April 2019

Superintendent’s Voice

April 2019


Paula Kellerer portraitMy husband and I are blessed with a pretty amazing view from our backyard. We can see the Owyhees, a small piece of Lake Lowell, and parts of the wildlife refuge. Our dining room window “frames” an amazing picture – an overall view.


Within this view, we can notice the seasons change. Leaves fall, start to bud, spread to offer shade, turn colors and then fall again. The grass and fields turn brown, go dormant, turn green, grow and then turn brown again. We get to enjoy the wildlife. In this picture frame, geese fly across the sky in formation, foxes chase voles, and coyotes howl. Our favorite view, though, is the hawks as they spend hours soaring in the sky and taking advantage of the wind currents along the ridge.


Recently, we received a gift of a spotting scope. They are amazing. We can now focus in on specific parts of the picture outside of our dining room window. We can zoom in and notice the paw of the fox actually pounding on the hole where the vole has disappeared, we can see the hawk preen his feathers as he sits on the limb of the tree, we can watch the deer move across the farmers field in search of food and we can see the ruffling of the hawk’s feathers as he glides and plays in the wind.


Focus. We change the depth of our view, put on a different lens and notice or view things from a different perspective. The total picture is still there – the overall vision, the portrait shaped by the dining room window is still in view. But, we see things from an alternate view by approaching it with a different lens.


Nampa School District Focus Schools are just like that. They exist within the larger mission and vision of the district, but they approach education through a different or special lens. They exist to ensure high levels of achievement for all students and to engage students in extraordinary learning experiences, preparing for successful transition to the next stage of life. But they do it through a focus, a lens if you will, that is unique to their school. Focus schools are held to the same standards and outcomes as all Nampa Schools, but approach and enhance the curriculum in a specific way.


So, which schools are the Nampa School District Focus Schools?


  • New Horizons Magnet Schools is a dual language school focused on developing academic and linguistic skills in both English and Spanish.
  • Centennial Elementary is an arts-integrated school that teaches foundational skills colored with creativity.
  • Lake Ridge Elementary and its sister school, Endeavor Elementary, are using the exploration of real-world challenges to set students apart and on the pathway to college and career readiness.
  • Willow Creek Elementary strives to personalize the learning experience through an innovative blended learning model incorporating both traditional and digital classroom resources.
  • Greenhurst elementary is using a mastery based education model to develop independent learners with a growth mindset and the ability to sustain motivation.


In addition to these elementary schools, our high school system offers several avenues of choice, including internship-focused curriculum (at Union High School), leadership and community engagement focus (at Treasure Valley Leadership Academy), career and technical studies at all three comprehensive high school campuses and a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and mastery-based focus at Columbia High School.


Besides serving their local neighborhoods, these schools have almost 600 students who are open enrolled – parents and students have chosen the lens of learning that is the best fit for them. We encourage you to check these and your neighborhood school out for yourself. What focus makes sense for you? The big picture, or mission and vision, remains intact – the dining room view is still there. Focus schools just alter the view using a spotting scope to approach learning outcomes through a different lens.


To learn more about Focus Schools, visit this page: https://www.nsd131.org/apps/pages/focusschools


- Dr. Paula Kellerer




Nampa Offering Full-Day Kindergarten


Beginning in fall 2019, Nampa School District is excited to offer free all-day, every-day kindergarten at all elementary schools. This change will offer all children the best possible start to early literacy and lifelong learning. Children must be 5 years old by September 1. Register at https://bit.ly/2TRhdQZ


CHS Debate Team Takes State Title


The Columbia High School debate team was named State Debate Champions in the Medium Schools division of the 2019 Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) state tournament. The team is coached by Jeffrey Stoppenhagen. Columbia will compete in the District 3 Speech Tournament on Saturday, April 6, at Skyview High School. 


Nampa BPA Students Headed to Nationals


Fifteen Nampa students qualified for the Business Professionals of America national competition to be held in Anaheim, California, in May by placing tops at the state BPA conference held at Boise State University March 9. The students are from Columbia, Nampa and Skyview high schools. More than 1,300 students from across Idaho competed at the state conference, where Nampa High’s Ashley Massengale was elected as the 2019-2020 State BPA president.


Student’s Art is a Winner


Alma Azocar, a seventh-grader at South Middle School, was a winner in the Idaho School Nutrition Association’s annual art contest. Alma’s entry was one of 632 illustrating the theme “Start Your Engines with School Breakfast.” https://www.nsd131.org/apps/news/article/1005977


Skyview Dance Team Named National Champs


Skyview’s Blue Angels were named national champions at the MDDT USA competition held March 21-23 in Irivine, California. In addition to their first-place win in Hip Hop (large, female division), the team took second place in dance (medium jazz division).


Free Story Time for Kids and Parents


Children and their parents are invited to a free weekly literacy hour at the district’s Family Community Resource Centers. The free event for kids ages 0-5 offers story time as well as a chance for children to play and enjoy a snack. Literacy hours are offered at Iowa Elementary from 10-11 a.m. every Tuesday, at Snake River Elementary from 10-11 a.m. on Thursdays, at Central Elementary from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and at Sherman Elementary from 2-3 p.m. on Thursdays. Just make sure kids bring a parent or guardian! 


Jordan Chesler Named Exemplary Counselor


South Middle School Counselor Jordan Chesler was named an exemplary professional school counselor by the 2019 College Board Counselor Recognition Program. As a token of appreciation, she received a lapel pin and a letter of recognition during National School Counseling Week from College Board. To be eligible for the program a counselor must provide direct guidance and counseling services for a caseload of students and families as well as be a master’s degree-level educator serving as a full-time middle or high school counselor.


Here’s a Taste of What’s Been Featured “In the News”


KBOI Channel 2’s Leaders in Learning series provided this glimpse at classroom engagement. Endeavor first-grade teacher Tersa McCarty got a grant to purchase white lab coats for her kids to wear during science lessons. https://idahonews.com/features/leaders-in-learning 


The Idaho Press brought us this story about the work of Treasure Valley Leadership Academy students to create a mobile food pantry, the Traveling Table. The pantry is bringing food to residents in need once a month and is hoping to expand. https://bit.ly/2uBtslH


KBOI Channel 2 highlighted the good work being done in Samantha Rice’s first-grade class at Endeavor Elementary. Mrs. Rice has been easing her students into their daily lessons by allowing them to play with board games and puzzles for the first 20-minutes – and they don’t even realize the learning has begun. https://bit.ly/2FOJleT


District cheer and dance teams had great seasons, scoring well at state. The Nampa Cheer team took third place overall in 4A. Here’s the story from the Idaho Press. https://bit.ly/2UtGpNa


Skyview’s team took third overall in 5A dance and Columbia took second in 4A. https://bit.ly/2FIYyNv



April Calendar


This list represents a sampling of district events. Events are subject to change. For a complete calendar of events, visit our individual school websites.


April 1: Beginning of 4th quarter

April 3-5: FCCLA State Conference and STAR Competition, in Boise

April 4-5: Gene Harris Jazz Festival, at Boise State University

April 4-5: State Skills USA Competition, at Nampa Civic Center and other locations

April 4: Math/Literacy Night, 5:30 p.m. at Greenhurst Elementary

April 4, 11, 18, 25: Love and Logic Parenting, 6 p.m. at Iowa Elementary

April 6: District Speech Tournament, 11 a.m.-noon at Skyview High School

April 9: High School SAT Day

April 9: Senior Project Presentations, beginning at 8 a.m. at Skyview High School

April 11: Family Art Night, 5 p.m. at Central Elementary

April 12-13: State Speech Tournament, at Rocky Mountain High School

April 12: Jazz Coffee House, 7 p.m. at West Middle School

April 14: Hot Rod Car Show, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Nampa High School

April 15-16: DIII Large Group Choral Festival, at Middleton High School

April 17: Spring Band Concert with TVCB, 7 p.m. at West Middle School

April 23: Festival Band Concert, 7 p.m. at East Valley Middle School

April 23: Spring Orchestra Concert, 7 p.m. at West Middle School

April 26: Carnival, 6 p.m. at Park Ridge Elementary

April 30: DaVinci Night, 5 p.m. at Ronald Reagan Elementary