March 2018

Nampa School District

Superintendent’s Voice

March 2018

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.

“Is it heavy?”

My daughter saw me struggling a tad with several packages that we had just wrapped. I was taking them to the front door so I would be sure to remember to take them to school the next day. I had loaded them into a brown box with the familiar “Amazon smile” on the side. Was it heavy? Not really. Not physically anyway.

Was it heavy? Perhaps it was. We had spent several hours shopping for one of NSD’s unaccompanied youth. We carefully made sure that each item on the list was found, wrapped and ready for the student. The list was simple – jeans, shirts, beanie, jacket, tennis shoes, socks and pizza!

In some ways the box, which to our family represented abundance and the ability to order from an online provider all the fun things we desired, was indeed heavy. The box represented the heavy weight that our youth in Nampa carry with them. Six out of ten come from homes which the government deems at or below the poverty line. Nearly 1,000 of our 14,000 students don’t go home to a place that is their own – they are doubling up with relatives or friends, staying in temporary places, or depending on other resources to provide shelter. Nearly 100 of those students do not have an adult in their life to depend on – they are unaccompanied.

Yes, the box was heavy in many ways. But there is hope.

Our community is working together to create solutions and support for our students and their families who are in need. Nampa School District is partnering with businesses, hospitals, government agencies and faith communities to create a “net” to catch and protect our vulnerable. We are grateful for our partners who are working with us to meet the needs of our students. We have created a safe place after school for our unaccompanied youth where they can receive support in their studies, a warm meal, perhaps a haircut and a place to wash their clothes.

Is it heavy? Yes. But we do not carry it alone and we are making progress.

Thanks for your commitment to the students of Nampa School District!

- Dr. Paula Kellerer


Parent Voices Sought for Advisory Group

The district is looking for parents interested in being part of a group charged with offering feedback to the superintendent on specific projects (such as calendar changes, policy changes, etc.). This group would meet informally or even virtually. To volunteer, send an email to with your name, contact information and the names of your child’s school(s).

Columbia High Student Named Idaho Youth of the Year

Columbia High School Senior Ivan Lomeli was named Idaho Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Club after coming in as a finalist the previous year. Five finalists, each representing a Boys and Girls Club branch from around Idaho, were honored. Lomeli was chosen as the winner and was awarded a $7,500 scholarship.

Nampa Kids to Compete at Regional Spelling Bee

Two Nampa students will compete at the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee at Boise State University at 10 a.m. March 17: Eden Benzel, a sixth-grader at South Middle School, and Jeremy Rolando Alfaro, a third-grader at Greenhurst Elementary School. The regional winner advances to the national competition in Washington, D.C. The bee is free and the public is welcome.

Staff, Students, Community Members Participate in NSD Focus Groups

Nearly 100 people recently participated in focus groups as part of a districtwide communications audit conducted by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). Groups represented students, teachers, staff, parents, and civic and business leaders. Participants answered questions related to the district’s communications efforts and shared their perceptions of challenges facing the district.

Results of the audit, which will be shared with the community, will help shape the district’s communications strategies and allow us to better serve the needs of our students and families.

Lone Star Middle School Band Plays for State Music Educators

The Lone Star Middle School Concert Band performed at the Idaho Music Educators’ Annual Convention Feb. 1 at the University of Idaho, in Moscow. Their selection was an extreme honor and privilege. The advanced seventh- and eighth-grade musicians were led by Band and Orchestra Director Ted Carrico, with assistance from Phillip Hoesing, Director of Bands at Nampa High School, and Jared Sene, a student teacher from Northwest Nazarene University.

Nampa BPA Donates $1,600 to St. Luke's Patient Fund

A group of business communication students from three Nampa high schools contributed more than $1,600 to the Patient Assistance Fund at St. Luke’s Nampa hospital. Nine students in the Career & Technical Education program raised the funds as part of a campaign to increase awareness about breast cancer. For a fall football game between Skyview and Bishop Kelly high schools, they sold T-shirts, coordinated a silent auction and raffle, hosted a “Pink Out” dance and created a #NampaTacklesCancer Instagram page. The campaign was so successful that the students surpassed their original goal of $2,000 and decided to contribute the remaining funds to St. Luke’s patients with limited resources.

Lowe's Grants Kids' Wish for Food Pantry Refrigerator

First-grade students at Endeavor Elementary wanted to help support the school’s pantry, which provides basic needs for families in need. They realized the pantry was in need of a refrigerator. After considering their options, they decided to write to Lowe’s asking for a donation. Teacher Rebecca Franks showed them how to format a letter and the kids took it from there. Lowe’s responded by delivering a refrigerator to the school, amid the cheers of grateful kids. They now are working with Endeavor’s school counselor to organize a food drive.

Rotary Donation Benefits Nampa Schools Foundation

The Canyon County Sunrise Rotary Club donated $1,250 to the Nampa Schools Foundation for a scholarship in memory of the late Vern Carpenter. The funds are dedicated to a scholarship for Nampa students who attend Northwest Nazarene University. Carpenter was a beloved member of Sunrise Rotary, a graduate of Northwest Nazarene College and an advocate for the benefits of education. The Nampa Schools Foundation seeks to increase patron support and raise funds to enrich the quality of education, expand learning opportunities for students and teachers, and bring the community together in support of the Nampa School District. To learn more, visit

Union High School Blogger Interviews Big Picture School Co-Founder

Union High School’s own Alex Holaday had the opportunity to interview Elliot Washor for a YouTube podcast. Washor is co-founder of Big Picture Learning, which puts students at the center of their learning. Watch it here:

A Few Quick Bragging Points

  • Nampa and Columbia High School’s dance teams qualified to compete at state

  • West Middle School’s science bowl team won the Sportsmanship Award at the Western Idaho Middle School Regional Science Bowl 

  • Columbia’s Speech and Debate Team was the 2018 NSDA Congressional Debate Champions. Five students qualified for state and two qualified for nationals.

  • Columbia wrestling was the conference champion and qualified 19 for state, where the team took 4th.

  • Several student athletes from Nampa high schools recently declared their intent to compete for their chosen colleges and universities.

  • Lone Star Middle School robotics students made it to semifinals in the Idaho Cold Turkey Tournament against middle schools and high schools and were champions of the Nampa School District Middle School Championship.   

And a taste of what’s been featured “In the News”

The Press Tribune ran this really nice profile of Columbia High’s Nate Reynolds, the inspirational young basketball player with a great attitude and sharp shooting skills. 

Mari Ramos, Snake River Elementary’s Family Community Resource Center coordinator, was featured in a short profile in the Idaho Press Tribune. Ramos helps connect families with much-needed resources. 

KIVI Channel 6 did a great story on how students at South Middle School were recognizing National Kindness Week. 

Thanks to KTVB Channel 7 for this story on how positive behavioral intervention is being implemented at Central Elementary School. 

KIVI gave us this story about an upcoming investigation here at the district office to try to solve a Nampa cold case.  

The Press Tribune also offered us this heart-warming profile of employee Kayla Grim Hamanishi. 

Nampa Police honored Columbia High School student Antonio Ballesteros at the Feb. 20 Nampa City Council meeting for his heroic actions during an assault at the school in December. Ballesteros received a 30-second standing ovation from the crowd.

Third-graders at Lake Ridge Elementary are busy designing an all-ability playground. Nampa officials say they'll consider it.