Canyon County districts win grant for early learning

School district superintendents and Canyon County business and government leaders announce a $750,000 grant for early learning and community engagement efforts. Photo courtesy of the Nampa School District

Caldwell, Notus and Nampa school districts won a $750,000 grant from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, and plan to use the funds to support early learning for children and expanded community partnerships.

The districts are part of a collaboration called  2C Kids Succeed, which also includes Canyon County business leaders and government officials working to build more healthy and resilient communities for children. The initiative is focused on preventing and mitigating “ACEs,” or traumatic and adverse childhood experiences, that can increase children’s risk for long-term issues like mental illness and chronic disease. Idaho ranks fifth highest for states with children experiencing five or more adverse childhood experiences, according to the 2C Kids Succeed website.

Schools engaged in the 2C Kids Succeed effort will focus on expanding programs to support student learning, and connecting community resources with opportunities to help in Caldwell, Nampa and Notus schools.

Caldwell School District superintendent Shalene French said the money will help Caldwell expand preschool offerings, and also enable the district to expand its community schools model from one elementary to three.

“If we can start at 3 and 4 years old and help children realize that they have great potential and they have it within them to be successful…we are so much better off not only in education but economically and socially,” French said.

Nampa Albertsons collecting donations for student meals this month

Shoppers at Nampa Albertsons can make donations at the checkout stand that will help the school district stock its community food pantries with healthy food for hungry kids.

The donation drive lasts through the end of September, and will specifically fund healthy and perishable breakfast foods that the community food pantry can’t typically keep on the shelves, said Heidi Rahn, Nampa’s Federal Programs Coordinator.

If shoppers don’t receive an automated prompt at the checkout stand, they can tell the clerk they’d like to contribute.

Javier Castaneda, back left, at the capitol celebrating national school choice week. Courtesy of BLUUM

Charter school leader Javier Castaneda dies

Heritage Community Charter School leader Javier Castaneda died unexpectedly last week, the school said on its website. Castaneda leaves behind seven children and a mourning school community.

According to a GoFundMe page set up to collect donations for the Castaneda family, his passing was an unexpected result of COVID-19. His eldest daughter was engaged to be married in a few weeks, the page says, and his second oldest is expecting her first child.

The community is invited to share memories of Castaneda or photos to a memory book, submitted to [email protected]. Donations to support the family are being collected here.

Castaneda was credited with helping save Heritage Charter School from a rocky start after it opened in the fall of 2011. He became principal in 2012, and by 2015  the school was financially solvent, ranked four of five stars by the State Department of Education, and had a waiting list of students interested in the dual-immersion program.

Heritage was closed this Thursday and Friday after the news of Castaneda’s passing. It will reopen on Monday.

“Javier was an outstanding  educator and an even better man who will be greatly missed by all that were fortunate to know him,” charter school support group BLUUM said in an email news release about his passing.

STEM education grant program accepting applications

Idaho corporations interested in offering science education programs can apply for a grant from the State Department of Education before Sept. 31.

The Idaho Legislature established matching grants for K-12 STEM education programs to encourage science education “intended to encourage knowledge of and interest in the disciplines of STEM” among K-12 students, according to SDE materials. The state has $24,000 in-grant money to allocate this fiscal year.

Grant applicants must provide at least half of the financial cost of the program to receive a grant. All projects must be completed by June 2022 and funds spent by the end of May.

For more information on applying, download the document below.

Applications should be sent to Linda Becker, [email protected]. Contact Sharon Cates (208) 332-6980 with questions.

Sami Edge

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