.9 percent over the previous year. By contrast, the overall state rate increased by just 0.9 percent. Even more exciting, data shows that our English language-learners graduated at the same 81.7 percent rate, and 82 percent of our economically disadvantaged students graduated on time.
Much of this growth can be attributed to the extraordinary efforts of our teachers and counselors, including our college and career counselors
Mayor Proclaims February Nampa CTE Month
Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling officially proclaimed February as Nampa Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. The ceremony at Skyview High School’s Pro-Tech Building included Nampa School District administrators, industry partners, students and staff. Guests were then given tours of the Career and Technical Education programs available at the school. CTE Month continues on Thursday, Feb. 14, with a keynote address by Mark C. Perna. He will speak on “Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations” at 6:30 p.m. at the Nampa Civic Center.
Skyview Students Excel at Drama Festival
Skyview High School students competed at the Idaho Thespians Society Festival held in late January. Out of a total of 13 Superior rankings awarded during the festival, Skyview students earned five. The remaining SHS students received no lower than Excellent. Logan Pollard and Jared Burton won the Tech Olympics for their theatrical lighting know-how, and Melanie Stringam and Madison Pittz were offered scholarships from the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City (AMDA).
Dozens of BPA Students Headed to State
Several Nampa’s Business Professionals of America students competed at the regional BPA Conference in January. Three students – Tripp Pugmire from Columbia High School, and Ashley Dabb and Kimberly Roberts from Skyview High School – were recognized with the Diplomat Torch Award. This award is designed to promote professionalism and leadership in both career development and personal growth. Criteria include leadership, service, cooperation, knowledge, friendship, love, hope, faith and patriotism.
In addition, dozens of students scored at the top of their categories and will advance to the State Business Professionals of America Leadership Conference to be held in March at Boise State University.
TVLA Students Help Launch Traveling Food Pantry
The Traveling Table, a new program created to meet the needs of North Nampa residents who do not have access to healthy food, celebrated its grand opening celebration on Jan. 16 at Lakeview Park in Nampa. Treasure Valley Leadership Academy students helped organize the event, designed graphics for the Traveling Table vehicle and are completing training for the distribution of food.
Moving forward the mobile pantry will continue to distribute free food provided by the Idaho Foodbank. Neighborhood gardens may provide fresh produce seasonally.
Students Can Apply for Foundation Scholarships
The Nampa Schools Foundation is accepting 2019 scholarship applications until 5 p.m. Feb. 28. Apply at http://www.nampaschoolsfoundation.org/scholarships. Students may apply for several different scholarships.
Here’s a Taste of What’s Been Featured “In the News”
Superintendent Kellerer was quoted in an Idaho Press story looking at Mayor Debbie Kling’s first year in office. Dr. Kellerer noted that “We have benefited from the opportunity to be involved in important community discussions. We value the partnership we have with the city.” https://www.idahopress.com/news/local/2cscoop/nampa-mayor-debbie-kling-s-first-year-defined-by-wastewater/article_1cdea6f9-b1c5-5179-a126-ede41626216f.html
Roosevelt Elementary’s celebrated Chesapeake-poodle mixes — Princess Leia and Coco — were the focus of a story in the Idaho Press looking at how things are going four months into the school year. Principal Shawn Tegethoff said the dogs have assisted students struggling with attendance and unexpected behaviors, saying there is something “magical about these dogs.” https://www.idahopress.com/news/local/two-dogs-unconditional-love-helps-students-staff-at-nampa-elementary/article_120b9560-cd6a-5521-90eb-55135625e3a9.html
NNU freshmen reflected on their semester of service in the school’s Cornerstone program that encourages community service. One group worked with Nampa School District’s Family Community Resource Center at Snake River, where college students played with kids, did odd jobs around the center and acted as mentors. https://news.nnu.edu/story/cornerstone-reflecting-on-a-semester-of-service
This list represents a sampling of district events. Events are subject to change. For a complete calendar of events, visit our individual school websites.
Feb. 4-8: School Counselor Appreciation Week
Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28: Love and Logic Parenting Class, 6 p.m. at Iowa Elementary
Feb. 8-9: Warhawk Speech and Debate Invitational at Ridgevue High
Feb. 8-9: Idaho Dance Showcase Invitational, 1 p.m. at Mountain View High
Feb. 8: Moms and Muffins, 8 a.m. at Roosevelt Elementary
Feb. 8: Daddy Daughter Dance, 6 p.m. at Lake Ridge Elementary
Feb. 8: Bingo Night, 6:30 p.m. at Park Ridge Elementary
Feb. 8: Band Gala Dinner and Auction, NHS, 7 p.m. at the Belle Events Center
Feb. 9: Two:Three-0 Cheer Competition at Capital High
Feb. 9: Lights Glow Crazy Valentines Dance, 8 p.m. at Nampa High
Feb. 12: West Middle 8th-Grade Combined Band Concert, 7 p.m., location TBD
Feb. 14-17: All NW Band Conference in Portland, Oregon
Feb. 14: National Speech and Debate Qualifiers at Renaissance High
Feb. 14: CTE Month Keynote Speaker Mark C. Perna, 6:30 p.m. at the Nampa Civic Center
Feb. 14: Winter Orchestra Concert, 7 p.m. at West Middle
Feb. 15-16: National Speech and Debate Qualifiers at Columbia High
Feb. 16: State Girls Basketball Tournament at Nampa High
Feb. 18: Presidents Day, no school
Feb. 19: Winter Band Concert, 7 p.m. at West Middle
Feb. 19: Vocal Solo/Ensemble Recital, 7 p.m. at Nampa High
Feb. 23: DIII Vocal Solo/Ensemble Festival at NNU
Feb. 23: District Cheer Competition at Meridian High
Feb. 23: District Debate Competition at Boise or Kuna High
Feb. 23: DIII Dance Team Competition at Skyview High
Feb. 23: BPA Annual Dinner Auction, 5 p.m. at Skyview High
Feb. 26: Fiesta Fundraiser for Band, 6 p.m. at Lone Star Middle
Feb. 28: Literacy Night, 6 p.m. at Park Ridge Elementary