Chief Joseph School Newsletter

We love our students, staff and families!

Chief Joseph School of the Arts, Oct 2021

1100 E. Chateau Dr., Meridian, ID 83646

Phone (208) 350-4200

Absence Reporting Line (208) 350-4201

Gretchen Hart, Principal

Kym Everman, Head Secretary

Message from the Principal, Mrs Hart

Dear Chief Joseph Families,

Just one month into the school year and learning is already happening at full speed here at Chief Joseph! While a few aspects of school life remain atypical, we continue to be grateful for the opportunity to work with you and your wonderful children!

We thank you for your work to keep students and staff healthy and well, and appreciate you sending your children to school with refillable water bottles and clean facemasks; encouraging them to wash and sanitize hands often is also helpful.

Thank you, too, for ensuring that your children are on time for school each day: 9:05 on M, T, Th, F, and 9:20 on Wed (or for PM Kdg, 12:58 on M, T, Th, F and 1:05 Wed). Being in attendance when the bell rings makes an enormous difference in how much students are able to contribute and how much progress they make; starting the day with peers makes a difference.

Your help in keeping school ipads and laptops clean, safe and fully charged is so important! Each week, one student is randomly selected (from all who've brought charged devices to school) to win the 'Charged for Learning' prize - hope your child is always in the running!

Finally, please mark your calendars for Parent/Teacher Conferences on Oct 20 and 21 – our goal is to have 100% of our students represented by a caring adult! Information will be sent home soon about using ‘Sign Up Genius’ to select the conference date and time of your choice. Our teachers will let you know if their conferences will be in person, by phone, or through Microsoft Teams (available on student devices).

Your connection with your child's teacher helps everyone be more successful; we need you as partners and Conferences are a vital part of that relationship. With your support at home, our students’ Blue Ribbon growth continues!

All best wishes,

Mrs Hart

Chief Joseph School Principal

Dates to Remember:

October 4 - Teacher Collaboration Day, No School for Students

October 7 - PTO Farmstead Night, 4:00-9:00

October 14 - PTO Meeting, 4:00 - all welcome!

October 20 - Parent/Teacher Conferences, No School for Kindergartners (Gr 1-5 in session)

October 21 - Parent/Teacher Conferences, No School for K-5 Students

October 22 - No School for Students/Staff

October 22 - PTO Trunk or Treat, 5:00-7:00, CJ Parking Lot

November 5 - Picture Day, Parker Portraits at CJ to take student photos

November 22-26 - Thanksgiving Break, No School for Students/Staff

Meet Our New Staff!

Emily Allis, Band/General Music Teacher

Hello, Chief Joseph Families! My name is Miss Allis, and I am the new Band Director and one of the General Music teachers here at Chief Joseph! I am so happy to join the Chief Joseph community. I teach 4th and 5th grade band and some of the 4th and 5th grade music classes. Your students and I have had a fun first few weeks choosing instruments and getting a day to learn how to put instruments together and beginning to play! My 4th and 5th grade classes also practiced a clapping and chanting piece inspired by our music rules. Ask them to teach it to you at home!

Alicia Chalom, Reading Intervention Teacher

Hello, my name is Alicia Chalom and this will be my 17th year teaching! I am excited to be working at Chief Joseph this year with Reading Intervention. I have lived in our wonderful state for almost 20 years. I am a world traveler and have been to 17 countries; I've lived in 8 different states and Europe! I have two girls who are in high school and college. I also have two dogs who need lots of walking and attention. My family loves to travel and go camping around Idaho in the summer and fall. I am learning to sew and want to learn a new language this year!

Cait Christopherson, Gr 1 Teacher

I'm so happy to join the Chief Joseph family after moving to Idaho this summer! I love teaching first grade - prior to coming to Chief Jo, I taught for six years in California. My students know me best as "Mrs. C". I hold a BA degree in Theatre Arts and a MA degree in Educational Leadership from San Jose State University. When I'm not teaching, you can find me outside adventuring with my husband, baby girl, and golden retriever!

Christa Walker, Orchestra Teacher

I grew up in Emmett, Idaho, joining orchestra in the 5th grade. In high school I played in All-State and All-Northwest Orchestras as well as the Treasure Valley Youth Symphony (now the Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra). I also grew up dancing and fiddling with the Boise Highlanders Bagpipe and Drum band, so I love all things Celtic. I graduated with a Bachelors in Music Education in 1998, and my Masters Degree at University of Idaho in 2020. Geeking out over movies, books, and animals with my husband and three kiddos is my favorite! I am excited to teach orchestra instruments to the Chief Joseph 4th and 5th graders!

RaNae Wilson, Assistant Principal

Hello! My name is RaNae Wilson, and I am a new Assistant Principal. My time is split between Chief Joseph Elementary and Siena Elementary. I will be at Chief Jo on Tuesdays, Fridays, and half day on Wednesdays. I am a native Idahoan and a proud graduate of Meridian High School (go Warriors!) and Boise State (go Broncos!); I did my Masters at Northwest Nazarene University. I am a proud mom of 3 girls and 2 bonus kids (boy and girl)! This is my 22nd year in education and am super excited to be here at Chief Jo!

iReady Math Race to 1000!

Are you looking for engaging ways for your children to practice math skills at home?

Every student has access to iReady Math on their ipad or laptop. Find iReady in the Clever app on your student's device. Students have now completed the iReady diagnostic assessment and been assigned lessons based on their specific skill needs. Research shows us that if students pass two iReady Math lessons each week, they'll meet yearly growth goals and be stronger math students. Although teachers allot time in the school day to complete lessons, we also encourage students to exercise their math brains with iReady at home!

Schoolwide, we're taking part in the 'iReady Race to 1000'! The first grade level to successfully complete 1000 lessons will win a fun prize!!

Bell-to-Bell Learning!

Our school day ends at 3:55 (or 12:07 for AM Kdg), and learning continues until our dismissal bell rings! While we understand the occasional need to excuse students early for appointments or other reasons, we appreciate parents recognizing the importance of having students in school ALL DAY.

Our teachers thank you for helping to minimize the disruption of calling students out of class early!

Counselor Corner

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Love and Logic Parenting Class – Open to ALL district parents/guardians!

A 6-week Love & Logic Parenting class begins in October at Frontier Elementary - any West Ada parent is welcome to attend! Love & Logic is a parenting approach that provides parents with an opportunity to gain practical and proven tools for raising respectful and responsible kids. The class will be limited to 20 people/couples in order to maintain social distancing. As the class is on school property, masks will be required. Please email in order to reserve your spot!

Location: Frontier Elementary (11851 Musket Dr., Boise, ID 83713)

Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Class Dates: Mondays—October 11, 18, 25 and November 1, 8, & 15

Facilitator: Sara Jo Buffington, Frontier Elementary School Counselor

Class Fee: $15 per person/couple (fee covers cost of class workbook)

Important Safety Reminders!

Before School Safety: On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, students should not arrive at Chief Joseph before 8:50AM, as there is no playground supervision before that time. On Late Start Wednesdays, students should not arrive at school before 9:05AM. If eating breakfast at school, students may arrive at 8:40AM; after eating breakfast, students should head to the playground until the bell rings and school begins.

Driving/Parking Lot Safety:

Cars are not allowed to pull up, drop off, or pick up in the loop directly in front of the building before the school day begins or at 3:55 dismissal, unless directed to do so by staff. The front loop must be reserved at start and end of day for busses and daycare vans. Thank you, too, for being mindful of our crossing guards directions; cars may not stop in our crosswalks or park in the handicap spots without a handicap permit. When dropping off or picking up students, please do not block driveways of houses near our school - we strive to be courteous neighbors!

New Security at Front Doors!

All exterior school doors are now kept locked. To gain entry, please use the intercom near our school's front doors; office staff will respond as quickly as possible to allow you access.

Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Attendance Line, #350-4201

Please make note of our Chief Jo Attendance Line phone number: #350-4201.

Leaving a voicemail message on the Attendance Line before 9:30AM on any day your student will be absent from school is very helpful for teachers and office staff!

Where Can I See My Child's Grades?

In all West Ada schools, students' grades can be accessed through PowerSchool. Please use this link to learn how to see your child's grades on PS: filedownload.ashx (

Grades are standards-based, meaning they're based on evidence gathered in class (assignments, projects, quizzes, etc) and intended to give a clear picture of where the student is in his/her learning and in relation to meeting the Idaho standard in math, reading, and other school subjects. Please use this link to learn more about standards-based grading: filedownload.ashx (

The West Ada website contains this information and more. Go to the 'Parents and Students' tab, then select 'Elementary Report Cards'.

Your child's teacher can also provide help with understanding grades and grading practices!

School Nutrition Update!

West Ada School Nutrition is no longer using 'MyPaymentsPlus' for student meal accounts.

While breakfast and lunch meals are FREE FOR ALL STUDENTS again this year (hooray!), parents may use the Titan system to allow their children to purchase milk to drink with a meal brought from home:

Please note that all student balances have been transferred over to the new system.

Breakfast and lunch menus can be found on the West Ada site:

One Hour to Help? We Need You!!

Interested in being paid to spend 1 hour/day at our school, getting to know and help supervise students? Our school is in need of both NOON DUTIES (supervising play areas at lunchtime) and CROSSING GUARDS - no experience required! If not able to work each day, consider applying to sub or work just 2-3 days/week. Please, please, please contact our school office (#350-4200) if willing to help!


As you may know, our school district has a Wellness Policy (Policy #504.7) regarding food and beverages served in school.

In order to comply with the policy and keep students as safe and healthy as possible while in our care, our school cannot accept food or beverage for distribution at classroom birthday celebrations. Please know that teachers will still make certain that the birthday boy or girl is well-recognized and made to feel extra special!

While practicing extra safety measures to prevent illness this school year, we may also need to restrict food donations during holiday class parties--more info to come.

Thank you for your understanding of the district policy, and your support of the well-being of ALL of our students!

Parent/Teacher Conferences, Oct 20-21

Our Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held Wednesday, October 20 and Thursday, October 21 - we're very excited to share news with you about your children's growth and progress!

Appointments for Conference times will be made through Sign Up Genius; sign up opens Oct 5. Look for email from your child's teacher soon!

Student Laptops and iPads

Student laptops/ipads are important classroom tools; students should take their devices home each evening, and return them to school charged each day.

HUGE THANKS to parents for reminding their children to charge their devices each evening and bring them to school each day!


West Ada School District offers optional device protection to families to cover the accidental breakage or damage that might occur to a child’s iPad or laptop. This voluntary protection plan is available for $25 per device and covers repairs or replacement due to accidental damage from drops, spills, vandalism, loss, theft, and incidental damage to another student’s device. Device protection does not cover intentional damage to a device, or damaged or lost accessories such as district provided cases, chargers, pens, or hotspots. Please see the Parent Student Device Handbook or Optional Device Protection Plan in the Student Handbooks for detailed information on the District’s Optional Device Protection Plan.

The optional device protection plan enrollment period is August 16-October 31. Families may sign up and pay for optional device protection through the Payment Portal located in PowerSchool.

Families are responsible for the repair or replacement of devices which are damaged, lost, or stolen outside acceptable use guidelines published in student handbooks. Device protection is a voluntary, non-refundable, yearly cost for each device. Families may be able to add devices to their homeowner’s or renters’ insurance plan and may consider these alternatives prior to purchasing optional device protection.

Substitute Teachers and Paras Needed

Have you ever considered working as a substitute teacher or substitute paraprofessional here at Chief Joseph? If so, we'd love to have you apply!

Substitutes are paid $80/day if non-certified and $90/day if certified. A bonus is given each month that a substitute works 10 or more full days ($100 for 10-14 full days worked; $200 for 15 or more full days worked). Contact Mrs Hart ( if interested!

PTO News!

Chief Joseph Night at the Farmstead - Thursday, October 7, 4-9PM

Let them know you’re with Chief Jo and our school

will earn a percentage of each ticket purchased!

PTO Meeting - Thursday, October 14, 4-4:30PM

Staff Dinner during Parent/Teacher Conferences - Wednesday, October 20

Trunk or Treat - Friday, October 22, 5-7PM

BIG THANK YOU to all families who supported our school by participating in our September Fun Run - kids enjoyed, and all funds raised help purchase books, resources and materials for Chief Jo students and classrooms!

Have you "liked" us on Facebook yet?

News from Our Specialists!

Computer Lab, Mrs Hedquist:

We're having a great year so far in Computer Lab! It is so important that students remember to bring their devices to school charged and ready to use. Thanks, too, for reminding students to take care of their devices. I appreciate everyone being diligent and responsible!

Kindergartners are learning to find the letters and numbers on the keys and how to use a mouse! We're playing games to learn to navigate a computer, and will soon learn how to log on to the desktop computers. First graders are also getting familiar with the keyboard and learning what they can do on a computer. Both grades will be utilizing Typing Club, a great keyboarding resource found in Clever. Look for the lessons targeted to their age group; those lessons show a teddy bear and are called Jungle Junior.

Second through fifth graders are also using Typing Club, and it, too, can be accessed at home through Clever. Ask your child to go to and find the red ribbon swirl called 'Web Apps'. That will take him/her to Rapid Identity where they can log in as they do at school. (students use their school username and school password to log into their accounts). Next, find the Clever app and Typing Club; their lessons are called Typing Jungle. Our students are learning how to make their fingers work and not look at the keyboard as they type. They enjoy making improvement!

All grades have begun learning about Digital Citizenship and the importance of being responsible and making good choices whenever we go online. Being a good digital citizen means that we consider how our choices affect others as well.

Art, Mrs Antilla:

October will be a festive time in the Art Rm! All art students will be exploring studio habits and becoming acquainted with new and exciting art supplies - ask your children what they've learned! Also, a free afterschool Art Club (Tuesdays beginning in early October) has been offered to interested fifth grade students and will be taught by Mrs Antilla; the same opportunity will be made available to third and fourth grade students later in the school year.

Kindergarten will be learning how to make their own orange paint! All Kinders will be creating a spider and pumpkin painting as well.

1st grade will be studying the art element of texture! All 1st grade classes will be making their own fall texture leaf with a mosaic border.

2nd grade will be studying the art element of texture! All 2nd grade classes will create a resist leaf rubbing of actual fall foliage (gathered from a variety of local trees).

3rd grade will be learning about the contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama. All 3rd grade classes will make their own Yayoi inspired DOT pumpkin!

4th grade will be studying the art of watercolor painting! All 4th grade students will gather fall leaves from outside the art room, and then study composition and color theory using those fall pieces.

5th grade will be exploring the art of printmaking! All 5th grade classes will be creating their own personal autumn-inspired print, using block printing methods.

PE, Mr Schabot:

Welcome to the 2021-22 school year at Chief Joseph School of the Arts! My name is Mr. Schabot and I teach Physical Education. I'm excited to kick off this new year with our students. Please make sure students are dressed safely for participation in PE. The most important item to have on PE days are shoes that stay on their feet and allow them to fully participate. Students are highly encouraged to bring refillable water bottles to PE as the fountains only refill water bottles.

Lap Attack 2021-2022

Students may run/walk laps on our school track during their lunch recess every day of the week. For each lap that students complete, they receive a tally mark on their hands. Students’ mileage is recorded by their classroom teacher.

Students will be rewarded at the following mileage goals (10, 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, etc.) with a toe token and a shoe to color and hang on the wall next to the library. Classroom mileage totals will be updated weekly on a bulletin board next to the library - great exercise and lots of fun!

Wahooz Fit For Fun

Wahooz Fit for Fun program is designed to add fun to fitness, and to reward students for setting a goal and achieving it. Students must complete 40 half-hour exercise sessions outside of school during October and November. Any exercise that increases heart rate qualifies, including walking, running, biking, team sports practices and games, etc. Each elementary school student who completes 20 hours of exercise outside of school during October and November receives a FREE Wahooz Fit for Fun ticket. Free ticket is good for a Classic Unlimited Fun Pass which includes Clip ‘n Climb, Twister, Frog Hopper, Bumper Cars, XD Dark Ride, Laser Maze, Laser Tag, Go-karts, Mini Golf, Bumper Boats (when open), Bowling and $5 Game Card ($39.99 Value!) Tickets expire March 15, 2022, no exceptions. After that, tickets are good for a Buy 1 Get 1 Classic Unlimited through May 31, 2022.

Students must return their completed Fitness Log, with parent signature, to Mr. Schabot by FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2021.

Music, Mrs Pratt, Ms Allis, and Mrs Walker:

Hello Families! We are having so much fun getting to know all of our students! In General Music, we're starting with the basics, such as steady beat and rhythm in music. Our song of the month at Chief Joseph is "The Ants Go Marching." Ask your student to sing the song for you and keep a steady beat! In 4th and 5th grade, we've begun Band, Choir, and Orchestra in addition to General Music. Orchestra students have worked through beginning squeaks and are developing more mature string sounds! We're also learning Italian words like spiccato (bouncy bows), staccato (stopped bows), and pizzicato (plucking the string). Very soon we will be playing major and minor songs like Hot Cross Buns and Burnt Cross Buns! Yay for music!! We're so pleased to be working with students and making beautiful music again!

Library, Mrs Hill:

This month in Library we've learned the difference between fiction and nonfiction...ask your child what he/she remembers! We've also learned how to take good care of books, and discussed how reading is so good for your brain. Please encourage your student to read for 20 minutes each night, to him or herself, to you, to a sibling, or even to a pet or stuffed animal.

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Water Bottles Every Day, Please!

At this time, our school's water fountains can only be used to fill water bottles. Please remind your child to bring his/her water bottle to school each day...staying well-hydrated helps learning!

Thanks to Local Churches and Businesses!

Big thanks to volunteers from Rock Harbor Church for removing old and decayed fencing from our school perimeter and replacing it with new -- such an awesome gift to our school!

Thanks, too, to volunteers from a Lutheran Church youth group from Washington State travelling through the area - they spent an entire day weeding our school grounds and garden!!

Finally, thanks to Tifa Chocolates, Trader Joe's, and Great Harvest Bakery for donations of delicious snacks and goodies to welcome our teachers back to school! We are so grateful to live in a generous community!