Education news briefs from across East Idaho

Snake River providing free laptops to high schoolers

BLACKFOOT — The Snake River School District wants all of its high schoolers to eventually have a laptop.

Trustees in the rural East Idaho school district recently approved a one-to-one initiative, which will put a new Chromebook device into the hands of each incoming freshman starting this school year.

The students will be able use their devises at school and for personal use.

“When a student has a device to use and be responsible for, all day every day, it helps to level the playing field among all students,” said Snake River technology director Steve Schallenberg.

Seniors will get to keep their laptops beyond high school on the condition that they earn a diploma.

Schallenberg said the goal is to promote better access to virtual resources, enrich instruction and “encourage responsible digital citizenship in the social and academic community.”

Incoming freshmen will be able to pick up their new laptops during registration Aug. 14 and 16 at Snake River High School.

Alturas to hold open house

IDAHO FALLS — Alturas International Academy wants you to see its new digs.

The O.E. Bell building

The charter school will host a ribbon cutting and open house at the historic O.E. Bell building near Downtown Idaho Falls Friday, Aug. 18, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event features a walk through of the recently renovated building, which the City of Idaho Falls granted Alturas permission to occupy last summer.

Educators at Alturas say the building will better serve a growing student body. They also say a new downtown location will attract a more diverse group of kids.

A 2016 report presented to the State Board of Education revealed for the second straight year that Idaho’s charter schools governed by the Public Charter School Commission are far less diverse than the state’s traditional public schools.

Madison to float an August bond issue

REXBURG — The Madison School District will put a $29 million bond issue on the August ballot.

The measure is aimed at absorbing the district’s growing student body, with Madison High School in line for most of the upgrades, including:

  • Ten new classrooms
  • Two new science labs
  • A new gymnasium
  • Expanded parking lots
  • A new event stadium
  • A new multipurpose track

Other  proposed improvements range from a new heating and cooling system at Madison Middle School to eight new elementary school classrooms. (Click here to view all proposed upgrades.)

Madison trustees, who unanimously approved the plan in June, say the district’s current levy rate of $4.50 per thousand of assessed taxable value will not increase if the measure passes.

Idaho requires a two-thirds supermajority for any bond issue to pass.

Thunder Ridge High School on track

AMMON — One year into construction, Thunder Ridge High School is on track for completion.

Thunder Ridge High School

A YouTube video, released by the district July 28, reveals progress made to the $65 million structure, including framed classrooms, a new auditorium and gymnasium.

Outside, new bleachers overlook a 100-yard dirt field awaiting grass and a sprinkler system.

Despite “one of the worst winters in years,” Bonneville School District director of facilities and operations John Pymm said the school is on track to open its doors for the 2018-19 school year.

“We feel really, really good about where we are,” Pymm said.

The school is one of several others likely to rise near the foothills East of Idaho Falls, as Bonneville continues to grapple with overcrowding.

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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