Education news from around Idaho

Boise teacher named PBS Digital Innovator

West Junior High School’s Paige Somoza was named a 2017 PBS Digital Innovator, one of 52 nationwide and the only one from Idaho. 

In partnership with PBS member stations nationwide, PBS Digital Innovators serve as education partners — deepening the connection between educator communities and their local PBS stations, while leveraging PBS resources to support learning. PBS Digital Innovators also participate in ongoing professional development, share their ideas on PBS platforms and receive a free PBS professional development course.

“I make sure that I understand the technology before I present it to my students and give [them] time to learn before we get started with a big assignment,” Somoza said. “I will have a ‘Class Zero’ or create a low-risk assignment beforehand to ensure everyone’s success.”

Somoza will receive an all-expense paid trip to San Antonio, Texas, to participate in the 2017 PBS Digital Innovators Summit in June.

Idaho National Laboratory awards STEM grants to schools

Two east Idaho schools have been awarded an Ultimate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) grant, worth up to $10,000 by the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). In addition, four Extreme Classroom Makeover grants worth up to $5,000 were awarded to southeast Idaho schools. Statewide, 19 STEM Mini grants worth up to $500 were awarded.

Teachers and principals from public and private schools throughout the state apply each year for INL STEM grants, which are awarded based on the educator’s plan, idea or classroom needs to bolster STEM education. The money can be used to purchase equipment and materials for classrooms.

“This type of funding allows for furthering student interest in STEM careers and helps to grow our talent pipeline, enabling a sustainable future workforce,” said Amy Lientz, INL’s director of Partnerships, Engagement and Technology Deployment.

Ultimate STEM Grant recipients:

  1. Chase Crook from Rigby Middle School, $10,000, will use the money to purchase life science materials for the classroom.
  2. Kristoffer Smith from Longfellow Elementary School, $9,987.07, will use the money to create a Makers Space for STEM at the school.

Classroom Makeover Grant recipients:

  1. Jared Gee from Sugar-Salem High School, $4,949.57, will use the money to reimage the Sugar-Salem High School science lab for chemistry and biology.
  2. Troy Easterday from Castleford School District, $5,000, will use the money to purchase materials to teach energy efficiency in rural towns.
  3. Heidi McJunkin from Snake River Montessori School, $1,046, will use the money to purchase a classroom set of computer coding curriculum.
  4. Leslie Woodford from Pocatello Valley Montessori School, $1,000, will use the money to purchase a classroom set of complex math manipulatives to teach STEM.

IEA children’s fund relaunches

The Idaho Education Association is relaunching the IEA Children’s Fund, which has granted more than $1.6 million dollars to Idaho children and families since 1997. The IEA Children’s Fund allows IEA members to provide food, clothing, shoes, eyeglasses and medical treatment to at-risk students and their families.

To learn more about the IEA Children’s Fund and how to donate, click here.

East Idaho students win science fair

Nearly 50 students from six East Idaho schools participated in a science fair on Saturday, hosted by Idaho Science and Technology Charter School staff. Students displayed their projects and watched science demonstrations given by Idaho State University students.

Winners

Top winner: Dallin Tryon, a sixth grader at Idaho Science and Technology Charter School.

Fourth grade:

First place: Jarom Tryon, a student at Idaho Science and Technology Charter School.

Second place: Jona Hanson, a student at Blackfoot’s I. T. Stoddard Elementary.

Third place: Jaycee Later, a student at Idaho Science and Technology Charter School.

Fifth grade:

First place: Cassidy Christensen, a student at Idaho Science and Technology Charter School.

Second place: Timothy Beck, a student at Idaho Science and Technology Charter School.

Third place: Simon Hanson, a student at Blackfoot’s I. T. Stoddard Elementary.

Sixth grade:

First grade: Aubrey Cameron, a student at Idaho Science and Technology Charter School.

Second grade: Karson Goodworth, a student at Idaho Science and Technology Charter School.

Third place: Ceciley Walker, a student at Idaho Science and Technology Charter School.

People’s Choice: Shayla Mager, a sixth grader at Idaho Science and Technology Charter School.

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