Kamiah data dashboard photo

The data dashboard developed by Superintendent Merrill shows comparisons between Kamiah student achievement with statewide info.

KAMIAH — At the March 15 regular meeting of the Kamiah Joint School District 304 board, the trustees unanimously elected Don Skinner as the new vice-chairperson of the board.

Superintendent Merrill shared that the district had no COVID-19 cases in either staff or students in the past 30 days.

“Our staff has done a great job with physical distancing, providing hand sanitizer and other measures,” he said. Later in the meeting, board chairman Rikki Simler echoed Merrill’s praise of staff during the pandemic saying, “I’d like to thank teachers and staff for keeping on top of it, so we can keep kids doing in-person learning.”

The board approved several changes to the 2021-2022 school calendar. This includes a decision not to schedule school on Thursday, Sept. 30, the first day of the Lewis County Fair, after Tara Wilkins, 4-H leader requested the change during the public input session at the February regular board meeting. The new calendar is posted on the school district’s website.

High school principal William McFall announced the dates for prom (April 17) and graduation (May 28) and limits in attendance based on COVID protocols. A lively discussion ensued concerning who could participate in prom, with board members, parents and staff chiming in. Several people stressed the importance of the grand march, where parents have a chance to see their children dressed up, as each couple is announced by their names as they enter. Other concerns included the closed prom, not allowing students to bring dates from other schools to limit numbers. Chairman Simler expressed concern that the Friday night graduation would conflict with neighboring schools, noting that in past years graduation has been held on Saturday morning. McFall will consider the input.

Merrill discussed the formation of an ESSER committee to determine how to spend the funds related to the COVID pandemic. He expects at least $1.4 million coming to the district. He will provide training for those involved on the 15 allowable uses of the money so they can develop a prioritized list of projects in the next few months. The board approved community members John Wilcox and Jason Keen as well as board members Jesse Hunt and Don Skinner to participate in the committee, working with school staff. Damon Keen abstained from the vote. Merrill would like them to focus on big ticket items, with building principals involved, with each leading a tour of their building.

The board approved KHS senior Dori Hix’ request to paint a Kub design she has created on a wall in the high school. Hix’ senior project is completing the Adobe suite (graphic design software) certification. Hix appeared before the board saying “I have a passion for graphic design and would like to leave something behind for the school.”

Merrill gave a demonstration to the board of the new data dashboard that he has developed.

“It allows you to have better information at your fingertips,” he said.

The dashboard includes a variety of information, including students’ ISAT (Idaho Standards Achievement Test) scores by grade level, graduation rates, average daily attendance and logged disciplinary actions. It provides comparisons of Kamiah schools with statewide averages. He will update data monthly and encourages the board to use the information. Merrill stressed that no individual names are included in the data.