Dear Parents and Patrons,
We are in the final stretch of the 2021-22 school year and I would like to update you on a few happenings around the District.
1) Students across the District will be participating in required state testing this month and next. Students in grades K-3 will participate in the IRI in May, and students in grades 3-8 and grade 10 will be administered the Idaho Standards Achievement Test, or ISAT. Student results should be made available to parents near the end of May or the first part of June.
2) The Board of Trustees has indicated a desire to research the advantages and disadvantages of a four-day school week. We have established a committee comprised of 2 trustees, 2 building administrators, 4 teachers, and six parents that has been charged with researching the topic. The committee has already met on three occasions this month and plans to present some information, as well as seek further guidance, from the Board of Trustees at their next meeting. I expect that the Board will make a decision in the coming weeks as to whether or not to pursue any changes to the approved school calendar for 2022-23.
3) We are in the initial stages of developing a facilities committee that will be intended to evaluate our current facilities as well as current and anticipated future needs. And, the Board is interested in re-evaluating our current district Mission, Vision, and Strategic Plan. I expect that we will launch another four-day week survey, as well as a survey to gather stakeholder feedback on our strategic plan, before the end of the school year. Thank you in advance for taking the time to provide your feedback.
4) Kindergarten Registration for the 2022-23 school year is scheduled for April 22 and April 29 at Pioneer School. If you know of a student who will be entering kindergarten next year, please encourage their parents to call Pioneer School and schedule a registration appointment. We intend to offer a full-time kindergarten option in addition to the half-time kindergarten option again next year.
5) The legislative session was another busy one, and several pieces of legislation that passed this past session will impact our direction. H716 and HCR39 created new content standards in math, English, and science. The new standards go into effect July 1, 2022. H650 set new requirements for curriculum committees and requires half of any curriculum committee to be comprised of parents or other non-school personnel. H731created new legislation surrounding dyslexia and set requirements for k-12 educators to receive training on the identification, assessment of, and intervention practices associated with dyslexia. S1238 creates a new “self-directed learner” designation in Idaho, which requires districts to create policy which will give “self-directed learners” greater flexibility in their learning endeavors. There will be more to come on these, and other, legislative initiatives.
6) As you know, student meals have been free to all students thanks to food services waivers that have been approved by the feds as a result of the pandemic over the last two years. We have been notified that current federal legislation does not provide for meal flexibility next year, and that we will have to return to paid meals for students during the 2022-23 school year. Because meals have been provided for free, many families who qualify for free or reduced lunch status for their children have not completed the Free or Reduced Lunch Forms this year. However, it is important to note that many of our programs rely on accurate counts for economically disadvantaged students as determined using those applications. That said, we ask that everyone complete and return a Free and Reduced Lunch Form to their child’s school, regardless of the free status this year. Lunch status percentages play into many grants that the district may qualify for including the popular Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program our elementary schools have qualified for the last several years, as well as literacy funding for the District as a result of this year’s new literacy legislation. We ask that you please complete and return a form for this year if you have not done so already.
7) The Board of Trustees is working on rewriting the Policy Manual for the District, and we are using model policies as developed by the Idaho School Board’s Association to guide the process. Trustees are currently looking at policies found in the 3000 series of the ISBA Model Policies. We have fielded questions, recently, about a policy dealing with Gender Identity and Orientation. That policy was provided to Trustees in err at their February meeting. The policy is not being considered for adoption by Trustees at this time. You may find the policies that are being considered on our website at www.weiserschools.org.
8) Graduation is scheduled for Sunday, May 22 nd at 2 pm at WHS. The last day of school for students in grades K-11 is Wednesday, May 25th.
9) The WSD is planning to offer summer school learning opportunities again this year for students in middle school and high school, a summer STEM Camp for elementary students, a summer session for students who qualify for migrant status, and a kindergarten jump start opportunity just before the start the 2022-23 school year for select incoming kindergarten students. Stay tuned for more information on each of these offerings.
Thank you for all of your continued support during what has been another eventful year in the WSD. Our success requires the efforts of everyone involved.
Wade Wilson, Superintendent