New charters, award winners and other news

Idaho’s first charter school management organization launched today, behind a multi-million dollar funding package by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation.

Four schools will operate under the new CMO called Gem Innovation Schools: Idaho Distance Education Academy’s (I-DEA) virtual school and three bricks and mortar, blended learning Gem Prep schools. The CMO will provide management services, curriculum and leadership training to the schools, as well as business operations like purchasing and payroll.

Gem Prep will blend online and face-to-face learning and personalize instruction for each student. The schools in Coeur d’Alene, the Treasure Valley and Pocatello plan to serve as many as 2,500 K-12 students across the state by 2022.

The new CMO is based on the principals of I-DEA, a free, virtual public charter school founded in 2004. I-DEA currently serves about 700 students in grades K-12 and piloted its first blended learning school, Gem Prep: Pocatello, in August 2014 with kindergarten and first grade students. Twenty percent of I-DEA students earned an associate degree by the time they completed high school.

I-DEA CEO Jason Bransford will lead the Gem Innovation Schools.

The Foundation will provide a four-year, multi-million dollar grant to Gem Innovation Schools.

 The Idaho CapEd Foundation awards teacher grants

The Idaho CapEd Foundation has awarded its February 2015 teacher grants to the following:

  • Anne Jensen – Harrison Elementary School – Twin Falls
  • Sarah Welch – Lone Star Middle School – Nampa
  • Stacy Young – Prospect Elementary School – Meridian
  • Debbie Jenson – Fairmont Junior High School – Boise
  • Molly McCabe – Mary McPherson Elementary School – Meridian
  • Robert Powell – Garden Valley Schools – Garden Valley
  • Julie Oerke – Challis School District – Challis
  • Kristen Williams – Mill Creek Elementary – Middleton

The Idaho CapEd Foundation awards monthly statewide grants during the school year. All Idaho teachers are encouraged to apply. Details of the Teacher Grant Program are available online or for further information, email Kathy Palumbo at [email protected].

Bookstore, hospital partner to get books for sick children

In an effort to raise funds to provide books for young patients, St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital is partnering with Barnes & Noble Booksellers to host a fundraiser at the Boise Barnes & Noble store on North Milwaukee Street.

At the event on Saturday, March 7, Barnes & Noble will contribute a percentage of every sale made when customers mention their support of St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital. Customers are also encouraged to pick out their favorite children’s book to purchase and donate.

The Barnes & Noble fundraiser will help St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital provide books to children staying overnight in their Pediatrics and Pediatric Intensive Care Units.  Due to infection control, these books often cannot be shared, necessitating a constant need for new reading material.

St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital will be hosting a full slate of events at Barnes & Noble on Saturday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. These events include crafts and activities for kids of all ages, children’s story times read by hospital staff and volunteers, and educational hands-on learning stations.  Highlights include a chance to meet St. Luke’s mascot, Maxwell Moose, and a visit from several pet therapy animals.

Nominate for mentor of the year awards

Educators, school administrators, university supervisors, pre-service teachers, and intern counselors are invited to nominate fellow teachers and school counselors for the 2015 Mentors of the Year Award.

Nominations close Friday, March 6. To nominate, visit:

The Celebration of Teaching — Mentors of the Year Awards program recognizes teachers and school counselors who mentor in southwest Idaho public schools. Each year the awards program honors up to 25 teachers and school counselors who guide, support and encourage fellow educators in their pursuit of effective teaching, counseling and professional growth.

The awards program is a joint project of Boise State University and its partners, including the Idaho State Department of Education, Idaho Education Association and Meridian School District. It was initiated in 2011. For questions, call the College of Education at 208-426-1731.

P16 project ignites new community partnerships

An education project in Caldwell has evolved into a city-wide collaboration, with dozens of organizations and individuals teaming up to enhances services to local residents.

The P16 Caldwell Education Project, which began over three years ago with a presence at every Caldwell School District site, aims to educate and motivate children to seek education beyond high school and embrace support toward a meaningful career. P16 also is becoming a hub for community services and ideas.

The P16 Caldwell Community Hub meets every other Monday at locations throughout Caldwell, where resources and ideas are being shared. United Way of Treasure Valley has been leading these biweekly community meetings to coordinate social supports, volunteers, youth programs, education providers and business partnerships.

This type of collaboration helps remove barriers such as transportation and facility availability.

Beyond its biweekly community gatherings, the P16 Caldwell Education Project also continues to directly provide and/or connect youth with local services from preschool programs, after-school support and career aspiration projects.

Students receive awards for volunteering

Chandler Beard of Ashton and Tracie Bates-Orgill of Rigby were named Idaho’s top two youth volunteers of 2015 by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Beard, a senior at North Fremont High, helped raise more than $10,000 over the past three years to benefit local people with breast cancer by organizing an annual volleyball game and breast cancer awareness night.

Bates-Orgill, an eighth grader from Rigby Middle School, serves senior citizens in her community by preparing and delivering Meals on Wheels and by raising money to replace the old and problem-prone delivery van used in the program.

As state honorees, Beard and Bates-Orgill each will receive $1,000, an engraved medal and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., this May where they will be honored with other state winners during a four-day recognition event.

Two other Idaho students were named Distinguished Finalist:

  • Addie Lutz, a senior at Grangeville High, hosted a fun run that raised more than $11,000 to benefit spinal muscular atrophy.
  • Benjamin Seabourn, a freshman at North Junior High in Boise, founded the Catalpa Quartet, a string quartet that plans for senior citizens and people in nursing homes that has raised $5,000 to pay for instrument repairs at Boise elementary schools.

Please send your news and notes to [email protected].

Disclosure: Idaho Education News is funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation in partnership with Boise State University’s College of Education.

Idaho EdNews Staff

Idaho EdNews Staff

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday