Education news from around Idaho

The Idaho Education Association launched a new website last month called Great Idaho Public Schools, which is designed as a “clearinghouse for ideas and information about supporting Idaho public schools.”

“You’re not alone,” the site tells parents. “If you believe a strong educational foundation is critical for a child’s success, you’ve come to the right place.”

The site includes testimonials from Idaho teachers, select statistics (Idaho is 39th in average public school teacher pay, and 46th for student-to-teacher ratio, for example), and a place for parents to sign up to “stay connected” with one another and the IEA.

IEA is also asking parents to fill out a survey to “help guide us in our common goal to create the schools our children need and deserve.”

Find the survey here.

Boise School Board taking nominations

The Boise School Board won’t hold an election this fall, but it will add a new member.

The district on Friday began accepting nominations for a new trustee to replace Alicia Estey, who recently resigned. The board will vote on which candidates to interview on Nov. 16, and interview its top picks Nov. 19, the district announced in a newsletter this week.

Estey’s replacement will be chosen by the board and eventually sworn in Dec. 13.

Nominations are due Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. Find more info and the application here.

Communities celebrate Lights On Afterschool Day

October 28 marked Lights On Afterschool Day, an annual celebration of after-school programs. To celebrate, the Idaho Out-of-school Network announced a number of “champion” awards for educators across the state involved in after school programming.

Sharon Cates, the STEM and Science coordinator for the State Department of Education, was named the 2021 Lights On Afterschool Champion. Because of Cate’s work promoting STEM, more than 8,000 rural youths will have access to 16 makerspace labs across the state, ION said in a news release. This year, Cates’ team has trained over 100 educators to lead science and STEM activities.

Local educator “champions” include:

  • Barb Mueller, with the Couer d’Alene-based Gizmo program.
  • LeeAnn Gonzalez, with the Wendell 21st Century  Community Learning Center.
  • Dana Miller, with the University of Idaho 4-H program in Fremont County.
  • Suzann Dolecheck, with the University of Idaho 4-H program in Hansen.

Each educator will receive $300 for the after school program of their choice.

Kids invited to create holiday cards

Idaho students from kindergarten to grade six can submit art for the State Department of Education’s annual holiday card contest.

The 2020 winning holiday card, created by sixth-grader Raen Ifurung.

We receive hundreds of wonderful entries each year, and it’s one of the most joyous parts of the holiday season at the State Department of Education,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said in a news release.

Winners are selected for each grade level. All art must be hand drawn. Digital entries are accepted. Pencil drawings and fabric designs are not permitted, but the watercolors, colored paper, magic markers and crayons are accepted.

Holiday or winter scenes should be depicted on the artwork. Copyrighted images are not allowed, including Disney characters.

Drawings should be on paper sized 8.5 inches by 11.5 inches, in landscape format. Each entry should be labeled with the student’s name, grade, school, district and teacher’s name. 

Entries must be submitted or postmarked by Nov. 29. 

Submit submissions online here. Mail physical entries to the Idaho State Department of Education, Holiday Card Contest, attn. Taylor Baggerly, P.O. Box 83702 Boise, ID 83702-0027.

Scholarship applications open

The Idaho Latino Scholarship Foundation is accepting scholarship applications.

The scholarships are open to Hispanic/Latino Idaho students attending high school or undergraduate studies at a university, college, vocational or technical school, or other school. Students must be in good standing and progressing toward a degree, diploma or certificate with at least a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or above. Students must show leadership to “promote, enhance or strengthen diversity,” according to the scholarship posting. 

DACA students are eligible.

Students must also submit a personal biography, resume, school transcripts, two letters of recommendation and an essay.

Application packets are due by midnight March 1. Scholarship winners will be invited to attend a summer luncheon with the Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Find more info here.

Statewide STEM competition opens

The Idaho STEM Action Center is accepting team applications for the Idaho Exhibition of Ideas.

The competition involves a multi-legged tour across the state, with stops in the Treasure Valley on March 12 and in Pocatello and Lewiston on April 8. 

Student teams led by an educator-coach will be tasked with brainstorming, developing and prototyping a potential solution to this year’s challenge theme: space exploration. The competition will result in a regional showcase, where students vie for prizes in front of a panel of judges. 

Teams do not have to pay fees and travel costs will be covered, said Erica Compton, program manager at Idaho STEM Action Center. 

Teams should consist of four to six students in grades five through 10. Mixed-grade teams are allowed. Teams will split into two categories — grades five and six will be considered “junior,” while grades seven through 10 will be considered “senior.” The status of teams with mixed grades is determined by the oldest student’s grade level. 

Teams must have at least one adult coach that has completed training in Idaho FabSLAM or IDX 3D Printing/Digital Fabrication since 2017. Coaches should lead only one team. 

Access to 3D printers and software is required for teams. 

Teams must apply by Dec. 17, Compton said. 

For questions about team/coach eligibility, reach out to Erica Compton at [email protected].

Idaho EdNews Staff

Idaho EdNews Staff

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