wendywebThe following articles are the Superintendent's messages to employees of the Kuna School District. These messages are sent frequently during the school year and include the following sections: Celebrations, Updates, Professional Opportunities, and Rumor Mill. Other messages are sent out as needed and may be included here.


 Kuna School District Updateksd1
Inspiring each student to become a lifelong learner and a contributing, responsible citizen

Oct. 1, 2018



The following is an excerpt from my “Welcome School Year 2018-19” speech:

Last June, during a professional development session I facilitated for our administrators, our very own first-grade teacher Tammy McMorrow conducted a workshop on mantras. While she did a fabulous job and everyone came away with their mantra--I left that day with about 30 different mantras sketched out in my notebook. I vowed that I would find the mantra that would guide me through the 2018-19 school year.

Construction Challenges: Need for Skilled Trades People
On my quest for my mantra, I spent some time with our construction manager and our architects this summer. Time and again, I was reminded about how important the skilled trades are in our world and the demand for these professions. Some of our projects have been delayed simply because the construction manager cannot find skilled tradespeople. This reinforced the work that we are doing to expand Career and Technical education options for our students.

message 100118 01ERDI: Preparing Kids for the Future
I also attended the summer Educational Research and Development Institute where I was exposed to some of the best educational minds that currently exist in our country. I programmed a robot, explored sophisticated data analytics tools as well as tools that help students engage in close reading and argumentative writing on high-interest topics. The theme that kept recurring in all of the sessions I attended was the increasing challenge of educating students for a tomorrow that will look very different from today. Our students are inheriting an ever-increasing technologically sophisticated world, and we must do a better job preparing them for this.

message 100118 02Children’s Worlds
Contrary to what some would lead you to believe, I engaged with some brilliant Millennial educational partners who are developing highly engaging educational tools for today’s learners. And the reason for this was evident in one of the slides that a young programmer shared with me. Take a moment to make sense out of the image “Engaging a New Generation.”
When I was in school, we were told that we would be changing employers more
than our parents and grandparents did. According to the World Economic Forum, today’s children can expect to change careers at least 10 times in their lives.

So how do we make sense of all this? How do we prepare today’s children for this future?

message 100118 03



Our Data Tells Us that Students Need Deeper Learning
We must ask our students to learn deeply. Throughout the last school year, our administrative team dug into our student achievement data. What we discovered is that our students perform very well on questions with depths of knowledge in levels 1 & 2, but when it comes to levels 3 & 4, our students almost universally did poorly.

My Mantra
After reflecting on last school year, I think one of the reasons I had so many mantras was because we had been through so much change I was struggling to pick one. I’m excited about returning my focus to student learning with my mantra #futurereadystudents. Whether we are preparing our students to move from 1st grade to 2nd grade, from 8th grade to 9th or from high school to postsecondary, my challenge to all of you is to ensure that all our students are future ready.

I don’t expect everyone in our district to have the same mantra, but we all have something that is driving us this year in our most important work. We are striving to make a difference in a child’s life. Your mantra will help guide you through the down points in the year and ensure you celebrate the high points of your work with students this year.

We have 172 days this year with students, let’s make each one count so every student is future ready.

message 100118 04

Note: Since my speech on August 20, I’ve enjoyed seeing hashtags of school and individual mantras. You have inspired me!

In service,

wendy signature




new update



Our official fifth-day student enrollment is 5296 which is a decrease of 86 students from our 2017-18 official count. The breakdown in enrollment this year is as follows:

K-5 - 2242 students which is a decrease of 130 students from last year

6-8 - 1306 students which is a decrease of 5 students from last year

9-12 - 1748 students which is an increase of 49 students

We will continue to get some fluctuation in enrollment over the year. A part of my weekly monitoring includes checking our enrollment every Monday. Today when I ran the report, we saw a slight increase in enrollment by 4 students when compared to Aug. 29. If you have questions about your school’s enrollment, please talk to your principal who has access to this data.

Master Teacher Premium Portfolio Requirements and Deadlines
When H296 passed by the legislature in 2015, the Master Teacher Premium was established to financially reward teachers recognized as “Master Teachers” with an additional $4,000 per year for three years.

To be eligible for the Premium, teachers must meet certain minimum requirements, as well as show evidence of mastery of instructional techniques and professional practices. A complete resource can be found at the State Board of Education’s website. June 2019 is the deadline to submit your portfolio.

As you know from past updates, I have been very critical of this program as I would rather see these funds put into the salary schedule. The Kuna School District has amazing teachers who work hard to meet the needs of students, and I didn’t want our teachers to have to do more work to get these funds. However, I do not want any of our teachers to miss out on earning more money.

Vasquez (J.V.) v. Kuna School District - Dismissed with Prejudice
We recently learned that the lawsuit filed against us from the child who had alleged relationship with our former KMS office manager was "dismissed with prejudice" which means that the suit is done with and can't be brought back to court.

message 100118 05KSD Has Most Survey Responses
About a month ago, the school funding formula committee gave us a special shout out for receiving the highest response rate to the school funding formula survey. Of the 693 respondents, 187 were from KSD with a balanced representation from parents and educators. I think this reflects the collaboration we have as well as the passion that people have for improving funding to our schools.

Calling All People Interested in Becoming Administrators
From time to time, our school administrators must be gone from their schools. Rather than leave a school without an administrator to support students, teachers and staff, we want to provide an opportunity to serve as “an administrator for a day” for those of you who want to build your experience and have an administrative certificate but don’t have an administrative position, are pursuing an administrative certificate or considering this option. We will host a meeting on October 10 at the District Office Conference Room from 4:00 - 5:00. Please RSVP with Cheri Carr.

Important Dates Coming Up in October
Note: you can also check the KSD PD and Events Calendar in Your Google Calendar

2, Girls Soccer Senior Night and Charting the Course Event for the Community
3, Boys Soccer Senior Night
4, Home Varsity Football Game vs. Bishop Kelly
6, Kuna Marching Band Invitational at KHS
8, Volleyball Senior Night & Meeting with Transportation Consultant
9, School Board Meeting
18-19, Parent-Teacher Conferences for Grades K-5
26, End of Quarter 1 for Grades 6-12

The Kuna Way Awards
Please help me to celebrate our colleagues who are examples of practicing the Kuna Way. If you know of someone who should receive this award, please nominate this person by sending an email to Cheri Carr.

Kuna Way Awards September 2018

Putting kids first and doing whatever it takes to help students succeed
Courtney Pape - Hubbard
“Courtney Pape at Hubbard Elementary always putting kids first. We were staying after school with our bus kids and she was sitting down on the ground with them teaching them the song “Down by the Banks” and was helping with jump roping, and coloring with chalk on the ground. She is just great with kids and sees what their needs are and is just amazing. Thank you Courtney for being a great example to us all!”

Collaborating to solve problems, to make decisions, to reach win-win decisions and to continuously improve to make our system better for kids
Pat Owens - KHS teacher
“Last spring, our department was asked to take over the PE/Health section at IPHS. We have teachers from our department teaching in 3 different departments, and now we were asked to stretch ourselves to another building as well. Filling the need at Initial Point with another instructor, Pat stepped up and took on 4 sections of Health here at the high school. He is also stepping up as we pioneer our first ever Outdoor Recreation class and instructing that as well. Thank you Pat for being willing to take on these changes to help our department get settled in on our schedule and to meet the needs of students.”

Leading from where you are
Melissa Roper - KMS Counselor
“Melissa has essentially done the work of two people for quite some time. She dedicated all of August to work on schedules to get ready for our students in time for school to start. Thank you Melissa for truly leading from where you are!”

Working hard and having fun together
Cam Elwood - Silver Trail Tech
“Cam is amazing! As a new staff member to Silver Trail this year, I’ve put in numerous help desk tickets in the first few weeks of school. Cam quickly answers my tickets and constantly makes sure my
tech equipment is ready for my hundreds of students. He is very reliable. I never have to worry or wait a long time for him to come to my music room. He came in various times to fix/check my smart board and microphone. He always has a positive attitude no matter how many help tickets I submit!”

Erika Ambriz & Tiffany Wilson - KMS office staff
“Erika & Tiffany have been working for weeks to get KMS ready for kids to come. They work through fatigue and put a smile on their face as they cheerfully greet every parent and student that walk through the KMS doors. Many times there have been frustration and anger expressed to them in not so many nice tones, but they continue to be polite and excited with each encounter. They are truly an inspiration to us all!”

Taking care of each other and ourselves
Matt Rauch - Database Manager & Shauna Peace - Information Systems Manager
“Once again, Matt Rauch and Shauna Peace have been instrumental in helping KHS be the best they can be. The pair helped launch the online registration process. After months of collaboration, the first run through was a success. We could not have done this huge undertaking without their help, input, and support. These two fine IT people are the true embodiment of the Kuna Way!”

Cairlissa Morgan - District Office Finance Specialist
“Cairlissa goes above and beyond in all that she does. She is often the first one at the DO in the morning. She is always willing to cover the front desk in a pinch. This past summer she held down the fort for the accounting department. She is also found sacrificing her personal time to help in emergency type situations at the district office. She was especially helpful in volunteering to help after work in the transportation department the first few days of school. Thank you for all that you do! We could not do what we do without you!”

Francisco Lopez - Silver Trail Custodian
“Francisco is one of our amazing Silver Trail Custodians! As a new staff member to S.T., I had many questions over the summer before and after moving in. Francisco always had a smile on his face and answered all of my questions. He quickly had my new music room cleaned and ready to for me. When I started moving in, he stopped in numerous times to see if I needed anything ( a duster, step ladder, rags, etc.). I’m so glad he was here to help me move in. He made the situation less stressful for me.”

Preserving our professional capital and promoting professionalism
Paul Souza - KMS Principal
“Paul Souza demonstrated today that he is not afraid to lend a hand, whenever or wherever he is needed. Today, he grabbed a broom and swept the dirt off the sidewalk in front of KMS. Thank you Mr. Souza for the pride that you take in your building and your in your staff. We are in awe at that way you constantly teach others through your example.”


rumor Rumor Mill
Have You Heard a Rumor and Want to Know the Answer? Post your question on our website!

It is easy for rumors to get started in light of all the questions and concerns employees and parents have regarding the Kuna School District. If you've heard a rumor that you'd like to get an "official" response on, we encourage you visit the "Rumors, Questions and Feedback" link on our website.