Friday, February 28, 2014

District renames Woodside school

Alturas Elementary chosen to reflect school’s new mission

Express Staff Writer

Woodside Elementary School Principal Brad Henson, more commonly known as “Principal Brad,” is shown here Thursday morning at the entrance to the school. The Blaine County School District board of trustees voted unanimously on Wednesday to change the name of the school to Alturas Elementary School. The new name is intended to reflect the new mission of the school, which at the beginning of the next school year will be a “magnet” school for dual-immersion studies only. Photo by Roland Lane

     The Blaine County School District board of trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to change the name of Woodside Elementary School in southern Hailey to Alturas Elementary School.

     The new name, when officially implemented later this year, is intended to reflect the new mission of the Woodside school, which next school year will become a “magnet” school for K-5 dual-immersion studies only. In the district’s dual-immersion program, students are instructed in both English and Spanish with the intent that that the students become fluent in both languages.

     A typical dual-immersion class is about a 50-50 mix of native English speakers and native Spanish speakers.

     Molly Michalec, the program coordinator, explained at a Wednesday special school board meeting that “Alturas” is a Spanish word that means “mountain summits” or “mountainous heights.” The name is consistent with a new school motto: “Together we will reach new heights.”

     Further, Michalec said that the word Alturas has historical significance for Blaine County, which was formed in 1895 from parts of the former territorial counties of Alturas and Logan.

     Woodside Principal Brad Henson said the name Alturas was chosen to “honor the Spanish component in our community as well.”

     Michalec and Henson told the school board that the new name, a vision statement and a mission statement were developed in extensive discussions with teachers, school administrators, parents and community members.

     “We really felt that this was something that needed to be clarified ... so that it could guide the rest of our work,” Michalec said.

     In addition to the new name, the school board approved a vision statement and a mission statement for Alturas.

     The vision statement is: “As a collaborative community, we create pathways of respect, of learning and of appreciation for linguistic and cultural diversity.”

     The mission statement is: “We the community of Alturas Elementary: empower learners, enrich experiences, engage as citizens of the world.”

     Wednesday’s special school board meeting was chaired by Vice Chairwoman Kathy Baker, who explained that board Chairman Shawn Bennion was unable to attend the meeting. Also present, providing enough board members for a quorum, were Trustees Kathryn Graves and Elizabeth Schwerdtle.

     The decision to convert Woodside Elementary School into a dual-immersion magnet school was made by the school board in January of 2013. The plan requires that dual-immersion classes currently at Hailey and Bellevue elementary schools be relocated to Woodside, or Alturas, at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. Non-DI students at Woodside will be relocated to either the Hailey or Bellevue schools.

     Hemingway Elementary School in Ketchum will retain a single dual-immersion class in each of its grades K-5.

     The dual-immersion program, started in 2001, is now in its 13th year in the district. Students typically stay with the program, starting in kindergarten, throughout their elementary, middle school and high school studies. The district’s original 2001 class of dual-immersion kindergarteners are now high school seniors.

     The School District lists the following eight reasons why it is committed to the program:

  • Offers equal access to education.
  • Raises self-esteem for all children.
  • Better prepares students to meet the challenges of a global society: academically, linguistically and socially.
  • Promotes increased cognition, such as critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Supports academic achievement.
  • Provides the added value of being functionally literate in two languages.
  • Develops an appreciation and understanding of diverse cultures.
  • Increases parent and community involvement.

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.