Education news from around Idaho

Idaho schools win grants for kitchen equipment

Sixteen Idaho schools have received about $120,000 in combined federal grants to upgrade kitchen equipment, Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra announced this week.

The funds, which stem from a U.S. Department of Agriculture equipment assistance grant, will boost school food services with new equipment, like walk-in coolers, ovens and freezers. 

Decision makers considered the age of the schools’ food service equipment, the availability of state and local funding for equipment purchases and other factors. 

Recipients include:

  • Gooding Elementary
  • Compass Academy, Idaho Falls
  • Lakeside Elementary School, Plummer
  • Forge International School
  • Emmett Middle School
  • Westside Elementary, Payette
  • Heritage Academy
  • Potlatch School District
  • Homedale High School
  • Cascade Elementary/Jr/Sr High
  • Kimberly Elementary
  • Oregon Trail Elementary, Twin Falls
  • Wendell High School
  • Vision Charter School
  • Richfield School District
  • Wilder School District

After-school program grant applications opening soon

Over the next month, the State Department of Education is preparing for the rollout of applications for a pool of $650,000 in five-year grants for programs that operate beyond school hours in Idaho starting next school year.

A variety of groups — including school districts and charter schools, community organizations, tribal organizations and other public and private groups — are eligible to apply for the grants, under the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center program. 

The program funds 45 grants serving 84 schools throughout Idaho, providing a range of services, including STEM, art, fitness, cultural diversity and drug and violence prevention. 

“These learning centers benefit the whole family,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said in a news release. “They offer academic enrichment and other supports for students and parents, reducing achievement gaps while cutting child care costs and making it easier for working parents to stay on the job.”

Two free virtual workshops for the grant application process are being held next week, both over Zoom. One is from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mountain Time on Tuesday, Nov. 16. The other is from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mountain Time on Friday, Nov. 19. Register online at this link.

Grant applications open Dec. 13. Applications are due by 4 p.m. Mountain Time on Jan. 28. 

People interested in serving as a peer review for grant applications can apply at this link no later than Dec. 3.

Raising awareness about alcohol-prevention

Students at Frank Church High School are teaming up with community leaders to host an alcohol prevention initiative. 

Students will place stickers on brown paper bags for liquor store purchases, saying, “Providing Alcohol to minors under 21 is against the law. Keep Idaho Youth Alcohol-Free.”

The campaign begins Nov. 26 for liquor stores, and is sponsored by 11th and 12th-grade AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) students at Frank Church High, the Idaho Liquor Division and the Office of Drug Policy.

“Addiction tears up families, and getting out of an addiction is harder than it seems,” 12th grader Abigail Cook said in the news release. “Drinking young can start a lifelong addiction.”

State employee recognized

An Idaho State Board of Education employee recently received national recognition for her work.

State Board Academic Affairs Program Manager Patty Sanchez won the David L. Wright Memorial Award from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, which honors her commitment, work ethic and contributions to the State Board. One person in the U.S. receives the award each year.

“I’m overwhelmed to have received this award and humbled by what it stands for. I am truly honored,” Sanchez said in a news release.

Sanchez started her career working in a Head Start program for the children of migrant workers. There, she realized how education can change lives. She has worked for the State Board for almost three decades. She has worked as academic affairs program manager for 13 years. 

As part of her job, she ensures policy processes, academic planning and program proposals are followed and managed. 

“Patty is deeply committed to the power of education to change lives,” State Board Executive Director Matt Freeman said. “She has a prodigious work ethic and is a gentle and humble leader. She is also incredibly generous with her time and resources.”

State center receives childcare funds

The Lee Pesky Learning Center on Oct. 15 received $600,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to boost high quality childcare. The Boise-based teaching, research and training center will use the money to train and coach early childhood providers to support whole child development. 

The funds will go toward providing training to create learning environments to promote basic numeracy, self-regulation, early language and literacy skills. The learning center says it has supported more than 100,000 students and 7,000 educators in Idaho and elsewhere, including professional development in Boise School District elementary schools. 

Thanking the donors, Lee Pesky’s Executive Director Lindy Crawford said the two make a good partnership.

“Access, equity, and high-quality early childhood experiences are values shared by both organizations. Together, we can create a pathway to learning for everyone,” Crawford said in a prepared statement.

Kyle Pfannenstiel

About Kyle Pfannenstiel

Reporter Kyle Pfannenstiel covers the implementation of policy in Idaho’s K-12 public school system. He’s a military brat and former health care reporter who holds degrees in Journalism and Political Science from University of Idaho. Follow Kyle on Twitter @pfannyyy. He can be reached at [email protected]

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