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Superintendent Message

Dear Community Members,

As you know by now, we will be teaching to a new set of standards in English, Language Arts (ELA), and Mathematics this school year in the state of Idaho. There is much misinformation out there right now regarding these standards.  Below are some facts related to the Idaho Core Standards (Common Core State Standards).

Standards Are Not a Curriculum

· Standards define the knowledge and skills students should be able to demonstrate at the end of the year.

· Standards do not describe the course of study that students should pursue in order to get to that end point.

· Standards do not describe the materials that should be used to support students’ learning.

Idaho’s Current State Standards Are Not Adequately Preparing Students for College or the Workplace

· In its “State of the Standards” report, the Fordham Foundation ranked Idaho’s ELA and Math state standards as “clearly inferior” to the Common Core Standards.

· For every 10 high school freshman, 8 will graduate high school, 4 will enter college, 2 will still be enrolled sophomore year, and 1 will graduate with a college degree

· Nationally, Idaho ranks 47th in proportion of students who graduate from high school on time and go directly to college. Idaho ranks 46th in proportion of students who then return for their second year.

· By 2018, the proportion of jobs in Idaho available for those with only a high school diploma will decline by one-third, while the proportion of jobs in Idaho requiring a college degree will more than double (Idaho Business for Education, 2012)

· Idaho was sanctioned by the federal Education Department in 2005 for having poor standards and a test that didn’t align to those standards and was of questionable technical quality. The current state standards are better than the old versions, but still not enough to prepare students for success in the 21st century. The Fordham Foundation upgraded Idaho’s current standards from an F to a C in 2010.

One of the common misconceptions that we hear is that through the assessment process personal student data will be uploaded to a national database, including family information. This is not true. The Idaho Core Standards are not tied to the statewide data system, nor is Idaho’s data system tied to a national database. While assessment scores will be tracked, personal student information is not collected by local schools, districts, or the state.

The New Idaho Core Standards:

· Are aligned with college and workforce expectations;

· Are clear, understandable, and consistent;

· Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher-order skills;

· Build upon strengths and lessons of current Idaho state standards;

· Were informed by standards in other top-performing countries; and

· Are evidence-based.

While we know there will be challenges transitioning to more rigorous standards, the rewards will ultimately be great for our students.  


Shawn Woodward
Superintendent, Lake Pend Oreille School District

Safety and Security in Our Schools

Over the last several months, district staff has been shoring up safety and security measures in our school district. Following are things that we are doing over the next several months to continue making our schools safer for our staff and students.

Response Time by Emergency Personnel
We have been working closely with the Bonner’s County Sheriff’s Department to shorten response time in some of our outlying areas. We will now have additional Deputy support in the Clark Fork area. This is something we hope to expand for next school year. We are working on various grants with hopes to secure funding for a full time School Resource Officer position to serve the East end of our school district. 

Mental Health Professional
We are researching contracting with a Mental Health Professional to begin working with identified high-risk students in our district. Students will be identified through a referral process done by the classroom teacher and/or by the parent of the student. This is a prevention aspect that would allow us to better identify and support students who may be at risk. This support would be available to student K-12.

The goal is to have something in place by January 6th.  

Safety and Security School Assessment
We are researching various organizations that can come in and conduct a safety and security audit in each of our buildings. This will enable us to better identify areas in need of improvement.

The goal will be to have the audits done by February 1st in each of our schools. 

Safety and Security Teams
Most of our buildings have Safety and Security Committees or Teams in place to plan, monitor, update, and enforce safety and security efforts in our schools. We will ensure that each school has a team that meets on a regular basis. An emphasis for the teams initially will be to look at the following issues in each building:

  • Standard Response Protocol for crisis management which includes Evacuation and/or Lockdown
  • Minimize Access Points to all buildings
  • Screening process and ID requirement for all visitors
  • Identification of potential safety and security problems

The goal is to have each building identify their teams and have their first meeting by December 20th.

Facility and Technology Improvements
We will continue to work through the known issues from a technological and facility standpoint to increase safety and security. The next item for our attention is to get the “beacon alert” systems completed in each school.

The goal is to have this completed by December 20th.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools! We believe our students are our most precious commodity and we will continue to do what it takes to make our schools even safer.

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