The end of the 2020-21 school year is approaching and the month of May is packed with events.
Here is a sample:
May 6 – HS Awards Assembly
May 10 – last day of school for seniors, Paint the Street Night, choir concert
May 11 – band concert
May 12 – Kindergarten Graduation, Senior Party
May 13 – Graduate Parade at each school (seniors visit each school in the district)
May 14 – Indianhead Academy Graduation, last day of school for Indianhead students
May 16 – WHS Senior Graduation (2:00 pm tentatively scheduled for Memorial Park)
May 19 – Last day for students (1/2 day for students – *in-person school day)
May 28 – Alternate Secondary Summer School begins
June 1 – Elementary STEM Camp begins
Students throughout the district are wrapping up state testing requirements for the year. Students in grades K-3 participate in the Idaho Reading Indicator, which is a computerized assessment that takes most students twenty to thirty minutes to complete. The IRI is intended to assess each students’ progress in mastering basic reading skills. Students in grades 3-8 and grade 10 take the Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT), a four-part test that assesses reading and math skills. Additionally, students in grade 5, 8 and 11 are required to take a new science ISAT this year. Student results from these tests will be made available to parents sometime beginning in June.
Athletics are in high gear as middle school and high school teams begin their district tournaments this week.
Student learning opportunities are available this summer as our Alternative Secondary Summer School begins on May 28th for middle and high school students, STEM Camp and Migrant Student Enrichment Camp begin on June 1 for elementary students who enroll, and a summer literacy camp for elementary students is planned for the latter part of July.
We are holding our breath in hopes that the Idaho State Legislature will pass an FY22 Education Budget within the coming days. The development of the WSD budget is in limbo until that time. Our annual Budget Hearing is scheduled for June 9, 2021, so a swift resolution to the state’s K- 12 budget is essential.
Currently, Idaho State Board of Education requirements limit gathering sizes at school activities to 40% of a facility’s capacity. Considering that restriction, the capacity of the gym at Weiser High School is approximately 640 people. In an effort to avoid limiting attendance at this year’s WHS Commencement, which is traditionally held in the high school gym, WHS is working on a plan to hold this year’s Graduation Ceremony at Memorial Park on Sunday, May 16th, where attendance is essentially unlimited. There are still many details that need to be addressed, and an outside ceremony will undoubtedly include new challenges that will impact some quality features associated with the event (such as parking, access, seating arrangements, sound quality, natural outside distractions, and other). We hope that the trade-offs are well worth it. A graduate parade through town is planned again this year. A final decision as to the location for this year’s Graduation Ceremony will be made on May 12th. The decision will be based on weather predictions and other considerations that may have an effect on the quality of the event. This year we have 106 seniors in the graduating class.
Each year the Weiser School District hosts a Retirement Dinner to honor and recognize teachers and staff who plan to retire at the end of the school year. The event is traditionally held in early May. Last year we were forced to postpone the event due to COVID. With gathering limitations still in place in Idaho, we have elected to postpone the traditional dinner again this year. When conditions change and the gathering limitations are relaxed, we fully intend to schedule the event and recognize those retirees from the class of 2020 and 2021 in the manner in which they truly deserve. At the time of this writing, the following school district staff have indicated their plans to retire at the end of this school year: Doreen Hirata (speech paraprofessional, Pioneer), Sherry McCord (paraprofessional, Pioneer) Serena Mills (Reading Specialist, Pioneer), Tim Erhard (principal, WMS), John Hurley (science, WMS), Rod Walker (art, WHS), and Mike Garrison (district IT Specialist). All have forever left their influence on the district.
We were notified by the State Department of Education that all of our schools in the district have met the federal requirements for families who qualify to receive another round of P-EBT benefit cards. Qualifying students (families) had to have submitted a Free and Reduced Lunch Application for the year and qualified for the program. Cards will be issued by the Department of Health and Welfare sometime in July.
Saint Alphonsus is holding a COVID-19 Outreach Vaccine Clinic in Weiser this week at Memorial Park (near Hanthorn and 3rd St.). The vaccine is free to anyone 16 years of age and older. Clinic hours are Wednesday through Friday (May 5-7) from 4 pm to 8 pm, and Saturday (May 8) from noon to 4 pm.
This year has been a trying year for everyone including students, parents, staff, and our entire community. However, people have worked together in order to make opportunities of all kinds available to students. Although everyone should be recognized for their continued efforts, I want to thank all of the educators who work in the Weiser School District for their relentless efforts to adapt their teaching, learn new strategies and technologies, and make learning relevant and enriching for our students. The pandemic has been tough on everyone. This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. If you appreciate the efforts of your child’s teacher(s), para-professionals, and other school personnel, I encourage you to take a moment and reach out, send a note or email, or go out of your way next time you see them to offer some kind words for their efforts and dedication. I assure you they will appreciate it.
Thank you for your continued support!
Wade W Wilson
Superintendent, Weiser SD