The Groundhog Gazette

Amity Elementary - Home of the Groundhogs

May 2018

From the Desk of Mrs. Uhlorn

Happy Spring Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

I cannot believe we are in our final months/stages of the 2017-2018 school year. What an exciting year for our staff and our students as we begin the transition process to the new school building for the 2018-2019 year. We cannot thank you enough for voting YES for Boise Schools, allowing us to move forward with a new, state of the art facility; which in turn, will represent the quality of education we provide our students every day.

With the move will come change. We are excited to announce the following new grade level teams:

Kinder - Mrs. Coslett and Mrs. McSurdy

First - Mrs. Hill (formerly Ms. Hastings), Miss Getto, and Mrs. Brooks

Second - Mrs. Clark, Ms. Free, and Mrs. Dykes

Third - Mrs. Geis, Mrs. Pachner, and Mrs. Tullis (formerly Ms. Ward)

Fourth - Ms. Bryant, Mrs. Cox, and Mrs. Shaw

Fifth Grade - Ms. Baranko, Mrs. Blas, and an open position.

Sixth Grade - Mr. Kubena, Ms. Scudder, and an open position.

When changes like these occur many parents have questions. I would like to take this opportunity to explain the reason for shifts in teaching positions at each grade level. It is our goal in the Boise School District to foster a collaborative environment for our teachers to enhance the learning of all students. The teachers of Amity Elementary already do an amazing job of working together within their grade level. Thus, the next step is to promote vertical alignment, (i.e. what we do in second grade sets our students up for success in third grade and so forth). Each grade level has a new team member who can provide experiences from a different grade level to facilitate vertical alignment discussions. This in turn will enhance the learning experience of every child in the Amity community. In short, we are intensifying the quality education we are already providing your children.

Finally, it needs to be noted we are saying goodbye to four phenomenal, veteran teachers from the Amity team. Mrs. Emry who has served 13 years as a Groundhog will be moving to Grace Jordan Elementary as a first grade teacher. She always offers a friendly smile and joyous laugh to brighten the day of others. Her dynamic personality and love of students will be greatly missed. Mrs. Kagee will be taking a year to focus on being a daughter, wife, and mother to her fabulous family. She is a rockstar teacher who always goes the extra mile for her students without missing a step. She has been with Amity for four years and we will definitely feel her absence in our daily routines. Ms. Cole will be off to Garfield Elementary where she will continue her endeavors as a kindergarten teacher. Her unique approach to teaching our littles will be missed. We were fortunate to have Ms. Cole for one year. Finally, Mrs. Gilliland is beginning a new teaching journey at Longfellow Elementary as a sixth grade teacher. She is an engaging teacher who always looks for ways to hook her learners in unique ways. Her students benefit from her rigorous lessons because of her constant encouragement. Mrs. Gilliland has been with Amity for 14 years and will definitely be missed. We wish these four powerful women good luck on their new adventure. Please take the time to join me in letting them know how much you appreciate them and their service to Amity Elementary.

Lastly, as we finish up the school year, I want to take a moment to address recent safety concerns occurring in the parking lot. Please adhere to these following procedures, as these are in place to keep all students and parents safe during the hours of drop off and pick up. Please, do not block the crosswalk when dropping off or picking up. Watch for students in or entering crosswalk. If there is room to move forward, we ask you to do so to keep the flow of traffic moving while allowing our buses to enter the parking lot in a timely manner. Second, we have had several reports of parents on their cell phones while driving through the parking lot. As a result some students have almost been hit. Please put the phone down when in the parking lot. If you need to make a phone call or text, please stop the car and proceed with your call/text. My goal is to always keep everyone safe during school hours.

Thank you again for your continued support of Amity Elementary and the education of all students. We could not do this job without you. I am thankful every day that I get to work with such amazing teachers, students, and parents. Have a wonderful month of May.


Valerie Uhlorn

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Lunchroom Account Balances

Students need to end the year with their meal accounts at a zero or positive balance. If your students has a negative balance, we would appreciate it if you could bring their accounts up to date. Positive balances will transfer over to the new school year if your child remains in the Boise School District. If you need assistance, please contact us via email at

Thank you,

Carole Edwards, Amity Kitchen Manager

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Construction Update

Construction on the new Amity Elementary is moving along! Over the next month, the following projects will be worked on.

- Pouring curbs and prepping for asphalt and sidewalks around the building.

- Working to finish the exterior brick veneer (done in 2-3 weeks).

- Painting, bathroom tile, and ceiling grid is complete in east classroom wing. Cabinets and casework installation starts this week.

- Currently painting and texturing walls in west classroom wing.

- Mudding and sanding sheetrock in admin area. Paint to start soon.

- Hanging sheetrock in library/DHH/ work room area.

- Hanging sheetrock in JFK area.

- Finishing fire sprinkler in cafeteria and gym area. Wall finishes to start soon.

- Exterior storefront doors and windows currently being installed.

From the Counselor - Transitions

This year, we have so many transitions to look forward to. Our current school year is coming to a close, and with it, our current school. Students, teachers and families are excited. This time of year is exciting for so many reasons. Students are eagerly awaiting the end of the school year so their break can begin. They are looking forward to the many adventures they may participate in over the summer. They are curious about the year that lies ahead, what will the new school look like on the inside? What will they miss of the current school? With all of the excitement for events that lie ahead, there is also anxiety and stress.

Transitions are exciting, but they can also be tough for some students. This time of year, educators often see a rise in behaviors students have not displayed at any other time of the year. The stress that lies ahead can be conscious or subconscious. Often times, the stress comes from the unknown. As adults, when making plans, many times the plans have been mulled over multiple times before coming to a decision. When it comes time to share plans with kiddos, sometimes the details of the plans are left out unintentionally.

If you notice your child is experiencing more stress than usual as the year comes to a close, there are some things you can do to help guide them through with a smooth transition.

  1. When you share exciting plans, provide the details. It will help them understand what comes next and what to expect.

  2. Allow for downtime during break so they have the opportunity to relax.

  3. While relaxation is important, students crave structure. Create a routine they can rely on. Many students have anxiety when they go from the structure of school to a wide open schedule.

  4. Remember rules are fixed, but norms are flexible. With the end of the school year comes fun activities and sometimes unexpected change to routine. Providing kiddos with the structure of rules helps children feel grounded when there are changes in routine that make day to day norms different.

  5. As always, when behaviors start to occur, remind your child you are there for them and listen to them as they share their story. Sometimes all they need to calm their nerves is a friendly, listening ear.

Have a happy and safe summer. Enjoy your time with your children. I am happy to have had a second year of getting to know each of your kiddos. I can’t wait to continue to work with them in our new school next year!