August-September 2017

Nampa School District 

Superintendent’s Voice 

August 2017  

 

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

 

 

 

The corn was high and the moon was full. 

 

That was the response that my dad gave. We were traveling the back roads toward the interstate and I was noting the height of the corn fields. Some were only knee high, but others were getting quite tall.  My “clock” in the summer months in Nampa is the corn fields. When the stalks are over my head, I know it’s time to start school. It is a “marker” of the season for me. A reminder. A reminder that comes with thoughts of preparation, excitement for a new year, and perhaps some anxiety about moving back into a more clearly defined routine. Corn fields will always be a marker of time for me. 

 

For my dad, it was a marker as well. His “marker” included not only the tall stalks of corn, but a full moon. His memory, his reminder was related to a day nearly 25 years ago when Eric (my husband) and I left the United States to live abroad in Thailand. His marker did not bring back positive memories. For him, it was a time of mourning and loss. Nonetheless, it was a clear memory that he associated with a specific point in time. The corn was high and moon was full. Dr. Kanold in his book “Heart” speaks about seasons of our lives and our school years. We are entering a new season, a new school year. Our two days together in the Powering Up PLC conference were a great start to our year. There was a sense of hope and excitement. We were challenged by, and fortunate to learn from, two great keynote speakers, various break-out speakers, and experts in our new curriculum, and to spend time together with our building and content colleagues.  

 

What “markers” have you established? What memories of these first few days of preparation have been etched in your minds? What will serve as a reminder of this season of hope that we have entered? What marker will you note and call to your memory in November when the newness of this season wears off? 

 

For me, there is a great sense of gratefulness to again be associated with Nampa Schools. The applause on Wednesday morning as I was introduced and the picture of the full auditorium will be etched in my mind. You did look good! But more than that, I believe there was a sense of hope, an energy or synergy in coming together to commit to the students of Nampa. This will be my “happy place” in the next few months – a reminder of why we are here. 

 

Tall Corn. Full Moon. Eclipse. Katie White. Tim Kanold. New grade level. New career. New teaching partners. New curriculum. Whatever. Claim your marker of hope in this new year. Return to the moment frequently to renew your energy and remind yourself of the hope it represents. It’s going to be great! Thanks for your commitment and work with our students. 

 

- Dr. Paula Kellerer

 

Other News 

 

Big Changes at the District Office 

 

You’ll notice some new faces at the District Office this yearor at least, familiar folks with new responsibilities. We were fortunate to hire Gregg Russell as our new assistant superintendent. Many of you will remember Gregg from his years with the district, most recently as a principal at Ronald Reagan Elementary. I was fortunate to work with Gregg when he was an assistant professor at NNU working with our district teachers and administrators around personalized learning and project management, particularly Nampa Personalized Learning. In addition, we’re excited to have Shelley Bonds as our new executive director of secondary education; Laurie Maughan, former principal at Reagan, was hired to fill Shelley’s previous position as director of curriculum and instruction. I am looking forward to working with these talented administrators, as well as our other outstanding District Office staff. 

 

K12 Insight Report Results 

 

Results from our most recent school quality survey are encouraging. 718 staff, 1,475 parents and 6,085 kids took the survey last winter, which rated areas like school leadership, student support, campus safety and academic support. 4 out of 5 participants said they are proud to be part of the Nampa School District: “There is a teacher, counselor, or other staff member to whom a student can go for help with a school problem” was one of the top five highest-ranking statements in each participant group. You also had great things to say about the quality of your schools and kids said they felt safe in their schools and were treated fairly. But we also heard concerns about student support (particularly relating lessons to real life) and involving families in their kids’ education. We’ll continue analyzing the data and looking for opportunities for growth. For now, you can read the report online at this link: XXX 

 

Levy in Action 

 

Thanks to the generous support of voters in our last levy election, we were able to adopt new curriculum last year in Math, English Language Arts and Keyboarding/digital citizenship. Watch for these new teaching tools this year. Levy funds also allowed us to implement our Nampa Personalized Learning project last year, putting iPads or laptops in the hands of kids. We launched the program with six schools. This year we’ll add three more: Owyhee Elementary, Reagan Elementary and East Valley Middle. Later this year we’ll announce our Phase 3 schools! 

 

New Trustees 

 

The School Board swore in two new Trustees in July. Allison Westfall replaced Trustee Bob Otten in Zone 3, and Kim Rost replaced longtime Trustee Brian McGourty in Zone 4. Trustee Westfall was elected board chair and Trustee Janelle Stauffer (Zone 2) was elected vice-chair. Filling out the board are Trustees Mike Fuller (re-elected for a new term in Zone 5), and Trustee Mandy Simpson (Zone 1). 

 

Teacher Supply Cards Distributed  

We’re excited to offer teachers a new benefit this year — supply cards worth up to $150 to support their work in the classroom. In addition to the cards, teachers can also take advantage of a new education reimbursement benefit of up to $180 toward professional development. Credits must be related to the teacher’s primary academic contract. Details are spelled out in the Master Contract. http://www.nsd131.org/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=48334149