Education news around Idaho

Department of Education announces student winners of holiday card contest

This year’s holiday cards from the Idaho State Department of Education will feature a West Ada third-grader’s watercolor rendering of a classic winter scene: transporting a holiday tree home from the forest.

The painting by Julia Wood of Spalding STEM Academy won the grand prize in this year’s SDE Holiday Card contest, chosen from 1,099 entries by Idaho students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

“It is so much fun to see the talent, imagination and joy that go into this contest each year as students capture the spirit of the season in such creative ways,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said.

In addition to overall honors, Wood’s watercolor was selected as the third grade winner. Other grade-level winners are:

Kindergarten: Juliana Hearold, Meadows Valley School, Meadows Valley School District

First grade: Julia Loveland, Spalding STEM Academy, West Ada School District

Second Grade: Grace Roberts, Skyway Elementary School, Vallivue School District

Fourth Grade: Kylee Riggers, Prairie Elementary School, Cottonwood School District

Fifth Grade: Bailey Campbell, Heights Elementary School, Boise School District

Sixth Grade: Peyton Genoway, Webster Elementary School, Lewiston School District

All of the grade-level winners can be viewed on the State Department of Education website.

STEM Action Center and partners raise money for kids

Idaho kids will get the chance to attend science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) camps because of coffee purchases made on National Coffee Day in September.

Representatives of Dutch Bros and the STEM Action Center Foundation teamed up with First Lady Lori Otter to donate $26,983 to the Garden City-based nonprofit Reuseum Educational in October.

Dutch Bros sold 17,989 drinks on National Coffee Day, Sept. 29, in which the company pledged $1 from the proceeds of each drink sold at its Boise, Garden City and Meridian locations that day. The STEM Action Center Foundation covered the balance through a 50-cent match on each drink sold.

Reuseum Education officials said they will use the donation to send dozens of local kids to low-cost or no-cost STEM workshops and camps.

The STEM Action Center Foundation also partnered with Idaho’s chapter of the American Association of University Women. The association (AAUW) donated a $18,183 check to the Girl Scouts of Silver Sage on Wednesday. AAUW raised $8,783 at a May event and the STEM Action Center Foundation donated $9,400.

“Rather than always focusing on the financial shortcomings of Idaho public schools, a more sensible approach to the problem will be increasing accountability for the entire process of public education,” said Sylvia Chariton, the Co-President of AAUW Idaho.

The Idaho Legislature created the STEM Action Center in 2015 as a way to highlight the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines and to encourage more students to study those subjects and prepare for 21st century careers.

Idaho Charter School Network hires new president

The Board of the Idaho Public Charter School Network (ICSN) voted on November 7 to hire Bill Russell as part-time president of the Idaho Charter School Network. Terry Ryan, after leading ICSN for five years, resigned and was voted on as ICSN board chair.

“When Bluum received a $17.1 million Charter Schools Grant in September from the U.S. Department of Education it became clear that I had to leave the part-time paid President position at ICSN to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest between Bluum and the ICSN,” Ryan said.

Bill Russell is Dean for the School of Business at Northwest Nazarene University, and will serve as part-time President for ICSN.

The Idaho Charter School Network is a 501(c)4 organization committed to improving student achievement and expanding choice among high-quality public schools by advancing and supporting Idaho’s public charter schools. It supports efforts to improve the overall charter school movement both in Idaho and across the nation.

Chevron hands out $250,000 for classroom projects

If you fill up at the pump, your money could be giving to classroom projects.

Public school teachers from Ada and Canyon counties who have active projects got funded in October by Chevron. The program will generate up to $250,000, which will help fund classroom supplies and materials, including those focused on science, technology, engineering, math and hands-on activities to help connect real world experiences to classroom learning.

Money for projects comes from the pump: $1, up to $250,000, will be donated for every eight gallons of gas bought at a participating Chevron or Texaco location with a Jacksons or Gem Stop to help support public education at schools in Ada and Canyon counties.

Four teachers have already received checks this month:

  • Tiffany Jessen requested STEM-related materials for her first graders at Iowa Elementary School in Nampa.
  • Kayle Christianson requested hands-on learning tools to help her first graders learn about engineering at Whittier Elementary School in Boise.
  • Stephanie Reed wants to help her eighth grade students become the Scientists of 2027 at Lake Hazel Middle School in Boise.
  • Leah Thayer requested a project titled Hands-On Hydroponics for her fifth-grade students at Discovery Elementary in Meridian.

“Too often teachers are taking money out of their own pockets to fund classroom projects and Fuel Your School allows us to help reduce that burden,” said Brody Kesler-Mauch, Jacksons Food Stores regional manager.

Win $1,000 for your classroom

Are you a K-12 teacher? You could win a $1,000 grant from Internet Frontier. All you have to is answer one question:

How are you using social media to enhance the learning experiences of your students?

Enter one of two ways:

  1. Write a three-page, 800-to-1,000-word essay.
  2. Create a 2-3-minute video in English.

All essays and videos must be submitted online using the submission form here.

New charter school partners with Hillsdale College

Treasure Valley Classical Academy (TVCA), a public charter school offering a classical education devoted to teaching kids liberal arts and sciences, announced it will open in Fruitland for the 2019-2020 school year. The tuition-free school will begin with grades K-6 and will add a grade every subsequent year, eventually expanding to K-12.

Founded by a group of Idaho residents, TVCA is a member of the Hillsdale College Barney Charter School Initiative. Hillsdale College will assist TVCA in creating and implementing a challenging and engaging academic program, and providing the curriculum design and teacher training that will serve as the foundation for a liberal and civic education.

“We firmly believe the basis for an exceptional public education begins with a focus on the classical liberal arts and sciences,” said Ronda Baines, board president of TVCA. “For that reason, we know Treasure Valley citizens will be receptive to this world-class educational option.”

The aim of classical education is the dissemination of knowledge, which should be purposeful and begin at an early age. The model empowers students to go beyond critical thinking skills, to furnish their minds and imaginations. The emphasis of the curriculum developed by Hillsdale College is on the core disciplines of math, science, history and language arts, followed by attention to music, art and foreign languages. Each of these disciplines is taught with an emphasis on the history and traditions of American citizens as the inheritors of Western Civilization.

The school will be located at 500 SW 3rd St, Fruitland. The building will undergo a $4.2 million renovation between now and the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

Thirteen schools get grants for kitchen equipment

The Idaho State Department of Education has awarded $132,068.72 in federal grant funding through its Child Nutrition Programs to help 13 schools purchase new equipment for their National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. 

 Idaho received the funding through the United States Department of Agriculture Equipment Assistance Grant. Individual grant awards will fund new equipment including freezers, a salad table and dishwashers.

 The application process was competitive, with 26 School Food Authorities (SFAs) submitting grant applications totaling more than $221,000 in equipment requests.

The list of schools receiving money:

  • Cascade Elementary School
  • Culdesac School
  • Hansen High School
  • Terreton Elementary/Junior High School
  • Rockford Elementary School
  • South Lemhi School
  • Richfield School
  • Kamiah Central Kitchen
  • Middleton Heights Elementary School
  • Boundary County Middle School
  • Wilder School
  • Park Intermediate School

Andrew Reed

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