Education news from around the state

Coeur d’Alene teacher wins prestigious fellowship

History teacher Colin Donovan is going back to school.

Colin Donovan

The Coeur d’Alene high school teacher was awarded a James Madison Memorial Fellowship to get a masters in U.S. History, the school district announced last week. The fellowship is sponsored by the James Madison Memorial Foundation, which was established by Congress to “improve teaching about the constitution in secondary schools.” The fellowship is typically awarded to one person from every state.

Donovan won $24,000 toward tuition and books, and is considering programs at Washington State University and Arizona State University.

He plans to focus his studies on the U.S. Constitution.

Southwest Idaho wins recognition from the IEA

Six Idaho educators won awards from the Idaho Education Association at the group’s annual conference, held in Coeur d’Alene in early April. Four were from the southwestern part of the state.

Winners were:

  • Char McKinney, Central Idaho EA — Shane Anderson Outstanding Member Award
  • Marc Beitia, American Falls EA — Marsha Nakamura Award for Teaching Excellence
  • Pierrette Madrid-Harris, New Plymouth EA — Larry Caldwell Member Advocacy Award
  • Bree Wildman, Boise EA — Membership Recruiter Award
  • Rick Wiese, Vallivue EA — Sue Hovey Mentoring Award
  • Dr. Don Coberly — Friend of Education Award

Some 400 educators discussed policy and education association initiatives at the gathering, president Kari Overall said in a news release. The group also raised more than $24,000 for the Idaho Education Association’s children’s fund, which helps Idaho schoolchildren pay for basic needs like warm coats and glasses.

Winners from the 2019 Idaho Education Association delegate assembly. From Left to right: Marc Beitia, Bree Wildman, Dr. Don Coberly, Char McKinney, Kari Overall, Pierrette Madrid-Harris, Rick Wiese.

Boise State students funded by the Department of Energy

Boise State students Addie Lupercio,  Kaelee Novich and Sven Marnauzs have caught the government’s eye.

The three students were awarded research fellowships and scholarships through the Department of Energy Integrated University Program to work on research related to nuclear energy.

Addie Lupercio

Lupercio, who won a fellowship, is studying the properties of uranium dioxide. “The fellowship will allow me to develop a career as a research scientist and advance nuclear energy to impact the community…both educationally and environmentally,” Lupercio told Boise State. 

Novich, who has been working with a Ph.D. student, studies dry-cask cooling as an alternative means to store nuclear waste. As underground storage facilities for nuclear waste reach capacity, research into borated aluminum could advance alternative long-term waste storage options, she said.

Kaelee Novich
Sven Marnauzs

Marnauzs is using data science to work on materials development. For example, he’s currently writing about how machine learning can predict properties of 2D electronic materials, and he plans to apply his studies in the field to nuclear science.

Nampa principal recognized by NNU

Northwest Nazarene University selected Dr. Paul Harman, principal of Nampa’s Centennial Elementary, as the L.E. Wesche Outstanding Educator of the year. Harman received his B.A. in Psychology and Elementary Education from the school.

The award recognizes “current professionals who make a positive impact in the field of education that extends beyond the classroom.”

In the award announcement, the university pointed to Harman’s work integrating arts into the curriculum at Centennial and his contribution to the Governor’s Council on Youth and Children. Harman has twice been named the Teacher of the Year in the Nampa School District, the announcement said.

Boise expands Pre-K to two more schools

Children between the ages of 3 and 5 will be allowed to enroll in Pre-Kindergarten at Boise’s Garfield and Whittier elementary schools, starting in the fall of 2019.

The Pre-K offerings at the two community schools expand on existing programs at Hawthorne and Whitney elementary schools.

The programs are free, according to a news release from the district, but in return Pre-K parents are “required to participate at school an average of two hours per week.”

The Pre-K programming will include  things like creating art, listening to stories and learning math and literacy skills. It will be offered in morning or afternoon sessions, five days a week.

Parents interested in the programs are encouraged to stop by one of the schools to fill out an interest form.

To qualify for Pre-K a student must:

  • Be able to attend 90 percent of classes
  • Be at least 3 years old by Sept. 1, 2019
  • Be independent in the bathroom
  • Have transportation to and from school
  • Have a parent willing to participate at school two hours a week.

Registration still open for Boise State University Summer Academy

Kids entering grades 2-9 can learn and play during the Boise State Summer Academy, a day-camp that runs on a weekly basis from June 10 through the end of July.

Weeks of the camp are themed around a particular subject. For example, the week of June 10-14 is “Astronomers” week and July 15-19 is “Zoologists.”

Children going into 2nd-6th grade participate in a curriculum taught by certified teachers and college students, playing games, doing math activities, P.E. arts, coding and science.

Older kids entering 7-9th grades go on bike tours of the Boise area, participating in community service and local recreation opportunities. The camp for older students features life skills like teamwork, friendship, goals and character.

Camp hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with drop off starting at 7:30 a.m. and pickup ending at 5:30 p.m.

Tuition is $225 a week for one week,  $400 for two, $600 for three and so on. Discounts are available for returning members, siblings and Boise state students and staff.

Register at or contact Michelle Pancoast at 208-426-1094, [email protected] with any questions.


For the next month, the State Department of Education is asking parents and school staff to fill out an “engagement and satisfaction survey” as a way to gauge school quality.

The surveys are part of a new accountability system for Idaho education approved by the state and federal governments in recent years. Survey results will be published on a state report card which comes out in August.

Parents and staff can fill out online surveys from April 15 to May 17. Links for the survey are provided by a student’s individual school. According to the state department of education, public charter schools are required to participate in the surveys.

Sami Edge

Sami Edge

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