Education news from around Idaho

Gov. Brad Little Thursday signed state superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s bill encouraging school district to provide in-person learning to the greatest extent possible during an emergency.

Ybarra faced a long road getting her bill out of committee. She began promoting the bill before the session, faced concerns from superintendents, then had to rewrite the bill after the House Education Committee voted unanimously to kill her original proposal. The rewritten House Bill 175 eventually passed in both House and Senate chambers.

Ybarra began working on the bill after hearing from parents and constituents who were frustrated with online learning and school closures during the pandemic.

“We all had a common goal to support our schools and students to achieve, and this bill — which is now the law in Idaho — will ensure that our students have the instruction they need to achieve and succeed,”  Ybarra said in a news release about the bill signing.

Watch the signing ceremony here.

Nampa students fundraise snacks for state testing days

A group of fifth-grade students at Nampa’s online school are running a “snack drive” to collect supplies for Treasure Valley students.

Teacher Courtney Craner says her class got the idea to collect money and snacks after she asked their families for help putting together “test kits” with snacks and drinks for students while they participate in state standardized testing. Craner’s class of 28 wanted to extend that kindness to other students in their district.

The students set up a Go-Fund-Me account to collect donations and are hosting an in-person snack dropoff at Parkridge Elementary School, 3313 E. Park Ridge Drive, Nampa, on April 28, from 3 to 6 p.m.

Click here to access the Go-Fund-Me page.

Boise students advocate for Simpson’s  salmon plan

Boise High School students wrote 500 postcards to Little and Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch last week to advocate for Rep. Mike Simpson’s Colombia Basin Initiative.

The $33.5 billion plan calls for breaching four lower Snake River dams in an effort to aid Idaho’s wild salmon and steelhead populations. Simpson suggests subsidizing alternative infrastructure in communities that rely on the dams for energy creation, shipping and tourism. The congressman hasn’t proposed legislation yet, but hopes to rally the support of Idaho’s state leaders, tribal communities and stakeholders around a plan for removing the dams.

Shiva Rajbhandari, the sophomore class president of Boise High, said he and other students decided to get involved after listening to Simpson’s proposal at a Boise City Club meeting in March. Students delivered postcards to Little’s office on Thursday, Earth Day, and plan to host a COVID-safe Salmon Run Earth Day celebration at the Idaho capitol at noon on April 24.

“This is our future we’re talking about. I hope our elected officials take action to protect it,” Rajbhandari said in a news release.

Idaho Federation of Families holds conference for parents, teens, involved in mental health care

Parents who have experience with mental health, substance abuse, foster care and the juvenile justice system are invited to participate in a virtual conference where they can learn more about developing plans of care for youth mental health.

The online parent conference runs from May 5 to 8. Speakers will go over successful treatment planning, assessing youth health and treatment and more. To register and access a full list of speakers and topics click here.

The conference will also include a two-day segment for young people, who want to help influence the way Idaho’s behavioral health systems work for them. The YES YOUTH CAN conference will be hosted virtually on May 7 and 8. The conference is focused on youth ages 13 to 18, and young adults.

For more information, to register and access the list of speakers, visit the Idaho Federation of Families website here.

Sami Edge

About Sami Edge

Reporter Sami Edge, a University of Oregon graduate, joined Idaho Education News in 2019. She is a 2019 Education Writers Association fellow reporting on Latino student outcomes in Idaho. She also is a 2019 American Press Institute fellow. She can be reached at [email protected].

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