Response to Luna's Proposal
Patrons of District 242
I want to start by saying that it has been a wonderful experience working with students in our communities over the past 15 years and Iím enjoying the challenges that my new position brings.  This community believes in the education of our children.  I say everyday that you donít find parents and community anywhere else like you see it on the Prairie.  I thank all of you for that.
With the recent proposed changes to our funding formula and proposed changes to how we educate kids I offer this:
Cottonwood School District is in a restructuring phase as our enrollment has dropped.  We are utilizing our Secure Rural Schools money to remodel and restructure our buildings so we can house a K-6 facility and a 7-12.  Our elementary building will be vacated at the end of summer 2011.  It is currently for sale.  
Our junior high students will continue to have opportunities to take advanced courses through the Idaho Digital Learning Academy, but with this restructuring, students will have the opportunity to take Algebra and English I as 8th grade students with a certified instructor that is on staff.    Junior high students will have a shop option and advanced opportunities in the technology arena.  Junior high sports will continue at the current middle school gym.
Our K-6 students will be in an elementary setting where teachers and staff can communicate with one another in the same building and provide opportunities for team teaching and collaboration.
I want to take this opportunity to share with you the successes that this system has had and how I feel about how we are currently educating children with the staff that we have.
We have 33 certified staff of which 31 are full-time, 7 part-time bus drivers, 8 paraprofessionals, 2 full-time secretaries and 1 part-time secretary, 2 janitors, 2 administrators, and 3 full-time year round classified employees and approximately 27 coaches/activity personnel who are paid on an extracurricular contract.
Our current enrollment is 421 students.  
Cottonwood School District is the fiscal agent for the Region II Professional Technical Academy which employs 1 full-time teacher and some part-time nurses.  This program enrolls students from 19 high schools and has a current enrollment of 175 students.  This academy is completely self supporting as funds are drawn from the student enrollments throughout the state.  The academy provides students with online options for classes such as Fundamentals of Health, Medical Terminology, Pharmacy Tech, Physical Therapy Aide and Certified Nurse Assistant.
Our high school provides online courses through the Idaho Digital Learning Academy which supports students in our system as well as those who are at home and in our private school.  We currently have students taking courses such as Creative Writing, Astronomy, French, Forensic Science, Military History, Sociology and Service Learning.
Our high school has 5 college certified teachers who offer dual credit opportunities in Probability and Statistics/MATH 254, Natural Science/NS 150, US Government/POLS 101, Speech/COMM 204, and Art Appreciation/ART 100, Advanced Biology/BIOL 175, US History/HIST 112, Psychology/PSYCH 101, Pre-Calculus/MATH 147.   Our high school offers 31 dual credit courses at this time and will be expanding this next year.
63% of our juniors and 65 % of our seniors are taking dual credit courses for a total of 460 credits.
Our Professional Technical teachers are offering students opportunity to earn Tech Prep credit through LCSC.  Career Exploration, Basic Accounting, Web Development, Intro/Allied Health and Medical Terminology are articulated with community colleges.
Our technology infrastructure provides access to online courses, video streaming for access to videos and outside curriculum, video conferencing with other schools proving courses that are not available on site, parent access to grades and email.  All classrooms have projection devices, some smartboards, and some classes are utilizing the clickers that are being promoted by our state superintendent.
Our elementary teachers K-6 have been involved in the Reading and Math Initiatives and have taken courses that promote and provide options for students to learn in these areas.  This as well as the teacher attention to student needs has put our district test scores among the top in the state.
The opportunities for our students to be involved in Drama, Knowledge Bowl, Youth Choir, Business Professionals, Technology Association, and Health Occupations promotes competition and social interaction with others in our system and around our state.  These options for students provide for individuality of our students and options for personal growth.
Our athletes have opportunities to participate in Wrestling, Cheerleading, Basketball, Football, Volleyball, Softball, Baseball, Track.  Our community parents provide after school opportunities for young students to participate in basketball, football, soccer, softball and baseball after school hours and in the summer.
Our gyms and cafeterias are consistently occupied with civic group activity such as boy scouts and community activities such as basketball and volleyball.
The Students Come First plan being presented by our state superintendent isnít a surprise to the Cottonwood School District.  What is being promoted is the opportunity for students to excel and advance and to provide college opportunities for our high school students.  We have many opportunities for students to take online courses.   Our numbers show that our students are taking advantage of this opportunity already.  Much of the hardware that is used has been donated by the BLM and Forest Service and some new purchases made available by district money.  Technology maintenance is done by our business teacher at the high school and the administrators in the middle and elementary schools.   What will hurt our district is losing staff members who provide the support to our students.  Losing personal contact with kids to computer contact with kids is taking the personal communication piece out of the formula.  Business is telling us kids need to be able to communicate with one another and work together.  This is the part of education that we canít afford to lose.   The opportunities for success are in the staff that we have and the opportunities they make available to our student population.  
The Cottonwood School District thanks our Prairie communities for the support that we have had and will need that continued support as we move forward.
 Sent by Superintendent  Reneí Forsmann and 
School District Trustees Della Gehring, 
Pat Alfrey, Roy Schumacher, 
Gus Hoene, Lynn Guyer

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522
 

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COTTONWOOD
CHRONICLE
503 King St.
P.O. Box 157
Cottonwood, ID 83522-0157
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