Thumbnails of the tech grant recipients

Here’s the rundown of the 11 schools sharing in the state’s $3 million Idaho technology pilot grants, with thumbnails provided by the state Department of Education:

Beutler Middle School, West Side School District: $138,718.74. This rural school has a strong focus on digital learning and high expectations for their students to participate in dual credit opportunities when they reach high school.  This pilot project will implement a one-to-one ratio of iPads at the middle-level to ensure proficiency in Idaho Core Standards, participation in digital coursework, and preparation for dual credit opportunities students will encounter when they reach high school.  Additionally, all teachers, students, and parents will receive training on digital citizenship.

Compass Public Charter School: $180,000. Compass Charter is creating a next generation learning environment where students are prepared to meet the learning challenges of the 21st century.  This pilot project will use three computer labs and three classroom sets of iPads to enhance instruction and student engagement, to participate in virtual fieldtrips, to use online methods for collaboration and communication.

Discovery Elementary School, Meridian Joint School District: $370,501.35. This pilot project will use a classroom rotational model of shared devices to individualize instruction and create innovative, self-directed learners that will become productive, successful citizens.  Students will focus on critical thinking skills through the creation of content with digital tools.  The technology will also allow the school to be an outreach center where community members, like those at the fire training center, can be trained in the use of technology in the evenings and on weekends.

Idaho Distance Education Academy: $67,754.60. The Idaho Distance Education Academy (IDEA) will implement I-DEA 2.0, a two-year project to redefine the way the school uses technology for instruction, assessment, enrichment, and increasing efficiency among teachers. Key components of the IDEA’s pilot project include expanding the schools instructional management system, piloting digital textbooks, providing students access to a digital library, and integrating the use of next generation hardware and video systems. Ultimately, IDEA hopes to use this technology to build a unified distance learning environment that will encourage and support higher student achievement as well as increased learning, communication, and collaboration.

Kuna Middle School, Kuna School District: $891,200.20. At Kuna Middle School, students have struggled in mathematics and in writing. To help address these challenges, two teachers piloted small laptops called Chromebooks to provide one device to each math student and individual access to web-based math instructional resources. They saw great success! Based on this data, the school leadership team realized that the student-centered, collaborative, creative, and rigorous learning environment they had long envisioned could be achieved through 1:1 implementation of Chromebooks. With this grant, the teachers and staff at Kuna Middle School will pilot Chromebooks across the school and work to improve student learning in mathematics and writing.

McCall-Donnelly High School, McCall-Donnelly School District: $150,000. McCall-Donnelly High School’s pilot project is the brain child of high school student Brooke Thomas. As a junior, she asked her principal for an iPad and received it on the condition that she use it to answer this question: “How could this technology change the way students ‘do school’?” Brooke spent the year working on her iPad and developed a vision that will now be put into action schoolwide. Through this project, every student at McCall-Donnelly High School will have access to iPad technology. A student-led iClub will work directly with teachers and other students to make the use of this technology as effective as possible in helping students at McCall-Donnelly High School “do school.” 

Middleton High School, Middleton School District: $427,878.32. For students at Middleton High School, it is all about going on. The school is part of the Go On Idaho initiative and has a partnership with the Idaho Department of Labor to mentor students to go on after high school. Now, Middleton High School will change its culture by implementing a one-to-one laptop program called Go One-Go On with Lenovo ThinkPads. The program will expand the school’s Career Information System, promote increased communication and collaboration, and foster critical thinking, creativity, and a positive digital footprint through the creation of a four-year website portfolio that articulates a student’s academic growth.

Moscow Middle School, Moscow School District: $180,000. Moscow Middle School is working to create more open learning environments for every student where teachers can “flip” the classroom to better meet the needs of students coming from a wide variety of challenges, whether it is related to learning, behavior or socio-economic. Moscow Middle School will pilot the use of interactive whiteboards where every time a teacher “goes to the board,” that instruction is digitally document for future access through the use of student-specific logins and cloud technology. The school also will integrate formative assessments and clickers, among other technologies, to measure individual student, group and whole class learning.

Park Intermediate School, Weiser School District: $54,596. The teachers at Park Intermediate School are enthusiastic about the possibilities technology can bring to the classroom. Through this pilot project, Park Intermediate will set up a Chromebook lab and a Mobile Android 4.0 lab to help transform classrooms and provide teachers the opportunity to design individualized instructions for every child. Teachers see the great opportunities for how these technologies can be integrated in science, language and mathematics lessons. With the implementation of new Idaho Core Standards next year, the school will largely focus on how these new technologies can help improve students’ writing. 

Parma Middle School, Parma School District: $83,567.59. At Parma Middle School, educators are working to not only bridge existing gaps in student achievement but also to lay the groundwork for the paths students will take as they step forward in the workplace or through leadership roles in the mid-2020s.  They understand the important role technology can play in accomplishing these goals in the classroom. Parma Middle will pilot an interactive online curriculum, multi-touch interactive surface display tables, and training for all instructors in the inter-relationships of technology, instruction, and achievement. They will work to integrate these technologies and transform the classroom to help address current shortcomings in standardized test scores, grades, absenteeism, and behavioral misconduct. 

Sugar Salem High School, Sugar Salem School District: $454,783.20. This rural school district is utilizing technology to afford their teachers, students, and parents with equal access to the academic opportunities that 21st century technology can provide, regardless of geography or socioeconomic status.  Through a one-to-one laptop initiative with HP 4440s notebook computers and a wireless network, this pilot project will create a New Generation Learning Environment with learning opportunities both in the classroom and beyond the walls of the classroom.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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