As an involved parent, it was not a surprise when I read the notification letter from our superintendent — my children’s school had been selected as one of the lowest performing schools in Idaho.
For our ranching family this classification did not mean it was time to pack the U-Haul and get out of town or to submit an open enrollment application to the neighboring school (40 miles away). Like most in our small rural community, we are embedded in this area with our hearts, crops and cattle.
In the past 10 years our school district has certainly seen struggles with funding, staffing and student morale. Finding teachers and administrators willing to work and live in a small town is one of the largest obstacles we face.
However, despite these challenges, I feel that the greatest responsibility in education lies with parents and the community. In recent years we have been working together tirelessly in a quest for excellence in the Bruneau-Grand View Joint School District.
Community members and parents have been donating time, talents and means to make our schools better. Many can be found attending board and committee meetings, volunteering at the schools and supporting extra-curricular activities.
Eagle Scout and senior projects have involved rallying the community to make improvements to school facilities. Local businesses have also jumped in donating money for art classes, athletics, a reader board and emergency services.
Together we have emphasized the need to find dedicated administrators and staff members, greater academic opportunities and improvements to school grounds and student discipline. Our new superintendent and school board responded with action.
Using grants and supplemental levies in recent years, our schools now have more technology, special education services, enhanced curriculum, supplemental online classes and improved facility maintenance.
Our test scores are finally on the rise and our spring 2019 summative assessment data indicates the highest ISAT test scores our district has seen in at least a decade.
Our 2019 graduating class saw every senior walk across the stage and 100 percent of our kindergarten students and 88 percent of our 1st graders scored proficient on the Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI).
Our district still has work to do; work that will continue to require the whole community.
Regardless of the school a child attends, parents have the ability to influence change. Parents who are involved and work with administrators can help ensure individual student success.
Like many parents in our district, our answer was not to turn and run but instead to personally accept the greater responsibility to make a change not only for our children but for all children.
As we work together in a community of parents, teachers, friends and administrators we have an increased ability to effect change and to provide the best educational environment for our future leaders.
Mandi Boren, a mother of six, resides in the Bruneau-Grand View Joint School District.