Education News from around Idaho

Dutch Bro’s and first lady Teresa Little deliver a check to Reuseum Educational.

Reuseum Educational gets $56,000 for STEM camps

Dutch Bros and the STEM Action Center Foundation awarded $56,536 last week to Reuseum Educational, a Garden City nonprofit that teaches kids STEM concepts by repurposing electronic, manufacturing and lab equipment.

The money was raised by local Dutch Bro’s franchises — which donated $1 from over 30,000 drinks sold at Treasure Valley locations — and matching funds from the STEM Action Center. Funds cover free and low-cost STEM workshops for kids.

This is the third year that the STEM Action Center Foundation and the drive-through coffee chain have partnered to fund Idaho projects. The STEM Action Center, founded in 2015, aims to get more Idahoans in the STEM workforce to meet new job demands. Idaho had some 6,300 unfilled STEM jobs in 2018, which equates to $413 million in lost personal wages, according to a STEM Action Center news release.

Angela Hemingway, the executive director of the Idaho STEM Action center, told KIVI that workshops like the ones at Reusuem can inspire student interest and skill in STEM.

This year, the non-profit is on track to serve 13,000 children, said Reuseum director Steve Rodoletz.

“Kids are the pillars of our future, and equipping them with the right tools to not only succeed but also stretch them creatively is so important,” Canyon County Dutch Bros owner Shayna Randall said in a news release. “We are honored to be helping an organization that is doing so much in our community and is also helping kids see the promise of their future.”

Grace Ruddy

Boise teacher named ‘Early Learning Champion’ by PBS

Hawthorne Elementary School teacher Grace Ruddy was one of 10 educators nationwide named a 2019 PBS Kids Early Learning Champion.

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Honorees demonstrated “an outstanding impact in supporting the growth and learning of the whole child, strengthening the ecosystem in which children learn and creating unique and innovative teaching experiences,” PBS said in a news release.

Ruddy has championed preschool in the Boise School District. She ran a program, “All Ready Preschool,” from 2004 to 2011 and worked with the city of Boise in 2015 to launch the Boise Pre-K project, which offers early education to students in the city’s Vista neighborhood. The project has since expanded to more elementary schools in the district.

Ruddy said she wants to share the award with the “caring, innovative and capable” educators at Hawthorne Elementary, especially assitant teacher Wanda Waybright.

“I love doing what I do…teaching young children and helping create a positive first experience in school,” Ruddy said in an email. “I am blessed to spend my days learning, laughing, playing and enjoying the young children in my classes.”

Partnership gives elementary students new boots

A partnership between Optum Idaho, the State Department of Education and D&B supply is providing warm shoes to elementary students this winter.

A new campaign called “Give Cold Feet the Boot” will provide new winter boots and socks to students at four elementary schools across the state.

“Thousands of Idaho students arrive at school each morning with cold feet because they don’t have proper winter footwear, which threatens their ability to learn and puts a strain on dedicated teachers, administrators, counselors and support staff,” Optum Idaho staffers wrote in a news release. “Together with our partners, we are hoping to eliminate that problem this winter.”

This week, students at Heritage Academy in Jerome, Lakeside Elementary school in Plummer and Donald D. Stalker Elementary school in Blackfoot got new boots. On Monday, Nov. 25, students at Payette-based Westside Elementary School will get new boots.

Rudy Soto announces congressional bid

Nampa native Rudy Soto announced his Democratic bid for Idaho’s 1st Congressional District this week, five years to the day after his father passed away from cancer.

“While today is a sad day for my family, it’s also a reminder of the need to transform our tragedy into triumph,” Soto said in a news release. “In Congress I’ll fight for a pathway to quality and affordable health care for all Americans.”

Soto, 34, is a member of the Shoshone Bannock Tribe and the son of a Mexican immigrant. He was the first in his family to graduate college and served in the U.S. Army National Guard. After college, he worked in Congress, serving as an assistant to the legislative director for the National Indian Gaming Association.

Soto’s announcement was accompanied by an endorsement from former president of the Boise School District school board and gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff, who praised Soto’s take on education.

“He prioritizes listening to educators and investing in all levels of education for students across Idaho,” Balukoff was quoted as saying in a news release. “That’s the kind of transformation our education system needs.”

According to his campaign website, Soto will advocate for funding to train students in STEM fields, citing the 6,300 Idaho STEM jobs that went unfilled in 2018.

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