#KSD Ready & Resilient

Update from Kuna Superintendent Wendy Johnson


In this update:
  • Celebrating our ready and resilient teachers & staff next week
  • Ritter named Silver Trail principal
  • Reflecting on this year to inform the next
  • Update on masks in our school
  • Text messages from us are changing
  • Friday, May 14 No school elementary only!
  • COVID data dashboards

Kuna families

Last night I was thrilled to attend our annual Kuna High School Senior Awards Night in person. (Video of the event is below.) It was exciting to see this tradition occur complete with our JROTC honor guard presenting the colors and KHS choir students singing the national anthem.

More exciting was to see our seniors collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships as they prepare to graduate next month. In all the talk about COVID this past year, we haven't had much time to talk about our students' achievements.

I'm grateful that above the noise of the pandemic, every day our students are learning and preparing to be future ready.


Celebrating our ready and resilient teachers & staff next week

Our team is optimistic that the last of major changes are behind us. I'm proud of our team -- they've exemplified our theme for the year: ready and resilient. Because of our team, our schools have been open, healthy and learning.

In the past as a district, we've used part of a spring professional development day to celebrate and recognize outstanding staff members. Like so many things in this year, the time for this was "repurposed" to provide planning time for the secondary schedule changes and for elementary teachers to learn and plan.

Next week is National Teacher Appreciation Week and I invite you to reach out and thank your children's teacher and the staff that supports them and students. It's been an extraordinary year.

Our school board has tapped the talents of students in Sandra Wheeler's graphic design class -- Kate Vogel, Kenzie Koch (her design is shown in the corner), Haley Welch, and Bentley Parrott -- to create for special thank you notes for our team.

Implementing athletic task force recommendations

Earlier this year, we updated the Board of Trustees about the work of an Athletic Task Force that was formed in the fall of 2019 to create a recommendation to the school board regarding a comprehensive improvement plan for our athletic program.

One of the group's recommendations was realized this spring as Kuna High was able to add strength and conditioning staff to work with all students as well as students who also participate in athletics. This will help our students avoid injuries, improve fitness and build strength while allowing coaching staff to focus on their duties.

Thanks to the task force members working on this plan:

Bekkedahl, Kim - Asst. Superintendent

Beymer, Dave - KHS building admin

Bleymaier, Gene - former university AD

Bost, Ben - former professional athlete

Bradburn, Deb - former coach

Cutforth, Marcus - parent

D’Orazio, Rocco - parent

Dibble, Kris - parent

Donaldson, Tracy - KSD AD

Edwards, Billy - parent

Ericson, Carl - community leader

Field, Ryan - high school coach

Graves, Brian - principal

Hardy, JW - university coach

Hommel, Ivy - university athlete and KHS graduate

Johnson, Russ - KSD Trustee

O’Neil, John - parent & coach

Ratliff, Kristina - parent

Walker, Randy - parent

Text messages from us are changing

We're changing the systems to call, text, and email our families. School and district staff learned to use the new system this week and will start using it.

You will see a new code on your text messages from us. If you receive a text with "60680," that is from us. These are routine messages such as reminders about an upcoming event. As in the past, families can opt out. As in the past, opt outs don't apply for emergency messages such as a school closure because of snow. Those text will have a different code: "54968."

District and schools also will include a text identifier like we include in our texts messages now.

An alternative to texts coming soon!

In August, Kuna School District app that families will be invited to download at the start of the coming school year. This will include a feature for "push notifications" for the district and our schools -- as well as other information.

Ritter named Silver Trail principal

Kara Ritter will replace Ken Lilienkamp, who is retiring at the end of the year. Kara joined our team last year in the middle of the pandemic to serve as the building administrator for Crimson Point and Silver Trail. Kara came to us from Arizona where she served as an elementary teacher and elementary administrator. Kara is a native Idahoan from the Magic Valley.

Reflecting on this year to inform the next

The 6-12 Advisory Task Force will be meeting again next week. It's been month since the option for student to return full time in person at the secondary schools was added. We're going to touch base and see how things are going.

We also plan to check in with families and staff again on some key questions as we prepare for next year. We have sought your feedback and input many times this past year, please know that we appreciate input as it helps shape our work.

Update on masks in our schools

We are all eager for a time when wearing a face mask won't be necessary to reduce the spread of COVID.

I shared last week that for the last four weeks or so of school left, masks remain required for students and staff. We want to finish strong and to avoid students missing school and special events because of exposure to a COVID positive person and the need to quarantine.

I heard from some parents with concerns that procedures were not the same building to building. Here are some clarifications, we are sharing with staff and the school board:

  • Face coverings won't be required outdoors.
  • Quarantine procedures will be consistent across schools. Earlier this year a change was approved that we no longer quarantine if there is close contact between a person who has tested positive and others as long as all involved in the close contact were wearing face coverings.

For this summer and next school year, we're exploring a more local approach to indicators as to when we would require face coverings and when would we not. We will be asking for your input on this and other topics next week.

At the May school board meeting, I'll discuss with trustees what we're planning.

Big picture
Staff & Teacher COVID Data Dashboard

Information about staff and teacher absences in our school related to COVID

Student COVID Data Dashboard

Information about student absences in our school related to COVID.

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. #ksdready&resilient #ksdempower #futureready