A Letter From The Principal:
Welcome to NExA. I’m excited to start our third year as an elementary school in the Coeur d’Alene school district. NExA is a Project-Based Learning and Expeditionary school which allows our students to learn both inside and outside the classroom. Hands-on learning is promoted as is critical thinking and student voice.
NExA is an inclusive school where general education teachers and special education teachers work together to meet the needs of students. All of our students are served whenever possible in general education classrooms. This allows students with special needs to receive the support they need in their least restrictive environment. All students benefit from the additional resources and support used in inclusive classrooms.
Pulling students out of the classroom to offer interventions and remediation forces the student to miss out on grade-level instruction. NExA believes in acceleration, not remediation. We push into the classroom Title I, Resource, and ALP services in a co-teaching model ensuring all students receive core instruction and individualized instruction from certified teachers. This research-based model of instruction ensures academic rigor and student confidence and success.
Our students own their education which is facilitated by a highly trained staff of dedicated educators. In our short existence, we have become a high achieving school academically, our students have been on over 100 expeditions and have completed over 30 projects.
I am thrilled to announce, we are building our new school building on Prairie Avenue this fall with a completion date of July, 2020. This new building will offer new technology, a farm, outdoor learning centers, a makerspace, a media center and a performing arts center and much more. This school will open for the 2020/2021 school year and is capable of educating 650 students. Drive by the school site and watch our new facility grow!
This year we have many exciting additions to our programs at NExA. The first is all day kindergarten for all students. This is an amazing benefit allowing our youngest learners to get a jumpstart on their education. Our new kindergarten teacher, Karissa Wise was a long-term sub for NExA last year. Secondly is the addition of a half-time Principal Assistant. Brianne Weinberger will share this position with her ALP duties. This addition allows for leadership in my absence while providing teacher and student support.
This school year we are discontinuing Discovery and adding Music and Ms. Mueller will teach this subject. We are also adding an additional special education teacher, Emily Buscema to support Vanessa Staudacher in her work. Exciting changes!
More about our work. This expeditionary school is exemplified by project-based learning expeditions (using the Buck Institute PBL philosophy), in a workshop model (using inquiry based learning and thinking strategies) with the world as our classroom. Students take physical and academic journeys using critical thinking, hands-on learning, journaling, observation, exploration, collaborative learning and strategic and scientific methods to truly get to understand their world. Using the Idaho Core Standards, academic work is rigorous, challenging and purposeful.
Key to academic success is strong character. This school embraces the work by Angela Duckworth and Paul Tough which focuses on grit, curiosity, self-control, social intelligence, zest, optimism and gratitude. PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) is the framework to support students to make good choices and to work hard. Rather than telling students what not to do, our school focuses on preferred behaviors. Kindness is embraced and taught and bullying is not tolerated. Our three rules for success are Be Kind, Work Hard and Be Safe.
Learning must be purposeful and make a true difference in the community we live. For this reason, an authentic audience with community partnerships are paramount for all PBLs at Northwest Expedition Academy. Our advisory committee continues to search for positive role models, innovative community members and interesting people to increase the diversity of our learning.
I am glad to be in Hayden as the principal for your school! My door is always open and I do my best to invite parents to share concerns, offer ideas and celebrate student success. Please pop by and say hello. William Rutherford