#271 News & Notes

2019-20 School Year

Coeur d'Alene Public Schools — October 15, 2019

Meet our new mental wellness team

Andi West and Keith Orchard joined Coeur d'Alene Public Schools this year to oversee mental wellness support work in our schools. Andi is our new Mental Health Coordinator, and Keith is our Mental Health Specialist. Their positions were made possible thanks to increased funding from our two-year operating levy approved by voters in March.


Andi and Keith are meeting with teachers and other staff in our schools to discuss our "whole student" approach to nurture and grow the cognitive, emotional, relational and physical being of each student. Andi also is focused on community engagement and collaboration with partner agencies and organizations. Strengthening these community connections will ensure we are able to provide wrap-around services for students who need that level of care.


Here are the core beliefs of the Whole Student approach:

1. We create a Culture of Safety: Each student learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.

2. We engage in Meaningful Relationships: Each student has a champion, a supportive and caring adult, and is connected to the school and broader community.

3. We value and nurture Physical Health: Each student enters school healthy and fed, and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle.

4. We teach Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Characteristics and Skills: Each student has access to quality, personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults.

5. We grow the Whole Student: Each student is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study and for employment and participation in a global environment.

Boundary revision survey completed

In September almost 2,000 parents and guardians of currently enrolled students took our survey about this year's process of reviewing and revising school attendance zone boundaries in the Coeur d’Alene School District.


The survey results, which are being compiled by outside specialists, will help us understand what is most important to families in our school district as we consider changes to existing attendance zones.


This feedback will inform the work of a boundary review committee now being assembled by Superintendent Steven Cook. The committee will include administrator and parent representatives from each of our 11 elementary schools, our three middle schools, and Lake City and Coeur d'Alene high schools. It also will have members from the School Board's Long Range Planning Committee and SPARCC, the Superintendent's Parent Advisory and Resource Community Council.


The committee will work with boundary consultant FLO Analytics to review data and consider options for revising school boundaries. The committee is scheduled to meet at least seven times, beginning December 3 and continuing into February.


As the committee works to refine a proposal, district families and others will be invited to two community open house events, on January 21 and February 18. These will be the primary opportunities for public feedback on a draft proposal, before a final presentation to the Board of Trustees next March.


The boundary review was prompted by our district's growing student enrollment and anticipated facility needs, including projections for new housing that is expected to further grow enrollment. Many of our 17 schools are at or over capacity now. Next fall, we will open a new elementary school on Prairie Avenue; establishing the attendance zone for this school will affect the zones of neighboring schools.


You can stay up to date about the boundary revision process at www.cdaschools.org/boundaries. If you have questions or comments, please contact us at boundaries@cdaschools.org.

excel foundation awards teachers over $200,000 in classroom grants

Scores of teachers in our district are learning they have received classroom grants from the EXCEL Foundation. The foundation is funding 79 grants totaling $200,513 to support innovative learning in our elementary, middle and high schools. The EXCEL Foundation has been at this since 1986, and their giving has surpassed $2 million, making a world of difference in our classrooms. We are grateful to the foundation and to all those in our community who support its mission.


EXCEL's annual fundraiser, The Big Event, is Saturday, November 9, at The Coeur d'Alene Inn. For tickets: https://excelfoundation.org/the-big-event

Change made to 2019-20 calendar

We have reposted the parent calendar for 2019-20 to reflect a change in date for middle school parent-teacher conferences in November. The date for those conferences is now November 20, which is one week later than originally scheduled. The Board of Trustees approved this calendar revision on October 7. You can access and download a corrected calendar here, or on our district website under "Find it fast."

Wednesday is College and Career Preparedness Day

This Wednesday, high school students in our district will participate in the ninth College & Career Preparedness Day. This is a day designed to prepare them for academic, college and career readiness success.


The purpose for taking an entire day to focus on preparedness for post-secondary pursuits has enabled Coeur d’Alene Public Schools to develop a more comprehensive approach to the discussion we have with our students about planning for college, work and other pursuits after high school.


For students in the classes of 2021, 2022 and 2023, this day has been set aside for the administration of the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test). All freshmen, sophomores and juniors have been registered to take the exam free of charge.


The PSAT is designed to measure evidence-based reading and writing, and mathematical aptitude. It provides good practice for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), which is one of two tests that must be taken to meet graduation requirements in Idaho. Counselors have provided study booklets, reviewed the makeup of the test, and provided simple test-taking strategies to the students. Additionally, once scores are reported in early December, the counselors will present an overview of the score report in grade-wide assemblies open to parents as well.


An additional benefit of the PSAT in grade 11 is that it is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which can enter high scoring juniors into a competition for awards toward their further education.


Throughout all other grade levels, school staff has been encouraged to build time into their lessons to discuss their paths to the workforce and what it takes to graduate in our district. Additional information will be provided about the variety of careers open to graduates, especially around trainings provided by KTEC, our regional professional-technical high school.

Bond update: New elementary school

We are eager to see our new elementary school rise out of the ground along Prairie Avenue! Ginno Construction Company began work on this bond-supported project over the summer. Footings have been poured for the building, and soon we will see the walls of the gymnasium take shape.


The 53,355-square-foot school is at 2008 Prairie Avenue. Serving grades K-5, it will be the home of Northwest Expedition Academy starting in September 2020.


Architects West designed the new school.

Bond update: Lakes Middle School

Students are using the modern new media center at Lakes Middle School, the centerpiece of the bond-supported expansion at Lakes Middle School this year. Ginno Construction Company is the general contractor, and the design is by Longwell + Trapp Architects.


The new main entrance and front office at Lakes also were completed around the start of the school year. In addition, the school has a new choir room in the former library space, and a complete renovation of the girls and boys locker rooms has been completed. A new band room is expected to be completed in about three week.


Lakes also has a new visitor parking lot in front of the school, near the main entrance. It will be finished in the next few weeks.


Work continues on the school's second gym, with completion scheduled for the first week of December. Painting, flooring, bleachers, scoreboards and basketball equipment are scheduled.

Applications for school board vacancy due October 21

The Board of Trustees for Coeur d’Alene Public Schools declared a vacancy for the Zone 5 trustee position, upon accepting the resignation of Trustee Tom Hearn. The board will appoint a person to serve the remainder of the current term through December 2021.


The Board of Trustees asks any eligible community member interested in applying for the open trustee position to submit an application by Monday, October 21, at 3 PM to the Clerk of the Board, Lynn Towne, at 1400 N. Northwood Center Court, Coeur d’Alene, 83814.


Board member eligibility requires the candidate be a registered voter in the school district with residency in the zone that he or she represents. The Zone 5 trustee represents residents in the center portion of the school district.


Details on how to apply are available here.

Jingle Books looking for new or gently read books

The donation boxes are going out across our schools and community for the 6th annual Jingle Books book drive. You can help put 6 books in the hands of each young reader in our district right before winter break.


For the next two months, Jingle Books will collect new and gently read books for students in kindergarten through 3rd grade. The book drive, which aims to collect 30,000 books, will conclude on December 12.


All of the donated books are sorted and screened, then distributed to our 11 elementary schools, where K-3 students will get to pick out their selections. The aim of this program is to expand access to books for developing readers and have a positive influence on reading fluency in these early grades.


Don’t have books to donate? You can help by making a donation! Every penny donated will be used to buy books for young readers across our community. You can mail or drop off your donation: Jingle Books c/o Coeur d’Alene Public Schools, 1400 N. Northwood Center Court, Coeur d'Alene, 83814.


Volunteers are also needed. For more information, call Norm Gissel at (208) 964-4823.

Advisory Committee to begin reviewing school start times

In early September our Board of Trustees appointed a 35-member ad hoc committee to review when the school day begins for all of our students in order to provide a later start time for middle school and high school students.


The advisory committee includes 23 district parents/community members, and 12 school staff members. The committee will meet monthly beginning October 30, with an eye toward presenting a recommendation to the board by next spring.


The committee will research all aspects and impacts of changing school start times within the district and the community. Compelling evidence exists that adolescents and teens could benefit from later start times. However, changing secondary start times creates issues that will impact many in our community. The implications that must be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • After-school care for K-5 students if the elementary school day is adjusted to begin and end earlier
  • The impact on extracurricular activities
  • Student transportation
  • Potential loss of instructional time
  • Parent work schedules


More details are available here. If you have questions or concerns, contact us at info@cdaschools.org.

'This Book' campaign emphasizes childhood reading success

Opening Books, Opening Doors has launched a new public action campaign called “This Book.” The messaging emphasizes how childhood reading success through "this book" builds a stronger community, from opening doors and opportunities for kids, to removing barriers, to growing our economy, and even reducing crime rates. Keep an eye out for many familiar books and faces in this engaging new campaign.

Business leaders invited to review Portrait of a Graduate

Next month we will host a one-hour session for business leaders to take a look at our latest Portrait of a Graduate, an expression of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions we aspire to see in each graduate of our school district.


The Portrait has gone through several rounds of scrutiny this year, with parents, students, teachers, school administrators and community members providing their insights.

The business leaders session will be Monday, November 4, from 12 noon to 1 p.m. at the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce. To reserve a spot, email Pam Westberg at pwestberg@cdaschools.org.

District 271 in the news

Board Leadership award goes to CEP

Big picture
The Board of Trustees is deeply grateful for the ongoing support of the Coeur d’Alene Education Partnership in uniting our community around the importance of quality public education. CEP is a strong advocate for the students and teachers in Coeur d'Alene Public Schools, as demonstrated each year with elementary teacher recognitions, the State of the District forum, fundraising for school libraries, and recruitment of community mentors. We salute CEP's mission and dedication to investing in our children.

How we notify you of a school closure or delayed start


The early snowfall this autumn is an opportunity to remind you how we will let your family know if school is delayed or canceled due to weather. If we decide to do either, we will announce that by 5:30 a.m. You can expect to receive an email or text message.


We also post the announcement on our websites, social media, and mobile app, and inform local news media. You also can call our Closure Hotline at 208-667-0784. If you don’t see a closure or delayed start announcement, that means we are open as usual. Learn more here.


Also, our School PLUS daycare program is open during delayed start days and weather closures, but ONLY for families that enroll in advance. Here's how to enroll.

mark your calendar

  • October 16 - College & Career Preparedness Day
  • October 19 - Book Clubbing: Wonderland Edition, the school libraries fundraiser of Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership, 6-10 PM, Coeur d'Alene Eagles
  • October 21 - Applications due for Board of Trustees Zone 5 vacancy, 3 PM, District Office (Board Clerk Lynn Towne)
  • October 23 - Unity Day (bullying prevention day)
  • October 25 - School Bus Driver Appreciation Day
  • October 30 - First meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on School Start Times
  • November 4 - Portrait of a Graduate Business Leaders Workshop, 12-1 PM, Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce
  • November 4 - Board of Trustees regular meeting, 5 PM, Midtown Meeting Room
  • November 5 - Election Day
  • November 7 - High school parent-teacher conferences, 4-7:30 PM
  • November 9 - EXCEL Foundation Big Event, 5-8 PM, Coeur d'Alene Inn
  • November 11 - Veterans Day - No school
  • November 20 - New date for middle school parent-teacher conferences, 4-7:30 PM
  • November 25-26 - Elementary parent-teacher conferences
  • December 2 - Board of Trustees regular meeting, 5 PM, Midtown Meeting Room
  • December 3 - First meeting of Boundary Review Committee