News of the Huskies

Celebrate Emmett's students, staff, parents and patrons.

Fourth Edition: December 17, 2020


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We're exploring options to invest in our students, their education and our facilities

If you listened to the Board of Trustees meeting earlier this week, you’ll know that the board has begun the process to develop a long-term two-pronged plan to educate our students and maintain and grow our facilities.

As you remember, we were ready to ask Emmett School District patrons to approve a bond election last May, but we shelved that idea in March when the COVID pandemic shut down schools and the economy.

Fast forward 9 months later, the needs are still there, but the solution may not be the same as it was in March. That’s why I say, the board is ready to develop a long-term plan to invest in our two greatest challenges:

  • Continue to improve our educational programs so we are able to prepare our students as our Mission states: Emmett Ensures Educational Excellence.

  • Maintain our school buildings and grow our infrastructure where necessary to accommodate growth in Gem County.

It’s not easy. Just listen to our board members as they discuss different ideas. The meeting was long, so you may want to skip to 1:47 to listen to conversation. The only decision made Monday night is to further explore a plant facilities levy.

We have a two-year $1.5 million supplemental levy that expires in June. That generates funds for both educational programs and upkeep of facilities. There are several options that could be considered:

  • Renew the two-year supplemental levy - possibly at a lower rate and limiting expenditures to educational programming and curriculum beyond what Idaho school funding covers. Requires 50 percent, plus 1 vote to pass.

  • Propose a 10-year plant facilities levy that could generate funds annually for a 10-year period with very specific maintenance needs. Requires a 55 percent passage.

  • The two levies could be a two-part concept in 2021 with a plant facilities levy in March and a smaller supplemental levy in May or August. Consider a bond to build a new building. This requires 67 percent of the vote.

Of course, these funding options must be considered during these uncertain times. Clearly, moving into 2021, Idaho’s economy is in better shape than what we anticipated in March.

After a …. discussion, I recommended that the board start with a plant facilities levy to address long-term maintenance and facilities needs. The board accepted the recommendation, but it does not lock the district into anything at this point. I will have more information for the board at the January board meeting set for January 11th.

There’s a lot of information to digest and weigh against the immediate and long-term needs of the Emmett School District. We plan to be as transparent as possible and explain the needs and ultimate costs once a final decision is made.

I want to leave you with the analogy the trustees made Monday night:

  • A bond pays for a new building to accommodate for growth.

  • A plant facilities levy covers maintenance of current buildings.

  • A supplemental levy supplements state funding.

So stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I want to thank our staff, students, parents and community for trusting the School District as we moved into the 2020-2021 school year. The pandemic certainly has made the year more challenging, but I believe we have provided the best possible educational environment with full-time, face-to-face teacher-to-student instruction.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season.

- Superintendent Craig Woods


Great job GCEA on a successful Cheer Basket Drive!

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Katie Watkins: I've been blessed to witness many positive and generous acts in the year 2020

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Jay Watkins collects $10,000 and refrigerator for EHS Nutrition Program after hearing about the need some students face

NOTE: When we heard this story, we asked Emmett High School Vice Principal Katie Watkins to share it with our community.

Recently, Twitter posed the question to followers: Describe 2020 in one word. Twitter users were certainly up to the challenge to describe this unpredictable year, and I took it upon myself to sift through some of those responses, and I noticed that many - if not all - responses were quite negative and cynical, and it appeared that most were looking forward to the year 2020 coming to an end.

While I cannot deny that this year has been filled with more heartbreak and hurt than I would care to admit or endure, this year has also opened my eyes to the generosity and goodness of the commonplace man. When I think of goodness and generosity, I am inclined to reflect on a very particular and personal situation.

Several weeks back, my cell phone rang, and I answered a call from my dad. He was simply calling to inquire about my day, but within our conversation, I recounted a story from the day in which my football coach had taken a young man to the grocery store and bought him enough groceries to see himself and his family through the week. My dad questioned why the young man needed groceries, and my dad was astounded to find that there were families with children in our community who were hungry, and to be quite frank, this just didn’t set well with him.

Now, if you know my Dad, Jay Watkins, or as we commonly refer to him Big Jay, you know that he is not one to “let the grass grow under his feet.” He is a mover and shaker, and he likes to make change happen - and happen quickly.

Within a matter of 48 hours, he had collected $10,000 to donate back to the EHS Nutrition Program (which goes to feed students in the weight program). My heart was bursting with happiness, love, and gratitude for my dad for collecting this money for MY kids: to help feed them, to help nourish them, and to help guide them.

However, this generosity stretches far and wide beyond just my dad. While he was the one to make the phone calls, collect the money, and really “get the ball” moving, it was the generosity and kindness of strangers who instantly and selflessly gave their hard-earned money. This money did not come from our community; rather, it came from a network of people outside of our community, and when they heard that there were kids in need, they graciously gave.

I’ve said it a million times before: Public education is one of those things that “sticks with you.” As an educator, you don’t have the luxury to walk away after the last bell of the day and resume the work on Monday.

Education isn’t just a job; these kids etch themselves into your life. You think about them; you care for them; you worry about them; and you love them. And once the bell rings or the school year ends, you don’t just stop thinking, caring, worrying, and loving them. They leave an eternal mark. It’s by far the hardest, and equally the best, way to spend my days. While there may be many who can’t understand the feeling, I will always be grateful to be surrounded by people who care for me, my kids, my school, and my community, and I am humbled and thankful for the generosity and kindness of others.

This is just one of the examples that I have been blessed to witness this year. So while you may be tempted to rush to the end of the year, remember that this year has been filled with generosity, love, and kindness as well.

If I had to describe 2020 in just one word: grateful.


Donation means more milk and more sandwiches for EHS weight lifters

Football Coach Rich Hargitt teaches the weightlifting classes at EHS and realized soon after starting three years ago that boys, girls, athletes and nonathletes were lifting weights, burning 800 plus calories, but didn’t always have the where-with-all to replace those calories.

You build strong programs on strong foundations.

So, he started providing peanut butter and jam sandwiches to the kids, along with milk. But he couldn’t do it without the community's assistance.

Soon, Wendi Kern (First Interstate Bank) and Basketball Coach Scott Kern took on the project of making sure peanut butter and jam sandwiches were made, with volunteer help.

Rob Horton makes sure they have the bread. Countless other donations came in.

“It’s a big deal. This isn’t me doing it. It's our community. Our community is financing most of it; they're doing all the work,” Hargitt says.

The donated refrigerator, thanks to the dairymen, will ensure that all weightlifters will have ample milk and sandwiches. Right now they go through about 600 sandwiches a week.

“We built a whole network in our community. It is really cool because people in our town understand that kids are not always well taken care of.”

It's just a tremendously positive thing to do.


Emmett Public Schools Foundation and Welch Fund winners

Grant winner: Science teacher Robin Wilson wins 2 grant awards this month

Robin Wilson at Emmett High School received a $1,379 grant to introducing Genetic Editing using CRISPR technology. This grant includes the CRISPR and Genotype Extension Kits, Gel Electrophoresis Materials, Micropipettes, and lab gloves. This will benefit all the high school Biology and Chemistry students.

Additionally, Robin is one of 100 middle and high school science educators throughout the country who has been selected to receive a STEM research kit to help students conduct scientific research outside the classroom. Robin will be able to choose from a selection of 13 high-quality kits amounting to $1,000. These kits are distributed through the Society for Science & the Public’s STEM Research Grants program.

Grant winner: Ryan Spritzer

Ryan Spritzer at Carberry Elementary received a $1,000 grant for an Independent Learning Skills Project – PEAK Relational Training program for Special Education Students K-5 at Carberry Elementary. This funds PEAK Combo Package, Comprehensive Assessment, Client Record Booklets and materials.

Grant winner: Laurie Kiester

Laurie Kiester received a $530 grant for Social Emotional Curriculum including a color printer and cartridges, art supplies, curriculum supplies, and online subscriptions.

This will benefit all 6th and 7th graders at the Middle School in the areas of mental health and online health awareness.

Grant winner: Lori Eisinger

Lori Eisinger received $510 for Chasing Vermeer, a young adult novel about the mysteries behind the artwork of Johannes Vermeer. This covers 75 copies of the book and art supplies and will benefit all of Carberry’s 5th grade students.


These teacher win CapEd Foundation awards

CapEd Award: Paige Parker

Paige Parker, a 4th grade ERA teacher at Carberry, wrote for a grant to CapEd for science kits for students learning at home. She was selected for the month of November. With the new 5th grade ISAT coming this year, it is great that teachers are reaching for ways to implement activities to get students interested and staying engaged.

CapEd Award: Cheryl Jordan

Cheryl Jordan applied for her first ever grant and received a $750 CapEd Foundation award in December. As a first-grade teacher, Mrs. Jordan applied for funds so nearly every kindergarten and first-grader at Butte View Elementary could be outfitted for a communication device to help with their learning.


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The holiday break for the Emmett School District begins December 19th and ends January 3rd. Have fun & stay safe!

About this Newsletter

This is the fourth edition of the Emmett School District Newsletter. It’s scheduled for monthly publication the same week as the regular school board meeting. It’s designed to celebrate the good news in the Emmett School District and will primarily focus on our great employees and students. Occasionally, we may have a special edition.

We will continue to distribute press releases on immediate news and share information on Facebook. If you have an idea or want to contribute something, please email Public Information Officer Vickie Holbrook.