#KSDempowers December 2019

Monthly Update from Kuna Superintendent Wendy Johnson

In this newsletter:

  • This holiday break become a vacation superhero
  • Planning for Swan Falls opening under way
  • Holding on Filling the Curriculum/Assessment Administrator
  • Anonymous Donor Pays Lunch Debts
  • ISBA Scholarship
  • Kuna Way Awards! KHS alum gives back; Silver Trail students; amazing staff
  • Important dates
Why We All Need to Become Vacation Superheroes | Josh Leibowitz | TEDxCoconutGrove

This holiday break become a vacation superhero

"I want to vacation so long, I forget all my passwords."


I saw this quote and chuckled. As we head into the long holiday break, I want to invite you to learn from my mistakes, and don't use those passwords. That's right, don't work. Take a break.


For many years as an English teacher, I would lug home a stack of papers with the pledge that I would review and grade them during the first part of the break so I could enjoy my time with family. I never did. Instead, I would see the stack and feel guilty and cram in a grading day on the last day of vacation.


I encourage you to take a break that means no grading papers, no checking work email, and no reading books for work.


Research shows that 75% of people work while on vacation. That’s not OK.


For the next two weeks, I invite you to lean in hard to this time away from our amazing, inspiring, and yes, sometimes exhausting profession.


In this YouTube video, Josh Leibowitz encourages viewers to make the most of time away by setting a goal, establishing the “why” of you vacation. He suggests these: relax, have fun, connect, immerse or learn. Those all sound terrific to me, and I hope they do to you.


Every work day you are superheroes for our 5,500 plus kids. Please on these non work days, remember to be a superhero for you.


Thank you for all you do and truly enjoy this time away.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


In service to children,

Planning for Swan Falls opening under way

Some staff assignments are changing as we prepare for the opening of our third high school in less than eight months.


For those new to KSD, Swan Falls High School was designed to open in phases. The first phase is essentially a satellite campus allowing expansion of our career technical education programs and adding classroom space.


During this time, Brian Graves will serve as principal of both schools and a lead building administrator will be assigned to each site.


Brian and his team discussed supervision needs as well as the opportunities that aligned with staff professional and personal goals. They recommended, and I accepted, the following administrative shifts effective this month:


  • SFHS Lead Building Administrator Robbie Reno. Robbie will continue as KHS dean.

  • KHS Lead Building Administrator Dave Beymer. By request, Anna Lovelady shifts to building administrator at KHS.

  • District Activities Director Tracy Donaldson. His dean position will not be filled.


Opening a new school is a lot of work and I’m confident the new structure will maximize our team’s talent and strengths while also keeping within the budget. Look for more updates in the new year!

Holding on filling the Curriculum and Assessment Administrator replacement for this year

As you know from my previous communication, Curriculum and Assessment Director Cathy Beals will leave at the end of the month to accept a position as the State Department of Education’s math coordinator.


After reviewing the list of responsibilities and weighing this against some of the immediate needs of our schools, I have determined not to fill the position this year. I’ve asked Kim Bekkedahl, Kelly Walton, Kelly Glen, and Kelee Robinson (that's a lot of great Kellys) and Ali Schauer to help me create an interim plan to manage the curriculum and assessment responsibilities while we determine a long-term plan for the position.


With the savings from not filling the position for the remainder of the school year, I am able to help with some school needs such as providing Reed Elementary with an additional para educator to provide equitable prep time for their teachers. The other reason I am waiting is that we are in the midst of two critical plans that may require that we look at our resources differently--developing our 2025 strategic plan and updating/revising our capital plan. I want to take time to listen to some of the needs and ideas so that we staff for successful outcomes for our children.


I'm very appreciative to everyone who will be helping us during this transition. I am so lucky to work with amazing people!

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Anonymous Donor Pays Lunch Debts

What a generous community we serve! I learned today that two anonymous donors paid off over $24,000 in overdue school lunch balances from this school year.


Student lunch debt is a common issue across the United States. In one survey from the School Nutrition Association, around 75% of schools had unpaid lunch debt at the end of the 2016 school year. These are expenses the school district has to cover with its own budget.


This gift not only helps families and children but also the district. Thank you to our generous community partners!

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Important Dates & Events

Dec. 23-Jan. 3 - No School: Christmas Break

Jan. 6 - Students & staff return

Jan. 14 - School Board meeting

Jan. 16-17 Semester tests 2 hour early release (Grades 6-12)

Jan. 17 - End of 1st Semester Secondary

Jan. 20 - No school Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Feb. 3 - Kindergarten registration opens

Feb. 11 - School Board meeting

Feb. 17 - No school Presidents' Day

Feb. 28 - End of Trimester Elementary

Superintendent Wendy Johnson

I am a superintendent of an amazing school district in Kuna, Idaho. I love serving children, teachers and families and having an impact on the future. #ksdempower #futureready