Education news from around Idaho

North Junior High student to appear on national television

Taelyn Baiza

Boise’s own Taelyn Baiza, a seventh grader at North Junior High, is scheduled to appear on the CW’s television program “Did I Mention Invention?” on Saturday, Feb. 23.

Baiza was filmed last year during the  National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo in Dearborne, Mich., which she has qualified for repeatedly after competing in statewide Invent Idaho competitions. In 2018, Baiza won the Jules Verne Award For Forward Thinking Innovation and Global Change at the national convention for a project called  The Nautilus, a machine that would mimic the mechanics of a living nautilus to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans. It’s a repeat performance for Baiza, who also won the Verne award in 2017 for her Mare Sanum “Healthy Sea” fishing net invention.

Catch footage of the program, here:

Speaking of Invent Idaho…

Regional winners in the Invent Idaho competition, courtesy Invent Idaho Facebook page

Students to compete in the statewide Idaho Invention Convention

About 100 Idaho students will compete to be named the top youth inventors in the state during the 2019 Idaho Invention Convention at the University of Idaho in Moscow on Saturday, March 2.

Invent Idaho, founded in 1989, offers students in grades 1-12 the opportunity to present inventions in five categories: working models, non-working models, adaptations of existing technology, gadgets and games or “Jules Verne,” a category for creations “too futuristic or fanciful” to compete in other categories, according to the Invent Idaho website. To qualify for the state competition, students first had to win in regional invention competitions.

Winners at the state competition will showcase their projects at the National Invention Convention & Entrepreneurship Expo at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborne, Mich.

Inventions in the running for the state’s top prize include creations like a grape seed remover, a non-slip swim cap, solar-powered school busses and “Bob, the cleaning robot.”

Science lovers who can’t make it to Moscow for the state competition will be able to see the winners projects in Boise at the Statehouse on Monday, March 18 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and many of the state’s finalists will get to present at the University of Idaho College of Engineering EXPO on April 26, the organization said.

“Idaho is full of talented and bright young learners and this celebration of invention gives students the opportunity to share what they’ve created,” Beth Brubaker, coordinator of the Idaho Invention Convention said in a news release. “This competition gets students involved in authentic, project-based learning while demonstrating creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking — all important 21st century skills.”

A glimpse inside the new Whittier Elementary School, courtesy of the Boise School District.

Dedication ceremony for new Whittier Elementary School

The public is invited to attend a dedication ceremony for the new Whittier Elementary School at N. 29th St in Boise, starting at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28.

The new school was built with funds from a 2017 bond and includes larger classrooms, improved technology and better safety features for the Whittier children. Overall, the facility is some 68,000 square feet, has more than two dozen classrooms, a music room library, cafeteria, gym and exterior learning spaces. Part of the old Whittier Elementary building still stands and will be remodeled into a community center, the Boise School District said in news release.

The building will open for tours after the official ribbon cutting, the release said.

Kevin Stilling

Wood River High teacher recognized

Kevin Stilling, the athletics and activities director at Wood River High School in Hailey has been recognized as a “Certified Athletic Administrator” by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

The NIAAA is a national body that provides education, leadership training and certifications for athletic administrators. Their certification program is “based on the premises of continuing education, professional growth and program development in the vocation of interscholastic athletic administration,” according to the NIAAA website.

“To earn this distinction, Kevin has demonstrated the highest level of knowledge and expertise in the field of interscholastic athletic administration,” an NIAAA spokesman wrote in a news release. The certification process includes an evaluation of a candidates background, professional experience and achievement and a written exam, the announcement said.

Some 2,000 athletic directors have become certified since the certification program started in 1988, according to the NIAAA website.

Grant funding for community preschool expansion

The Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children is offering grants of $5,000 – $10,000 for communities that want to create an action plan to expand local preschool options.  The grant is part of an IDAEYC campaign called “Preschool the Idaho Way which is designed to help instruct communities on how they can collaborate to create preschool programs for children.

“We’re excited to start working with communities across the state to develop these collaboratives and these critical preschool opportunities,” said Martin Balben, project director for Preschool the Idaho Way. “Idaho has lagged behind in early education for too long. It’s time to take action and to start developing solutions for Idaho families.”

This first wave of grants will fund the development of a plan to create, expand or enhance preschool programs, the association said in a news release this week. A second pool of grants to implement those programs is expected later this year, the association said.

Community stakeholders interested in applying for the grant are required to tune into one of two webinars on Wednesday, March 6 at either 9:30 a.m. or 5:30 p.m. To register, email Martin Balben at [email protected].

For more details and requests for proposals, click here. Deadline for grant applications is Sunday, March 31.


Idaho EdNews Staff

Idaho EdNews Staff

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