Photo by Alex Sholes Photography

Principal's Message


     I would like to welcome everyone back and I hope they had a relaxing summer that allowed them to re-energize.  We are excited to welcome a new secretary into our school.   Ronnie DeFord is now the school’s secretary.  We hope the students will get to know her and we know she will do a great job.  We also would like to welcome a new kindergarten and G/T teacher to the school.  Jaycee Morrison will be filling multiple roles for us, teaching kindergarten in the mornings, G/T on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, and she will be our developmental kindergarten paraprofessional on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.  Developmental kindergarten will take place in her classroom rather than the CDC this year.

     Recently I reviewed an article from the Readers Digest titled “13 Things Your Principal Won’t Tell you”.  I think there are some things I should tell you.


1-As we start a new year, please take a few minutes to get with your child and set some goals such as: a reading schedule, a plan for finishing AND turning in homework, limiting screen time, and even making and keeping friends.  The list can be any length but needs to be strenuous but attainable.


2-Put family time first.  All of the activities can become overwhelming and often come at the expense of family time.  These kiddos grow up so fast, slow down to enjoy the time you have with them.


3-Communicate with your child.  Do they like school?  Why or why not?  Are they doing what is needed, even if they don’t like to?  What is their favorite activity?  Least favorite?  Is there a way to make the least favorite less painful but still accomplish what needs done?


4-Please take the time to look at what your child is wearing to school.  Are they dressed in clean appropriate clothes?  Do they have what they need for cold weather?  Have you labeled their items with a nametag somewhere?


5-Expect success!  Keep the expectations high and criticism low.  What you say about school, staff, friends will have an effect on your student that you may not realize.  Be an uplifting support for your child, but not a crutch for them.


6-Attendance.  Your child can’t learn when they are not in school.  Data from U. of Minnesota  shows that the more a student misses kindergarten, the more they struggle in 1st grade.  These same children will continue to struggle through elementary school and beyond.  Learning builds upon itself and if you are missing the foundation, those critical building blocks, it leads to problems down the road.  Please make sure your student is attending school every day possible.


7-Make your children do chores.  This will help them to not only develop skills, but to learn they are not the center of the universe.  They also develop pride from a job well done and that they can contribute and be a part of the family structure.


8-Please teach your children to be respectful.  If you want a behavior, it needs to be taught.  They do not just automatically pick this up.  Here is a short list of three things that you can do to help teach respect.

            1-Discuss respect and what it is (and isn’t).

2-Set an example by treating others and talking about others the way you want to have your children to act and treat others.

3-Be a media critic.  Talk to your children and teach them to think about what they see, the behavior they see on TV, online, video games, advertising.  Ask them if what they see is respectful, and ask them why or why not.


9-Be persistent.  These students need to be taught how to stick with it.  They have to know that things will become difficult at times, there will be things that they do not want to complete.  Knowing that pushing forward and completing these items is a key to success.  We encourage them when things are difficult.  If they fail at something, we stand with them and SHOW them where to go from there, how to take the next step.  They can do hard things (especially with your encouragement) so please, do not do it for them but teach them how to do it.


10-Be informed, not mislead.  This simple statement is important for all of  us to to implement into our lives.  When you have questions about school, it is best to come to the school for answers.  Social media is great for keeping in touch but it is not the direct line to the person with the most information and opinions, rather than facts are often inserted.  Please communicate to us so that you can have the correct information.


11-Check Powerschool.  Parents can check their students attendance and grades at any time on-line through Powerschool.  It will help your student know that  you are involved in their education and will create a valuable relationship between the school and home if used consistently.  If you need help with this, please contact our secretary, Ronnie DeFord at 208-756-3663.


12-There are many on-line opportunities for your child to learn.  These are usually interesting and engaging for the students.  If you are going to allow your students to have screen time, check with your teacher for recommendations on programs that will fit with their learning that is taking place at school.


13-We are always working at making our school better.  The staff here at Pioneer is amazing and they are continually doing great things.  As I walk around the various classrooms I am amazed at the creativity and the exciting activities taking place.  The learning opportunities are everywhere.  The teachers continue to learn and grow themselves.  Even with all the great things happening here, we know we are not perfect.  We are continually tweaking, fine tuning, and sharpening the saw to try to improve.  We are constantly working on being better educators.  Teaching involves so much more than most people realize.  School organization and culture are a constant component that we try to address.  The entire staff at Pioneer work diligently at being good at both the big things, and the little things, and that is what makes this school special.  Help us as we continue this journey of improvement. We really appreciate your support, we love your kids that you send us, and do everything we can to help them to be successful.  Have a great school year.


John Hamilton-Principal

Pioneer Elementary




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Pioneer Elementary School 900 Sharkey Street
Salmon, ID 83467
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Phone: 208-756-3663
Fax: 208-756-3670