For Information on Individual Schools (such as School Supplies, Handbooks, registration information), click above On Prairie Elementary or Prairie Jr Sr High
A school report card is available for the Elementary and Junior-Senior high school. Click on the links below.
We will create, deliver and responsibly manage opportunities for all children to learn every day and become contributing citizens. These opportunities will be developed in partnership with the community and will be provided in a safe and supportive environment.
Every Student Learning Every Day
Respect, Dignity, Honesty, Responsibility and Teamwork
Prairie Jr/Sr High a 5 Star School
Prairie Elementary a 4 Star School
Distinguished Elementary School
NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE 2014
Superintendent’s Welcome to School Year 2022-2023
This is year #3 as the Cottonwood School District superintendent. The first 2 years have gone by very fast and I am looking forward to kicking off another year. The elementary atmosphere is a lot different than the secondary level, but I’m excited to see all the students back in the building soon.
The start of the 2023-24 school year has arrived. Some teachers have been back in the building in preparation for the students to walk through the door, but the official first contract day for staff is Wednesday, August 23, 2023 for district meetings.
Cottonwood School District’s enrollment leading up to the first day of school is currently at 438 students. Last year at this time we had 441 students enrolled. We currently have 42 open enrolled students from other students from other districts. We did not add anyone new for open enrollment this year.
Our fall sports seasons kicked off on Monday, August 7th with the volleyball team hitting the court and the cross country team hitting the training course. Our football team kicked off their practice season on Wednesday, August 9th. Jr High football started practice this week and Jr High volleyball starts their season the Tuesday after Labor Day. First high school volleyball action is at the New Plymouth tournament for varsity and Genesee tournament for JV on Saturday, August 26th. First football game is @ Troy on Friday, September 1st. First Cross Country action is Friday, August 25th in Grangeville. Good luck to all our athletes this Fall? Student organizations BPA, HOSA, Prairie League and Knowledge Bowl will begin their meetings when the school year starts.
Open Hours at the elementary school will be held on Monday, August 28th from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. We are looking forward to seeing all the students and parents as they drop off their supplies and enjoy a burger or hot dog. We have always had a solid turnout for this event.
Prairie is offering numerous dual credit and IDLA courses again this year. We have a great partnership with LCSC and appreciate the dedication our teachers show by giving our students the opportunity to accrue numerous college credits before they graduate high school. 540 credits were earned by high school students during the 2022-2023 school year. This saved the students $270,000 in college credits. This is a very impressive number. We look forward to continuing this opportunity for all of our students.
School bus drivers are needed – our district’s like many across the state and country are struggling to find certified drivers to help with routes and activities. Due to various circumstances this summer and heading into the school year, we have lost a route driver and a few others will be out for an extended period of time. With that said, we are actively recruiting as many people as possible to become drivers. Dave Shears can train drivers. If you are interested or know of anyone interested please encourage them to contact Dave Shears or myself. Bus routes and activities are very important to our community, we would hate to lose these if we can’t find anyone to drive the school bus. Thank you in advance!
We welcome new staff members to the district this year.
Debbie Schmidt – Debbie was hired as a cook in the elementary school kitchen. She was born, raised and lived most of her adult life on the Camas Prairie. She is a wife of 32 years to Paul Schmidt. They have 4 amazing children and 11 beautiful grandchildren, who are their “everything”. She enjoys spending time with her crazy little family. She loves to go camping, telling a lot of stories around the campfire. Hiking and 4-wheeling is also a must. She has worked/owned her own business as a Cosmetologist, worked as a paraprofessional for Prairie in the early 2000’s and spent the last 16 years working for St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals. She is super excited to be back and start her new adventure with the school district and feels very blessed to have this opportunity. Welcome Debbie!
Whitney Westhoff – Whitney has filled the paraprofessional position at the elementary school. She was raised in Cottonwood and graduated from Prairie High School. She attended college at the University of Idaho. Her husband Kyle and her were high school sweethearts and they knew they wanted to raise their family on the Prairie. Kyle works at Syringa Hospital as a physical therapist. They have 2 kids. Mason is in 3rd grade this year and Aubrey is in 1st. They enjoy spending family time together camping and cheering on the Vandel and Pirate athletics. Welcome Whitney…..
Olivia Remmerden – Olivia is teaching 3rd grade this year. Most of her students call her Miss Remm! She was raised throughout the Treasure Valley. She lived in Kuna while attending school in Nampa and then in Boise. She graduated from the University of Idaho which is where she met her fiance, Lucas Arnzen. She has been living on the prairie for 2 years now and absolutely loves it. This will be her third year in the teaching profession. In the past she has taught 6th/7th grade English and 4th grade. She spent most of her summer working out, reading and traveling to see friends. She is very excited to be a Pirate! Welcome Olivia!
Isabella Baldwin – Isabella is taking over for John Eynon and Laurie Karel in the music department. Isabella was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, her family relocated to Boise, Idaho for three years. They then moved to Appleton, Wisconsin for two years, and grew up the majority of her life in Memphis, Tennessee. Her first band instrument was the flute, then switched to the trumpet. Later she moved to the trombone, and finally the tuba. The tuba is now her main instrument. She has a vast knowledge of all the band instruments. She is the second child out of five kids in her family. In June she became an aunt, and her niece’s name is Juniper. She loves watching movies and going on walks. Welcome Isabella…….
Madison Shears – Madison was hired as a paraprofessional at the high school. She was raised in Cottonwood and is a 2021 graduate. She went to College of Idaho for one year, then attended Walla Walla Community College for one year, playing basketball at both colleges while studying Elementary Education. She will be continuing college online to pursue her dream of being an Elementary teacher. She will be coaching JV volleyball at Prairie High School this fall. She is super excited to come back home and work at one of the best school in the area! Welcome Madison!
We had current staff members accept new positions for the 2023-24 school year.
Jennifer Enneking will be taking over as the IDLA coordinator at the high school, previously Jennifer was a special education paraprofessional.
Cami Shears is also leaving her paraprofessional position at the elementary school and accepted the 2nd grade position.
Vikki Riener is leaving her 3rd grade teaching position and moving back into the special education department.
We are excited to have these ladies fill these much needed positions in the district!
The elementary school offered a summer “camp” programs for elementary students in June and July. 3 days a week for 3 weeks. This was facilitated by Becky Higgins and her summer school help consisted of Cami Shears, Megan Rambo, Vikki Riener, Megan Frei and Erin Shears. There were 33 students enrolled with a 96% attendance rate. All the students did well in the program. Thank you to these ladies for their hard work and taking time out of their summer to assist these students.
Projects throughout the summer – As most of you may have seen if you have driven by the elementary school at any point this summer, there is an addition taking place. We are currently adding 2 more classrooms on the west side of the building. These will be our new 4th grade classrooms when they are complete. The upper hall will now be the 4th-6th grade hallway. In addition, the 4th graders will have their own lockers and we added a 10’x30′ storage closet to the addition. Becky Higgins’ current 4th grade classroom will be come our special education room and Andrea Brannan’s current classroom will become a multipurpose classroom for enrichment activities throughout the year. We hope students will be able to learn 3D printing, coding, and other activities that teachers are interested in teaching. We also want to bring our Lego experience back as well. We are a little behind schedule, but our hope is to have the construction completed and move in ready around the middle of October. It will be an interesting first 6 weeks of school, but our staff and students are resilient!
We added new appliances to the elementary school and Jr Sr high Kitchens with money from the state. New dishwashers, convection ovens, and electric sneeze bar doors for both buildings. We added a 3 door stainless steel freezer to the Jr Sr high school and 3 door stainless steel refrigerator to the elementary school.
The band room had a fresh new coat of white paint. It has been a number of years since that room has been freshened up.
Jerry Richardson volunteered to paint the new addition and also painted the west side horseshoe of the elementary school. We updated the existing green/blue color and brown beams with a new light gray and dark gray finish. Jim Rehder and Roy Uhlenkott volunteered some of their time to help Jerry as well. We will complete the remainder of the building next spring/summer. It will be a two tones building for a year!
New LED lights were installed in the elementary and high school gyms using an AVISTA grant. The cost was minimal, but the gyms were brightened up substantially!
The high school and elementary gym floors were refinished this summer and are ready for th eupcoming sport seasons. We held off on the auxiliary gym this year.
If any community members are interested in being on an email list for the schools, please contact Jennifer Riener at the elementary school email@example.com or Matt Elven at the Jr Sr High School firstname.lastname@example.org
We plan to use the School Messenger notification system again this year. This is a mass email, text, phone call if there is a district emergency, school closure or any other pertinent information that we may need to get out to a large group of people. I plan to send a message in the first couple weeks of school to make sure we have everyone on the list. Please look out for this message.
We are looking forward to another great year. We hope you all have a fantastic 2023-2024 school year!