Education news from around Idaho

Elementary schools invited to provide Sources of Strength to students

Thirty elementary schools in Idaho will have the chance to participate in Sources of Strength, a suicide prevention  program that aims to protect students’ wellbeing and ability to learn by building resilience, belonging and connections through the year.

The program is run through the Idaho Lives Project at the State Department of Education. Applications from elementary schools are due by Sept. 3.

According to Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra, the program was extended to younger students last year, nearly doubling the amount of students who are able to participate.

The classroom-based lessons are designed for 3rd through 5th grades, but they also can be used in 6th grade elementary classrooms. The program is presented in 12 units with a strong social-emotional learning component.

The 30 successful applicants will each receive two days of coaches’ training in October or November, plus program materials for up to eight classrooms.

Idaho began implementing Sources of Strength for middle and high schools in 2013, and the peer-based youth suicide prevention program has expanded to more than 100 schools.

STEM Action Center, Amazon Web Services team up to teach tech skills in Idaho

In August, Gov. Brad Little announced a collaboration between the Idaho STEM Action Center and Amazon Web Services to train and certify 2,000 Idahoans in cloud computing over the next two years.

According to Economic Modeling Specialists International, there are 5.3 million cloud computing jobs nationwide, making it one of the most in-demand work forces in the country. In Idaho, 16,846 cloud computing jobs were posted between July 2020 and June 2021.

“Increasing the number of Idaho workers certified in cloud computing will support our growing businesses and provide good, well-paying jobs for our citizens,” Little said.

The collaboration will offer courses designed using Amazon Web Services’ education programs for students in high school and in higher education. Adults who are interested in entering a new profession are also able to take the courses.

“This collaboration will help enhance the digital literacy of Idaho students and increase the pool of workers certified in cloud computing,” said STEM Action Center Executive Director Kaitlin Maguire.

Idaho educators who are interested in earning their Amazon Web Services certification can go to the STEM Action Center’s website.

Boise celebrates Capstone Diploma recipients

During the 2020-2021 school year, 34 students from Boise School District earned the AP Capstone Diplomas and 15 students earned the Advanced Placement Seminar and Research Certificate.

“Our AP Capstone students and teachers showed extraordinary commitment while facing historic challenges,” said Boise Superintendent Coby Dennis. “This is a meaningful college readiness program that will serve our students well after high school.”

Boise’s recipients are:

  • Caysen Anderson, Capital
  • Angela Baclig, Timberline
  • Adria Bower, Capital
  • Darcie Bushee, Timberline
  • James Byrne, Boise
  • Lucy Coleman, Timberline
  • Challis Connally, Timberline
  • Thomas Dean, Boise
  • Marshal Galinato, Boise
  • Olivia Gehrke, Timberline
  • Corrine Gerber, Timberline
  • Zachary Gilmore, Capital
  • Jamie Hamlin, Boise
  • John Harris, Capital
  • Emily Horner, Capital
  • Madeline Jozwik, Timberline
  • Grace Kershisnik, Boise
  • Everhett LaBonne, Boise
  • Cody Leishman, Boise
  • Aiden McLean, Boise
  • Tyler McMillan, Boise
  • Anna Melvin, Boise
  • Andrew Mesa, Capital
  • Esme Miller Kindelberger, Borah
  • Liam Murray, Boise
  • Joshua Planting, Capital
  • Quinn Prodzinski, Capital
  • Berit Schaus, Boise
  • Liam Stewart, Timberline
  • Alekya Tanikella, Capital
  • Rylee Taylor, Boise
  • Dominic Throngard, Boise
  • Katharine Turcke, Boise
  • Sam Wagner, Timberline
  • Eh K Prew Wah, Boise
  • Lydia Walker, Capital
  • Jack Zuckerman, Boise

In order to receive the AP Capstone Diploma, students must receive a score of three or higher in AP Seminar, AP Research and on four additional AP Exams. To receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate, students must earn a score of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research.

COVID-19 funds lead to upgrades for i-STEM Libraries

Idaho teachers will have more lesson-planning resources available to them this school year thanks to a revamped network of i-STEM Libraries throughout the state.

The i-STEM Libraries are a network of STEM resource hubs that loan equipment and materials to Idaho educators. The resources can be loaned to a wide range of people, like teachers and librarians at schools, and even to out-of-school programs and parent-teacher organizations.

The STEM Action Center has invested about $110,000 in the library system to acquire new equipment and classroom sets, curate supporting curriculum, and consolidate each site’s inventory to a centralized online database.

The libraries are located at six college campuses:

  • College of Eastern Idaho
  • College of Southern Idaho
  • College of Western Idaho
  • North Idaho College (in the Gizmo-CdA Makerspace)
  • Idaho State University
  • Lewis-Clark State College

Some of the money that went towards the changes to the i-STEM Libraries came from a $98,000 Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund grant that was fueled by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

“Although these improvements were envisioned and implemented as an emergency response to the coronavirus, they will in fact have a lasting positive impact for educators and students post pandemic, as well,” said STEM Action Center Executive Director Kaitlin Maguire.

The online catalogue for the i-STEM Libraries is available here.

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