West Ada Update
School Community - September 9, 2021
West Ada School District (WASD)
2021-22 School Year Theme: Reflect on the past, embrace the present and build on the future.
- September 12-18 - National Arts in Education Week
- September 27 - School Board Meeting
- September 29 - World School Milk Day
- October is Computer Learning Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, National Bullying Prevention Month and National Principals Month
- October 3-9 - National Fire Prevention Week and Farm-to-School Week
- October 4 - NO SCHOOL: Collaboration (all grades, K-12)
- October 5 - World Teacher's Day
- October 6 - National Coaches Day
- October 10-16 - National School Lunch Week
- October 11 - Columbus Day / Indigenous Peoples Day
- October 11 - Regular School Board Meeting
- October 13 - PSAT/NMSQT for 10th grade students
- October 17-23 - National Bus Safety Week
- October 20 - Parent/Teacher Conferences (No School Kindergarten, Tuition K in session)
- October 21 - Parent/Teacher Conferences (No School Grades K-8)
- October 22 - NO SCHOOL: End of Quarter 1
- October 23-31 - Red Ribbon Week: "Drug Free Looks Like Me"
- October 25 - Regular School Board Meeting
- November 22-26 - NO SCHOOL: Thanksgiving Holiday Break
PLEASE NOTE: To meet our goal of all students achieving at high levels, the West Ada School District Service Center is closed from 8:00-9:00 AM every Wednesday for collaborative team meetings and the work of Professional Learning Communities (PLC). In these meetings, teams review data, establish goals, and monitor school/district improvement strategies.
Congratulations Xander Clemons!
Idaho Fine Arts Academy freshman Xander Clemons was recently awarded first place at the Western Idaho Fair! Congratulations Xander!
Xander and his artwork (photo right) were inspired by his love and passion for the music of Jimi Hendrix. The title of the artwork is "Riding With the Wind," pastel on newsprint. The name of the piece was taken from a Jimi Hendriz lyric in his song "Little Wing."
Congratulations Renaissance High School 11th grader Michael Gusinow!
Thirteen Idaho public school students from across the state will gather in Boise Sept. 20 for the first meeting of Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra’s new Student Advisory Council.
“Some of the best and most inspiring moments in my seven years as superintendent have come from meeting and hearing from students,” Superintendent Ybarra said. “Their perspective and insights on Idaho’s public education experience are invaluable, especially as we work to recover from the pandemic’s impacts on schools. So I put out a call for advisory council members last spring, hoping to tap into this amazing resource.”
“The response was remarkable – nearly 60 strong applications,” the superintendent said. “It was so hard to narrow it down that I ended up with 13 students instead of the planned 12.”
“I’m excited by their diversity – seven girls and six boys in grades 4 through 12 from districts large and small in all regions of the state, with a wide range of priorities and interests – and especially excited by their ideas and passion for education,” Superintendent Ybarra said. “Each has a parent or guardian willing to accompany the student to our quarterly meetings, and I’m grateful to those adults for their commitment.”
Key issues voiced by advisory council members in their applications range from school funding to eliminating cliques and also include time management, mental and emotional health, social issues, STEM options and meeting the needs of students with disabilities.
Members of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council are:
- Bridget McNamee, fourth grade, Dalton Elementary School, Coeur d’Alene School District
- Emma Paddlety, ninth grade, Lapwai Middle/High School, Lapwai School District
- Adeline Perry, fifth grade, Valley View Elementary School, Boise School District
- Grady Noble, seventh grade, North Junior High, Boise School District
- Zayan Virani, 10th grade, Timberline High School, Boise School District
- Michael Gusinow, 11th grade, Renaissance High School, West Ada School District
- Joselyn Gutierrez, 12th grade, Caldwell High School, Caldwell School District
- Ocie Atagi, sixth grade, New Plymouth Middle School, New Plymouth School District
- Brylee Williams, 12th grade, Weiser High School, Weiser School District
- Hayden Barbre, eighth grade, Wood River Middle School, Blaine County School District
- Mila Gabiola, 10th grade, Highland High School, Pocatello School District
- Audrey Harmon, 9th grade, Bonneville High School, Bonneville School District
- Caleb Pebley, 11th grade, Hillcrest High School, Bonneville School District
“What we do in Idaho’s public schools is all about meeting students’ needs, igniting their dreams and fueling their success,” Superintendent Ybarra said. “This Student Advisory Council will give us input and ideas from young Idahoans so we can deliver programs and information in ways that actually reach them. I can hardly wait for our first meeting, Sept. 20.”
Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE)
Suzanne was chosen as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert for the 2021-2022 year. Suzanne shared that she is "so excited to be able to continue working with a global community of educators who are working to achieve excellence in education using Microsoft technologies coupled with innovative teaching practices. This year was particularly exciting to be chosen because there were over 25,000 applicants worldwide and only 13 MIEEs chosen from Idaho. I look forward to inspiring my students with creative thinking and sharing what I am learning with others in the West Ada community."
Silver Sage Elementary PTO Hard at Work!
Idaho Statesman Athletes of the Week
- Football: Deagan Martinho, Eagle High School - Deagan turned 10 carries into 142 yards and two TDs in a 42-7 win over Kuna.
- Volleyball: Sierra Grizzle, Mountain View High School - Sierra racked up 25 kills, seven aces and 23 digs with a .400 hitting percentage in non conference wins over Centennial and Borah.
- Girls Soccer: Sophia Avalos, Mountain View High School - Sophia scored two goals in each of the Mavericks’ wins last week, a 5-0 victory at Skyview and a 6-0 win vs. Meridian.
Way to represent West Ada! For more information and to read the full article by Michael Lycklama, CLICK HERE.
PSAT / NMSQT (Preliminary SAT / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test)
The PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) measures a student’s ability to do college work. The PSAT is a short form of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and measures math reasoning and reading and writing skills and includes multiple choice and fill-in response questions.
All sophomore students in West Ada take the PSAT. It is recommended that students take the PSAT as a junior as well. For students who are enrolled in honors courses, it is recommended to take the PSAT as a junior because it is the qualifying test for scholarship competition such as the National Merit Scholarship (NMSQT).
The PSAT is NOT used for college admissions. ALL West Ada School District sophomores (10th grade) will take the PSAT, during school hours, for FREE, on OCTOBER 13. Juniors interested in taking the PSAT / NMSQT for National Merit scholarship purposes should contact their School Counselor to sign up and pay assessment fees with their school bookkeeper. More information can also be found about PSAT on the College Board website page at www.collegeboard.org.
To link your PSAT score to Khan academy for SAT prep follow these steps:
- Go to satpractice.org. Create an account on Khan Academy or sign in to your existing account.
- When prompted, agree to link your Khan Academy and College Board accounts.
- Send your scores.
Meridian High School Volleyball Team Gives Back
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” -Audrey Hepburn
As a team, Meridian High School volleyball believes that community service builds character, integrity, and unity.
Meridian volleyball helped set up a local thrift store called Vets 4 Success! and we could not be more proud!
About the Class:
The classroom portion of Drivers Education will take place ONLINE. The class will be synchronous (All Students will be online at the same time during class time).
Students must be available for class on Mondays and Wednesdays between 3:30 to 5:30 pm. Attendance and participation are mandatory to complete the class.
Driving will be scheduled at the following high schools: Centennial, Eagle, Meridian, Mountain View, and Rocky Mountain High Schools. There will be no driving portion of the program available at Owyhee High School. West Ada is working to add an onsite program at Owyhee High School in the future. Students may register for another site and would need to be able to meet at another high school location for the driving portion of the program.
The course is approximately 8 weeks and is typically held after school three days a week. (2 days of class and 1 day of driving). There will be no scheduled online classes over school breaks. However, students may be asked if they are available to drive during these breaks.
The West Ada School District Driver Education program is taught by certified instructors, utilizes a state-approved curriculum, uses inspected and safety-equipped vehicles, and provides insurance coverage while students are in the program.
- Students must be at least 14½ in order to register for the Driver Ed. program.
- Students apply for enrollment and will be selected based on the age of the applicant, meeting the registration deadlines, and the availability of instructors.
- If selected, the student will receive a “Confirmation of Enrollment” email, after the registration deadline, (see below) indicating placement into the class. (Parent Email address must be provided in the online registration form.)
For more information CLICK HERE.
What is a Letter of Compliance / Verification of Compliance (VOC)?
This is a certified letter that is required by the Department of Motor Vehicles. A Verification of Compliance can be obtained from the student's home school. The letter states that the student is enrolled in school. The Verification of Compliance process typically takes 1-3 school days to be completed. It is valid for only ninety (90) days from date of signing. District Policy does not allow the letter to be faxed.
Fast Forward Funds
The Fast Forward program provides every student attending an Idaho public school an allocation of $4,125.00 to use towards Advanced Opportunities in grades 7-12. The program was expanded by the Legislature in 2016 through the passing of Senate Bill 1292. These funds can be used for dual credits, overload courses and exams such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate. For details and more information on Fast Forward speak to your student's Middle School Counselor or High School College and Career Counselor or CLICK HERE. The deadline for submissions is October 1, however most schools appreciate submissions no later than September 24 to ensure accuracy and timeliness for both students and families.
There has been a change in implementation using Fast Forward funding for flagged accounts. Please read below.
IMPORTANT: Please note that failure to pass a course you use Fast Forward funds for will result in a hold of future Fast Forward funds for ALL courses!
- To access additional future funds, students will be required to pay for the next course AND earn credit for that course (pass it) before ANY funds for courses can be accessed.
- Your funds will remain frozen for ALL courses until both steps are completed! If you currently have a flag for an unsuccessful course that the state has paid for, the same is true in that you must pay for the next course AND earn credit for that course (pass it) before ANY funds for courses can be accessed.
- Failure to meet the AP exam requirements will cause an exam flag and will also freeze Fast Forward funds for all exams until the next one is paid for.
As we look at Air Quality in our local community, West Ada School District uses the Meridian St. Luke's rating for air quality decisions. St. Luke's Meridian is centrally located in our district and provides a local AQI (Air Quality Index) that assists the district in determining the level of pollution and health risk in the air.
The websites listed below may be used to monitor air quality. When the community is in or near the RED (unhealthy), outdoor activities such as sports, athletic practices, marching band and recess will be canceled. Most often, during periods of poor air quality in RED, families will get an email notifying them of athletic and activity cancelations due to poor air quality.
Idaho Department of Environment Quality - Real-Time Air Monitoring:
In light of schools needing to be more security and safety minded, please understand that each school in the West Ada School District has an Emergency Response Plan that has been carefully developed and addresses a multitude of emergency situations. In addition, all West Ads School District Schools conduct lock down drills in conjunction with local law enforcement two times each school year. If there is an emergency at your child’s school, your cooperation is necessary to help us respond effectively to such situations.
In the event of an emergency, please help us by doing the following:
● Please do not call and do not go to the school.
○ In an emergency, onsite staff are focused solely on getting everyone to a safe location. Showing up to the site can create unnecessary traffic, preventing emergency vehicles from responding quickly. You could also put yourself or others in danger.
○ If you get a call or text from your student, help him or her remain calm. Remind your student that school staff know what to do in an emergency situation, and will work to keep everyone safe.
○ Please know we will communicate with parents/guardians about reunifying you with your child and that this reunification site may not be at the school.
● Check the West Ada School District homepage at www.westada.org
○ We will provide credible, accurate and useful information to the public as soon as possible. Please be aware that Information received from sources other than the school administrator or West Ada School District may be inaccurate.
○ Expect to see our posts updated as necessary. We will also provide updates to local news media, but emergency situations can change rapidly. Typically, multiple agencies are involved, so communication is coordinated through the “lead agency,” which may cause a delay in notification.
● Sign-Up for Emergency Text Messaging:
○ We will use our emergency text notification system to contact parents and guardians. Please make sure your emergency contact information in PowerSchool is always up to date.
● Familiarize yourself with the terms that can be used during any emergency situation:
○ Hall Check: Used to secure the building from a potential threat outside the building, such as when an unauthorized person is loitering on school grounds or when there is criminal activity in the neighborhood. Exterior doors are locked, but normal activities continue inside the building. Used during severe weather or other environmental threats (e.g., air contamination due to a local fire) to keep people safe while remaining indoors.
○ Lockdown: Used when there is a perceived danger inside the building. Doors are locked, windows are closed and locked, blinds are closed. People are directed to move away from windows and doors. Hallways are cleared of students and school staff.
○ Evacuation: When students and staff are moved out of the building to a pre-designated safe location.
○ Reverse Evacuation: When students and staff are moved from the outside of the building to the inside due to outside safety concerns.
○ Reunification Site: An alternative site other than the school where school administrators will check-out students to the child’s parent/guardian. Students will only be released to authorized parents/guardians with proper identification (e.g. driver’s license, state identification, etc.)
All West Ada School District staff members, parents, students and community members are encouraged to report anything they see, hear or are made aware of that may impact a school or school program. If you see or hear something, say something, call 911.
Please discuss these matters with your immediate family. Planning ahead will help alleviate concern during emergencies. Thank you in advance for following these steps to ensure our students, staff members and public remain safe and secure.
Sincerely, The West Ada Emergency Planning Team
Optional Device Protection Plan
West Ada School District offers optional device protection to families to cover the accidental breakage or damage that might occur to a child’s iPad or laptop. This voluntary protection plan is available for $25 per device and covers repairs or replacement due to accidental damage from drops, spills, vandalism, loss, theft, and incidental damage to another student’s device. Device protection does not cover intentional damage to a device, or damaged or lost accessories such as district provided cases, chargers, pens, or hotspots. Please see the Parent Student Device Handbook or Optional Device Protection Plan in the Student Handbooks for detailed information on the District’s Optional Device Protection Plan.
The optional device protection plan enrollment period is August 16-October 31. Families may sign up and pay for optional device protection through the Payment Portal located in PowerSchool. Please refer to the image below for instructions on accessing the optional device protection form in PowerSchool.
Families are responsible for the repair or replacement of devices which are damaged, lost, or stolen outside acceptable use guidelines published in student handbooks. Device protection is a voluntary, non-refundable, yearly cost for each device. Families may be able to add devices to their homeowner’s or renters’ insurance plan and may consider these alternatives prior to purchasing optional device protection.
Mitigating Measures in the Classroom
- Teachers and students must sanitize their hands upon entering the classroom. Building custodians will check wall mounted hand sanitizer dispensers daily to check levels and replace cartridges. Teachers are responsible for requesting individual bottles of hand sanitizer from administration.
- Student desks should be distanced as much as possible, at least three (3) to six (6) feet apart is ideal.
- Remind students of the need to maintain distancing and that students should only get up to move around the classroom with teacher permission and supervision that ensures adequate physical distancing as much as possible, three (3) to six (6) feet is preferable.
- Remind students NOT TO SHARE laptops or computer keyboards, drinks, food, snacks, gum, writing utensils, tissues, face masks, make-up, chap stick, eating utensils, musical instruments, or personal items.
- Student desks, chairs, keyboards, or other items frequently touched at the student’s desk should be cleaned between use by different students.
- In those school buildings in which the building maintenance staff indicates that it is not possible to perform at least four air exchanges per hour, consider opening your classroom door and the classroom windows if weather allows and the open door and windows do not create excessive noise in the classroom. You can learn more on this page Modifying Facilities.
School Nutrition Update!
Breakfast and Lunch meals are FREE for all students again this year, but if you would like to set up an account for purchasing milk or ala carte items, we are using a new system called Titan for our family portal. (https://family.titank12.com/BFR56W) Please note that all student balances have been transferred over to the new system.
For more details on school nutrition visit their website by clicking here: https://www.westada.org/domain/746
Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT)
ISAT SCORES for students in grades 3-8 and 10, from spring 2021, are now available through PowerSchool!
1. Log in to your PowerSchool account
2. Click on Historical Documents in the left navigation menu
3. From the folder drop-down select "Test Results"
4. Click on the document you want and then select the Download button.
For more information on the ISAT Comprehensive Assessment System: CLICK HERE