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MVSD board meeting: GEMS searches for new principal


GHS principal Steve Higgins hands senior Addie Lutz the Prudential Spirit of Community bronze medallion.

GHS students honored

GRANGEVILLE — During the Mountain View School District 244 board meeting March 16, Grangeville High School Principal Steve Higgins took a moment to honor senior Addie Lutz with an engraved bronze medallion to recognize her selection as a Distinguished Finalist for Idaho in the 2015 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Lutz organized a 5k fun run as part of her senior project to raise funds for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) that raised more than $11,000 to benefit CureSMA. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), represent the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service.

The benefit run was inspired by MVSD 244 board chair Lot Smith’s granddaughter, who has SMA.

“I am very proud of this young lady and her efforts,” Higgins said.

Higgins also introduced Kristen Kaschmitter as the GHS 2015 valedictorian and Kaleala Bass as salutatorian.

“I give a lot of credit to these girls represented here tonight, but also to their parents for their support and dedication,” Higgins said.

GRANGEVILLE – Grangeville Elementary Middle School (GEMS) is on the lookout for a new captain.

Principal Alicia Holthaus’ husband has taken a job in St. Louis and she will be moving there at the end of the school year.

“We’re sorry to see her go, but we would like to start advertising for that position so we have time to get it filled with the right person,” Mountain View School District 244 Superintendent Kent Stokes reported at the March 16 regular board meeting.

Stokes went on to express appreciation for the recent levy election.

‘“I am very grateful the levy passed by more than 58 percent,” he said.

The levy was held March 10 and the meeting was the first opportunity for Stokes to discuss results with the full board.

“It looked like the forest funds will be funded at the same level as last year – so there is a reprieve for another year. It sure would be nice for something to be figured out and not to have this fight every year,” Stokes shook his head.

Stokes also said the student-parent portal, Skyward, is getting some of its kinks worked out and is starting to work better.

“Overall, I feel like the district is running smoothly,” he said. “We have a good staff, community and kids.”

Grangeville High School Principal Steve Higgins reported to the board new Idaho Department of Education state reporting expectations for graduation rates.

“The counts are based on the freshman class entering and how many graduate from GHS after four years – there is a lot it does not take into account, such as those who get their GED,” he said. The district’s rate as a whole right now is at 73.7 percent and GHS is at 80 percent.”

Holthaus reported the GEMS playground has all new bark chips, which she said have helped not only with safety issues, but also with tracking in to the school.

“The gravel tracked in a lot and was very hard on the floors,” she said.

Clearwater Valley Elementary School Principal Susan Hill reported the school was preparing to host the Idaho Shakespeare Festival’s Idaho Theater for Youth and the school’s annual math night.

“Math night will include activities for parents and help explain some of the Common Core expectations,” Hill said.

She also reported the school is working on remedial activities to prepare for spring standards testing.

Cody Weddle, director of federal programs for the district, spoke about upcoming testing, now named the ISAT (Idaho Standard Achievement Test) by Smarter Balance, and what grades will be expected to take which tests.

He also reported the district has about 183 students with IEPs (Individual Education Plans) this year, which is a large jump from the previous year.

“We had 24 transfers alone to our district,” he said.

“Parents who have kids with special needs have heard good things about our district,” Stokes said.

MVSD director of technology Joe Rodrigues reported the district’s Internet service provider has been changed and is now running at 50 MB for $500 a month, “a big difference from the state’s 27 MB for $10,000 a month.” When asked, he said he wasn’t sure what the state would do with that savings.

Rodrigues said the district’s new computers are in place and are running well with little to no problems.

“I have replaced about 80 percent of the computers districtwide with Windows 7 and my goal is to have the remainder finished by the end of the school year,” he said.

Clearwater Valley High School Principal Randal Miskin reported the school was preparing for a higher education day in conjunction with Kamiah High School where eight of Idaho’s major colleges would be on hand to talk to the schools’ juniors.

In addition, two junior students, Cody Morrow and Wyatt Martin, have been helping build a dugout, work on bleachers and other needs for the baseball field.

“It’s part of their senior projects ad they are readying to start on Fenn field for softball now,” he said.

He also reported Avista has been “very accommodating,” and attached two new lights to the existing poles at the high school parking lot.

“I did notice the parking lot was pretty dark last time I was there,” Smith commented. “That’s good news.”

Miskin said the cost for the lights is low at $15 a month and Avista provided free installation.

“In addition, as a community service, Avista has agreed to replace all the football field lights.

“We really appreciate their willingness to support he school and community,” he said.


Free Press / Lorie Palmer

GHS principal Steve Higgins hands senior Addie Lutz the Prudential Spirit of Community bronze medallion.


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