Superintendent's welcome to the new school year
By Jon RehderI am looking forward to the first year as the Cottonwood School District superintendent. I would like to thank Rene’ Forsmann for her dedication to the school district the past 11 years.
The start of the school year has arrived. The teachers have been back in the building for a week now in preparation for the students to walk through the door this Wednesday, September 1, 2021. It has been great seeing the staff busy in their classrooms and I am looking forward to seeing all the students this week as well. The past 18 months have put everything into perspective of how important it is for students and teachers to have social interaction within the classroom. We were fortunate enough to have a successful year and want to continue to ride that success for the upcoming school year.
Cottonwood School District’s enrollment leading up to the first day of school is currently at 434 students. Last year at this time we had 407 students enrolled. We currently have 52 open enrolled students from other districts. We only took open enrolled students from our newly hired teachers this year.
Our fall sports seasons kicked off on Monday, August 9th and there have been a solid number of participants. Football (27), Volleyball (30), Cross Country (8) and Cheer (5). Cross Country and Cheer are looking to add more student/athletes, once the school year starts. Our football team had a solid outing this past Saturday in Middleton vs. Glenns Ferry winning 48-14. Our volleyball team traveled to New Plymouth this past Saturday as well and tied for 3rd place in the tournament. Both teams played well. Cross Country and Cheer will start once the school year starts. Student organizations FFA, BPA and HOSA as well as Knowledge Bowl will begin their meetings when the school year starts.
Prairie is offering 11 dual credit courses this year. Dual credit courses are those that students take for high school credit as well as having the option to take for college credit. The courses include U.S. History, U.S. Government, Economics, Psychology, Calculus, Chemistry, Math 137, Math 147, Speech, English IV, and Art Appreciation. The 2020-21 school year offered 12 dual credits “in-house” with a total of 816 credits earned with 70 students enrolled in at least one dual credit course.
We welcome new staff members to the district this year
Casey Walker grew up all over the southwest US playing every sport imaginable and fighting with six siblings. At the US Naval Academy, she majored in math, played Division I rugby, and completed an exchange semester at the Colombian Naval Academy. Following her graduation/commission in 2008, she served as a helicopter pilot and martial arts instructor for the Marine Corps. In 2020, she graduated from the University of Idaho with a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, and taught Integrated Math I for Idaho Virtual Academy this past year.
This summer she taught Algebra and Geometry for Lewiston’s summer school program before moving to Greencreek with her electrician boyfriend, Sam Metz and their cat Telly. She will be teaching Algebra, Geometry, and Dual Credit Economics at the Jr/Sr High School. They are excited to be a part of the community. Welcome Casey!
Kim Harman joins us as a part time PE teacher at the elementary school.
Kim grew up in Cottonwood in a blended family, and is the second youngest of the 7 kids. She graduated from PHS in 2002 and went to LCSC receiving a degree with an emphasis in business management in Radiology and Computed Tomography. She worked for St. Mary’s Hospital for 12 years! She decided to go back to obtain her teaching certification. She completed her Master’s in Education with an endorsement in 6-12 physical education. She will obtain her K-12 endorsement at the end of this school year. She is married to Pepper and they have two son’s Bucky and Hank.
She is excited to start her teaching career. Welcome Kim!
Megan Frei was born and raised in Cottonwood. She graduated from Summit Academy (St. John Bosco) in 2015. She was a dental assistant at Christensen Orthodontics for 4 years as she obtained her teaching certification. She was hired last year for her first teaching assignment at GEMS in the MVSD. She got married a year ago in August to Josh. They have a golden retriever, Wilson. They enjoy the outdoors, hiking, skiing, biking, running with her dog, spending as much time on the river as possible, and flying to remote airstrips in the Idaho backcountry! She joins us this year as our Kindergarten teacher. She is excited to join our team and is looking forward to working with the little kids! Welcome Megan!
Carmen Sangster grew up in Grangeville and Riggins (but was homeschooled). She attended the University of Idaho after high school. She taught English as a Second Language overseas for 3-½ years! She worked at Northwest Insurance Agency for the past few years. She is working on obtaining her teaching certification through the LCSC PACE program currently and will complete that in the next 3 years!
Her significant other is Matt, who is a wildland firefighter for the Idaho Department of Lands. Their daughter, Zoe, will be starting kindergarten at Prairie this year! Welcome Carmen!
Deanna Goeckner was born and raised in Cottonwood on the family farm/ranch behind the Cottonwood Butte. She graduated from Prairie High School many moons ago. She farms and ranches with her family. She is a State of Idaho Brand Inspector and works at the sales yard on some Friday’s. She managed to add another job to her plate! She is married to Stephen and they have four children: Anthony who is a 2021 graduate of Prairie and is attending Boise State University this fall, Natalie will be a freshman, Mark 8th grade, and Derek 5th grade. Deanna will be the head cook at the high school this year! She worked for the school district previously as a cook as well.
She’s excited to be back and is looking forward to the new year!! Welcome Deanna!
Micah Weber grew up in Bend, Oregon where she graduated from Oregon State University Cascades and then earned her Masters in Teaching through George Fox University. She worked in the Bend-LaPine district as a sub and 1:1 aide, Frenchglen School District as a K-8 teacher, and has been at Grangeville Elementary the past 4 years, teaching Kindergarten. She got married in July to her husband Chad, they have a blended family that includes their 3 children: Marshall Campbell entering 5th grade, Talon Weber entering 3rd grade & Malia Campbell entering 2nd grade at Prairie
She is thrilled to be joining the Cottonwood School District and teaching 2nd grade this year! Welcome Micah!
Rick Forsmann was born and raised in Cottonwood. He graduated from Prairie High School a few years ago! He owned his own pump service for the past 28 years but worked in the pump field for 38 years and decided to make a career change as his business partner retired. He was hired as the new Maintenance Supervisor for the district. He is catching on quickly since starting in June! He will be a great asset to the district! Welcome Rick!
Numerous activities happened over the summer. We offered a summer school program for elementary students in June and July. This was facilitated by Becky Higgins and her summer school help consisted of Cami Shears, Lisa Labrum, Megan Rambo, Laurie Workman, and Erin Shears. We also offered a summer lunch program in June and July. Three seniors and one junior completed their senior projects by running the summer lunch programs for 2 week shifts. The seniors were Delanie Lockett, Connor Brown, and Elycia Graham, the junior was Amelia Uhlenkott. Thank you to these four students for their help with the lunch program.
Projects throughout the summer. We added new tile in the elementary building with the exception of the 4 upper hall classrooms, which will be installed in summer of 2022. New lockers were purchased and installed in the elementary school to replace the old lockers. We added 2 paraprofessional rooms in the boys locker room area for more workspace with students. We purchased a 2015 14 passenger non-CDL bus for small group trips. The wireless connectivity was updated this past year by Compunet to provide faster internet for the chromebooks in each classroom. We purchased 60 more chromebooks over the summer to phase out our older chromebooks that have been used for numerous years. New chairs and tables were purchased for the elementary teacher’s lounge. The high school teacher’s lounge was painted and retiled, replacing the aging carpet. New carpet square tiles were added to the entry of the elementary school. We will be adding carpet squares to the ramp at the high school leading to the gym during Christmas Break. Sierra McWilliams was our summer help and did a fantastic job mowing, trimming, painting and numerous other jobs assisting Rick Forsmann and Dave Shears. It was a busy but successful summer.
We are looking forward to a great year. If any community members are interested in being on an email list for the schools, please contact Jennifer Riener at the elementary school firstname.lastname@example.org or Matt Elven at the Jr/Sr High School email@example.com
Information about all districts in the State of Idaho can be found at the IdahoEd Trends website http://www.idahoedtrends.org/
We hope you all have a fantastic 2021-22 school year!