Merry Updates!

December 16, 2021

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D91 Looking For Input On Calendar

The Idaho Falls Board of Trustees is considering calendar options for the next three school years and board members want to hear from parents, patrons and staff before making a final decision.

The calendar options under consideration are designed to improve student learning and achievement. All the proposed calendars have school starting in late August and finishing around Memorial Day. They include a week off for Thanksgiving, two weeks off at Christmas and a week off for Spring Break.

You can see the calendar options for the 2022-23 School Year and give your input to the Board of Trustees by completing this short survey. Major differences between the three options include:

  • Option 1 and 2 has the last day of school before Memorial Day. Option 3 has the last day of school on June 1.

  • Option 1 and 2 have windows for Parent/Teacher Conferences, but no specific imbedded days for conferences.

  • Option 3 has designated days imbedded in the calendar for Parent/Teacher Conferences at mid-trimester with early release on Thursdays and no school on Fridays the week of conferences.

  • Option 2 and 3 include additional professional development days in August so there is no break the first week in October.

  • Option 1 includes two days off the first week of October for professional development.

The Board of Trustees is expected to adopt calendars for the 2022-23 School Year, as well as the 2023-24 and 2024-25 School Years, at its next business meeting in January.

Board Asks Patrons to Renew SPFF

The Idaho Falls Board of Trustees is asking parents and patrons to go to the polls on March 8, 2022, to vote on renewal of the district’s School Plant Facilities Reserve Fund Levy (SPFF). The levy generates about $2.4 million a year, which is used for capital expenses such as technology, school buses, matching funds for PTOs, as well as ongoing maintenance and routine repairs to our school buildings.

This is not a new levy. Idaho Falls School District has relied on the levy for more than 50 years. If D91’s parents and patrons vote to renew it, the tax impact per $100,000 of taxable assessed value is not expected to change.

In fact, D91’s parents and patrons have seen the district’s total tax bill decrease over the last few years. The total annual tax bill -- for all D91’s levy and bond payments -- has gone from $401 to $389 a year for a home with the median value. While the median value of homes in the area has gone up 14 percent, the district’s overall tax rate has gone down 17 percent during that same time.
“The levy is important as the district faces new challenges and rising costs in its efforts to provide students with a high-quality education,” said Supt. Dr. Jim Shank.

The election is March 8, 2022. Polls will be open from 8 am to 8 pm.

Closing Learning Gaps Around the District

Programs specially designed to address learning loss as a result of COVID-19 are starting to take shape in schools across the district. Funded with one-time ARPA money, these learning opportunities range from after school programs to expanded opportunities for credit recovery. Here’s a sneak peek at some of these programs.

  • Eagle Rock and Taylorview middle schools are hosting after school programs Monday through Thursday that focus on a different theme each day. Themes include math, literacy, service and Social Emotional Learning.

  • Compass and Emerson have created credit recovery options that focus on specific standards that students may have missed in classes like English, math, biology, health and speech. The goal of this program is to help ensure students successfully graduate.

  • Westside, Ethel Boyes and Theresa Bunker have hired special staff to help close the learning gaps in literacy and math.

  • A.H. Bush, Hawthorne, Dora Erickson and Linden Park are all offering after school programs.

  • Skyline High School has started an after school boot camp to provide targeted students with additional supports in core subjects such as history, science, English and Algebra 1. The goal is to help students build their skills and their confidence in these core areas.

Important Dates:

  • Dec. 20-31: All D91 Schools and Offices Are Closed
  • Jan. 3: 1st Day Back to School
  • Jan. 12: Board of Trustees Business Meeting, 7 pm, District Office (Annual Board Reorganization Meeting)
  • Jan. 17: Idaho Human Rights Day
  • Jan. 17-18: HRS Summit for D91 Instructional Staff. No School for Students on Jan. 17 & a Remote Learning Day for students on Jan. 18.
  • Jan. 25: Board of Trustees Work Session, 4 pm, District Office

Starting Outreach On Long-term Facilities Plan

If you attended a choir concert, band performance or sing-a-long this month, you may have seen a QRU Code for a quick survey for you to provide input on the district’s facility needs. This is the first step in our efforts to get community input into a long-term plan to update and improve our school facilities.
If you didn’t get a chance to fill out that survey, don’t worry, you’ll have another opportunity to provide input on the district’s facility needs in January when we roll out a more extensive survey. The results of that survey, along with the work that was done in 2019 before COVID-19, will be used to help craft options to address the district’s long-term facility needs. Parents, patrons, students and staff will have a chance to provide input on those options when they’re presented to the community in early February. Feedback from the community will be incorporated into a draft long-term facilities plan, which will be shared with the community for additional input in early March. Then, final recommendations are expected to be presented to the Board of Trustees on March 9.

Input from students, parents, patrons and staff is critical to developing a plan the whole community can support so please look for opportunities to get involved and share your thoughts as we officially launch the facilities planning process in January.

D91 Teachers & Instructional Staff Preparing For HRS Summit

As you know, students won’t be in class on Jan. 17-18, but our teachers and instructional staff will be hard at work attending the D91 HRS Summit. During the two days of professional development, teachers will be learning more about the High Reliability Schools framework.

HRS is part of the district’s ongoing efforts to make sure our schools are meeting the needs of all students by following the framework. The framework has five levels: 1) safe, supportive and collaborative culture, 2) effective teaching in every classroom, 3) a guaranteed and viable curriculum, 4) standards-referenced reporting and 5) competency-based education.

The summit is an important investment in making sure all teachers and instructional staff have a shared understanding of HRS, the importance of a creative and collaborative culture to achieve common goals and a persistent focus on results and improved learning for ALL students.