Thursday, March 7, 2024

A Transplant's Two Bits

     Having just celebrated our first anniversary as Idaho residents, I look back at this year in awe at how quickly it zipped by. Whoosh! It seems like just yesterday we were refugees from the Eugene, Oregon. We've learned a lot in the last year about Idaho, about our new (and first ever) Charter School, and about ourselves. 

    When we started researching the schools in the area, I came across White Pine and we were ecstatic that a close-knit, wholesome, family-oriented, success-driven, morally competent educational facility existed in the 21st Century.  Overall, I must say our experience has exceeded our expectations in many ways. We're beyond grateful for the countless hours the teachers, staff, and parent helpers put into the collaborative environment at White Pine.

    Upon volunteering in my daughter's kindergarten class, I promptly noticed the entire class stand and participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. My  mind instantly teleported back in time to my own elementary school days when we would likewise show respect and dedication to our great Nation. It has been many years since I've seen a classroom so respectfully honor our Nation's flag--and they're five year olds! It makes my heart smile to see how patriotic people are here. 

    I've also been impressed with the amount of community involvement White Pine has has. Parades, service projects, the food drive, and more. It is vital for our children to see us participate in community service. Not only will it give them a sense of pride and accomplishment over their hard work, but it will also instill a desire to look beyond themselves and at the bigger picture.  In this selfish, instant gratification world, it's rare to see children so invested in something more than sports, video games, and social media. 

    We have a unique, exemplary community here at White Pine that is full of endless potential! This is, after all, why most families chose this route for their child's education.  We want our children to bloom in the fertile soil of respect, teamwork, and integrity that cannot be found in many traditional public schools.

    As you know, success doesn't appear out of a magician's top hat. It takes consistent and coordinated effort by the entire Cougar Community. Our administration, staff and teachers spend countless hours fulfilling their role in our schools. Even still, we cannot have the peak quality of education for your child without YOU. There aren't enough hours in the day or dollars in the budget to fulfill our Cougar dreams. So, thank you for your generous participation in fundraisers, activities, classrooms, field trips and more.

    After all, it takes the proverbial village to raise a child!

    For those that don't know, funding for charter schools works differently than traditional schools so it is quite limited. We're small which creates a beautifully close-knit community, but it likewise limits the available budget. Some activities and programs that are readily available at traditional public schools aren't. (Think: band and choir). Nevertheless, our incredible school is evolving and growing every single year and we're hard at work to grow and improve upon our programs.

    The good news is we have a bounty of opportunities for our Cougar Families to be involved! Remember, every family is asked to serve the White Pine community a minimum of twenty hours per school year. Some families promptly completed their allotment back in September! Others have yet to find their niche-- and that's okay! We still have 1/3 or the school year left to jump in and make a difference in your child's school experience.

    Statistics show that parental involvement dramatically improves student behavior, raises their grades, and transforms their overall attitude about school. Who doesn't want a positive, dedicated, intelligent student? Not only will this impact your child at school, but I've seen firsthand how it can also give your family a morale boost at home, too!

    Whether you're a behind the scenes participant or the next PFA president (we are recruiting), there are ample opportunities for all interest and skill levels available. Please join us at our next PFA meeting or ask your child's teacher for ways you can help today. You won't regret investing your time and effort in your child's future. Every little bit of help combines and expands to move mountains.

    Thank you for being a part of our Cougar Community. It wouldn't be the same without you!

By: Melissa Candland

White Pine parent and PFA member AND published author of Second Chances (MJ Candland)

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